Creating an Inclusive Thanksgiving for a Loved One with Dementia

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate. But if you have a loved one with dementia, you may be wondering how to include them in the festivities in a way that is enjoyable and safe for everyone.

Here are a few tips:

  • Prepare your loved one. Talk to them about the Thanksgiving celebration in advance. Explain who will be there and what to expect. Show them photos of family and friends they may not have seen in a while. This can help them feel more comfortable and prepared on the day of the event.
  • Prepare your guests. Let your guests know about your loved one’s diagnosis and any special needs they may have. Ask them to be patient and understanding. For example, your loved one may have difficulty remembering names, or they may need to take breaks from socializing.
  • Create a quiet space. Have a quiet place available where your loved one can go if they become overwhelmed or need a break. This could be a bedroom, a guest room, or even a corner of the living room with a comfortable chair and a blanket.
  • Plan the schedule around their routine. People with dementia can be easily disrupted by changes to their routine. Try to keep the Thanksgiving celebration as close to their normal schedule as possible. This includes mealtimes, naps, and bedtime.
  • Limit the number of guests. A large crowd can be overwhelming for people with dementia. Consider having a smaller gathering of close family and friends, and be aware of how many new guests you may be introducing this holiday.

Here are some specific activities that you can do with your loved one with dementia on Thanksgiving:

  • Look at old photos or videos together. This can be a great way to reminisce about happy memories and re-introduce your loved one to family members they may not have seen in a while.
  • Recreate an old Thanksgiving recipe together. If your loved one always made the pumpkin pie, you can recreate this experience by creating a simpler version of their recipe (like no-bake pumpkin pie bites). That way your loved one can be a part of the preparation.
  • Go for a walk. Get moving with a time-honored Turkey Trot! Getting some fresh air and exercise can be beneficial for everyone, including people with dementia.

Most importantly, focus on making Thanksgiving a positive and enjoyable experience for your loved one with dementia. The senior lifestyle consultants at Carefield Pleasanton are always available to answer your questions about memory care for your loved one, and the benefits of a community. Contact us today!