How to create meaningful holiday moments | Avalon Memory Care

How to create meaningful holiday moments

Holiday time is here once again, but things may be different this year. It’s tough to see your loved one forget family traditions or not enjoy the holidays like they used to, but there are ways to still bring merriment and meaning to the occasion. It’ll take some adjustment and extra planning. It’ll take lots of patience. However, the one thing that remains the same is the love at the center of it all.


Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Loved One

Many of us reminisce about our childhoods at the holidays and, for those living with dementia, revisiting those old memories can be a good way to bring joy to the season. If you’re unsure how the holidays will go when spending time with your senior, there are many activities that are meant to keep your loved one’s stress levels low. We’ve compiled some easy things to do that won’t leave your loved one out and that the entire family can enjoy.

  • Bake a familiar family recipe.
  • Decorate the tree with sensory stimulating ornaments. Try a themed tree with soft, fluffy critters or bright, cozy baubles or nostalgic holiday moments with light and sound.
  • Play the piano and sing favorite Christmas carols together.
  • Look through old photo albums.
  • Watch videos of past family holidays.
  • Visit with a beloved pet—if your pet wears Christmas sweaters, dress them up for an extra sensory experience for your loved one.
  • Share a meal at a restaurant that serves food your senior enjoyed as a child.
  • Snuggle under plush blankets and watch a classic holiday movie.
  • Ask them about their earlier holiday memories and record their stories for the family history.
  • Make Christmas presents for your friends and family. This could be simple paper ornaments or tying bows to candy canes.
  • Take a brief drive around the neighborhood to view Christmas lights and decorations.
  • Record a holiday greeting on your phone and send to other family members.
  • Write a letter to your loved one, telling them how much you care for them, and read it to them under the twinkly tree lights.
  • Set up a faux fireplace or turn to the fireplace setting on their TV, then drink hot cocoa side-by-side.
  • If it’s not too cold, make a snowman together.
  • Fill stockings with fun goodies for the grandkids or kids-at-heart in the family.
  • Visit a local winter wonderland to enjoy the lighted décor and holiday scenes.
  • Write messages in greeting cards and mail to family members.
  • Binge on the classic holiday cartoons like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman.


Holiday Gifts for Your Loved One with Dementia

What do you give someone with dementia? It might depend on their stage of cognitive function, but there are many things you can do to brighten your loved one’s holidays. Here are some suggestions:

  • An extra fluffy bathrobe or cozy throw
  • An oversized sweater or cardigan
  • Warm, fuzzy socks
  • Soft pajamas or nightgown
  • New undergarments
  • Fidgets or other sensory toys to stimulate thinking
  • A simple radio that plays their favorite tunes
  • A photo album with photos of them from many stages of their life and with family members
  • Relaxing puzzles or word search games
  • A huggable stuffed animal with extra options to stir the senses
  • Calming nightlights for their room or suite
  • Coloring book with crayons or markers
  • A basket of their favorite snacks
  • Simple painting projects with easy brushes and straightforward patterns
  • Sticker project books
  • Homemade Christmas cookies or other goodies
  • Therapeutic hand or foot massage
  • Your time—spend a day with them and do their favorite festive activities



We know you’re already very busy caring for your loved one—and we want to be there to take on some of the heavy holiday lifting. If these tips helped to put a bit of extra joy into your season, we’d love to hear it. Through each new stage, Avalon is dedicated to serving those with dementia and their families. That means, we’re available whenever you’re ready to discover other caregiving options and when it’s the right time for your senior.

We sincerely hope your holidays are filled with everything calm and everything bright.


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