Medical science is not entirely sure what causes dementia. It has identified some genetic indicators, and doctors also feel like if individuals modify certain behaviors, they can prolong their lucidity as long as possible. However, if someone does contract dementia, it can be very hard on them, and also for their family who has to see them suffering.
Having someone in the family with dementia is never easy, but it can feel even worse when the holidays roll around. Let’s take some time to discuss what you can do to include your loved one if they have this affliction, and you have a family gathering taking place.
You Can Go Visit Them
As you’re thinking about caring for a loved one with dementia during the holidays, you must first consider where they are. Maybe you decided the best place for them is:
- A nursing home
- An assisted living facility
Hopefully, that nursing home or facility is not too far away from you. You can get the family together and go see your afflicted relative. If they are lucid at that moment, they might recognize you and the rest of the relatives, and they should be happy you came to see them.
You might also consider taking them with you back to wherever you plan on celebrating the holiday. It all depends on their condition. If they have degenerated to the point where it’s best that they don’t travel very far, or too often, you can spend some time with them before going back to your home.
You Can Take Them Back to Your House
Maybe your relative still lives in their home, and they still have some lucidity. This might be the case if:
- The dementia has not progressed very far yet
- You have hired a live-in nurse to take care of them
If the dementia is not too far along, your relative might still live alone, and you’ve arranged for a home health aide to stop by every day or a few times per week. Whatever the case might be, you can ask them if they want to be a part of your holiday celebration, and if they’d like to be there, you can come pick them up.
They might stay with you during the day, or they could even sleep over if you have the space for them. Maybe you can have your kids sleep in the same room so your relative with dementia can get a room all to themselves.
You Can Make Sure They Feel Included
Perhaps your relative with dementia does not live on their own anymore or in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Maybe they live with you if your family has decided you can take care of them. It also could be that you can’t afford a nursing home right now, with the current economic hardship that many families are experiencing.
If that’s the case, you won’t need to go and get them since your family member is already right there in the house. You can let them know what holiday it is if they no longer keep track of such things.
You can include them as much as it’s possible to do so. What they can and can’t do will depend on the dementia’s progression. In the early stages, an individual should have a general idea of what’s going on. You can converse with them, serve them food, and make sure they enjoy the festivities.
If they are further along, they might not be sure about what’s happening, even if you tell them multiple times. You may have to help them eat, drink, use the restroom, etc. If so, they might not have the best time, but at least they are with their family, even if they no longer realize that.
Having a relative with dementia in the family is tough on everyone, from the afflicted individual all the way down to the youngest family members. They might not understand why their relative acts the way they do.
The least you can do for such a person is to take good care of them if they can no longer completely care for themselves. That is what constitutes a family.
You can spend time with them around the holidays, even if they no longer have their full mental faculties. You would certainly hope that your family would do the same for you if you ever end up in that condition.