How to Help Loved Ones With Dementia Manage the Holiday Season

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Posted Dec 9th, 2020 in Alzheimer's & Other Dementias, Caregiver Support

How to Help Loved Ones With Dementia Manage the Holiday Season

Holidays can bring love, laughter, and memories to everyone in your family. Due to the pandemic, this year's holidays will almost certainly be different for you and your loved ones. 

While making holiday plans, it’s essential to consider the comfort of your loved ones. This is especially important for individuals living with dementia, as they may feel a sense of loss during the holidays because of the changes they are experiencing around them. Try to maintain their routine so that the holiday preparation doesn't get disruptive or confusing for them. 

Here are some of our top ideas for how you can celebrate the holidays in a way that maintains routine and comfort for your family members with dementia. 

While we’ve written this article with safety in mind, it is critical that you follow the specific recommendations and rules from your local public health officials on how to celebrate the holidays in 2020.

Fold Laundry

A great way to keep your loved ones with dementia occupied is by asking them to contribute to household activities. To start with, you can get them to help you with laundry and give them hand towels as they are easy to fold. 

No matter how poorly they do it, the aim here is to make them feel successful at the task. You can always go back and fix them later in private!

Holiday Activities

Holiday activities can be quite elaborate, and the preparations can be time-consuming. A great option is to engage your loved ones to do some easy tasks which have no incorrect way to do them. It will help them to build creativity and confidence. 

Here is a list of tasks that your loved ones can participate in with your supervision:

  • Flower arranging
  • Table decoration
  • Fruit arrangements

Photo Activity

A great way to keep your loved ones engaged this holiday season is to spend time going through old photos. Help them remember memorable incidents or narrate a story about a picture that can help them recollect those memories. This way, it can support their cognitive functioning and memory.

Decorating the Christmas Tree

Everyone has holiday traditions since their childhood which can be a great way to relive those memories for your loved ones with dementia. You can ask them to decorate the Christmas tree with tinsel and ornaments while you supervise them. They will feel grateful for your support and won’t feel excluded from the celebration.

Kitchen Activities

Baking can be a stress buster, and the aroma can be therapeutic.

You can work on simple recipes together as that can be a safe way of getting them to do something fun while offering a tasty treat as a reward in the end. Activities like these can help in improving their well-being through the social interaction involved, engaging their senses and using skills such as reading and hand-eye coordination. 

Virtual Get-Togethers

It’s best to connect with your loved ones through video calling rather than in-person visits this holiday season. 

A video call can be a fun way to connect with your family and friends. It is essential to consider that crosstalk or simultaneous conversations can be challenging for people living with dementia. To help avoid confusion, ask family members who aren’t talking to mute themselves and encourage only one conversation at once so it’s easier for everyone to feel included.


A great way to bond with your loved ones with dementia is through music. You can connect with them by singing some melodies together. Make a playlist of their favourite songs that they enjoy listening to during the day.

The goal is to keep them happily engaged with an activity that they are willing to do. 

However, for a person living with dementia some days can be more difficult than others but making them feel special is essential. 

The Alzheimer’s Association quotes “Be patient and offer reassurance. It may encourage the person to explain his or her thoughts.”

Simplify the celebrations and also plan ahead of time as it can help you minimize stress. Try to avoid situations that may confuse or frustrate them. This way, you can experience pleasant holidays with your loved ones with dementia.

To learn more about our home care services, contact our caregiving team today at ActivePro on how our caregivers in Toronto can support your loved ones living with dementia.

Not sure what level of care you need? Questions about our services? 

Call us today for a no-cost assessment.

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