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Supporting people with dementia this Christmas Post Cover Image

Normal routines are disrupted, people around you get busy with their own plans and priorities and, often, the community services and support structures you rely on are closed for the holidays.

Sometimes, for people living with dementia, the Christmas season can impact their world in a not-so-good way.

So, here are some tips to navigate the season if you are a care partner to someone who is living with dementia.

Keep it simple and familiar

Someone with dementia may feel overwhelmed over the Christmas period, so it’s best not to overdo it. Keeping the day’s activities low-key will help the person you support to relax.

If they usually go to church around this time but are unable to, consider online or televised services.

Sticking to a familiar routine is also a good idea where possible. Having meals at regular times and in familiar surroundings will help to limit any potential confusion.

Get everyone involved

There are many ways to involve people living with dementia at Christmas – from something as simple as hanging a bauble on the tree to doing a spot of Christmas shopping.  Playing Christmas music and singing favourite carols can be a simple way to involve the person in the festivities.

The important thing is that they feel included.

Create a quiet area

A large number of guests can be overwhelming, so ask family and friends to spread out their visits over the festive period.

If things do get busy, designate one room or space in the home a ‘quiet area’ where  the person with dementia can relax without loud noise. For some people, listening to music on headphones can be a good way to block out the noise and general.

Bring back old memories

Whether it’s an old song they used to enjoy or a classic Christmas film, find something you can take part in that is important to the person. Making a family photo album or memory box could be a nice way to spend time together.  Just be careful about people or events the person may not wish to reminisce about.

Be mindful of food

Although many people eat a lot at Christmas, a full plate can be daunting for someone who has difficulties eating. If you’re doing the serving, try not to overload plate.

Be flexible

It’s easy to get caught up in Christmas traditions and how things have always been done in the family, but your festive season might begin to look different as dementia progresses.  It’s always worth having a plan B, and being prepared to change your plans if something isn’t working.

And don’t forget, too, that loneliness can be a major factor over the Christmas season for many people living with dementia. So, if you know someone with dementia this holiday season, please make a special effort to get in touch with them and let them know you still care.

And remember, Covid-19 is still around

In light of the fact Covid is still around you and your loved one might both be eligible for antiviral medications. Taking these medications reduces the severity of the illness and reduces the likelihood you will require hospitalization. The
Covid-19 Health Hub outlines the eligibility requirements and how to get medication.