Tips for Increasing Joy and Reducing Holiday Stress with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

While many of us anxiously await the holiday season, our family members in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia may not enjoy the holidays as they once did. Alzheimer’s patients may feel sorrow and disappointment as they enter this season and ponder old times. In addition, they may feel stress to keep up with the rest of the family and participate in holiday traditions.

If you are contemplating how you can make the holidays more joyful and peaceful for your loved one living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, take a look at these tips.

Tips for Increasing Joy and Reducing Holiday Stress with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

Adjust your expectations

  • Communicate. Conduct a conference call or family meeting to determine the best way to handle the holidays for your loved one with Alzheimer’s as well as the rest of the family.
  • Prepare. Take time to talk with family members or friends from out of town to update them on the status of your loved one. Help them understand what to expect and what they can do during the upcoming holiday get togethers.

Simplify the holiday

  • Lower the volume. Loud conversations and music can negatively affect Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients. Keep the environment calm and perhaps turn up the volume after a designated time that your loved one will be ready to go to bed.
  • Skip the sparkle. Bright displays, blinking holiday lights, and candles with flames are potential safety hazards and can cause confusion for Alzheimer’s patients. Instead, use simple decorations to celebrate the holiday.
  • Fresh fruit? Be mindful of artificial fruit or vegetable displays that may be mistaken for the real thing.
    Engage your loved one
  • Get cooking. Make holiday preparation fun for you and your loved one. Depending on his or her abilities, encourage him or her to help wrap gifts, write cards, or prepare a dish to bring to the event. The loved one can help measure ingredients, string garlands of popcorn, or help make a wreath.
  • Sing a song. Discover special holiday songs that your loved one remembers — and sing! Read a special poem or talk about a memory.

Manage consumption

  • Keep an eye on food intake. Make sure you loved avoids alcoholic beverages and doesn’t eat too many sugar-laden foods. Too much of these can cause behavioral problems.

Keep the routine

  • Stick to it. Although sticking to a routine during the holidays can be tough, your loved one will be better off if he or she does. Lack of sleep and lack of routine can create disruption and confusion.
  • Plan for rest. Make sure to schedule rest time between family activities.

If your loved one is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s and lives in a care facility, consider participating in the holiday activities there. There may be a sing-along, a potluck or special holiday meal, or other activities that you and your loved one can partake in. Are you or other family members seeking much needed respite from care giving for Alzheimer’s or Dementia patients? If so, we can help.

Expicare Nursing Agency, Inc.
Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.