May 4, 2009 -- Question: Do you have any suggestions for dealing with holidays with my loved one who has Alzheimer's?
Answer: Well, holidays are a special time for all of us and cause stress in all of us to one degree or another. And holidays are a change in routine and it is important for people with memory challenges to have a routine.
So the thing with holidays is to simplify and to engage the person in small steps -- to maybe have opportunities for conversation with a small number of people rather than a large gathering. And to remind them of the traditions that they have lived with through their entire lives if they're fortunate enough to have stable family structure.
So, on the other hand, holidays can be very valuable for all of us because it reminds of us our roots, it reminds us of family, and it reminds us of the traditions that creates ourselves as human beings. So it's just important to realize that these are times of stress and simplification and engaging people in the decisions that they make about how they want to participate in the holiday is important.