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Navigating the Holidays with Alzheimer’s Disease

two seniors make a gingerbread house with three children

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but navigating the holidays when you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other type of dementia, can be tricky. The general hustle and bustle of the season can add a layer of stress for anyone, but especially our aging loved ones. It’s important to keep things simple and be open to flexibility in hopes to keep the holiday spirit festive and positive. Here are a few tips:

Make time for favorite family traditions

Carrying out family traditions is important – it can be a wonderful walk down memory lane for the older generation, but it is also important to pass down the traditions to the next generation. This can be anything from cutting down a tree from the local farm to gathering with friends and neighbors to making a special family recipe each year. Most likely there have been new traditions formed and added to the others, as well.

Keep the games and conversation light and easy to follow

To help keep the conversation light and easy to follow, discuss favorite holiday movies or songs. Is Miracle on 34th Street better than It’s a Wonderful Life and why. Which version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause – the original, traditional song or a newer remake by a current artist.

When it comes to playing games with the group, you may have to explain the rules or remind some people how to play, even if it is a game that has been enjoyed for years. Be patient and choose games that are easy to follow along.

Too much of a good thing can be overwhelming

Try to keep the schedules and routines in place. This will go a long way to keep the stress and anxiety at bay. Keep in mind the number of visitors, activities and even loud noise, can affect an aging loved one in unexpected ways. Keep the overall expectations of your time together realistic, and most importantly, don’t forget to laugh and enjoy your time together. 

HealthStar Home Health understands how overwhelming it is to care for loved ones as they age. With the added stress and busy schedules of the holiday season, it’s important to keep in mind that a little goes a long way when it comes to the activities of the season. Take advantage of offers to help out and reduce stress where you can to ensure you and your senior loved ones find joy this holiday season.

We offer a variety of home healthcare services in the Duluth and Minneapolis, Minnesota communities to help support your senior loved one to live a more fulfilling life at home. From skilled nursing services to assistance for seniors with recovery from illness or injury to our homemaking and companion care programs to our comprehensive Alzheimer’s Whisperer program, which provides care and treatment needed to those affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia, we have many options to help you care for your loved one. Contact us today to learn how HealthStar can help you.