Independence Day is a special time for friends and family to gather and celebrate! Many aging adults enjoy celebrating holidays and the quality time they get with their family. This includes your loved ones living with Dementia or Alzheimer's. Family time engages them and makes them feel connected to their families! Some traditional activities may not be suited for your aging loved one with Dementia, so try these favorites of ours instead.
Trivia can be a lot of fun for aging adults! Ask questions centered around the holiday you're celebrating, but make sure it's trivia questions they can help answer. Examples are: What is our national bird? How many hotdogs are consumed on the 4th of july?
Everyone of all ages can benefit from painting. Pick a 4th of July themed color scheme and get the kids and grandparents together and paint away! Keep the paintings in a memory book for your aging loved ones, so they can look back on the fun they had. TIP: Try printing out "coloring" pages for your loved one to paint!
Show photos of 4th of July celebrations from 1940-1960s. Ask: How did your family celebrate the 4th of July? Describe your participation in outings/events such as the following: attending a Firework Show, Lighting off your own fireworks, the types of food you would BBQ, patriotic band concerts you'd attend, & desserts everyone would make. Watch how much they light up to share their special Independence Day traditions!
4. Sing along to Patriotic Music
Have a sing along to the songs that were popular during their youth and early adulthood. Some great ones are “America,” “America the Beautiful,” “God Bless America,” “God Bless the USA,” “This Is My Country,” “This Land Is Your Land.” TIP: Create lyric sheets in large print to hand out to everyone to sing together!
5. Bake/ Prepare a Dish
Ask your loved one to participate in baking or preparing a family dish. Give them a task that they are able to do and see how much fun they have! It is so important to help foster meaningful engagement and create a positive atmosphere for loved ones living with Dementia.
Remember to watch for signs of agitation or confusion when your loved one is celebrating with a large crowd.
- Keep a companion close to help aid in the conversation to introduce new faces, to refill drinks and keep the mood positive!
- Don't focus on asking them to remember past celebrations. Instead talk about the present.
- Handle fireworks with care. Many fireworks are lit late at night, so try not to keep your aging loved one up to watch.Follow their routine. They might also become uncomfortable and agitated with the smoke and loud noise.
- If they become overwhelmed, give them a quiet space to relax.
- Lastly, HAVE FUN! Celebrations don't have to stop, they just need to be adjusted to fit your loved ones journey with Dementia.
Written by Jen Wegman