The holiday season is officially here. Christmas carols are playing everywhere and store sales flyers, offering never-before-seen savings, are competing for attention. I won’t even mention the traffic.

The holidays can make many seniors and their caregivers feel a bit sad or even depressed. Maybe shades of holidays past are lurking, reminding you just how much has changed. Or maybe it’s the goal of a perfect holiday that never really materializes.

For families living with a dementia diagnosis, holidays are especially stressful. It’s often hard to accept that your traditional celebration will change as your loved one’s disease progresses. Here are several tips that can help:

— Focus on the person as they are now, not how they were in the past.

— Simplify activities and rituals.

— Limit your loved one’s exposure to large gatherings, which can be frightening to a person with dementia.

— Many people with dementia enjoy listening to the music of the season.

— Keep decorations safe and simple. Avoid decorations that are dangerous, poisonous or pose a choking risk.

— Maintain the person’s routine to decrease the chance of over-stimulation or confusion.

Then there is the financial factor. We want to be generous to children, friends, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but this can be hard when incomes are limited.

Make a budget and stick to it. People love you, not what you can buy for them.

Don’t go it alone. Let others contribute to the cost of the holiday meal. Potluck can be fun, especially if everyone brings the recipe of the dish they made. You can then collect family recipes to share with loved ones.

If you have family photos, it is very inexpensive to reproduce them for other family members.

As families grow and move away from home, some longstanding traditions will change, but it’s important to find new ways to celebrate together. With social media, it’s easier than ever to stay connected. Skype is almost like being there — almost.

Just remember, when the stress hits, looking at the glass of eggnog as half-full and not half-empty is a good lesson for all of us.

Carol Higgins Taylor is an advocate for seniors and owns a public relations firm in Bangor.