The holidays are a joyful time, but they can also be stressful for the approximately 5.7 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s, their families and their caregivers. Try these six ideas to mitigate the seasonal stress for anyone coping with an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. 

1. Make life easier

Consider simplifying large family gatherings or asking someone else to host. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and accept support from people who offer it

2. Create new memories

Invite the person with Alzheimer’s to help with simple activities such as hanging decorations. They will feel involved and it will give you an opportunity to spend quality time together. Build on past memories like singing familiar holiday songs or reviving old family traditions.

3. Maintain a routine

Keep on schedule as much as possible with bedtimes, mealtime and medication schedules to give the person you care for a sense of comfort and order.   

4. Be understanding

Call ahead before you visit and know that plans may change due to unpredictable situations.

5. Have compassion

When visiting, speak directly to the person with Alzheimer’s and don’t talk about them in their presence as if they are not there. 

6. Offer practical gifts

Give a helpful gift like a supply of frozen homemade meals or a house-cleaning service. This will give caregivers time to go holiday shopping or take care of themselves.

With help from family and friends, everyone will be able to enjoy the season and create new memories.