Dementia Care, Holiday Activities, and Change

dementia care holidays

Caring for a loved one with dementia at the holidays can be a strenuous task. If you are celebrating Christmas this year you may find that you are unable to do all of the things you used to with your family member with dementia. This can be things as small as baking Christmas cookies or decorating the house and tree.

Though dementia often means that your routine will change around the holidays it doesn’t mean that the new routine can’t be made fun for both you and your loved one. It’s hard to grasp that a loved one can no longer do certain things that they used to. But, that just means there needs to be some adjustment for you and the loved one with dementia.

Being Cognizant of Dementia Changes

Being mindful about the changes that your loved one has because of dementia properly sets you up to aid them during holiday changes. So, this holiday season, keep some things in mind when approaching holiday activities:

Be Aware of Change.

Your loved one living with dementia is constantly going through changes in intensity of their disease. This can include declining mental and physical abilities. If you are cognizant of these changes then you are better equipped to make changes.

Don’t Get Disappointed.

As people, we can be weary of change. That can cause disappointment when it feels like we can’t do certain things anymore. But change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Change is a natural part of life. So if you ever feel like something isn’t panning out the way you want or the way it used to, don’t let disappointment get to you. It’s natural to feel disappointment initially at certain things, but you can’t allow it to pervade the rest of your holiday activities. A sense of loss and disappointment you feel can be replaced with hope of new fun memories. All you need to do is focus helping the person with dementia.

Make New Traditions.

When you have paved a way so that changes doesn’t disappoint you, you can start to enjoy the holidays with new traditions. You can take into mind all the changes you have observed with your loved one and form new things to do with family and friends. Your holiday celebrations don’t always have to be the same to be enjoyable. In the case of someone with dementia or Alzheimers disease, one great tradition can be looking through family photo albums. This can help your loved one with certain memories. And it will help you spend time enjoying all the stories and memories that pictures bring forth.

Having Family to Adjust to Dementia Care

Being a family caregiver means that during the holidays you will juggle both care and holiday activities with the rest of the family. Asking that your family keep a few tips in mind for your loved one with dementia. This can smooth the holiday activities:

Avoid Confusing Situations.

When deciding on activities, try and steer the family away from deciding on events that include giant crowds or really loud places. There can be a time and place for some of the family to do certain things. But, remember that making all plans around loud and crowded events can be confusing and stressful for the individual with dementia.

Include Everyone.

Many times we think that because certain family members can’t do certain things it’s completely alright to just leave them out of the holiday activities. But, just because someone has dementia doesn’t mean they should be taken out of the fun. As mentioned above, certain family members can plan out separate activities, but make sure that family hasn’t decided on all the events to include activities where the individual with dementia can’t join at all. Including the person with dementia in activities is good for them and fun for them as well.


Your holiday activities and fun can be great as long as you have some holiday preparation with the tips above. The National Institute on Aging mentions that holidays can be an enriching time for those with Alzheimers and dementia. Allow yourself to come in with the mindset that change is okay and that holiday activities will be fun. This way you will set yourself and your loved ones up for success.

Dementia care can be hard, especially during the holidays. But, by keeping certain things in mind and working with the family, it can be a great holiday.

If you have any questions for us, give us a call at 773.274.9262.

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