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5 Ways to Reduce Stress Around the Holidays

The winter holiday season brings many people joy––from family gatherings to elaborate meals. However, holiday expectations, severe weather, or poor health can add unnecessary stress to the occasion.

For seniors that experience memory challenges, the holidays can feel overwhelming for a variety of additional reasons:

  • Living apart from family and friends
  • Declining health or fatigue
  • Confusion or forgetfulness with family they don’t recognize
  • Feeling overstimulated by sound or sight
  • Seasonal depression disorder or increased anxiety

How to Reduce Stress Around the Holidays

The Place

  1. Celebrate in a safe and familiar environment that your loved one feels comfortable and secure in. Keep the noise level low to avoid overstimulating them, especially towards the end of the day as their energy wanes.

The Plan

  1. Make travel simple and easy by planning ahead. Choose a location that is easy for your loved one to get to, or organize a rideshare situation. Avoid excessive travel or relocation to decrease the risk of falling near stairs or on ice.

The Plate

  1. Provide meal options for your loved one’s specific dietary needs and monitor their involvement in the kitchen with open flames or hot ovens.

The Priorities

  1. Organize an active holiday schedule as the weather gets colder. Bundle up for short family walks together or lead low-impact indoor workouts to maintain physical and mental health.

The Presents

  1. Reduce financial stress by limiting or forgoing the gifts. Holiday expectations can create pressure to buy gifts for everyone in the family, but a “Secret Santa” or “white elephant” gift exchange can keep the festivities low-cost while still spreading holiday cheer.

Holidays may look a little different when prioritizing your loved one’s needs over tradition, but decreasing their stress will allow them (and you) to focus on what’s truly important––the time you all spend together.

Willow River is Here to Help

At Willow River, we understand the challenges Alzheimer’s and dementia can bring. If you have questions or need help, Willow River has the answers and resources to assist you in this transition. Call Willow River Senior Living at 888-546-1886 or contact us through our website to start the conversation today.