Ways to include a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease

Making memories with loved ones is a special part of the holidays. Sharing stories, taking photos, and just enjoying each other’s company make for a wonderful season. For those living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and their families, it’s also a time to cherish the moment because the progression of the disease varies from year to year and person to person.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association:

  • More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million.
  • People age 65 and older survive an average of four to eight years after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, yet some live as long as 20 years with Alzheimer’s. This reflects the slow, uncertain progression of the disease.
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

If your family includes older adults, the holidays are a wonderful time to connect.

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Here are some conversation ideas for both older adults and those living with Alzheimer’s from the Association:

  • “Tell me about your family growing up.”

While they may not remember every detail this is a great way to start.

  • “What is your favorite holiday tradition?”

An open-ended question gives the person permission to reminisce and steer the discussion.

  • “Did you ever get a special gift?”

If your loved one says “no,” you might start sharing information about a gift you got. That sometimes helps get the ball rolling.

  • “What do you like to eat during the holidays?”

Food and scents bring back powerful memories and talking about them is a great way to engage your loved one.

You can even record or write some of their memories down so that you can talk about them again or pass the stories to other family members and the next generation.

Early signs and symptoms

If you haven’t seen your loved ones recently, the holidays are a good opportunity to check on their health and well-being. The Alzheimer’s Association provides a list of 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia::

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenging in planning or problem solving
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood or personality

If you notice one of these signs in yourself or someone else, please see a doctor. Early detection gives you time to access available treatments, plan for the future and enroll in clinical trials.

You can help the Alzheimer’s Association advance care, support and research for all those affected. In this season of giving, please join the WayForth team and donate today.


WayForth can help you or a family member with our comprehensive moving solutions including downsizing, packing and set-up in a new home, contact our moving professionals today at 1.844.WAYFORTH. 



Alzheimer’s Association

About the Author: WayForth

WayForth is the definitive provider of comprehensive and personalized moving solutions for life and business. Since 2016, WayForth has led the way in move management, providing solutions to over 15,000 individuals and families. How you move matters and no matter the destination, WayForth serves as a guide making life’s transitions easier to navigate. Call 1.844.WAYFORTH today to learn how we can help with your next move!
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