As the holidays approach so does the desire to bring the whole family together to celebrate. If you have a family member in a nursing home or assisted living and they have dementia, please think very hard about taking them home to celebrate. Some people do just fine but for others its very frightening. There may be too much noise, kids running around, people talking all at once, people asking them questions they don't know how to answer and maybe they don't even recognize anyone!
While we always want to include all our loved ones, many people with dementia aren't even aware that it is a holiday. You may find that just visiting them in their familiar surroundings will be a better experience for all involved. Join them for a meal at their home over the holidays, bring them a favorite dish and share it with them. Don't be upset if they don't know its Christmas, that won't change the pleasure they will get from being with you. Don't ask them if they remember things, but tell them about your memories because that may trigger theirs. Most of all enjoy the holidays and don't stress!
Take a moment to think about your neighbors who may be all alone during the holiday season, this is the time when people feel the lonliest and depression is a real problem. Be the one to knock on their door with some Christmas cookies and wish them a good holiday! Let's use the good feelings we have at Christmas and reach out to those we usually overlook.
Be good to yourselves as well. Remember this season doesn't have to be about the perfect tree or decorations, it doesn't have to be about the most expensive gift. It needs to be about joy, friendship, good will and love. Relax and enjoy it! Sing carols, eat cookies, laugh! Its Christmastime!