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Alzheimer’s Association Gives Tips for creating positive holiday gatherings

The holidays are a time for celebration and spending time with family and friends. For those who are affected by Alzheimer's or another dementia, the hustle and bustle can also be a time of additional stress. People with the disease may feel a special sense of loss because of changes they have experienced. Caregivers may feel overwhelmed trying to manage family gatherings and traditions while balancing caregiving responsibilities. The following tips provided by the Alzheimer’s Association  may help your family have a happy holiday season. 

Adjust expectations
Call a face-to-face meeting or arrange for a telephone conference call with family and friends to discuss holiday celebrations. Make sure that everyone understands your caregiving situation and has realistic expectations about what you can manage.

Be flexible
If you’ve always invited 15 to 20 people to your home, you may want to invite five for a simple meal or a potluck. Consider celebrating over lunch or brunch, rather than dinner, so you can work around the evening confusion of sundowning that sometimes affects people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Involve the person with dementia
Include the person in safe, manageable holiday preparations and activities. Ask the person to help prepare food, wrap gifts or set the table. Your family member may find comfort in singing holiday songs, but you may also experiment with new traditions, such as watching seasonal movies.