Entertaining Elderly Loved Ones

entertaining loved ones

Let’s face it, it is not always easy to be with an elderly loved one who has dementia. Well-meaning interactions can be met with anxiety, anger, and even confusion. With the holidays approaching, now is a great time to think about how to include an elderly loved one in a celebration and make it as successful as possible.

Read on for five ideas to help with holiday celebrations and the elderly. 


  1. Keep the visits short and with only a few guests. It may be worth thinking about how and when to celebrate with an elderly loved one. Perhaps a separate visit where the environment can be quieter and more intimate is better than including them in the big family gathering. 
  2. Have a schedule. Many find it helpful to “plan” a visit with an elderly loved one. Keep activities and conversations short. Meals are often very welcome!. It is important to know your elderly loved one. While some elderly enjoy playing cards or board games, such as checkers or chess, others may find these activities stressful.  Don’t forget to make sure there is a plan for using the bathroom. 
  3. Spend some time outside. A few minutes in the fresh air can do wonders for everyone. Perhaps it involves sitting on the patio or perhaps it is a short walk. Just make sure there is shade and account for the temperature.
  4. Include a pet in the celebration. Petting animals is correlated with reduced rates of depression and anxiety. 
  5. Connect to the past. Spending some time looking through photo albums can be a bonding activity and provide a wonderful opportunity to share in special moments that bring back happy thoughts.