Adult Day Health Care

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Locations in Herndon Harbor, Lewinsville, Lincolnia and Mount Vernon. Open 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.

TTY 711

Marjorie Burris, DNP, MSN, RN,
Adult Day Health Care Program Manager

Helping Dementia Sufferers Manage Holiday Stress

Submitted by ndawso on Fri, 12/01/2017 - 1:18 pm

The holidays are stressful — especially for people with dementia.

While a person with dementia might have more family time during the holidays, routine disruptions are inevitable. These disruptions can cause confusion and impact sleep and well-being — increasing stress for both caregivers and their loved ones.

Here are some tips for alleviating stress and keeping cognition on-track for your loved one this holiday season, from some of the Fairfax County Health Department’s dementia care experts.

  • Keep a go-to list of in-home activities: Caregivers are super busy and worry about keeping their loved one engaged at home. Have a go-to list of simple activities that boost cognition and promote physical activity. Tasks as simple as clipping coupons, raking leaves and setting the table go a long way in improving engagement for adults with dementia. — Isabel Castillejo, Certified Recreation Therapist, Herndon Adult Day Health Care Center
  • Keep it cheerful: People with dementia reflect the spirit around them. Smiles, songs and lots of positive energy not only keep the mood happy — they help your loved one stay engaged. — Martha Armstrong, Certified Recreation Therapist, Lincolnia Adult Day Health Care Center
  • Keep it healthy: While you can expect some mood changes with a disrupted holiday schedule, anything that lasts longer than a day could be an indicator of a health issue for people with dementia. Be sure to monitor moods that seem out of the ordinary, and contact your loved one’s doctor with any concerns. — Max Powell, Registered Nurse, Lewinsville Adult Day Health Care Center
  • Relish in traditions: Sing, bring out old photographs, and enjoy family traditions. Not only are these simple and fun activities to do together, but relishing in nostalgia just might ignite a memory thread for your loved one. — Ingrid Parkhurst, Center Nurse Coordinator, Mount Vernon Adult Day Health Care Center

A healthy and fun holiday season is what we all strive to achieve. But caregivers need not place too much pressure on themselves to perfectly curate everything. A warm drink, twinkling lights and comforting music are universal in creating a calm holiday atmosphere — for both the dementia sufferer and their caregiver.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant