Alzheimer’s Insights: Facing the challenges of a safe Thanksgiving

Published 7:11 am Saturday, November 21, 2020

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Scott Finley

It seems we are no sooner done with Halloween than the ending of the year begins to rocket past us.

Next up is Thanksgiving, which will look very different this year thanks to the pandemic.  Thanksgiving falls during National Caregiver Month, when we honor the nearly 15 million Americans who provide 17 billion hours of unpaid care to individuals living with this devastating disease.

Keeping COVID in mind, here are a few tips to help Alzheimer’s caregivers through Thanksgiving.

First, persons living with dementia may need reminders regarding:

  • Hand-washing and moisturizing. Caregivers should consider implementing a supervised hand-washing schedule.
  • Covering nose and mouth during a sneeze or cough.
  • Refraining from placing things in the mouth.
  • Staying in a particular area.
  • Taking medications appropriately.
  • Adopting social distancing practices and refraining from sharing items.
  • Following any other procedures that would require memory and judgment.

If you have guests, you are strongly advised to follow any restrictions/rules currently in place for your county.  For instance, Dallas County recommends a virtual Thanksgiving, or moving festivities outside to spread out.  Tarrant County suggests limiting indoors Thanksgiving to just 6 people.  In any case, mask up, wash your hands and limit the number of people in the kitchen.

Of course, the safest option is to avoid in-person holiday gatherings with people outside of your household, as there are other ways to stay socially connected.  Whatever you do, here are some tips and ideas for safely engaging with family and friends during the holidays.

And just a reminder – you can always get the latest information about the Association’s COVID-19 emergency preparedness guidelines for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in long-term or community-based care settings here:

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. Visit or call 800.272.3900.

Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.  He can be reached at