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How Families of Huntington Beach and North Orange County Seniors Alzheimer’s Celebrate the Holidays

December 9th, 2016

Holidays Dementia Tips Activities


Celebrate the Holidays with your Huntington Beach and North Orange County Senior with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's and Holidays: Celebrate with Your Huntington Beach and North Orange County Senior during the Holidays

For families with Alzheimer’s, celebrating the holidays can require a little extra effort. You want to involve your loved one living with dementia in holiday events, but you want to do it in a way that is appropriate for his or her needs. If you’re the main caregiver in the family, it’s also very important that you practice good self-care and don’t try to take everything on yourself. Keep reading for tips to plan activities and buy gifts for Huntington Beach and North Orange County seniors living with dementia.

Remember to tailor your approach to how progressed your Huntington Beach and North Orange County senior loved one’s Alzheimer’s is. For someone in the middle-to-late stages, you’ll need to make bigger changes to accommodate his or her needs. For someone earlier on, you don’t want to overdo it and cause him or her to feel embarrassed or diminished.

Communicate with Other Family Members

If you have relatives coming who aren’t aware of your parent’s condition, let them know what to expect in advance to avoid any awkwardness. Likewise, talk to children ahead of time so they understand that Grandma or Grandpa may act strangely or seem confused at times but that they are still the same loving grandparent. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from siblings, spouses, and other family members—you don’t have to tackle this all on your own.

Keep Things Simple

Both for the sake of your Huntington Beach and North Orange County senior loved one living with Alzheimer’s (who may get easily overstimulated or agitated) and for your own sake as the family caregiver, give yourself permission to pare down decorations, traditions, and even your guest list. It’s okay and makes sense to evolve your typical celebration to meet the needs of your changing family.

Check the Environment

Unfamiliar environments can trigger disorientation in seniors living with dementia, so hold celebrations at a location your parent knows, such as your home or a favorite restaurant. As a further step, take precautions to prevent falls and schedule festivities during the day. Evening hours can trigger “sundowning,” a set of behaviors that includes agitation, confusion, and hyperactivity.

Involve Your Parent

Though she may not recall it later, involving your mom in party planning shows her you care and helps you feel better as a caregiver. Ask her what her favorite traditions, songs, or dishes are. You can also take her shopping to pick out gifts she can give to family members. If this is too much for her, buy gifts yourself and have her help with wrapping. Individuals with Alzheimer’s tend to enjoy paper and other tactile experiences.

Plan Appropriate Activities

As mentioned, tactile experiences can make great activities for adults with Alzheimer’s. If you’re writing holiday cards, ask your parent to help with a single tactile task, such as stuffing envelopes or applying stamps. Singing is another great activity: it’s joyful and the ability to sing tends to endure longer than others. You can also watch favorite holiday movies together, or look at old photos—just resist the impulse to quiz your loved one on his or her ability to remember details.

Choose Appropriate Gifts

For someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, pause before buying him or her memory aids (e.g. label machines, automatic nightlights, etc.)—depending on the person, this might feel like a reminder of his condition. An alternative might be to take him or her out to their favorite restaurant or, if they love the theatre, go to see a play. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, you might choose comfortable clothes that are easy to remove, such as a sweat suit, or something to stimulate the five senses, such as a scented lotion, fuzzy blanket, or favorite music and an easy-to-operate device to play it on.

Take Care of Yourself

Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Let go of perfectionism: don’t try to do everything yourself or worry if it doesn’t all go as planned. Be kind to yourself and schedule time just for you to do things you enjoy.


BrightStar Home Care provides 24 hour in home care, and support for seniors in thier own home,as well as in independent, and assisted living communities. We provide all levels of home care from companion services to Skilled Nursing, Medical Staffing. As well as Physical Therapy for pediatric, adult and geriatric patients, Companion and Personal Care for Elders with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We also provide Home Child Care, Sitter and Nanny services for Children and Support for New Mothers. We Support Veterans and Accept most Long Term Care Insurance benefits, provide Hospice care, Live-in care, CNA, Caregiver, RN, LPN, RN Supervision, Compassionate Care, and Compatibility Guarantees. We are an ALS Society partner, Alzheimer Association member, Health Care Association member, providing care for developmentally disabled and individuals of all ages with mental health and behavioral health diagnosis. Other services include safe discharge and transportation from the hospital or rehab facility, Post Op care both short and long term, Pre Operation and reparation help and assistance, client monitoring for out of town family members. We proudly serve Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Stanton, Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, Los Alamitos, Surfside, Midway City, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Brea, Garden Grove, Placentia, and Yorba Linda in CA.