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As we move into the holiday season, I think often of my mother Frances, who went through her last holidays with dementia. I wanted to share the season with her in ways that felt safe, comfortable, and honoring so I gradually developed these tips.

  • When you’re in a group, help the person with dementia feel safe and comfortable by having a trusted friend or family member stay beside him or her, explaining the proceedings and fielding questions from others, as needed.
  • Encourage people to say their name and maintain eye contact when conversing with the person who has dementia.
  • Make sure the person can come and go as needed. Create a quiet space where he or she can rest — or appoint a caring person to drive your loved one home when he tires of the festivities.
  • Have something special for them to look at, like a family photo album or a favorite magazine.
  • Choose background music that is familiar to them, music of their era played in a style they resonate with.
  • Prepare some of their favorite foods.

Most of all, appreciate them for who they are right now.
Deborah Shouse, author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey

Click here to buy the book!

Click here to buy the book!