The holidays are a favorite time of year for so many people. Gathering with family and friends, some of whom we haven’t seen in too long, is cause for joy. Delighting in long-standing traditions, cooking together, perhaps with some holiday music in the background, all creates a deeply fulfilling time that would bring happiness to anyone.
But not everyone is able to get out and join loved ones during the holidays. If this is the case for someone important to you, then you should do your best to go to them. The joy and contentment of the holiday season in the company of the people we care about. For someone facing the holidays alone, it can be a very sad time. So it’s important to visit a loved one in memory care.
Why You Should Visit a Loved One in Memory Care
Life is busy and obligations often get in the way. Not all of us are able to visit with people we care about as often as we’d like, even family members. But if you have a loved one living in memory care, their opportunities for social interaction outside their community can be limited. A quality memory care community will provide mentally stimulating activities, socialization, comfort and safety that ensures the best possible quality of life, but nothing is as emotionally satisfying as a visit from family and friends.
A person with dementia may be living with feelings of loss. These feelings can be amplified during the holidays. Seeing decorations and hearing seasonal music can bring back memories of loved ones who have passed away, or be a reminder that they’re alone. If memories have become unclear, they may just experience the uneasy sense that something is wrong.
You can help prevent holiday depression when you visit a loved one in memory care, and there are ways you can make the visit enjoyable for everyone.
How to Have a Happy Visit with Someone with Dementia
It’s important to make sure your loved one won’t spend the holidays alone. Working out your schedule ahead of time is the best way to guarantee you’ll be able to follow through on your visit. You can also create fun, meaningful activities if you decide ahead of time what to bring.
Set Up Decorations
There’s no better way to create a festive atmosphere than putting out holiday decorations. But keep in mind that a person with dementia needs their living space to remain familiar and calm. Don’t over-decorate or hang a lot of bright, blinking lights. Also, be careful with anything fragile or breakable that could become a hazard. Any familiar or favorite decorative pieces you bring can be a great way to stimulate fond memories and conversation.
Bringing photo albums or a tablet to display photos of loved ones past and present is one of the best things you can do when visiting a loved one in memory care. This is a great way to spark long-term memories and an easy way to involve children.
Cook a Holiday Treat Ahead of Time
Bring favorite pastries or desserts the family has always enjoyed. The sight, smell and taste can bring happiness to a person with dementia. It can be especially satisfying if it’s a recipe your loved one taught you to make. You can show them you’re carrying on cherished traditions.
Keep Visits Peaceful and Calm
Limit the number of people who join the festivities, and be aware if your loved one becomes tired. Learn the best times to visit, and don’t stay as long as you might with someone in senior care who’s not living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. It’s often the case that several short visits over time are more enjoyable for a person with dementia because they can become tired, which can worsen confusion or agitation.
Play Holiday Music or a Movie
Any favorites or fun classics can create a festive mood. For music, keep the volume low so everyone can easily be heard when talking, and choose songs that are calming. Watching a movie may not seem like the best way to enjoy each other’s company, but especially for someone with dementia, simply spending time together is what matters most.
No matter how you spend your time there, or how long you stay, visiting a loved one in memory care during the holidays is the best gift you can give them.
Memory Care at Heritage Senior Living
Wellness, safety and dignity are at the core of everything we do at each Heritage memory care community. And a compassionate and comfortable home is what our residents find here. We enrich lives with specially designed activities, while simple building designs and secure courtyards offer carefree days. Anyone who needs memory care will love it here, and you’ll love to visit.
Contact us today so your loved one can call Heritage “home” this holiday season.