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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Considerations for the Holidays for Staff Working with Persons with Dementia and their Families


Activities directors and other healthcare professionals here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professionals.

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here is a way for nurses administrators, social workers and other health care  professionals to get an easyceu or two

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Murray Alzheimer's Research and Education Program

v Holidays may be a joyous celebration for some and distressing or sad for others. Some
clients/residents may have family or friends who visit and others may be alone. Be sensitive to the
needs and feelings of persons with dementia at this time of year.
v Be respectful and take the time to learn about the person with dementia – their preferences, culture,
religion and ethnicity. Provide opportunities for persons with dementia to celebrate the holidays
according to their own preferences. Invite clients/residents, whether living at home or in the
community, to participate in holiday and other recreational festivities as appropriate.
v Families can be asked to share photo albums of previous holiday celebrations which can often
assist with a relaxing form of reminiscence. For some people, playing familiar holiday movies and
holiday music can be comforting. This can be a helpful strategy for persons who are restless
during evening/overnight shifts.
v Where appropriate, holiday decorating can be used both as an enjoyable activity or a topic of
conversation. Sharing holiday practices and traditions from a person’s country of birth can be a
meaningful exchange for both staff and persons with dementia.
v Pay attention to the person sitting alone in their room or who does not get visitors. Providing them
with a holiday card (e.g., Christmas, Chanukah) or seasonal plant may bring cheer to them – take
the time to stop by and visit those who may need comfort or would enjoy a smiling face.
v Do consider the noise level and multiple distractions that can impact upon a person with dementia
with possible increased activity and visits to a person’s home or longterm
care home.
v Be considerate of the words “do you remember.” Staff may explore broader reflections like “how
do you like to spend the holiday?” or “Tell me about what you enjoy about the holidays.” If need
be, ask closed ended questions like “did you used to skate/go on sleigh rides/cook a big meal
during the holidays?”
v Be sensitive to family members who can no longer celebrate the holidays as they once did. This
may be a difficult time for them – provide as much continuity in the lives of the person with
dementia and their family partners in care as possible (e.g., dinner together). Provide opportunities
for persons with dementia and their families to celebrate the holidays together through shared
family activities and programs


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