Christmas can be a stressful time for someone living with Dementia.
It is a special time of year and you will want to make sure it’s a happy time for the person you are caring for and your family. The festive period can be an overwhelming time for someone living with dementia, it can help to make a few adjustments to ensure they feel loved and safe. We want you to enjoy the traditions of Christmas whilst ensuring your loved one isn’t disturbed by the overwhelming activities of Christmas – we wanted to share with you the useful tips provided by Re:Cognition Health which can be tailored to the needs of the individual.
Consider their wishes – What does Christmas mean to the person? If they are religious, going to church could be a good idea if this is something they would normally do. Think about how they would choose to spend their Christmas beforehand and if you can, do it with them.
Get them involved in tasks – If it’s possible for the person to assist you with domestic tasks or meal preparation then encourage them to help you. It will be good for their self-esteem and it means you can spend quality time together, working as a team.
Enlist support – Make sure that family and loved ones know they need to do their bit and ensure that everyone has their own responsibilities so that you aren’t carrying all of the pressure on your own.
Consider location carefully – If the person already lives with you, it’s going to be easier for them to stick to their normal routine. If they normally live alone or in a care home and you want to be with them, they may prefer to be in their own environment with you visiting them, rather than coming to you and being in a strange place they may not recognise.
Watch those food portions – Dementia can affect a person’s appetite and they may not want to eat a huge Christmas dinner. Give them a smaller portion and offer second helpings later if they are hungry. Avoid letting them drink too much to reduce the risk of arguments or falls later on.
Keep introducing – Remind them of the names of family and friends visiting and make sure you introduce and re-introduce everyone clearly (with reference to the relationship) to avoid embarrassment of not remembering names of grandchildren or relatives.
Manage the noise – People with dementia often find it difficult to listen to one person in a room where lots of people are talking. They are not able to distinguish one train of conversation when lots are going on within earshot, so don’t position them in the middle of a noisy room or in the middle of the table.
Look after yourself – Remember that you need a break from time to time as well. If you feel tired, ask another family member to sit with the person or accompany them on a walk.
If you have any concerns or wish to speak to someone about advice regarding dementia, you can speak to a member of our expert multi-disciplinary team: 01772 747 386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org