24 Days of Christmas-themed activities for seniors living with Alzheimer’s. This Christmas countdown is fun for the whole family and easy enough for grandparents with early to mid-stage dementia to participate.
Get your loved one with dementia in the holiday spirit! I created this Christmas countdown with activities my mom, who is mid-stage Alzheimer’s, enjoys. There’s a mix of activities that can be done independently, as well as those the whole family will enjoy.
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1 Send Christmas cards – You can go all out for this one and turn it into a craft project of homemade cards. (My Holiday Dementia Activity Bundle has DONE FOR YOU printable holiday cards created especially for seniors with dementia!) For seniors who have fine motor issues, stuffing the envelope and adding a holiday sticker or wax seal makes a great holiday card activity.
2 Decorate a holiday wreath – Buy a wreath (real or artificial) and some simple decorating supplies like berries, ribbon, and pinecones.
3 Hang mistletoe – We always had mistletoe by our front door when I was a child, so I keep this tradition alive for Mom to enjoy. We like making a mistletoe ball.
4 String popcorn and cranberries – Some fine motor skills are necessary for this one, but large plastic needles help! We use needles like these.
5 Decorate a Christmas tree – Just because a senior may not be able to actually hang ornaments on the tree doesn’t mean they can’t participate in tree decorating. Mom doesn’t hang ornaments anymore but loves to sit next to the ornament box and hand them to the kids. Luckily I still have some of the same decorations Mom put on our tree when I was a kid. She remembers these!
6 Make gourmet hot chocolate – Stir with a chocolate-dipped spoon or candy cane and add toppings like marshmallows, peppermint candies, white chocolate chips, and whipped cream. Yum!
7 Work an easy, yet adult, holiday-themed jigsaw puzzle – (Like this one. Only 35 pieces, but not juvenile at all.)
8 Solve a Christmas crossword puzzle – (Here’s how I created an easy, dementia-friendly one for my mom.)
9 Go see Christmas lights – Our little town has a small park that comes to life with light every holiday season. Luckily it’s close by and we’re able to take Mom several times each season.
10 Watch Christmas movies – It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas in Connecticut, Meet Me in St. Louis, and A Christmas Carol are family favorites seniors love.
11 Wear Christmas socks – (Oh my, these are so cute!)
12 Bake holiday goodies for the neighbors
13 Play the Christmas Carol Matching Game – The updated and expanded version of this game is available in my DONE FOR YOU printable Holiday Dementia Activity Bundle!
14 Do a random act of kindness – This can be super simple like paying for the person’s order behind you in the drive-through. It always makes Mom giggle.
16 Color easy adult Christmas coloring pages – Simple adult designs with thick stroke lines for the win here. My Holiday Dementia Activity Bundle includes DONE FOR YOU artist-created coloring pages created especially for seniors living with dementia!My Holiday Dementia Activity Bundle includes DONE FOR YOU artist-created coloring pages created especially for seniors living with dementia! They even come in 2 difficulty levels!
17 Wrap gifts – If paper and tape are too much for your person, use gift bags with tissue paper.
18 Reminisce about past Christmases – Pull out old photo albums or run a slide show app on your computer screen.
19 Make Christmas ornaments
20 Bake Christmas cookies – If cookie cutters and decorating individual cookies are too tough for your senior, try a batch of simple sugar cookies with peppermint candy topping.
21 Work a Christmas word search (Here’s one I created for mom with large print and easy-to-find words.)
22 Listen to Christmas music
23 Take a family photo – We like doing this just a few days before Christmas when the house is all decorated and everyone is full of holiday excitement.
24 Fill the stockings – Even though my kids are past the Santa years, we still fill the stockings and put out presents after they are in bed on Christmas Eve. Mom loves feeling like she’s part of the secret.