Dear Donna:

I am a full-time caregiver for my father, who has dementia. I took on the role several years ago, and it has become increasingly demanding. The holidays are especially tough. Because he can’t be left alone, I’m unable to attend any family gatherings. The coronavirus has made everything worse this year.

As we head into the holidays, I know I need to proactively boost my spirit to avoid holiday blues or depression. I already connect with friends and family on Facebook, but do you have any other ideas?

Thank you in advance for your help,

Cindy in Saginaw, Michigan

Staying Connected: Holiday Ideas for Caregivers

Dear Cindy:

Your struggle is one we often hear from caregivers, especially when their loved one has some form of dementia. This year’s coronavirus worries have made caregiving even tougher. The good news is the forced isolation has also brought to light more opportunities for making virtual connections.

While there’s nothing better than being face-to-face with loved ones during the holidays, we have some ideas that might boost your spirit until that is possible again:

  • Virtual game night: For many families, games are an essential part of holiday gatherings. Platforms like Houseparty, Zoom, and Skype make it easier to play virtually. Houseparty, for example, allows you to play games together no matter your location. This app has games like Finish the Lyrics and Heads Up: Act It Out.
  • Cookie exchange: Another idea might be to bake and share cookies with friends, then follow up with a video chat. Make a few batches of your signature cookies and divide them up among friends. You can arrange for pickups from your house or mail them to faraway friends. Ask them to do the same with their specialties. You can sample cookies via video chat while enjoying a few laughs.
  • Holiday caroling: While you might feel awkward initially, singing a couple of favorite holiday carols together can actually be a fun intergenerational virtual event. Create a playlist ahead of time with input from the entire family, young and old. Consider having your loved ones download an app like Sing Along Christmas Carols or Christmas Carols Countdown 2020.

One more suggestion is to join an online caregiver support group. They can provide support to family caregivers who can’t leave home to attend an in-person meeting. You’ll be able to chat virtually with peers who understand and empathize with your situation. How to Connect with an Online Support Group offers useful tips for exploring your options.

Finally, I would encourage you to take a few minutes each day to call a friend or loved one. Even a quick chat can make all the difference.

I hope this information is helpful, Cindy!

Kind regards,


Heritage Senior Communities

If you have questions about senior living or are a caregiver wondering what type of care might be best for a family elder, we’d like to make sure you find answers. Call the Heritage community nearest to your Michigan or Indiana home, and one of our experienced team members can help!