Dementia, Thanksgiving & A Pandemic: 6 Tips to Help with Your Holiday Plans

Dementia, Thanksgiving & A Pandemic: 6 Tips to Help with Your Holiday Plans

Dementia During The Pandemic Alters, But Doesn’t Cancel, Thanksgiving Plans With Family.

The holiday season is coming at us full force this year, while the pandemic still lingers in our lives. We are left questioning, again, what do we do for our celebrations, and how can we be as close to our families this season as humanly possible?

We miss our loved ones, especially those with medical conditions that can keep them indoors and away from us most of the time, even at six feet apart. When these loved ones suffer from dementia, being separated from their families on holidays can be even more stressful, confusing, and depressive.

We need to turn this around. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have and celebrate each other. Let’s discuss how we can make this Thanksgiving special for our loved ones with memory impairments, even when we can’t get close enough for that hug we all truly want.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″]

Dementia, COVID-19, And The Holidays

There are some things that we need to remember about our loved ones and how they may act, and react, during the holidays, especially since the celebrations are currently so different from what they have been in previous years. The biggest decision you have is whether you will physically get together in the same place to celebrate or try to experience the holiday digitally, for example.

While it is still currently safer to stay separated for the holidays, the final decision is up to you, the family. It is important to remember that their dementia could be hiding further medical conditions that may be exacerbated by COVID, even if a person has been vaccinated. If you plan on celebrating in person this year, modify your activities to support your loved one.

Tips to Modifying Thanksgiving Plans when Dealing with Dementia during this Pandemic

The entire goal this Thanksgiving should be to connect with your loved ones and spend quality time with them however you can. There are ways to modify your normal Thanksgiving activities to include them and keep them safe at the same time.

  • If you live in a warmer area, outdoor celebrations are a great and healthy way to get together during this special time.
  • Limit the people invited when the celebrations are indoors.
  • Guests can quarantine beforehand and get routine tests every few days until the party.
  • Ask a caregiver to help your loved one with the technology for a Zoom call.
  • Load up a plate or two with all of their Thanksgiving favorites and deliver the food yourself. You can also eat together digitally.
  • Involve your family member in cooking or creating decorations for the holiday.

Whatever your family’s Thanksgiving traditions are, they can be altered to include your loved one with dementia. The point is to make them feel essential, needed, and loved. Your loved one with dementia needs familiarity and consistency. It’s essential to manage your expectations and create your plans with their schedule in mind.

For more help adjusting your Thanksgiving plans to include your loved one dealing with dementia during the pandemic, visit “The Holidays and Alzheimer’s During COVID-19” on the Alzheimer’s Association website at:

Manage Our Expectations

Due to quarantine, the holidays are, unfortunately, adding more confusion and stress upon people who are confused and stressed. Caregivers, who are already taking extra precautions, may also suffer from increased stress. One way we can show our appreciation, for both our loved ones and their caregivers, is to have a plan in place before the holiday.

Is there a special time of day that is good, or bad, for your loved one? You may need to schedule around that. Tone down the decorations a little to decrease any confusion your loved one may feel if they go quickly in, and out, of time. Too many people, loud noises, and quick movements can over-stimulate even the calmest of people.

It may be a good idea, depending on your current situation, to have a discussion with your family beforehand, along with your loved ones and their caregivers, on what you can and cannot do and how to handle any situations that may arise that day.

Dementia can be unpredictable, so ensuring that your family member has a great Thanksgiving, and an awesome holiday season, depends on your approach.