Much like Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve can be a particularly stressful time for someone with dementia.
If you’re having a family get together, it’s important to consider everyone in attendance and especially any loved ones with the condition.
Having lots of people in one house can be noisy, especially if there’s music playing too. Create a quiet room your loved one can retreat to if they are finding it a bit too much.
If you have someone in attendance with dementia, we would recommend not having your own fireworks display at midnight. It’s also courteous to other elderly and vulnerable people in the neighbourhood, as loud noises may trigger bad memories, for example from wartime bombing, or be distressing in other ways.
There will, however, be fireworks going off somewhere close by. Reassure your loved-one beforehand and let them know there’s no need to be worried. You could watch them together from a window inside or if they don’t want to watch them at all, let them know that is fine.
As New Year’s Eve is a regular event, it may help trigger memories for your loved-one. Take time to chat to them about what’s going on and what they might remember from celebrations in the past. You could honour any traditions they might have too.
You should prepare your loved one for the celebrations beforehand. Explain what is happening and where.
It’s important to be sensitive to their needs and notice any signs of distress. If they don’t want to attend or find, on the day, that they’re not up for it, then it’s best to accept it and make alternative arrangements.
We also have some top tips on how the elderly can get involved with New Year celebrations here.