Senior woman baking with adult female and child

How to Celebrate the Holidays with a Loved One Who Has Dementia

The holidays can be a joyful time of year, perfect for catching up with friends and family. However, celebrating with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia can pose some challenges. The good news is that there are numerous ways to include your loved one without overwhelming them. Here are five tips you can use to have a successful and merry season that the whole family can enjoy. 

Manage Expectations 

Friends and family members gathering for the holidays may not have seen your loved one in some time. Inform family members of your loved one’s current condition so they are not surprised or caught off guard when they arrive. Also let friends and family know that your loved one may need to leave a gathering early if they become tired or agitated. Some traditions that involve long travel or complicated activities may need to be modified or canceled. Others can be created anew!

Create a Soothing Space

Create a separate, soothing space at your gathering where your loved one can retreat from the hubbub. Sometimes family get-togethers can become overwhelming for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, so a quiet space can help them rest and recharge. A midday nap or snack can also help revitalize your loved one while your family continues their holiday activities. 

Prepare for (and Limit) Visitors

Consider focusing on smaller gatherings this year, as too many visitors at once may cause frustration or agitation for your loved one. Host your celebrations over multiple days with smaller groups of guests. In addition, try to stick to your loved one’s normal routine as much as possible. Try hosting a holiday brunch or luncheon instead of a dinner, as all of the noise and activity in the evening hours may disrupt their sleep routine. 

Adapt Holiday Activities 

Holiday activities can still be enjoyed with your loved one, but they may need to be modified to account for your loved one’s needs and abilities. For instance, you may need to reschedule evening activities for the morning because your loved one may be more alert and refreshed earlier in the day. Beloved holiday travel destinations may need to be kept closer to home. 

Here are some additional holiday activities that everyone in the family can enjoy together that don’t involve overstimulation for your loved one.  

  • Decorating holiday cookies
  • Arts and crafts
  • Listening to holiday music
  • Watching classic holiday movies
  • Attending local holiday events
  • Taking a walk together to enjoy nature

Take Time to Savor the Season

With less pressure and more flexibility, you can also take time to savor the holidays with your loved one. This is a special time of year, and every moment should be cherished.   

Explore Memory Care at Abbey Delray

At Abbey Delray, we offer skilled, compassionate memory care services from an expert team of caring professionals. Our residents engage with and support each other to create a truly connected community that celebrates the seasons together. To discover more about our community, or to take a tour and experience for yourself, contact us.