During the holiday season, Seniors may feel lonely or burdensome if they cannot contribute to or fully participate in the festivities like they used to. Here are a few tips and ideas on how to make their holidays brighter, no matter what they celebrate!

  1. Sit with them while opening their holiday cards. Although the sentiment is very lovely, cards can carry bad news in an effort to keep the recipient caught up on the sender’s life. If possible, ask family members and friends to contribute a simple card, photograph or drawing to help keep the senior’s seasonal mail more upbeat. As well, help them send cards out of their own! Although receiving cards is an old sentiment, it’s still appreciated by those of all ages.


  1. Take your loved one on outings to get them involved in the community. Whether it be to the mall to people watch, a drive to see some lights, recreation centers, or a visit to a local Senior’s activity centre like Silver Threads to make them feel a part of the community like they used to be.


  1. If they celebrate, help them add some decorative touches to their home or their room. You can even decorate in stages, so they have something to look forward to! It’s a joy for them to pull out old decorations and reminisce about their meaning and recall the stories surrounding them.


  1. Bake! If they’re at home, take some time to bake their favourite Christmas treats and maybe even deliver some to the neighbours with them. If they’re in a home, bring them something that they enjoy and can share!


  1. Remember to remind them how important they are as a part of your life, your families and friends. The most important thing you can do with a Senior to make them feel loved and included this season is to simply spend time with them.

When I was a kid, I wondered what this saying meant “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – Why?   Then one day not so long ago, I came upon  this saying on a site, and thought it’s time to take a look at this.

First the history – always interesting.  The history behind this saying originates from a rhyme from Wales which stated ‘eat an apple on going to bed and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread’.  In England, in 1913 the saying was changed to ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  The premise being that eating healthy would certainly curtail the need for physician visits to the home due to eating nutritiously.  Of course, adding any fruit to your diet would have these benefits.

So should we debunk this great proverb or not?  Definitely not!  Not only are apples healthy, there are so many choices in the grocery store now.  We have our gala, our mcintosh, granny smith and more.  But to be sure, some of the great benefits of eating apples are listed below:

  1. Low in calories and sodium, apples have no fat or cholesterol, and are sweet to eat, can replace a sugar craving at snack time.
  2. Apples are an excellent source of vitamin A which promotes vision and bone development
  3. Biting into an apple is healthy for your teeth! Eating an apple acts like a tooth brush to clean your teeth and reduce bacteria.
  4. Don’t forget the peel – always eat the peel for more fibre and antioxidant protection.
  5. Fight inflammation as the antioxidants in apples act as natural health-boosting antioxidants.
  6. Apples are packed with great nutrients such as Pectin, Vitamin C, Phytonutrients, Boron and Quercetin.

Pectin is a prebitotic that feeds probiotics which are the healthy bacteria in our stomach.  An apple is a great any time snack good for the whole family, however be certain to add it into your diet during flu season.  Vitamin C, is an immune booster, again necessary during the flu season.  When you feel a cold coming on, be sure to add apples to your diet.

The apple packs a lot of benefits into our health regime.  But does it keep the doctor away – not always!  Make sure to eat a balanced meal, with a variety of foods and don’t forget your apple!


Written by Johanna Booy – Care & Company Ltd.

Sundowning is a term used to describe a time of day that seniors with Dementia may experience mood changes.  This is more prevalent with a time change.  With the shorter days, and the fading light, symptoms may prevail.  During the longer days in Spring and Summer managing symptoms of sundowning and working with a senior can be much easier.  You are able to do more activities that extend into the early evening.

A person who is sundowning may manifest anxiety, appear disoriented or confused.  As a result, they may act out and yell, or pace, and be restless.

As a family caregiver, you may feel tired and frustrated at the end of your day.  Your loved one will pick up on your frustration or agitation which can exacerbate their reactions to you.  Managing your emotions is key for the person with Dementia.  Step away for a moment to regroup and return with a smile.   Keep track of small things that might trigger reactions in your loved one. The family caregiver would do well to seek a companion for respite at that time of day to relieve them.


A caregiver must be experienced in being able to de-escalate the senior’s increasing demands and disorientation.  Being able to redirect with kindness is a must.  Utilize humour or try to organize a walk, drive or activity around this time of the day to take their mind off of their symptoms.


Try these tips to assist with managing Sundowning:

  1. Try to arrange your day with the same schedule each day.  Routine is key for the senior with dementia.  When the time changes, altering your routine slightly to match the fading light could be helpful.
  2. Journal behaviours and reactions, stress signals and agitation. Once you know their triggers, it will be easier to avoid situations that promote agitation and confusion.
  3. Take that time of the day to get out, see if distractions are helpful.  Although you may be tired, this is a good time to have a caregiver come in to assist you so you can get out.
  4. Eating and drinking habits are also very useful to manage.  Simply reduce caffeine and alcohol intake, this will help with falling asleep.  Eat your heavier meal at mid-day and have a lighter meal in the early evening.
  5. Stay calm and reassure them to stay calm.  Lots of reassurance can help to put them at ease.  Don’t use too many words, repeat a short mantra of ‘everything is ok – we are just fine’ and smile.
  6. Keep things calm in the evening and perform most of your busy activities during the day.  Play quiet music or engage in a puzzle.  Do not make the environment too busy or noisy as processing is difficult for a senior with Dementia.
  7. If seniors are confused once they have gone to bed, they may start to wander at night.  Utilize a motion detector light outside their door and use a baby monitor to listen for when they are up and around.

You are the reflection for your loved one with Dementia.  We have a lot of experience working with seniors with Dementia, and our advice is to smile no matter what you need to convey as a smile will put your senior at ease.  Plan well, give short instructions to follow, smile and carry on.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) not only affects seniors with Dementia.  Many of us experience a change in mood around the ebb and flow of time changes and the shorter days.  Many people experience great benefits from light therapy lamps.  If this is an option for your senior, do discuss this with your doctor.


Written by Johanna Booy – Care & Company Ltd.