Alzheimer’s Foundation of America shares Dementia-friendly tips for the Holidays

Families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses can take steps to make holiday celebrations easier.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:28 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses can take steps to make holiday celebrations easier.

Charles Fuschillo, CEO and President of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America says preparing your loved one and guests ahead of a celebration can make all the difference.

“Familiarize them with the guests that are coming beforehand by showing them pictures, and arranging a phone or facetime chat with the loved one that is coming,” Fuschillo says.

It’s also important to keep your loved one involved and have a space they can go to if they get overwhelmed.

“So to have a quiet space, a timeout space for the one you’re caring for with yourself and you know play some music of their favorite songs, let them look at photo albums, and just go to an area where they can calm down and not cause agitation or confusion,” he says.

Jacey knight, Healthcare Director at Legends at Capital Ridge Assisted Living Facility says it’s also important to keep your loved one’s routine as normal as possible.

“For Thanksgiving, the holidays it’s overwhelming for everybody especially them so we try to focus on keeping things low stimulation, so no loud music, no over-decorating, and smaller groups of individuals. We try to maintain their routine and their structure so they don’t get more confused and we focus on the positives,” says Knight.

Most importantly, Knight, says you want to be in the “now”.

“Just because they’re not who you remember ten years ago or they’re not the person they were even 10 days ago, their recalls not there, they’re still the person you loved. Take the time and enjoy the moments that you have, and make the best out of it. Find the positive. Don’t push. Don’t force, so if they’re not recalling something that you want, they may not so don’t make them feel bad for not being able to,” Knight says.