1. Ask for HelpOne important thing is to ask for help. That's not always easy to do, but asking for help and even just letting other family members know that there is a family member who's living with dementia, can go a long way to promoting understanding and patience with all the family who are involved over the holidays.
2. Have an Escape PlanNumber two, it might be a good idea to have sort of a designated driver at a family gathering. If there's somebody who could be available to take the person who's living with dementia to another setting, if they're getting too upset or if the gathering is getting too overwhelming. If they live in a long term care home or retirement home and are just coming out for that holiday gathering, it's good to have somebody on standby who can whisk the person with dementia away so that they don't become overwhelmed.
3. Have a Designated HelperAnd the number three thing is to possibly assign somebody to kind of hang out with the person who's living with dementia. This could be somebody who knows other family members and who kind of understands the dynamics of the family, but is also kind of a trusted touchstone for the person who's living with dementia. That way they will have sort of a buddy and that person can definitely help the person with dementia navigate the whole family gathering thing, a “wing” man or woman, so to speak.
I hope you enjoy the holidays this year. Everything's not going to go perfectly. It usually doesn't at holiday time. But remember to give yourself a break. Holidays should be a time to kind of get some support from other people in your circle.