Festivities that bring the whole family together are our favorite part of the holidays! From baking delicious treats to hanging stockings with care, there are plenty of seasonal activities to enjoy with the ones closest to you, including your loved one with dementia. After all, age is but a number when it comes to the holidays, and there are plenty of ways to help your loved one with dementia stay connected during the giving season. In fact, Care.com reports that spending time with older loved ones – especially during the holidays – offers them an invaluable sense of connection, which in turn helps to boost their overall well-being. So this year, spend time with your loved ones by enjoying some of these dementia-friendly holiday activities fit for family members of all ages!
Cognitive-Based Activities For Seniors With Dementia
Holiday-themed crossword puzzles offer a calm and soothing way to enjoy the season. Plus, not only are puzzles known to encourage cognitive stimulation, but they also give your loved one a quiet challenge to enjoy when they need some time away from the busy hustle and bustle of holiday traffic.
Check out Oakwood’s special holiday edition crossword puzzle, featuring large type and memory-sparking words appropriate for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
“Getting To Know You”
This holiday season, bring past memories to the present with priceless moments of joy and reflection. Set aside time to get to know your loved one with dementia a little deeper by asking some thought-provoking questions curated to match the holiday season while bringing forth the power of storytelling.
With Oakwood’s “Getting To Know You” activity, you’ll receive 16 different holiday-themed questions built around real-life topics that encourage reflection, conversation, and recall.
Dementia-Friendly Holiday Activities To Enjoy At Home
Christmas Music Playlist
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: when words fail, music speaks! Witness the priceless moments of joy sparked for your loved one with dementia by listening to familiar tunes from their past. In many cases, music has proven so effective that people who have lost their ability to speak will suddenly recall a favorite song and sing along with the tune.
Get ready to sing along with your loved one because Oakwood has a Spotify Christmas Playlist already waiting for you!
After your loved one’s diagnosis, you might have concerns about whether the kitchen is a safe place for them to be. We’re happy to report that, YES, the kitchen is a great place to spend time with your loved one! Better yet, baking some famous family recipes offers a perfect opportunity for your loved one to feel included and productive while keeping their creative juices flowing!
So, bust out those holiday aprons and check out Oakwood’s simple three-ingredient dementia-friendly recipe that is sure to steal the show!
Activities That Foster Connections For Older Adults
Prep & Mail Christmas Cards
Mailing Christmas cards are a great way to let your loved ones know you are thinking of them and are wishing them well this holiday season. Even better, the time it takes to prepare your holiday cards before they hit the snail mail route can be shifted into an engaging activity for you and your loved one with dementia to enjoy together.
Care.com suggests setting up an in-home mailing station readied with envelopes, stamps, an address book, and your holiday cards all in one place. Then, sit side-by-side with your loved one as you seal and sign your cards, offering social and physical cues for your loved one to mirror.
Donate To The Community
The holiday season is the perfect time to give the gift of joy to those around you. This year, invite your loved one with dementia to connect with those in your community by putting together care packages to gift to children and families in need. You can do this by having your loved one help pick out different presents to go into the packages, then working together to wrap everything or create a special gift basket.
If you are unsure who or where to send gifts to, connect with churches or hospitals in your community to see if they have families who may need a little holiday joy.
Did You Know?
Oakwood Creative Care is bringing back the JOY in aging! We believe a diagnosis should not have to define your life. Instead, we have devoted our mission to reigniting hope for caregivers and older adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related challenges. Click the button below to learn more about how we do this through our research-based, cutting-edge, creative care model found at each of our Day Clubs.