Preparing guests for holiday visits

e-Update from the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging at N I H

As you prepare for the holidays, you may also need to prepare guests for how to visit with your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Explain to guests that the person with Alzheimer’s may not always remember what is expected and acceptable. Here are some other tips for successful visits:

    • Let guests know ahead of time about any unusual behaviors that may take place, such as incontinence, eating with fingers, wandering, or hallucinations.
    • If this is the first visit since the person with Alzheimer’s advanced to a later stage of the disease, tell guests to be prepared for changes, and that the person may not remember their names or relationships, which may be painful.
    • Explain that memory loss is the result of the disease and is not intentional.
    • Stress that the meaningfulness of the moment together matters more than what the person remembers. The person may not remember guests but can still enjoy their company.

Read this tip sheet for more holiday hints for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Share this information with friends and family:

Twitter: #Alzheimers #caregivers—learn about preparing for the holiday season from #NIH.

Facebook: Holidays can be meaningful, enriching times for both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and his or her family. Maintaining or adapting family rituals and traditions helps all family members feel a sense of belonging and family identity. Get tips on having a successful holiday season from NIH.


National Institute on Aging



Get in touch


1003 Maple Hill Road
Bloomington, IL 61705-9327


Contact Us
Phone: 309-829-2065
Fax: 309-829-6021

Seniors may call toll free:
Phone: 1-800-888-4456

Opening hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm