Thanksgiving Tips for the Alzheimer’s Caregiving Family

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 21 November 2012

“The Alzheimer’s Association says that unless a treatment or cure is found, Alzheimer’s will become the defining disease of the Baby Boom Generation.”

These startling words are from a recent CNN article, “Celebrating Thanksgiving with ‘Generation Alzheimer’s.’ ” The article also shares painful personal stories from three families who will all have a very different Thanksgiving this year due to the devastation caused by Alzheimer’s.

If someone in your family is living with Alzheimer’s, consider the tips shared in the CNN article by dementia care specialist and author, Laura Wayman. We’ve highlighted a few of them here:

  1. Keep the meal small and simple, both in terms of the food on the table (read our post on clutter and dementia) and the number of people around it.
  2. Dedicate a room for the individual to go and rest as needed, as he/she may feel overwhelmed at certain points throughout the day. *Hint: it may also be a good “escape” for the primary caregiver or other family members overwhelmed by their emotions.
  3. Emphasize soothing scents and find (safe) ways for the individual to be involved in dinner preparation or clean-up.
  4. Reminisce, but don’t start by saying “do you remember when.”


If this is your first holiday with Alzheimer’s present, or if your loved one has reached a new stage in the disease, give yourself grace. Allow yourself to cry and grieve the loss, and do your best to celebrate all the same.

Your turn: How does your family deal with dementia during the holidays?



Do you have something to say?