For most of us Christmas is a joyful experience where we can spend time with family and friends but for someone with dementia it can be a confusing time as usual routines are often disrupted. The Christmas period can feel overwhelming for someone with dementia, so it’s best not to overdo it and keep activities as low key as possible. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends keeping to a familiar routine such as having meals at regular times and in recognisable surroundings, to help limit any potential confusion.
So that your loved one is included with the festivities, Live Better with Dementia suggests finding activities that they can join in with, such as Christmas crafts, jigsaw puzzles or play a dementia-friendly board game such as Call to Mind which encourages reminiscence and conversation.
As advised by The Alzheimer’s Society, try and spread visits from family and friends out over the holiday season, as someone with dementia can find this too intense and could get easily upset. You could even designate one room in your house as a quiet retreat for your loved one to relax in if the noise becomes too much.
What if you are the visitors?
If you and your loved one are staying overnight with family this Christmas, you may want to consider getting a plug in night light or a night light motion sensor in case your loved one with dementia wakes in the night for the bathroom. Dementia can affect eyesight, so these simple measures could help prevent any potential trips or falls. Putting up signs with images around the home could also be useful for someone with dementia so they can easily find the toilet, the living room or their bedroom to orientate themselves in someone else’s home.
We hope that these tips help you and your loved one stay happy and safe this Christmas. If you are caring for someone with dementia, you may be interested in attending free courses run by Dementia Carers Counts. There are one-day courses and three-day courses available in the New Year held at the Eaton Hotel on the Hagley Road in Birmingham.