Christmas is a special time of year when people of all ages celebrate and participate in fun holiday-themed activities. Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean your elderly loved one has to give up holidays. Take a look at some of the fun things seniors with Alzheimer’s can do to celebrate the Christmas holiday.
1. Make Holiday Cards
There is no right or wrong way to design a Christmas card, which makes this the perfect activity for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Your loved one will have the outlet of self-expression he or she needs to stave off symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s. Creating holiday cards can also relieve stress, boost mood, and encourage cooperation. Your loved one can make the cards for fun, or you can help him or her address the cards and envelopes to send out to family and friends.
Helping seniors with creative activities can be difficult for family caregivers, especially if they have other important tasks to tend to. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of El Dorado County, CA, home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
2. Listen to Christmas Music
Pull out your loved one’s favorite Christmas tunes and have a listening session. The types of songs played will generally determine how it impacts your loved one. For example, fast songs may encourage seniors with Alzheimer’s to move, but slower tunes may have a calming and sedative-like effect. Listening to Christmas songs can evoke memories and emotions from your loved one’s past. If your loved one is in the early stages of the disease and still mobile, take him or her to a local Christmas concert that typically attracts a small crowd.
3. Read Christmas Stories
Many family caregivers believe being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease prevents their loved ones from reading. However, seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s can continue reading to keep their minds engaged and stimulated. Make sure to choose some of your loved one’s favorite Christmas books. These readings could keep his or her mind active and possibly trigger memories.
4. Work on Christmas Puzzles
Puzzles provide a powerful brain workout that seniors with Alzheimer’s need. Family caregivers can choose from a variety of Christmas jigsaw puzzles that include nativity sets, Christmas trees, Santa’s workshop, and more. Seniors with Alzheimer’s often have issues communicating with others due to memory loss. However, doing jigsaw puzzles gives your loved one the opportunity to converse, share accomplishments, and bond with others.
A professional caregiver can help your loved one participate in Christmas activities and allow you to take a break from your caregiving duties. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, El Dorado County Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
5. Cook Favorite Holiday Meals
Cooking can provide many emotional and cognitive benefits for seniors with Alzheimer’s. Making favorite holiday foods may make it easier for your loved one to overcome the challenges he or she faces with eating. Make sure to keep the kitchen well-lit and the cooking tasks as simple as possible. Even though your loved one won’t be in charge of making the holiday treats and healthy snacks, doing simple tasks can still provide a sense of familiarity and comfort.
6. Decorate the Home or Christmas Tree
Light and visual stimulation can have a positive effect on your loved one’s mood and ability to sleep. Decorating the home or tree with Christmas lights can also stimulate the memory. The memories your loved one recalls may coincide with the Christmas activity. Keep in mind the brain will see the images the eyes send. Therefore, the brighter the lights and decorations involved, the better.
If you think your loved one is not getting the attention he or she needs during the holiday season, consider hiring a professional caregiver. In El Dorado County, California, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. For a free in-home consultation, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (916) 358-3801 or (530) 409-4411.