Caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s is challenging any time of year, but the added stress brought on by the holidays can easily knock you both out of your normal routine. However, it’s important to remember that your loved one is battling a progressive disease that makes each subsequent holiday harder on them. As a result, including a senior with Alzheimer’s in holiday traditions will make them feel special by restoring their sense of belonging. Here are several proven ways to help make the holidays more enjoyable while caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s.

Put on Your Best Face

Seniors who live with Alzheimer’s disease are typically very sensitive to the moods and feelings of those around them. If you’re acting stressed out and anxious, your loved one will probably respond negatively to what they’re sensing. When you start feeling tired and short-tempered around the holidays, try these strategies to decompress:

  • Go to another area of the home for a few minutes, like a bathroom, and do some deep breathing exercises.
  • Take a long walk.
  • Get some extra sleep.
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to step in for a couple days.

When around your loved one, remember to put on your best face even when it’s hard.

Include Them in Holiday Festivities

Asking someone with Alzheimer’s to help with the holiday preparations will make them feel more connected and accepted. Even if it’s a small project, when you involve them in holiday traditions your loved one will get more enjoyment out of the time they’re spending with you and other family members. Use the opportunity as a bonding moment to share family memories and maybe even pull out some old photos.

Here are some holiday preparations that a senior with Alzheimer’s can assist with:

  • Peeling veggies and potatoes
  • Wrapping gifts
  • Decorating the tree
  • Dusting furniture or wiping down the dining room table
  • Polishing up the good silverware
  • Picking out some Christmas music
  • Rolling out cookie dough and baking cookies

While “supervising”, pay close attention to which tasks bring them joy. Even if your loved one doesn’t do the neatest job or makes a mistake, let them join in. If something needs to be t