Handling The Holidays With Loved Ones Suffering From Alzheimer's Disease

Dec 21, 2020

Navigating the holidays during a pandemic can be doubly stressful for families that include someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

While some things may have to be altered, holiday traditions provide a sense of normalcy that can be especially important for family members with Alzheimer’s.

Elizabeth Cook is the manager of media relations with the Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She said families shouldn’t give up on their usual celebrations.

“If you guys are used to baking cookies or making a special dish or singing Christmas songs, any of that traditional stuff, we recommend you still try to do that with your loved one, you just might need to implement some new strategies in order to do that,” Cook said.

For families who have loved ones in a care facility, visiting is likely out of the question. Cook suggested working with the facility to see what is allowed, perhaps sending gifts and decorations for the resident and working with staff to set up a Zoom call for the holidays.

Cook said it’s also good to think of caregivers who are dealing with the stress of the holidays and taking care of a loved one. She suggests offering assistance in a safe way, like delivering groceries, is a great way to help out.