Holiday times can be overwhelming for caregivers and those with dementia. Establishing a holiday routine calendar can help maintain a sense of normalcy.

This visual tool can outline festive events and daily activities, aiding in keeping track and reducing stress.

Holiday times can be overwhelming for caregivers and those with dementia. Establishing a holiday routine calendar can help maintain a sense of normalcy.

This visual tool can outline festive events and daily activities, aiding in keeping track and reducing stress.

3 Tips for Caregiving at Home During Christmas

0:02:22 Overcoming Challenges of Holiday Season for Caregivers

0:03:57 Creating a Holiday Routine Calendar for Dementia Caregiving

0:12:18 Creating a Holiday Routine and Sensory Friendly Decorations

0:12:58 Tailored Gift-Giving Ideas for Meaningful Memories

0:14:13 Tips for Caregiving at Home during Christmas

0:15:13 Join Our Dementia Caregiving Community

The festive season can be a sensory overload. Opt for simple, engaging decorations that evoke warmth and comfort without overwhelming. Consider the person's background to create an environment that resonates with their past experiences and preferences.

Thoughtful Gift-Giving

Gifts for those with dementia should be tailored to their needs and stage of the journey. Ideas like weighted blankets or simple puzzles can offer comfort and engagement.

Resources like the Alzheimer’s store provide a range of appropriate gift options.

Creating Lasting Memories

The essence of the season is about creating moments of joy and lasting memories. Embrace the opportunity to make the most of the time with your loved one, capturing these special moments through photographs and shared experiences.

Join the Community

Listeners are encouraged to join our dementia caregiving community on Facebook for support and resources. Your participation and feedback, through reviews and joining online groups, helps in enhancing the caregiving journey for many.

Listen to Podcast

Listen to the episode on the player above, click here to download the episode and take it with you or listen anywhere you normally listen to podcasts.

Three Tips for Caregiving at Home during Christmas Holidays

[0:01] Welcome to today's program. Today we're going to talk about three tips for caregiving at home, during the Christmas holidays because I realize how difficult for a lot of people it is around the Christmas time to think about creating good moments of joy and making good memories with the people they love. So tune in for today's episode.

Hey there, success seeker! Welcome to dementia caregiving for families.

Do you feel overwhelmed with the daily struggle of dementia caregiving?

Looking for an easier path? You're in the right place.

On this podcast we teach you the skills to simplify caregiving.

We unravel the mystery of dementia and guide you through the often difficult behaviors. I'm Lizette, your host and fellow family caregiver.

As an occupational therapist, I bring my professional and personal experience to this community.

Here we speak the truth, but without the verbal vomit.

I know you will find value in today's program, so buckle up while this flight takes off.

[1:19] Well, welcome back to today's program, Dementia Caregiving for Families.

I'm super excited you're here, especially since this is such a busy time of year.

But before we get started with the program, I'm going to read real quick one of the reviews I got after launching this podcast, and it's only been out a couple weeks.

So I'm super excited about it. It is from Okie Lady, and they say it's okay to say no.

And yes, it is okay to say no.

Lizette does a great job of explaining caregiver guilt and how it is often misplaced.

She shares helpful information with caregivers. Great job. Well, thank you, Okie Lady. I really appreciate that.

So for today's program, I decided we are going to talk a little bit about how to care for a person with dementia, three tips for caregiving at home during the holidays.

So, I don't know about you guys, but...

Overcoming Challenges of Holiday Season for Caregivers

[2:22] I went through a period of time when I hated the period that I hated it between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.

It was an extremely difficult time for me, because you see, I have two children, and they are both December babies.

And living in the United States when they were little, it was very challenging, because my one daughter was actually born a late year Thanksgiving on the 1st of December, and the other daughter was born the Sunday before Christmas, which was the Thursday or the Friday thereafter.

[3:00] And so I hated it. I wanted to check out, and it was extremely stressful between Christmas, their birthdays, and all of the busyness of the season.

And when you are helping somebody who is living with dementia, that level of busyness can be overwhelming, right?

It can feel like everybody's trying to enjoy the holidays, and you're sitting there thinking to yourself, I just wish it to be over.

I don't want to do this anymore.

I cannot deal with all of the busyness of the holidays.

So, I thought I would take a couple of minutes and talk about three tips for caregiving at home during the Christmas holidays.

So, just three basic, easy little tips to make it a little easier for you at home, a little more streamlined.

Creating a Holiday Routine Calendar for Dementia Caregiving

[3:57] Now, I also understand that everybody living with dementia and the people listening to this program, you guys may be at various different stages of the journey and it makes it very difficult to consider everybody's particular needs.

[4:16] So I'm just going to give three very global ideas that I had this morning about how to make it a little bit easier to care for a person with dementia during the holidays.

So the first thing you can do is set a routine, right?

Most of us are creatures of habits. I don't know if you realize how much of a creature of habit you are, but try and brush your teeth with your other hand and you'll quickly realize how much of a creature of habit you are.

Try to put your shirt on in a different way. We all put our shirt on exactly the same way every single day.

[4:55] So we're very much creatures of habit. Now people living with dementia really rely on their daily habit every single day to keep them on track, which is one of the reasons when we go away and they're not in their normal routine why it's sometimes more evident that the person is actually struggling with something.

So a holiday routine calendar can be a great way for you to set things up for them ahead of time, making it easier for them to stay on track.

So think like an advent type calendar.

It is a visual reminder of the holiday schedules and the holiday events in your particular life.

And then you can also use this as an activity that you could make and do together, by actually creating this on your own.

It doesn't need to be super fancy. You can do it on a chalkboard.

You can make it on a piece of paper.

You can just take some typing paper or some construction paper and just put down on a calendar pretty much who's coming to visit, when they're coming, and then you can kind of mark it off every single day.

[6:12] To help the person that you are helping stay on track.

Now, I understand, you know, there's some people who might be listening to this that are not quite at that level yet where they could actually have, you know, their calendar in the phone and you just remind them, you know, Suzette, who's my daughter, she's coming to visit with Caleb and they can keep on track that way.

But for people who are needing a little bit more structure and routine, actually creating a holiday routine calendar can be a very helpful tool to help you through the holidays.

Another reason why this could be a really helpful tool is because then you can actually look at the calendar and see if it's maybe too much.

[6:55] If there are too many things all happening at the same time, can we spread them out?

It is important for us to enjoy the holidays and not just cram them so full that we don't actually enjoy the holidays.

So if you put the person that you're caring for at the front of the equation and say, how do we make this the most meaningful holiday for that particular person and make your decisions accordingly, it could make a big difference in your enjoyment of this holiday season around the Christmas time.

The second thing you can think about is really creating some sensory-friendly decorations or environment, and what I mean by that is people living with dementia, especially later on.

[7:48] Earlier on, people living with dementia or is still able to accommodate a little for this.

But as a person is living with dementia over an extended period of time, their brain is not able to process all of the stuff going on around them, right?

Remember when you were young or when your children were young and you were helping them learn how to cook?

They couldn't listen to a podcast and prepare the food and follow the recipe and do all of that without getting distracted, right?

So a person living with dementia gets to a point in their disease process, in their journey, where they're not able to focus on all of these different things.

I don't know about you, but right now, you know, I'm a very proficient cook.

I can go into the kitchen and I can make a meal, I can have a podcast on.

I can have a conversation with my husband, sing and dance, and still get the meal prepared.

[8:46] But a person living with dementia couldn't do that. Their brain's not able to process all of that information at the same time.

So consider making it sensory-friendly, using sensory-friendly decorations.

Now that goes two ways. We want the environment to be engaging.

We want it to be fun. we want to include things that are maybe smells or sensation, that would be stimulating for them.

Think pine, cone, you know, think the wintry type smells that we're all used to, cinnamon, those kinds of things, and use that in the environment.

But at the other extreme, we also don't want it to be overwhelming.

Now, how could it be overwhelming? Think blinking lights, lots of blinking lights, lots of loud music, a lot of people coming and going all the time, and not a place for the person who is living with dementia, maybe in a later stage, to have a quieter spot, to have a space where they can go where they can almost just unwind a little bit.

So think less is more regarding music and lights and those kinds of things, and then pick items and ideas and things that teases your senses.

[10:06] You know, things that you could create in the environment to make it warm and cozy and comfortable and go back to where they maybe grew up and the kinds of sights and smells and things that they would have had.

For example, I grew up in South Africa, right? It was summer.

We didn't have all the winter smells. We did barbecues outside and cold meats and salad around Christmas because it was hot.

So you want to do what is appropriate for the person that you're helping living with dementia.

[10:43] The third idea is to really think about tailoring your gift-giving ideas.

How do we tailor what we give the person living with dementia?

We want to give them dementia-friendly gifts.

We want to make sure that it is appropriate for their level of impairment and not just things, don't buy just gifts for the sake of giving a gift, right?

Think about some sensory things like weighted blankets that could help comfort somebody who might be at a later stage in their journey.

Think about simple jigsaw puzzles or developing a memory book together.

There are a lot of really great gift-giving ideas out there.

One place that you can go look is the Alzheimer's store,, I'm sorry, We will put the link in the show notes for you so that you can go look for ideas.

They have tremendously great ideas for people living with dementia at all different stages of the process.

[11:56] So there are multiple different things that you can do.

It is super easy actually to help somebody living with dementia still have a meaningful Christmas and a meaningful way to engage.

Today's topic was how to care for a person with dementia, three tips for caregiving at home during the Christmas holidays.

So one is a holiday routine.

Creating a Holiday Routine and Sensory Friendly Decorations

[12:18] Even though it is an unroutined routine time, find a way to create a holiday routine.

A second idea is sensory friendly decorations to make it not as overwhelming or try to engage the senses a little bit more.

And the third idea is Find some tailored gift-giving ideas.

And in the show notes, we're going to put the website that have a lot of really great ideas for you around this Christmas time so that you can make meaningful memories with the person that you love.

Tailored Gift-Giving Ideas for Meaningful Memories

[12:58] Because remember what this is all about, right?

We cannot necessarily change what is happening, but we certainly can change how we respond to it.

And how we respond to it could be very positive by creating these moments of joy, by creating these memories, taking photos, not being afraid of still living in the moment, and really focusing on the person that you love.

[13:28] And making those memories with them.

Because regardless of whether you have dementia or not, we're not all going to be, we're not going to be here forever.

None of us are going to be here forever. Our children and our grandchildren are going to remember us, and maybe our great-grandchildren are going to remember us.

But after that, nobody's going to remember us.

So create memories now with the people that you love at this period in your life. Don't shy away from it.

You will never regret having those memories.

So see you in the next episode, and thank you for joining me today.

And have a blessed Christmas season.

Tips for Caregiving at Home during Christmas

[14:13] Yet again, thank you for joining me today. If you have listened to today's episode, talking about the three tips for caregiving at home during Christmas.

If you resonate with any of the content that I'm putting out, please join me by subscribing to this podcast and leaving me a review on Apple Podcasts.

It really does make a big difference. I do read them.

I'm super excited that this is only the third week or so that I'm doing this and I have over 50 reviews as of today.

I would love to be able to serve you more.

So if you resonate with me, please subscribe to this, this podcast and then go to Apple podcasts and leave me a review.

It will make a tremendous difference in me being able to serve you and know that I'm actually touching your hearts because I do this for you and you touch my hearts.

[15:07] Music.

[15:07] I pray for you every day. So join me in the next program.

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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