Holiday Planning for Loved Ones With Dementia

Is it just me, or is the holiday message louder and more assertive every year?¬† And if I feel that way, imagine how much the music, crowds and impact on one’s normal routine must feel for someone¬† who is beginning to feel the effects of dementia?

If that is a reality for someone in your family, the wonderful staff at The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute ( has made a list of 12 pieces of holiday advice. I’d like to repeat just a few of them here (which might be good advice for all of us!)

First and foremost, keep things simple. Too much of even good things, from the amount of company to rich food to decorations, only add to the stress of both the dementia patient and the caregiver.

If you have family and friends visiting from out of town, this might be the year to suggest that they make alternative plans, rather than bunk at your home so they don’t impact the dementia patient’s routine and ability to get the rest she needs. if the patient is the traveler, consider a hotel near your family, rather than their guest room, so she has a place to go for quiet and rest.

One thing about the holiday season that can be positive for the dementia patient is the focus on longstanding holiday traditions.  Music is often tied to memory, and can be a great way to involve the dementia patient in the celebration. And this is a wonderful time for older relatives to share holiday memories with grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Keep these ideas in mind, and your holiday celebrations can be enjoyable for all family members, and become the treasured memories for the next generation.



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