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"Dear Jayne: How Can We Help Families Plan Celebrations Around Alzheimer’s Disease?"


Dear Jayne, 

I am the Outreach Coordinator for a fairly large church in my community. We help parishioners with everything from setting up mobile meal deliveries to connecting out-of-town adult children with a church volunteer to help run errands for their parent. 

An increasing number of our members have Alzheimer’s or are family caregivers for a loved one who has recently been diagnosed with the disease. As the holidays approach, I know we will soon begin receiving questions related to celebrating the season.

Families ask us about everything from safety tips for decorating to how to enjoy a break from caregiving without feeling guilty. While we do our best to answer them or point them toward a resource we think might help, we’d like to do more.

We thought it might help if we created a tip sheet with resources that addressed these issues for families to print off of our website.

Since Benchmark Senior Living has such a good reputation for memory care, I thought you might be able to suggest a few resources for us to include.

Best Regards,

Holiday Planning Resources for Families of a Senior with Dementia

What a great idea! I’m sure families in your church—and across the community—will appreciate having this resource available. And I do have a few suggestions you might want to include.

Alzheimer’s Caregiving during the Holidays

  • Holidays and Alzheimer’s Families: This comprehensive resource for caregivers is from the Alzheimer’s Association. It offers advice on planning, adjusting expectations, and coping with holiday caregiving stress.
  • Alzheimer’s and Coping with the Holidays: From the experts at Psych Central, this article shares tips on everything from coping with the holidays when you are a caregiver to explaining the disease to holiday guests.
  • Holiday Hints for Alzheimer’s Caregivers: This resource from the National Institute on Aging covers useful suggestions for finding balance when you are an Alzheimer’s caregiver planning for the holidays.

Gift Giving for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Holiday Gift Guide: For families who are struggling with gift ideas, this is a great guide. It lists gift suggestions suitable for each stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Top Gifts for Someone with Dementia: This site shares their top ten most popular gifts for a person with Alzheimer’s. From a simple music player to a talking photo album, you’ll find great ideas here.

Holiday Decorations and Alzheimer’s Safety

  • Enjoying the Holidays: Tips for Alzheimer’s Family Caregivers: From monitoring the use of candles to avoiding breakable holiday décor, this guide can help caregivers keep the holidays safe.
  • Home Safety and Alzheimer’s Disease: The holidays are also a good time to review general home safety tips. From not blocking pathways in the home to limiting the use of extension cords, this safety resource can help family caregivers.

Traveling When a Loved One has Memory Impairment

  • Traveling with Dementia: The very idea of traveling with a loved one who has dementia can be frightening. These tips can help family caregivers plan for a safe holiday getaway.
  • Airline Travel with Dementia: From managing security checkpoints to noise-canceling headphones, this information will assist you in safely navigating holiday travel.

Finally, I would recommend including information about respite stays at a senior living community. Busy caregivers who want to attend an out-of-town gathering or just need a break to take care of their holiday to-do list can take advantage of this short-term stay program.

I hope this information helps, Lucy!

Until next time,

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