How to Help a Senior with Alzheimer’s Enjoy a Thanksgiving Get-Together

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If you provide Alzheimer’s care in Harrisburg for your senior loved one, you likely already know holidays tend to present special challenges and can be difficult for him or her to manage without some assistance. However, there are some good tips you can employ to help your loved one enjoy this year’s Thanksgiving get-together.

Choose a Familiar Location 

Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease often become more confused in new locations. This confusion may lead to irritability and frustration for you and your loved one. Resist the temptation to move a get-together to a relative’s home your loved one doesn’t visit regularly. Ideally, host somewhere your loved one currently visits at least once a week. 

Have a Small Guest List or Separate Events

Sometimes, crowds and a lot of people talking—even if those people are family and close friends—can be overwhelming and overstimulating to a senior with Alzheimer’s disease. If your family is large, consider hosting a separate Thanksgiving gathering on a day other than your big family get-together. For this separate celebration, invite just the family and friends your loved one is closest to and keep it simple. 

Prepare Your Loved One

Whether your loved one wants to see the entire family or you have a small get-together, preparing your loved one is very important for making him or her comfortable and the holiday enjoyable. Talk to your loved one regularly about the plans for the upcoming holiday and write down the basics on notecards so he or she can double-check them later. Let your loved one know who will be attending and show old and updated pictures of these guests to help him or her make a connection with who everyone is. In addition to preparing your loved one, you may also need to prepare your family and friends for what to expect and how to act around your loved one if they haven’t seen him or her in a while. 

Try to Stick with Your Loved One’s Routine 

Sticking to a routine is comforting to people with Alzheimer’s disease because it utilizes the memory abilities they do have. Harrisburg dementia care experts recommend trying to keep the routine of Thanksgiving Day similar to other days with the same wake up time, inclusion of naps if your loved one usually takes one, meals at about the same time, and so on. 

Make Him or Her Feel Special 

Be sure to include foods, decorations, and music your loved one has enjoyed at previous Thanksgiving get-togethers. The familiarity will not only be comforting, but your loved one may also enjoy having some of his or her favorite things present. Even if he or she can’t remember enjoying them before, your loved one may develop a new appreciation for old favorites. 

Finish Early 

While it may be a tradition for your family to have the big Thanksgiving meal late in the day, this is often the worst time of day for those with Alzheimer’s. It can be made even more challenging by planning late activities such as a large meal. Instead, consider having your Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime or in the early afternoon.

Though the holiday season may be difficult for your loved one to manage at times, he or she may need additional help during the rest of the year. Whether it’s for companionship or assistance with daily tasks, turn to Home Care for at-home care Harrisburg families trust. All of our caregivers are trained in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory related conditions lead happier and healthier lives. For more information, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (717) 540-4663 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.


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