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Practical advice for the Holiday Season

by Elizabeth Stolte, Care Navigation Team Social Worker

The holidays are often filled with family, laughter, food, and fun. Although we often see the holidays as happy, they can also bring stress, disappointment, and sadness. People with Alzheimer's or Dementia may feel a sense of loss during the holidays due to the changes they have experienced. Here is a list of tips to help you and your loved one enjoy the holidays:

  • Explain to your loved one what holiday is approaching. Showing them the calendar might be helpful.

  • Involve them in simple holiday preparations or have them observe your preparations.

  • Consider simplifying your holiday decorations in your home. Decorations that are not breakable or flammable are great options.

  • Prepare quiet distractions for your loved one in the event they become overstimulated.

  • Avoid stressful noises, such as loud conversations and music. Be aware of lighting that is either too bright or dark.

  • Participate in dementia-friendly activities, such as stringing popcorn garlands, linking paper chains, wrapping presents, singing holiday songs, listening to holiday music, or baking cookies.

  • Try to avoid situations that may confuse or frustrate them, such as a change in routine or being in strange places.

  • Prepare your guests in advance by informing them what manner of conversation, activity, and noise is best tolerated and most comfortable. Provide examples of unusual behavior that may take place.

  • Provide family with suggestions for gifts that are useful and enjoyable for your loved one.

  • Ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. Permit yourself to commit to only those activities that you can reasonably manage.

Note: The VirtuALZ blog (FYI) is strictly a news and information website about Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and life over 60. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The VirtuALZ Blog (FYI) is intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.

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