Holiday Activities and Memory Loss

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holidays can bring about a focus on loss for those living with dementia

Remember when…? Holidays may be rich with tradition and fun, however for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia holidays can bring about a focus on loss. By choosing an approach where you invite the individual you are caring for to help, you can give them a sense of belonging and usefulness this holiday season. Be certain to give thanks and show your appreciation for their input.

The sparkle of the lights, glitter of the wrappings, holiday music, and fragrances may spark memorable moments. The season is rich with smells, sounds, and sights. While focusing on the process, always offer the opportunity to reminisce about days gone by. The longer term memory will hold more meaning than the here and now.

Here are a few suggestions to wrap up the holidays in happiness and hone in on meaningful times filled with fun and flexibility:

  • Rhythmic activities: singing, listening to holiday music, telling familiar stories, reciting prayers and reading poetry
  • Cards: listing, making, writing, reviewing, signing, sorting, delivering
  • Decorating: make place cards, place mats, dinner menus, bows, wrapping
  • Crafts: look through photographs, make an album, collage or ornaments
  • Recipes/baking: measuring, kneading, rolling, crushing, spooning, stirring, peeling
  • Preparing a meal: setting the table, folding napkins, washing vegetables, ripping lettuce, snapping beans
  • Holiday Lights: in many areas it is dark early enough to get out for a ride to take in some of the sights of the beautiful decorations
There really are many tasks and activities that individuals can be involved in that offer them a chance to help make the holidays merry, while reminiscing about past gatherings. Don’t allow the day to end without everyone getting involved. We all like our opinion and preference asked, and who doesn’t want to be the best at something? Are you working with the best pie forked-edger? Find out, and be sure to ask for them to teach you and then to acknowledge them. This will definitely help you get on the “good list” and make an enjoyable holiday season with new traditions for all.

About the Author: Gary Skole