5 tips for engaging your loved one living with dementia during holiday gatherings

Dec 18, 2023

For many, this is a busy time of year with family, social and work gatherings. For people living with dementia, this time of year can be a little bit more complex. If they are living alone, it can be an isolating time, where friends and family that used to pop in, may be on holidays. And for some, it can be a really busy time with many gatherings.

For someone living with dementia, isolation can significantly impact them and their moods. Isolation isn’t always being physically alone, but rather them being unintentionally excluded in a room full of people.

GHA’s Founder, Tamar Krebs, shares 5 tips that might help you engage your loved one and keep them included at family gatherings this holiday period. 

  1. You may prefer to have a smaller gathering rather than a large overstimulating gathering, so that the person living with dementia can participate easily in conversations and enjoy the moment.
  2. If you can’t avoid large gatherings, you and your loved ones should ensure there are quiet spaces to have one-on-one conversations, or ensure you are actively involving your loved one living with dementia by creating opportunities for conversations with small groups of people.
  3. You might have shorter gatherings. Instead of having a 3-hour BBQ, you may choose to have a shorter time frame for the meal so that the person living with dementia is at their best all the way through the gathering.
  4. Predictability is important during this time. You may want write in a diary the time of gathering, what time they should be ready and the person that will be picking them up. For some, they may need you to choose the clothing they need to wear. Helping by marking the dates and times in a diary or on a calendar can become a visual prompt for your loved one living with dementia.
  5. If you’re going away and your loved one is at risk of being on their own, try and plan for someone to pop in and check in on your loved one daily, or you may even consider respite care (If you are considering respite, please ensure it’s the right type of environment and that they have time to settle before you go away).

This is a very special time of year, a time to cherish every moment and embrace your loved ones. We hope that the year ahead is a beautiful year for you and your loved ones.

If we can assist with answering any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Engagement Team on 1300 015 406.  The Group Homes Australia (GHA) care model is firmly built on the belief that people living with dementia thrive in a home environment. GHA homes are traditional homes, on traditional suburban streets, where 6 to 10 residents live together. Residents have 24-hour care, provided by a team of staff that we call ‘Homemakers’.


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