The holidays can be days and weeks full of seeing family and friends or shopping for “just the right present” for the special people in your life. But it can also be a challenging time for people who are dealing with serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease in their lives or in the lives of loved ones.
Here at the Alzheimer’s Association, we have several resources for families, including travel tips and strategies to plan a stress-free holiday celebration. Our offices also offer holiday packets made especially for helping family members deal with the holidays when there is a person with dementia in the family. There are specific ideas for gifts for caregivers, gifts people with dementia might enjoy, adjusting expectations for the holidays from what they may have been in the past, and tips on what you might want to avoid.
While planning our own holidays, it’s a good time to remember other individuals and families who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. What can you do to make this season better for those who are struggling this holiday season?
A few suggestions for you and your family to consider:
- Adopt a nearby assisted living facility or nursing home. Write a holiday card to the residents.
- If you have a relative who is elderly or alone, or maybe a neighbor, bake cookies as a family and wrap them up and take them to this person. Yours might be the only gift in their holiday.
- Volunteer to help bag food at a food bank serve at a soup kitchen in your area. These organizations need help year-round, not just during the holidays.
- Clean out your drawers and closets over any vacation days you might have. Donate clothing, especially coats and jackets as well a warm blankets, to a local shelter.
- Around the holiday table, ask each person to mention something they are grateful for. Even the smaller children can be helped to verbalize something they appreciate.
If you would like a copy of the Alzheimer’s Association holiday packet or more recommendations on celebrating the holidays with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, please call us at 1.800.272.3900.
Note: Our offices will be closed November 25-26, and again December 24-January 3, but our 800 number will be available 24/7.