Holiday activities can be upsetting for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Here are some caregiver tips to help keep seniors with Alzheimer’s/dementia involved in the holiday activities without being overwhelmed or put into a dangerous situation.

  • Stretch out the celebration. If opening a lot of presents at once might create a disturbance, then open a few gifts at a time.
  • A large noisy party with friends, neighbors, and lots of kids may be too much stimulation for the family member with Alzheimer’s. Host small get-together visits instead, stretched out over several days.
  • Keep a normal daily routine as much as possible, making the celebrations fit into the daily schedule.
  • Create a soothing atmosphere by playing holiday music throughout the day. Mental grooves are deep for these tunes, which makes them especially soothing.

Repetition is often soothing to someone with cognitive impairment and can stoke feelings of accomplishment and pride. Try the following repetitious holiday activities to do together.

String garlands. All that’s needed is a long heavy thread and a darning needle. Try stringing cranberries, popcorn, even O-shaped cereal (Fruit Loops are cheerfully colorful). Using something edible also provides an extended enjoyment if there is a place outside to place the garland to attract birds so the senior can watch that activity as well.

Link paper chains. These require a bit more dexterity: cut strips of paper, curl them around one another and staple. This is a good project to have an older grandchild supervise while the person with dementia helps in whatever way she can. Use construction paper or, for a really festive look, heavy-stock wrapping paper. Double the fun with decorating the area together.

Live Free Home Health Care of Concord, New Hampshire is here to help you determine the best plan of long-term care that will meet your loved one’s needs and maintain your loved one’s quality of life as they age. If you’re looking for a partner in care coordination in the Lakes Region or Central New Hampshire, call us today at 603-217-0149, and let us help make your life a little easier.

Sources:, Caring for the Aged/Suite 101