Summer brings the welcome arrivals of family picnics, celebrations, and of course, Fourth of July! These events can be wonderful outings for people living with dementia, especially if families are able to plan ahead. Here are a couple of tips to help ensure you and your loved one enjoys these great family outings!
Be mindful of ‘over-stimulation’.
Family parties can often be loud, especially with lots of conversations and activity around. For a person living with dementia, this may be too much for their brain to process and may cause them to become upset by all that is happening around them. Try to find a place for them to get a break from all of the noise and commotion periodically throughout the event.
Familiar is best.
Having many familiar components of the event (family tradition, location, activities) can help your loved one enjoy the day. See if your family can plan an event in a familiar location to your loved one, with familiar activities or traditions.
Try to stick to routine as much as possible.
Having a set routine is helpful for a person living with dementia. Keeping regular mealtimes, personal care routine, and activity routine can help limit different disease symptoms. During a family event, try to stick as close to their daily routine as possible. Remember that while your loved one may not be able to attend the whole celebration, choose a time for them to join in that is usually their most active time of the day. Plan time throughout the day for breaks or rests as needed.
Consider creating a ‘care team’ or hiring a personal caregiver for the day.
To make it easier on you, enlist help from other family members or friends to take ‘shifts’ spending one-on-one time with your loved one during the celebration. Many family members are happy to have a way to contribute and enjoy the special time together. Or, if you already are utilizing personal paid caregiving help, have the caregiver help out during the event to relieve your stress and make sure your loved one is safe and happy.