Holidays in the Kitchen: Spending Time With Someone With Alzheimer’s

The gathering place for so much of the holidays is in the kitchen. That’s where many Christmas memories may be for people with Alzheimer’s. Laura Wayman, author of A Loving Approach to Dementia Care, has tips on how to tap into that for someone you care for. Her advice, which CNN.com shares in an article about Thanksgiving, includes:

  • Fill your home with pleasant, traditional, soothing aromas. Put a couple of teaspoons of vanilla in a baking pan to make the kitchen smell like desserts baking. Cooking the meal may also produce smells that are familiar to your loved one with dementia.
  • Incorporate the person with dementia in food preparation as appropriate, perhaps by stirring a mixture or setting a table. But safety is the priority: Wayman knows a family whose mother with dementia went to get the turkey from the oven but fell and burned herself.

Every day is a balance when you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s—no less so at Christmas. We wish you a safe and merry Christmas Eve.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

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