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Top Tips to Help Seniors with Dementia Enjoy Holiday Celebrations

Help seniors with dementia enjoy the holiday season with these tips.


The holiday season is a wonderful time to see family and friends and spend quality time together participating in the holiday traditions you know and love. However, for seniors with dementia, it can also be a stressful time that should be handled with care and consideration. From the crowds and loud holiday music to the array of holiday food dishes cooking in the kitchen, it’s easy for this time of year to become overstimulating for seniors with dementia.

This year may be an ideal time to modify some of your family’s holiday traditions to make sure that an older loved one with dementia is able to enjoy the festivities along with everyone else. While it may take a little creativity and additional planning, there are plenty of small, easy changes that can be made to keep the holidays cheerful for every member of the family!

  • Encourage one-on-one visits. The holidays often mean big crowds of family and friends and a rotating door of visitors. While a senior with dementia may enjoy the opportunity to see everyone, a house full of people can easily become overwhelming. Encourage friends and relatives to visit at different times for one-on-one visits and designate a quiet place in the house so that if the senior becomes overstimulated, there is a calm and relaxing space for downtime.
  • Include enjoyable activities. Dementia can cause some aging adults to lose interest in activities they once found enjoyable. Identify the activities the senior still enjoys and incorporate these activities into holiday celebrations. Maybe the person likes helping out in the kitchen or enjoys telling stories about past holiday gatherings. Whatever activities are still enjoyed, make sure the senior has an opportunity to participate in them this holiday season!
  • Avoid drastic dietary changes. The holidays are typically overflowing with good food. With big, savory meals and heavy, sweet treats, it can be easy for seniors to overindulge. Help a senior with dementia limit foods that may be different from their typical day-to-day diet. In particular, watch out for alcohol or any other foods that can interact negatively with medications a loved one with dementia may be taking.
  • Schedule activities for the best time of day. The holidays can be jam-packed with activities and outings. Try to schedule the most meaningful activities for the time of day when the senior is usually doing his or her best. For example, if a loved one is impacted by sundowning or late day agitation, try switching an evening holiday meal to brunch or lunch.

By implementing these tips, the holiday season can be enjoyable for both you and a loved one with dementia. And don’t forget, maybe the most important tip of all is to remember to take time for yourself. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can add extra stress on family caregivers. It’s important to prioritize self-care and to make time to ensure that you are also able to enjoy the holiday season.

And if you need help with that, Jewish Family Home Care is here! We offer respite and dementia care in Hollywood and the surrounding areas that can help older loved ones and family caregivers enjoy holiday activities. If you’d like to learn more about how our services can help this holiday season and all through the year, contact us online or at 954-908-5677.