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How to Buy Gifts & Plan the Holidays for Your Older Adult with Dementia

senior woman and her daughter or caregiver wrapping presents at Christmas

For someone with dementia, the holidays can be tough. Learn how to navigate the holidays—including activities and gift-giving for loved ones with dementia


Holiday Challenges for Seniors with Dementia and Their Caregivers

The holidays are often a time of celebration, family, and excitement. But for seniors living with dementia and the caregivers who support them, the holidays present new challenges.

The holidays present physical, mental and emotional factors that often disrupt day-to-day activities.



Individuals with dementia may have limited mobility and need help getting around. If they are visiting a home or other location that they aren’t familiar with, they may have difficulty with stairs.



Crowds and noisy places can frustrate or overwhelm a person living with dementia. It won’t take much for a celebrated family to drum up the noise levels, even at home. Help individuals with dementia seek out a quiet room of the house if they need a retreat.



Holidays can be an emotional time for anyone, and for a person living with dementia, it’s no exception. If they have trouble following conversation or remembering things, they may feel confused or upset. Have family members practice patience and give the person enough time to finish his/her thoughts.


How to Plan for the Traditional Seasonal Events

(Source)holiday gift guide for someone with dementia - gift ideas for people with dementia

Set Boundaries

Whether you’re hosting at home or attending parties elsewhere, helping a loved one with dementia can add extra stress to the holiday season. Set proper boundaries with how many events you and your loved one will attend. It’s okay to not make it to every gathering

Track Sugar Intake

Overindulgence in sweets can lead to behavioral issues for a person with dementia.

Avoid Alcohol

Limit your loved one’s alcohol intake. Alcohol can lead to depression and increase their risk of falling.

Involve them

Depending on what they are able to do, involve them in baking, cooking, wrapping and decorating. Creating new memories together while keeping them productive can be beneficial for both of you.


5 Fun and Appropriate Holiday Activities for Someone with Dementia

Memory Book 

Create a holiday photo album. Gather photos from past holidays and assemble a photo album while reflecting on memories and special times together.

Holiday Music

Listen to holiday music. Select music that is familiar to them. Put some on as you hang ornaments or set the table. Singing old holiday songs may bring them comfort.

Holiday Movies

Watch a feel-good holiday movie at home. Pop some popcorn and grab a blanket as you cuddle up watching a classic.

Window Shopping

Walk the mall before it gets too crowded. Admire the different decorations and holiday displays.


Bake and decorate cookies. They can help by measuring ingredients or frosting the cookies. It doesn’t matter if they turn out perfect. What matters is the memories made.




Home Care Tip

Be on the lookout for seasonal depression from your older adult. Be on the lookout for these symptoms and how to relieve them during the holidays.

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