How to Buy Gifts & Plan for the Holiday for Your Older Adult with Dementia

    For someone with dementia, the holidays can be tough. Learn how to navigate the holidays—including activities and gift giving for the individual with dementia.

    The holidays are often a time of celebration, family and excitement. But for individuals living with dementia and the caregivers who support them, the holidays can present new challenges.

    For an individual living with dementia, the holidays can present physical, mental and emotional factors that may disrupt their day-to-day activities.


    Individuals with dementia may have limited mobility and need help getting around. If they are visiting a home or other location that they aren’t familiar with, they may have difficulty with stairs.


    Crowds and noisy places can frustrate or overwhelm a person living with dementia. It won’t take much for a celebrated family to drum up the noise levels, even at home. Help individuals with dementia seek out a quiet room of the house if they need a retreat.


    Holidays can be an emotional time for anyone, and for a person living with dementia, it’s no exception. If the individual has trouble following conversation or remembering things they may feel confused or upset. Have family members practice patience and give the person enough time to finish his/her thoughts.

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    Gift Guide Best gifts to give someone living with dementia

    Depending on their level and stage of dementia, here are a variety of gifts that will be great to give—and receive for an individual living with dementia.

    1. A soft blanket in their favorite color
    2. An activity book filled with crosswords, word searches, etc.
    3. Music CDs
    4. Velcro shoes to make dressing easier
    5. A doll or stuffed animal
    6. Large desk calendars
    7. Photo albums with names next to each photo
    8. Trip to lunch out
    9. Pull over sweatshirts
    10. Activity lap blanket

    How to Plan for the Traditional Seasonal Events


    Set Boundaries 

    Whether you’re hosting in your home or attending parties elsewhere, helping a loved one with dementia can add extra stress to the already stressful season. Set proper boundaries with how many events you and your loved one will attend. It’s okay to not make it to every gathering.

    Monitor Sugar Intake 

    An overindulgence in sweets can lead to behavioral issues for a person with dementia.

    Avoid Alcohol 

    Limit your loved one’s alcohol intake. Alcohol can lead to depression and increase their risk of falling.

    Involve Them 

    Depending on what they are able to do, involve them in baking, cooking, wrapping and decorating. Creating new memories together while keeping them productive can be beneficial for both of you.

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    5 Fun & Appropriate Holiday Activities for Someone with Dementia

    1. Create a holiday photo album. Gather photos from past holidays and assemble a photo album as you reflect on past memories and special times together.
    2. Listen to holiday music. Select music that is familiar to them. Put some on as you hang ornaments or set the table. Singing old holiday songs may bring them comfort.
    3. Watch a feel good holiday movie at home. Pop some popcorn and grab a blanket as you cuddle up watching a classic.
    4. Walk the mall before it gets too crowded. Admire the different decorations and holiday displays.
    5. Bake and decorate cookies. They can help by measuring ingredients or frosting the cookies. It doesn’t matter if they turn out perfect. What matters is the memories made.

    Home Care Tip:

    Be on the lookout for seasonal depression from your older adult. Be on the lookout for these symptoms and how to relieve them during the holidays.


    Harmony is founded with a single focus in mind: providing compassionate home care and home healthcare to the residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

    Our trustworthy caregivers are ready to lend a helping hand to your mother, father, children, and loved ones in Somerset County, Cambria County, Blair County, and many more locations throughout the region. Contact us and one of our patient advocates will be happy to discuss how Harmony's programs can help your family today. 

    We’re here to help. Call us now, or we can call you.