Dementia-Friendly Holiday Activities to Enjoy in San Antonio
For many, the holidays are full of bright lights, gatherings, and fun decorations. For others, though, these same activities can set a different tone. For a person living with dementia—bright lights, gatherings, and fun decorations can become distressing lights, confusing crowds, or frustrating overstimulation.
However, those living with dementia still want—and deserve—to celebrate the holidays. Sure, lights and music are a wonderful addition to the holiday season, but when it comes down to it, the holidays are about love, peace, and togetherness.
With this in mind, there are still plenty of inclusive activities that you can do right here in San Antonio with your family member.
San Antonio is Proud to Be a Dementia Friendly City
Bella Groves is proud to be a member of the local San Antonio, Texas, community, named an official “Dementia Friendly City” by Dementia Friendly America. This initiative champions cities to be not only dementia accessible but dementia friendly, welcoming those with dementia and their care partners with open arms as valued members of the community. This is just one step in the right direction of making the entire country dementia-friendly and inclusive.
Dementia Friendly Holiday Activities in San Antonio
It’s important to note that some of these activities involve lights and crowds, so it’s best to fully understand what your family member enjoys and dislikes, as well as their physical and mental capabilities. Once you have established the basics of safety and accessibility, you can focus on helping your loved one find unconditional joy this holiday season.
Watch the Dazzling Lights at the San Antonio Botanical Garden Lightscape
Here, you and your family can enjoy magical light displays along a paved, one-mile trail through the stunning botanical gardens. These illuminating displays are breathtaking and will put you in the festive spirit! → Learn more here.
Please note that this is an event with flashing and moving lights. Only attend this event if these elements will not distress your family member.
Say Cheers at the Lambermont Holiday Tea Party
Lambermont is a historic home nestled in the heart of downtown San Antonio Year-round, they serve as a wedding venue and event space, but they host fun and festive events during the holidays.
This year, they are hosting a traditional holiday tea party, complete with tea and cakes, and set in the beautifully decorated mansion. Taking a person living with dementia can be a great way to spend a simple moment together, enjoy feeling elegant, and of course, a great excuse to dress up and eat snacks! → Learn more about the event and buy tickets here.
Enjoy Light Shows From the Comfort of Your Car
For those who can’t move around as easily, there are several drive-thru light shows throughout San Antonio. These can be a great option for those who have difficulties with mobility or crowds, as they can still experience festive light and music shows from the safety, comfort, and warmth of the car.
These drive-thru routes are full of dazzling light displays synchronized to music that you can play through your car speakers, and most places will sell snacks or hot chocolate for you to enjoy as you drive through. For more information, visit the websites of Elf Acres, Lights Alive, or Santa’s Ranch.
Planning Successful Outings
To reduce any frustration or confusion, always plan your outings with as much detail as possible. Call the venue to see if they are wheelchair accessible, ask about parking and emergency exits, and pack a bag that has anything you may need. Figuring these things out beforehand can give you more time and attention to simply be there and enjoy the moment with your family member.
Go With The F.L.O.W.™: Be Flexible
One of the elements in our Go With The F.L.O.W.™ philosophy is flexibility. If your family member makes it clear that they don’t want to attend one of these events, or if you go and they change their mind—listen to them.
It can be frustrating when you plan an activity for their enjoyment, and they change their mind, but your intention is for your family member to enjoy themselves and celebrate the holiday. If an outing or activity is causing discomfort for your family member, here are some ideas for a few you can do in the comfort of your own home:
- Bake cookies or other holiday treats. This can be a therapeutic activity that provides purpose and a sense of accomplishment.
- Spend time with grandchildren. The holidays are about spending time with family, so spending precious time together reading a book or watching a holiday movie can mean the world to someone with dementia.
- Donate to a local organization. The holidays are also about giving back, and many people like to donate time or money to local charities. Ask your family member what causes they support, and together you can find out what they need. Here are some options to get started.
The Bella Groves Vision for San Antonio
Our work includes advocacy on behalf of the dementia community to educate local businesses and groups to learn more about how to be more inclusive of families affected by dementia. Our vision to be a trusted resource for dementia knowledge doesn’t just stop at our own residents, families, and team members. Our hope for dementia inclusion extends to all the places you and your loved ones may feel intimidated to approach.
We have already started training local businesses on how to approach, respond to and engage with a person living with dementia. This time next year and every year after, we hope to share information with you about specific places where we have partnered with them to create dementia-friendly holiday activities for you and your family.
Remember the Reason of the Season
While fun holiday outings can liven the season and lift the holiday spirits, you don’t have to participate in them to have a meaningful holiday season. Sometimes, the simplest moments are the ones that bring the most joy.
At Bella Groves, joy is our passion and our commitment. Joy without barriers, joy without limitations, unconditional joy. This holiday season, we wish nothing but joy for you and your family!