The holidays can be especially difficult for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The constant stream of activities and changes in routine can be upsetting and exacerbate symptoms such as repetitive speech, paranoia and confusion. Here are a few tips and activities to help keep seniors with Alzheimer’s engaged in the holiday fun without becoming overwhelmed.
- Keep it low-key. While the holidays are a time for celebration, remember that too much noise and distraction can disturb people with Alzheimer’s. If opening presents is too much for the senior to take, try opening a few gifts at a time instead of all at once.
- Keep it small. Parties with lots of people and rambunctious children can create confusion. Instead, host small get-togethers stretched out over several days.
- Create a soothing atmosphere. Playing classic holiday music can create a soothing yet festive environment for seniors with Alzheimer’s.
- Stick to routines. Make sure to follow the senior’s daily routine as much as possible, allowing celebrations to fit into the daily schedule.
- Enjoy simple, repetitive activities together. Repetition, while tedious for most of us, can be soothing to those with cognitive impairments and can often invoke feelings of accomplishment and pride. Try stringing garlands with popcorn and cranberries, which can be hung outside for fun bird-watching. Creating paper chains or making orange and clove pomanders are also great activities.
Assisting Angels understands the needs of the frail as well as the hectic schedules the holiday season often demands. We can help coordinate home care services to give a family caregiver a needed break. We currently serve the Treasure Valley (southwest Idaho) and Magic Valley (south-central Idaho). Call us toll free at 855.860.7979 to learn more about how we can help.