Alzheimer’s Disease: Tips for Making Your Holidays More Fun
Holidays can be difficult for families affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Try these tips to make your vacation easy and enjoyable for everyone.
The holiday season can cause complex emotions in families with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
It’s usually a celebration time, but families can still feel lost. For caregivers, holidays may create additional work. Also, the needs of people with dementia need to be considered in holiday decorations and rallies.
By adjusting your expectations and modifying some traditions, you may find a meaningful way to celebrate your holiday.
Creating a safe and calm space
To create a suitable environment during vacations for people with dementia:
- Tone down the decoration. Avoid flashing lights and large decorative displays that can cause confusion. Avoid cluttered decorations and decorations that require the relocation of familiar rooms.
- Avoid safety issues. Use electric candles instead of burning candles. If you light a candle, do not leave it alone. Avoid fragile decorations and decorations that can be mistaken for edible treats such as artificial fruits. If there is a tree, fix it to the wall.
- Play your favorite music. Enjoy familiar or favorite holiday music. Adjust the volume to relax and avoid pain.
Adapt holiday activities
To help people with dementia enjoy their vacation:
- I will prepare together. Mix batter, decorate cookies, open holiday cards, and make simple decorations. Focus on the task, not the result.
- Host a small gathering. We aim to keep the celebration quiet and relaxed.
- Avoid confusion. Plan meetings at the best time of the day for people with dementia. Keep your daily routine as appropriate as possible.
- It provides a quiet place. When welcoming guests, please provide a quiet place for people with dementia to spend alone or visit alone at a time.
- Plan meaningful activities. You can read your favorite holiday stories, watch photo albums, watch your favorite holiday movies, and sing songs.
- Please keep going out short. If you are attending a holiday gathering, please give a brief explanation or be prepared to leave early if necessary. Make sure you have a break or a place to rest.
Celebrate at a long-term care facility
If your family lives in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, try the following ideas.
- Celebrate in the most familiar setting. Consider holding a small family celebration at the facility, as changes in the environment can cause distress. You may participate in holiday activities planned for the inhabitants.
- Minimize visitor traffic. Arrange for a few families to stop by on another day. Large groups can be overwhelmed.
Preparing holiday visitors
To help visitors prepare for vacations with people with dementia:
- Provide updates. Inform guests in advance of any changes in behavior or memory since your last visit. Providing recent photos helps people prepare for changes in appearance.
- Provides communication tips. We suggest ways for guests to listen patiently, such as not criticizing repeated comments, fixing errors, or interrupting them.
- Propose an activity. Tell guests what kind of activities they are planning in advance, and suggest things that guests may bring, such as photo albums.
Take care of yourself
Self-care is very important for caregivers on vacation. To make the seasons fun:
- Choose and decide. Focus on the holiday activities and traditions that are most important to you. Remember that you can’t do everything.
- Manage the expectations of others. Set realistic expectations for what you can contribute to your family’s holiday celebrations.
- Delegate. Ask family and friends to help you clean, address your cards, and shop for gifts.
- Make time for yourself. Have your family and friends take a break and enjoy your holiday outings without long-term care.
Trust your instinct
By simplifying celebrations, planning ahead, and setting boundaries, you can minimize stress and create a comfortable holiday experience for you and people with dementia.September 23, 2021
- Holiday tips for caregivers with Alzheimer’s disease. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/holiday-hints-alzheimers-caregivers. Accessed on November 16, 2018.
- Holidays and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Association. https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources/holidays. Accessed on November 16, 2018.