Christmas and Dementia: How to enjoy the holidays
Christmas is a time for friends and family spending time together, but for someone living with Dementia, the festive season can cause a lot of upset and unwanted anxiousness.
With that in mind, we’ve put together our top tips to help your loved one living with dementia, giving them the opportunity to enjoy the festivities with all the family.
Keep it familiar
It’s important to keep things as normal as possible in regards to your loved one’s daily routine. Where possible, stick to regular meal times in a familiar environment to avoid any potential confusion.
You can also keep things familiar by using old Christmas decorations that your loved one used to use, try to decorate gradually so it doesn’t come as a big shock; or play their favourite Christmas song to trigger fond memories.
Sometimes, things just do not go to plan, and that’s ok. Understanding that your loved one’s needs may change suddenly is very important, while they may be thoroughly enjoying the festivities, come the evening they may become tired and agitated. Don’t have a strict plan of how the day is going to be, as you may be left disappointed.
Christmas day with the family usually means lots of noise. For someone living with dementia, this can be very overwhelming and difficult for a person to process, especially when they are surrounded by lots of people. Be mindful of loud music and too much noise when people are already chatting. Tell your loved one that they can go in to another room for some quite time where they can sit and relax, taking a break from the noise.
Involve your loved one
It’s important to make sure your loved one feels included as much as possible. Even if it’s asking advice on what gifts to buy different family members, keeping the conversation going will not only make them feel present, but could help bring back memories of past festive seasons.
There are lots of other ways to involve your loved one, for example helping set up the table for dinner, or hanging some baubles on the Christmas tree; all of these little things will provide them with a sense of purpose, rather focusing on things they can no longer do.