The holidays present a very special time for families, and they’ll be an excellent opportunity for you to bond with your loved ones. Even for older adults with limitations like Alzhiemer’s, this can be a joyous occasion if executed well, and the following tips will provide you with a good idea on how you should prepare.
Tips to Help Seniors & Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s Enjoy the Holidays
First, we’ll address some general tips for accommodating your loved ones during the holidays and making them feel comfortable.
One of the most important is keeping any get togethers you have small. With too large a group, you run the risk of overstimulating someone with Alzheimer’s, potentially causing confusion. Keeping holiday gatherings limited to select friends and family will mitigate this issue.
In a similar vein, you’ll want to keep the holiday celebrations from becoming too convoluted or raucous. Avoid making the schedule too busy, and narrow down what you’re going to do for the holidays by asking your loved one which traditions and activities they rank highest.
When preparing for your holiday celebration, letting your older loved one in on the action can go a long way in making them feel included and keeping their spirits high. It can be something as simple as hanging decorations or wrapping presents — no matter how small the activity, it’s a welcome gesture all the same.
Since the cognitive abilities of a loved one with Alzheimer’s might fluctuate throughout the day, it’s best for you to schedule your holiday activities during a period when you know they’ll be at their best, and will be able to share in the fun with everyone else.
You should be sure to include some activities that your senior family members can perform with the younger ones, as bringing the older and younger generations together can help increase the level of engagement from loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Lastly, you should be sure to include Alzheimer’s-appropriate foods for your older loved one, and avoid any drastic dietary changes that could upset their stomach or mood. Healthy options for those with Alzheimer’s include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and non-red meat options like fish and poultry.
Senior-Friendly Holiday Activities
As for specific activities that you should engage in, be sure to take your loved one’s needs, abilities, and time constraints in mind as you plan. Again, you’ll want to refrain from planning anything too intense, so here are a few simple options to get you started on brainstorming:
- Decorate and Fill Stockings
- Play Card Games and Board Games
- Enjoy Listening to Favorite Songs
- Sing Holiday Songs Together
- Enjoy Tea, Coffee, & Cookies Together
- Have a Movie Night with Popcorn
- Decorate the House & Christmas Tree
As you can see, having fun doesn’t have to involve going over the top. Easy-to-follow card games like Rummy make for a great social activity that everyone, including seniors, can learn quickly and enjoy. Meanwhile, singing holiday songs can really set the tone for a holiday get together, and can help keep your older family member focused through the power of music.
Hopefully you will be able to include some of these activities into your holiday plans this year. If you feel that it may be time for your parent or loved one to move into a senior assisted living community or memory care facility, we invite you to reach out to the Cottages today to discover how we can help with your specific needs.