The Holidays and Alzheimer’s

January 2, 2024

The holiday season is a joyous time of the year, filled with family gatherings and festive celebrations. However, for those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s, it can also be a stressful time. Christmas shopping, gift-wrapping, cooking, and hosting parties can all add up to be a lot of work. But, with a little planning and preparation, you can make the holidays more enjoyable and inclusive for everyone. In this article, we’ll provide some tips on how to make the holidays more inclusive for your loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

Create a Calm Environment

One of the most important things to remember is that individuals with Alzheimer’s can become easily agitated or upset. With the hustle and bustle of holiday season, your loved one may feel overwhelmed. To minimize this stress, try to create a calm environment with fewer people and activities. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a holiday celebration, it just means that you need to be mindful of how many people are present and how much activity is going on. Consider hosting a smaller gathering or spreading out the festivities over a few days.

Stick to the Routine

Individuals with Alzheimer’s thrive on routine and structure. During the holiday season, there can be a lot of changes to the daily routine, which can be confusing and unsettling for your loved one. To help them feel more comfortable, try to stick to their normal routine as much as possible. This can include meal times, exercise routines, or scheduled activities. If you do need to make changes, try to prepare your loved one in advance so that they can adjust accordingly.

Avoid Triggers

The holiday season is full of triggers that can agitate individuals with Alzheimer’s. For example, bright flashing lights or loud noises can be overwhelming. If you notice that your loved one is becoming agitated by certain stimuli, try to remove or reduce them. This can include turning down the music or dimming the lights. Alternatively, you can provide your loved one with a quiet space where they can go to relax.

Assign Specific Tasks

For those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s, it can be tempting to take on all the work yourself in order to minimize stress. However, this can be overwhelming, and your loved one may feel left out. Instead, try assigning specific tasks that your loved one can do. This can include setting the table, preparing a dish, or wrapping presents. Not only will this make them feel more included, but it will also provide them with a sense of purpose.

Stay Present

The holiday season can be busy, but it’s important to stay present and in the moment with your loved one. Take the time to engage with them, to listen to their stories, and to share fond memories. This can include creating a sensory activity, such as baking cookies or decorating a holiday craft. Try to avoid talking over your loved one or rushing the conversation. Instead, savor the moment and enjoy the time you have together.

BrightStar Care Has What You and Your Loved One Need!

The holidays can be a challenging time for those who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s. However, with a little planning and preparation, you can make the festivities more inclusive, enjoyable, and stress-free. If you need an extra hand during the holiday season, BrightStar Care of Central DuPage is here to help. Our trained caregivers can assist with daily activities, provide companionship, and help make the holidays a joyous and inclusive time for everyone. Contact us today at 630.260.5300 to learn more!