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Home for the Holidays

By: Dr. Cate McCarty

As our favorite singers belt out sentiments of home and holidays, many caregivers postpone placing their loved one in memory care until after the holidays. After all, family and home are key according to so many of our holiday favorite songs, if only in my dreams. It is not surprising that when caring for someone with dementia, we are reluctant to change their home at this time of year. We remember the decorations and gatherings of the past which took place right there, with our loved one. Yet in reality, have those magical times diminished in the last few years?

Many individuals with dementia express a desire to “go home” even when they are within their own home. This phenomenon is so prevalent that researchers have determined the individual is expressing a desire for what once was. Home is the place where my memory is intact, my abilities are sharp and my ability to process my environment is in top form. In other words, home is a state of mind.

Reality is we too wish for the home we remember with our loved one smiling with happiness, enjoying a holiday meal, or graciously receiving a gift. But those are experiences which have shifted as dementia has increased. Those are the holidays that are now only in our dreams.

Arden Courts Memory Care has provided happy holidays for their residents and families for over twenty years. Our design, training and commitment have brought back the enjoyable holiday meal, the gracious reception of gifts and the happiness you and your loved one remember. Because of Arden Courts design, balance of social density and personal space, and the dementia training of our staff; we become the home your loved one remembers. Meanwhile, you get to return to being the son, the spouse, or the friend you once were.


By-line: Cate McCarty, PhD, ADC has been collaborating with Arden Courts in a variety of roles since the late 90’s. Her background in nursing, activities and admissions has given her a passionate commitment to quality of life for the individual and family with dementia.


Gräsel, E. (2002). When home care ends--changes in the physical health of informal caregivers caring for dementia patients: a longitudinal study, Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 50(5): 843-849.


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