The holiday season is a time for festive activities, changes in daily routines, connecting with extended family, and annual traditions. Although this sounds like a lot of fun, for seniors living with Alzheimer’s this can cause an extreme amount of stress.
The following 4 tips are ways to help your loved one with Alzheimer’s enjoy the holidays:
- Minimize stress levels - People with Alzheimer’s are usually able to pick up on others’ moods and feelings. If you’re stressed and anxious, they’re likely to feel the same way. If time-consuming holiday tasks are causing you stress, ask others to help or take a brief time-out into another room so they won’t be affected by how you are feeling.
- Modify family traditions - Minimize everyone’s stress by focusing on only a few traditions. Ask them which they value or enjoy the most. This is a wonderful way to keep them involved in holiday festivities. Choose something meaningful to them like decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, singing traditional songs, or baking their favorite holiday treats.
- Keep them involved in preparations - Letting them participate in the holiday preparations helps them feel included and gets them familiar with what the upcoming days will bring. Have them help you with small tasks that align with their current abilities. This will make them feel useful and keep them happily occupied while you work on other preparations. Some examples are peeling vegetables, rolling cookie dough, or wiping down the table.
- Limit decorations - Decorate in moderation. Too much decor or twinkling lights could cause confusion or anxiety. Instead, focus on cheerful items and those that are meaningful to your family.