Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 31st of December 2019.
Celebrating the New Year can be great fun, however for those living with dementia some of the traditional activities can sometimes be overwhelming. There are, however, a few adaptations you can make to traditional activities to ensure the person with dementia can be involved in the festivities and everyone has an enjoyable New Years together.
If you’re hosting a New Year’s party at home and plan to have your family member or friend living with dementia visit, it’s important to keep in mind the number of people you invite or perhaps consider staggering visitors’ arrivals. For those living in a care home over the new year there are a number of activities which are highly engaging and brilliant for celebrating the new year for someone living with dementia.
It is not uncommon for people to host New Year’s Eve parties with a theme from another decade. This could be particularly beneficial for those who were around in previous decades as it can help spark memories and conversations. A common theme for the upcoming new year will likely be 1920’s as we enter 2020. If the person with dementia is old enough to remember this time, they could enjoy telling stories and tales of the decade; if not maybe try another decade! Have food, drink and music from that time to help spark memories and reminisce together.
Arts and crafts can be a highly relaxing activity for all, and for someone living with dementia, can be a more relaxed way to bring in the new year. Consider creating decorations, drawing firework displays or perhaps drawing something reminiscent from a favourite time in the past.
Staying up until midnight may not be beneficial for a person living with dementia as it can affect their nightly routine and cause sleep disruptions. For those progressing along the dementia journey, routines can be highly important for reducing anxieties, so consider altering the New Year’s countdown to earlier in the evening, or perhaps hosting a New Year’s Day party as an alternate and having the countdown at midday.
Food is a great part of the entire festive season and New Year’s Eve and day is no different. Making some favourite foods of decades past can be a highly relaxing and engaging activity for someone with dementia and can also help spark memories and encourage conversations. The sensory aspect of cooking and tasting foods can have numerous benefits so choose some recipes you’ll all enjoy and get cooking together.
Making New Year’s resolutions is a time-honoured tradition in the lead up to the new year and can make a fun activity for everyone. Have everyone gather round and make 1-3 resolutions which can then either be shared with everyone or kept to themselves. Another option is to make a group resolution.
There are a wide range of fun activities which are suitable for those living with dementia, which can make this New Year’s Eve a fun event for all.