#Alzheimer’s: #Planning for the #holidays

Alzheimer’s: Planning for the holidays

Holidays can be bittersweet for families affected by Alzheimer’s. Consider simple tips to make the holidays enjoyable for everyone.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Alzheimer’s disease affects both family and community life. Holiday observances are no exception. Holiday memories from before your loved one developed Alzheimer’s may darken an otherwise joyful season — and worries about how your loved one’s condition may disrupt your family’s plans can overshadow the simple pleasure of being together. Rather than dwell on how much things have changed or worry about what might go wrong, focus on making the holidays as enjoyable as possible.

Keep it simple at home

If you’re caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s at home:

  • Make preparations together. If you bake, your loved one may be able to participate by measuring flour, stirring batter or rolling dough. You may find it meaningful to open holiday cards or wrap gifts together. Remember to concentrate on the process, rather than the result.
  • Tone down your decorations. Blinking lights and large decorative displays can cause disorientation. Avoid lighted candles and other safety hazards, as well as decorations that could be mistaken for edible treats — such as artificial fruits.
  • Host quiet, slow-paced gatherings. Music, conversation and meal preparation all add to the noise and stimulation of an event. Yet for a person who has Alzheimer’s, a calm, quiet environment usually is best. Keep daily routines in place as much as possible and, as needed, provide your loved one a place to rest during family get-togethers.

Be practical away from home

If your loved one lives in a nursing home or other facility:

  • Celebrate in the most familiar setting. For many people who have Alzheimer’s, a change of environment — even a visit home — causes anxiety. Instead of creating that disruption, consider holding a small family celebration at the facility. You might also participate in holiday activities planned for the residents.
  • Minimize visitor traffic. Arrange for a few family members to drop in on different days. Even if your loved one isn’t sure who’s who, two or three familiar faces are likely to be welcome, while nine or 10 may be overwhelming.
  • Schedule visits at your loved one’s best time of day. People who have Alzheimer’s tire easily, especially as the disease progresses. Your loved one may appreciate morning and lunchtime visitors more than those in the afternoon or evening.

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  • See Also

Hand Scheduled

Section Focus

  • Alzheimer’s: Managing sleep problems
  • Alzheimer’s: Mementos help preserve memories
  • Alzheimer’s caregiving: How to ask for help
  • Alzheimer’s: 7 tips for medical visits
  • Alzheimer’s: When to stop driving
  • Alzheimer’s: Tips for effective communication
  • Alzheimer’s care: Simple tips for daily tasks
  • Alzheimer’s: Consider options for long term care
  • Alzheimer’s: Dealing with family conflict
  • Alzheimer’s: Smoothing the transition on moving day
  • Alzheimer’s: Understand and control wandering
  • Alzheimer’s: How to help a caregiver
  • Alzheimer’s: Helping children understand the disease
  • Alzheimer’s: Dealing with daily challenges
  • Alzheimer’s: Making mealtimes easier
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Anticipating end-of-life needs
  • Podcast: Caregiving tips for Alzheimer’s disease
  • They’ll never forget how you make them feel
  • Caregivers, take good care of yourself during holidays
  • Caregiver begins journey by transforming herself
  • Elder care for Alzheimer’s: Choosing a provider
  • For caregivers, it’s OK to feel good and bad
  • Life lessons from a caregiver
  • Blame the disease, not the person, when caregiving gets frustrating
  • ‘Letting go’ can empower caregivers
  • Adult day care another good option for caregivers
  • Long term care: Plan ahead to know your options
  • A gift you can give to those with Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s and the holidays: Find real joy by simplifying
  • Blog: Taking action gives hope for those with memory loss
  • Blog: Strategies for dementia caregiving
  • Blog: Use grief over Alzheimer’s loss to transform yourself
  • Making the move to a care facility
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself
  • Home care services: Questions to ask

  • Related Links

  • Alzheimer’s blog
  • References

    1. Alzheimer’s and the holidays. Fischer Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. http://www.alzinfo.org/newsarticle/templates/archivenewstemplate.asp?articlei… Accessed Aug. 10, 2009.
    2. Liken MA. (Not) a Hallmark holiday: Experience of family caregivers of a relative with Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. 2001;39:32.
    3. Caring for Alzheimer’s: Activities. Alzheimer’s Association. http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_activities.asp. Accessed Aug. 10, 2009.


    Dec. 10, 2009

    © 1998-2010 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

    Simplify, Simplify, Simplify…just got back from the ER after my mom (Alzheimer patient) took a fall…remember to keep first things first through the holidays!

    Danette True open up your connections call me (818)732-9237 follow me on twitter http://bit.ly/ad93tw find me on linkedin http://linkd.in/c3fTKD email me at info@danettetrue.com subscribe to me at http://danettetrue.com/rss.xml visit me at https://danettetrue.wordpress.com

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