Hosting Easter with a Senior Loved One Who has Alzheimer’s
March 29, 2018
Hosting Easter dinner with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s requires a little extra planning. These tips can help you plan an event everyone will enjoy.
If you are hosting Easter dinner at your house this year, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. When a senior loved one who lives with you or spends the holidays with you has Alzheimer’s or a similar form of dementia, there are additional factors to consider. This is especially true if you will be including family and friends who aren’t familiar with your loved one’s situation.
Waiting to explain things until your guests arrive at your house on Easter might seem like a good plan. However, this can make a busy day more stressful and even a little awkward.
The same holds true for some of the common behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s, such as agitation, anxiety, and wandering. The increased level of activity in your house might intensify these behaviors.
To help you plan an Easter dinner that everyone—including a loved one with dementia—can enjoy, we’ve pulled together a few suggestions.
Celebrating Easter Dinner When a Loved One has Dementia
1. Time of day: It’s no secret that some times of day are better than others for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. If possible, try not to schedule the event around your senior loved one’s worst time of day. If early evening is tough, like it is for many with dementia, try hosting Easter dinner earlier so everyone is gone by the time your loved one’s worst time of day arrives. Don’t be bound by what you’ve always done either. If you’ve always hosted Easter dinner in the late afternoon but find mornings are your family member’s best time, invite guests over for an Easter brunch instead.
2. Inform guests: If Easter dinner will include people who aren’t familiar with your senior loved one’s disease, let them know what to expect ahead of time. An easy way to do that is via email. Send guests who will attend a quick note that says something like this:
“We are happy to have you as a part of our Easter celebration this year! Because you haven’t met our father before, we wanted to let you know that he will be a part of our celebration and that he has Alzheimer’s disease. His behavior can be a bit unpredictable. Please don’t be offended or upset—his disease is to blame. If you have met before, he might not remember. His memory is impacted by the disease. But it’s important to know that my dad loves being a part of these gatherings and will enjoy spending time with you.”
3. Quiet time: Increased activity and noise can lead to overstimulation for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Plan for this by creating a quiet space for your loved one to retreat to. Have soft music ready to play and a few repetitive tasks they can engage in. Both help decrease agitation. It might be a basket of towels to fold, a deck of playing cards to sort, or an art project that helps keep them engaged. Depending on who your guests are, ask them to spend one-on-one time with your loved one in their quiet space. That gives everyone an opportunity to visit with your loved one without overwhelming them.
Bookmark our Blog
If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one with memory loss, be sure to bookmark the Legacy Senior Living blog. We routinely share the latest news and research on caregiving and dementia. Such information can help you continue to provide the best quality of care for your family member.