November 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Helping people care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease

LOS ANGELES, CA – The holidays are a time full of celebration, joy and special occasions with family and friends. But for people living with Alzheimer’s disease the season can present special challenges. The Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter has prepared “Home For The Holidays,” a handy guide with tips and advice for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

The guide shows how, with careful planning, family celebrations can be a meaningful part of the holidays while ensuring safety, comfort and enjoyment for everyone. Its purpose is to help alleviate some of the stress associated with the additional activities and changes in routine at this time of year.

“Home for the Holidays” is available for download through the chapter Web site, or by calling the Chapter’s 24-hour helpline at (800) 272-3900.

Anyone with questions about Alzheimer’s disease is encouraged to call. Experts are available to speak with people who are concerned with their own cognitive health, and can assist family members and friends seeking information or resources for loved ones.

Highlights from the Alzheimer’s Association “Home for the Holiday” Guide:

Caregiving responsibilities layered on top of keeping up with holiday traditions can take their toll on Alzheimer families, especially on the caregivers. With some preparation, your celebrations can be filled with joy and magical moments to cherish.

Adjust your expectations
No one, including yourself, should expect you to maintain every holiday tradition or event.

Give yourself permission to do only what you can reasonably manage
Choose holiday activities and traditions that are most important to you
Host a small family dinner instead of a throwing a big holiday party
Consider serving a catered or takeout holiday meal. Many grocery stores and restaurants offer meals to go.
Start a new tradition. Host a potluck dinner where family or friends each bring a dish

Involve the affected individual in holiday festivities
People with memory loss can often share in activities. Here are a few ideas:

Wrap gifts
Bake favorite holiday recipes together. The person can stir batter or decorate cookies.
Set the table. Avoid centerpieces with candles and artificial fruits and berries that could be mistaken for edible
Talk about events to include in a holiday letter
Prepare simple foods such as appetizers
Read holiday cards you receive together
Look through photo albums or scrapbooks. Reminisce about people in the pictures and past events.
Watch a favorite holiday movie together
Sing seasonal carols or read passages from favorite books

When the individual lives in a care facility
A holiday is still a holiday whether it is celebrated at home or at a care facility. Here are some ways to celebrate together:

Join your loved one at the facility-planned holiday activities
Bring a favorite holiday food to share
Sing holiday songs. Ask if other residents can join in.
Read a favorite holiday story or poem out loud

For more tips and information, visit the Alzheimer’s Association Web site ( or call (800) 272-3900.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization committed to research, care and support for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. For 30 years, the California Southland chapter has provided critical services and programs to thousands of families in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. These services and programs include care consultation, support groups, the Medic Alert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® Identification Registry, and a 24-hour Helpline for information and referral at (800) 272-3900. The Alzheimer’s Association also provides education for health care professionals, caregivers and the general public; advocacy for improved public policy and legislation; and financial support to increase research to find the cause and cure for this devastating disease. For more information, visit

Documents and/or Photos available for this release:

PDF of News Release, “Home for the Holidays”
PDF of “Home for the Holidays” booklet

To view supporting documents and/or photos, go to and enter Release ID: 314642