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Holidays can be bittersweet for caregivers and family members of people with Alzheimerís disease or another form of dementia. While traditions may bring happiness and comfort, challenges associated with the disease can make this time of year feel overwhelming. Youíre not alone. The Alzheimer Society has some practical tips for making this season enjoyable for you, the person with dementia, and your family. This holiday season remember to find that all-important balance between rest and activity so that you can enjoy your traditions, start new ones or just take pleasure in being in the moment.

For most families, holidays are a time of joy and togetherness, a time for celebrating, sharing and enjoying one anotherís company. Holidays can also be stressful, even at the best of times. When youíre caring for a person with dementia, the holiday season can be especially difficult for all kinds of reasons. Typical stressors at this time of year include:

The person youíre caring for may also have a difficult time coping with the holiday season. Perhaps he or she feels a particular sense of loss at this time of year or finds the disruption in routine caused by holiday activities distressing

Supporting a Person with Dementia During the Holidays

Whether the person you are caring for is experiencing moderate or more advanced symptoms of dementia, there are still many ways to include them in your celebrations and traditions. Below are some examples of how to support a person with dementia throughout the holidays and find meaningful activities for them to engage in. It is important to talk to your family members and friends to make sure they understand your situation and that their expectations are realistic. Prepare them for the changes they will notice, and let them know that the person may behave in unpredictable ways. For example, he or she may ask the same question over and over, or may become agitated if there is too much sensory stimulation. Remind family and friends that the person may have trouble remembering names and faces, and suggest they introduce themselves. Perhaps as a group you can all make plans to adapt your traditional activities to suit the needs of your family member with dementia.

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