Holiday celebrations are traditionally a time for family gatherings, sharing food and exchanging gifts, but for families coping with Alzheimer's, the holidays can be bittersweet times, filled with stress and frustration.

Janet Lewis, Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Association-Wyoming Chapter, says festivities can agitate, confuse and over stimulate people with Alzheimer's or dementia.

"You've got flashing lights, you've got company from out of town, you have excited, screaming children and heavenly day somebody put a tree in your house," said Lewis. "It's very hard to understand all this and for someone with Alzheimer's it's a very stressful time."

Lewis says caregivers often feel anxious, frustrated and lonely as they search for ways to keep the season happy and memorable.

"For all of us the holidays are crazy, but for those caregivers it's even worse," said Lewis. "One of our biggest tips is to set expectations. Call those people that are coming to visit and let them know what's going on with their loved one who has Alzheimer's or dementia."

Lewis encourages residents to attend a free workshop offering Holiday Tips for the Caregiver on Sunday, November 15 at the Laramie County Library.

"We'll be talking about the different tips starting at 1:30 p.m. and then there'll be time for questions and answers as well," said Lewis. "There's also going to be a handout for everybody with some tips."

Caregivers can also call the Alzheimer's Association 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 for emotional support and practical tips.