Tips to support someone with dementia during the holiday season

December 10, 2018

The holidays are a wonderful time to catch up and visit with family and friends you don’t regularly see. Large gatherings, however, can be stressful and overwhelming for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. If you have plans to attend or host different holiday gatherings this season, and you’re caring for someone with dementia, keep in mind these four tips to calm any uneasiness and keep the season merry.

1. Make the visit short and sweet.

It’s important to help your family and friends understand that your situation is different now, and you might not be able to spend as much time together as you once did.

2. Stagger visitors to your home.

If family is gathering in your home, see if smaller groups could drop by at different times of the day.

3. Give your person a break.

Keep in mind that people with dementia can get more anxious and agitated than the rest of us, especially when there’s a lot of external stimulation. Offer the person with dementia a break by asking a trusted family member or friend to accompany them to a quiet space in the home. Often 20 or 30 minute breaks to decompress is all it takes to be able to rejoin festivities.

4. Attend Iona’s Memory Café!

Designed  for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers, family members, and friends to get together in a safe and supportive environment, Iona’s Memory Café is a great way to have fun and enjoy special time with your loved one. Our next Memory Café is coming up on Friday, December 28 from 5:00-7:00 PM. We’ll be celebrating the end of 2018 and ringing in the New Year with a live musical performance by Jesse Palidofsky and Seth Kibel. Come sing, dance, or simply sway to piano, guitar, saxophone, and other musical stylings that touch the heart. Follow the link to learn more and register.

We wish you and your family a peaceful and blessed holiday season. And, should you need support during the holiday season, we encourage you to call (202) 895-9448, and ask for our Helpline or email