The holiday season can be as joyous time for families. But for those coping with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, this time of year can be tinged with sadness, stress and frustration.

Holiday activities may confuse or over-stimulate a person with dementia. Family members may struggle to find a happy medium between celebrating and not upsetting their loved one.

The following tips can help you find a balance between peace on earth (and at home) and holiday merriment.

  • Make “Less is More” your mantra for the holidays. Allow yourself to say “no thank you” to some invitations.
  • Be flexible. If past holiday traditions are no longer practical, create some new ones.
  • Consider putting up fewer and simpler decorations.
  • Brief guests or visitors who may not have seen your loved one in a while about their condition. Suggest ways to communicate.
  • Celebrate with a smaller number of people.
  • Celebrate for a shorter amount of time. Wind things down if your loved one shows signs of fatigue or agitation.
  • Maintain your loved one’s daily routine as much as possible.
  • Recognize what you as a caregiver can realistically manage.

Marty Finley is a Memory Care Navigator for Sun Health.

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