The Holidays and Alzheimer’s

November 29, 2023

Holiday festivities bring joy, excitement, and anticipation with them. For those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s there may also be added stress and challenges involved in making sure that traditions and individuals are honored and given space to experience joy. It is important to remember that, often, less is more! There are ways to feel included without becoming overwhelmed or overstimulated. As you read on, you will learn some ways to be as prepared as possible for holiday activities while allowing a loved one with dementia to participate to their level of comfort.

  1. Prepare for visitors.

    In the days and weeks leading up to the holidays, take some time to look through scrapbooks and remember stories and memories of loved ones. You may even make calls to talk with the expected visitors so that your loved one can remember more stories and make connections. The calls can also prepare the visitors for how Alzheimer’s is impacting your loved one.

  2. Keep groups small and avoid overstimulation.

    Too many visitors can create a stressful, chaotic environment which can cause your loved one to become overstimulated and agitated. It is a good idea to have your loved one in a separate room or sectioned off area to avoid the majority of the festivities. Being in a calmer space will allow a few visitors at a time to have quality time with your loved one. If this is not possible, perhaps scheduling small groups over a longer timeline (several weeks) may be best.

  3. Schedule the important activities for their prime part of the day.

    Consider the time of day that is your loved one’s prime time and schedule your holiday activities at times that will be the best for him or her to participate.

  4. Include plans for some of your loved one’s favorite events.

    Be sure to include your loved one’s special or favorite activities. Being included in the food preparations or making sure to watch a game or parade.

    Music is also an extremely enjoyable activity for people with Alzhiemer’s and dementia. A family sing along or performance by the children will be warmly received.

  5. Easy on the rich food.

    Rich and fatty foods may disrupt your loved one’s diet and cause some unwanted digestive problems. Sugar and alcohol can also cause changes in behavior, and typically not in welcomed ways!

  6. Rest!

    Schedule breaks for your loved one to be able to rest and take naps during a busy day. While there are extra people around to help with your loved one, take some time for yourself as well! You act as a caregiver daily. Taking a break to decompress while help is available is also an essential part of this day!

BrightStar Care

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