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Celebrating the holidays while including your loved ones with Alzheimer’s

Dec 15, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Dec 18, 2023, 3:16 pm

two older people look at an album together -- Alzheimer's holidays...

The Alzheimer's Association says there are many ways to include your loved one in the holidays while taking their disease into account. (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — Anyone with a loved one living with Alzheimer’s or dementia can still give them a meaningful gift during the holidays.

Listen live at 11:20! The Alzheimer’s Association joins us with a holiday gift guide for people with dementia and their caregivers.

 

Public Policy Director for the Alzheimer’s Association Utah chapter, Jeremy Cunningham, said the gift needs to match where your loved one is in the disease process.

“For example, someone that’s just starting out with the disease or they’re in the first or second stages, gift cards may be something that they would really enjoy. Because you want to empower them to still be able to make choices for themselves, right? Being able to make those choices. It’s still really important.”

The Alzheimer’s Association website also recommends gifting things like sticky notes or dry-erase boards so your loved one can have a place for daily reminders.

For people in the middle and late stages of the disease, the association recommended things like playlists with their favorite music or framed photos of loved ones with labels on them to make the person easily identifiable.

If your loved one gets easily agitated, get something soothing. The association recommended gifts like soft blankets.

Cunningham also said you may want to alter how your family gets together for the holidays.

“Do smaller groups. Do things more centered around them … If grandma loved baking cookies, you can still frost cookies with her. But do it at her level, meet her where she is.”

And if you don’t know where to start ask their caregivers.

Show caregivers your appreciation too

While you’re at it, Cunningham said, caregivers themselves deserve a gift.

“Remember the caregivers. You know, many times the best thing you could do for a caregiver is give them time. Give them a gift certificate to a spa. Realize that they’re living this 24 hours a day with an individual that may be living with Alzheimer’s itself but they’re also, the is caregiver is being affected.”

Simply giving your time so caregivers can take a break for their own life does wonders. Always communicate and meet them at their level.

The Alzheimer’s Association website emphasizes bringing joy into the holidays, “Focus on the things that bring happiness and let go of activities that seem overwhelming, stressful or too risky.”

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Celebrating the holidays while including your loved ones with Alzheimer’s