If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, these tips from the Alzheimer’s Association can help you make holiday family gatherings a success for your visitors and your loved one.
Prepare your loved one for the family gathering
Preparing your loved one for the upcoming holiday events can allow both of you to enjoy the warmth of the season.
- Talk about and show photos of family members and friends who will be visiting.
- Have a “quiet” room in case things get too hectic.
- Play familiar music and serve favorite traditional holiday foods.
- Schedule naps, especially if the person usually takes naps.
- Schedule family and friends visit times
- Familiarize family members and friends with behaviors and condition changes.
- Recommend practical and useful gifts.
- Remind family and friends of the best ways to communicate with the person with dementia.
Involve everyone when selecting activities
Involve everyone in holiday activities, including the person with dementia.
- Consider taking walks, icing cookies, telling stories, doing chores, making a memory book or family tree, or keeping a journal.
- To encourage conversation, place magazines, scrapbooks, or photo albums in reach; play music to prompt dancing or other kinds of exercise.
- Encourage young family members to participate in simple and familiar activities with the person.
Communicate with success
Alzheimer’s can diminish a person’s ability to communicate. These tips may help you understand each other.
- Be calm and supportive if the person has trouble communicating.
- Speak slowly with a relaxed tone.
- Avoid criticism. For example, when someone forgets a recent conversation, avoid saying, “Don’t you remember?”
- Address the person by name.
- Be patient, flexible, and do not argue with the person with Alzheimer’s.