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7 Ways You Can Ease Holiday Stress for Older People with Dementia or Hearing Impairments

7 Ways You Can Ease Holiday Stress for Older People with Dementia or Hearing Impairments

Imagine your house full of people you love, endearing conversations being had between family members, loved ones yelling at the T.V. because their favorite football team is playing, and children chasing each other from room to room developing life-long friendships with their cousins.

Sounds amazing, right?

Now imagine you are older, hard of hearing, maybe with a Dementia diagnosis, trying to remember who these people are, attempting to remember, "Why am I here again?" "What are we celebrating?" A family member asks you a question, and a well-meaning daughter or spouse answers for you, robbing you of the opportunity for a social connection.

The loud noises, numerous people, and bustling activities can be very overwhelming. The sentiment for this holiday can be much different than what was first described.

Holidays are joyous occasions but can also be overwhelming for someone with Dementia or even someone who is hard of hearing. Here are some suggestions to help create a welcoming atmosphere:

  1. Have a photo album labeled with names and reminisce with her/him multiple times a day. Different family members can offer different perspectives on the same story. Do not quiz him/her, but instead let the stories and memories come as they may.

  2. Incorporate older people in activities such as cooking. Have him/her sit at a table and mix apples for the apple pie or fold the napkin linens for the table.

  3. Have a room designated as a quiet room where one-on-one conversations can be had without environmental distractions. This room is not meant to isolate, but to increase the social connection that is vital for his/her quality of life.

  4. Have a schedule ready to show her/him the events of the day. Being aware of what is next also helps you in organizing your day!

  5. Have an intergenerational craft activity where older people can assist the children in creating something to decorate the house. Children are so full of joy. It's contagious!

  6. Practice Humanitude — this is a caregiving method that emphasizes eye contact, touch, and verbal communication to convey respect.

  7. Make sure to give plenty of hugs and love, and to tell her/him how much you love them and appreciate them! Hearing how much you mean to someone and how much you are loved is important and necessary.

​We often do everything for our elders, thinking we are doing what's best. But at times, we are handicapping older people by taking away what they still can do for themselves.


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