holidays with dementia

Holding On to Holiday Traditions

The holidays are a cherished time to gather with family and friends, but they can also be a source of stress as schedules are disrupted for social gatherings and decadent meals make it difficult to stick to healthy diets. While you may anticipate that your aging loved ones will need help managing all the hustle and bustle, they may want to continue participating in beloved holiday traditions and be reluctant to express that they’ve slowed down.

How to hold on to holiday traditions when Mom and Dad are slowing down

By Eileen Zenker, LCSW, CCM – Aging Life Care Association™ Member


Here are some ways to plan ahead so everyone can stay healthy and happy during the holidays:

Make your home accessible

If your loved one is visiting for the holidays, you can ensure your home is safe and accessible by doing a quick walk-through to look for tripping hazards such as area rugs and cords on the floor. Adding nightlights to the hallways can also help avoid falls.

Schedule relaxing activities after traveling

Whether your loved one is traveling across the country or just across town, keep in mind that they may need to rest upon arrival. Playing a board game, watching a holiday movie or looking at family photos together may be more suitable than a day of shopping, cooking, or visiting.

Be aware of dietary restrictions

It can be difficult not to over-indulge with unhealthy foods during holiday gatherings! If possible, plan ahead to make sure that your loved one has healthy options available so they can follow any diet recommendations their doctor has given them.

Be mindful of traditions

As the holidays approach, your loved one may worry that they will be unable to take part in cherished traditions. To prevent this, you can identify ways to modify activities so your loved one can still be a part of preparing a favorite meal or joining in a favorite game or activity.

Take breaks

From social events to last-minute shopping, the holiday season can mean busy days and late nights. If you are planning an all-day outing, build in some time for a nap or relaxation. Kids, seniors, and everyone in between will appreciate it!

About the author: Eileen Zenker, LCSW, CCM is a Strategic Clinical Consultant at SeniorBridge, a private pay home care and care management offering of Humana At Home. She has over 25 years of experience as a Licensed Social Worker, administrator, and healthcare planner, and holds a certificate in Bio-Ethics. Previously, Eileen served as Director of Social Work at NYU and as Assistant Director at Beth Israel Medical Center. Currently, she mentors students at NYU and Smith College.

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.


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