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Alzheimer's Association® Offers Guidelines & Tips for the Holidays PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 05 December 2013 05:25

Especially for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease or dementia


The holidays are a time full of celebration, joy and special occasions with family and friends. For people living with Alzheimer's disease the season can present special challenges. The Alzheimer's Association, California Southland Chapter is offering "Home For The Holidays," a handy guide with tips and advice for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease.

The guide shows how, with careful planning, family celebrations can be a meaningful part of the holidays while ensuring safety, comfort and enjoyment for everyone. The tips can help alleviate some of the stress associated with the additional activities and changes in routine at this time of year.

"Home for the Holidays" is available for download through the chapter website, www. or by calling the 24-hour Helpline at (800) 272-3900.

During this season many family members from out of town spend time with older relatives and might see significant changes in memory, personality, and decision making ability. Experts are available to speak with people who are concerned, and can assist those seeking information or resources for loved ones or themselves. Anyone with questions about Alzheimer's disease is encouraged to call toll-free and there is no charge for the consultation.

Highlights from the Alzheimer's Association "Home for the Holidays" Guide:

Caregiving responsibilities combined with holiday traditions can take their toll on Alzheimer's families, and can be especially difficult for caregivers. With some preparation, your celebrations can be filled with joy and magical moments to cherish.

1. Adjust your expectations No one, including yourself, should expect you to maintain every holiday tradition or event.

· Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage

· Choose holiday activities and traditions that are most important to you

· Host a small family dinner instead of a throwing a big holiday party

· Consider serving a catered or takeout holiday meal. Many grocery stores and restaurants offer meals to go.

· Start a new tradition. Host a potluck dinner where family or friends each bring a dish

2. Involve the affected individual in holiday festivities

People with memory loss can often share in activities. Here are a few ideas:

· Wrap gifts

· Bake favorite holiday recipes together. The person can stir batter or decorate cookies.

· Set the table. Avoid centerpieces with candles and artificial fruits and berries that could be mistaken for edible snacks.

· Talk about events to include in a holiday letter

· Listen to seasonal music together.

· Read holiday cards you receive together

· Look through photo albums or scrapbooks. Reminisce about people in the pictures and past events.

· Watch a favorite holiday movie together

3. Celebrate at the care facility:

· Join your loved one at the facility- planned holiday activities

· Bring a favorite holiday food to share

· Sing holiday songs. Ask if other residents can join in.

· Read a favorite holiday story or poem out loud

For more caregiving tips and information, visit the Alzheimer's Association, California Southland Chapter website ( or call (800) 272-3900.

The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization committed to research, care and support for those living with Alzheimer's disease and their families. The California Southland chapter provides services and programs to individuals and families in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Inyo, Kings, Mono and Tulare counties. This includes care consultation, support groups, the Medic Alert® + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return® Identification Registry, and a 24-hour Helpline at (800) 272-3900. The Alzheimer's Association also provides education for health care professionals, caregivers and the general public; advocacy for improved public policy and legislation; and financial support to increase research to find the cause and cure for this devastating disease . For more information, visit