I hope you survived the holidays and are ready to tackle a new year! Before we can get there, let’s talk about the last of our holiday series we need to get through- New Year’s Eve. Sigh.
I don’t know what your history of NYE celebrations have been in the past. Some people love to be out at parties, living it up, and ringing in the New Year in style. The rest of us prefer to stay at home, watch the ball drop in New York and get to bed early (sorry, not sorry). Where I live, New Year’s Eve can rival the 4th of July for fireworks. The entire valley is lit up and, in years past, it has sounded like a war zone in my neighborhood. In this way, even the homebodies need to think of ways to get through the evening with a little bit of sanity.
For those who love to go out, dementia may not make this as possible as it used to be. Maybe invite friends over for a NYE brunch and “ring in the new year” at noon. You can have mimosas (or fake ones), yummy treats, music, sparklers (if that’s your thing) or whatever you like to make the adapted timeframe festive! I’ve done this at the hospital when I worked on an in-patient psychiatric unit, in nursing facilities, and other locations were providing services at midnight were challenging. It may not have quite the same vibe, but knowing that evenings can be difficult with dementia it could be a great compromise!
For homebodies, we may need to look at alternatives to avoid the noisiness of the neighborhood at midnight. This could mean using a white noise machine or a relaxation app to help mask the outside noise. It could mean making plans to stay up and make your own noise so you are in control during that time. I’ve known families who live in locations that can get noisy who opt for a mini vacation to somewhere quieter for that night to avoid the noise (although travel brings its own sets of challenges).
Whatever your choice it’s good to have a plan for how you will navigate the situation should things become overwhelming. If you chose to go to the party, do you know when will be the best time to leave to keep your person’s dignity in-tact while avoiding significant issues on the way home? If you’re staying home, do you have a plan for what to do should the neighborhood gets noisy and your loved one slides straight into panic mode? Think about what you’d like and how you can get as close as you can to it this weekend. My family has an old saying that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll do for the rest of the year (in my case that means cooking and cleaning, which means the saying holds no real weight in my house). I want you to go into the new year feeling confident in your abilities and knowing that you navigated through the holidays the best you could with what you had.
You are amazing. Together, we’ll get through 2023 as well.
Happy New Year!
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