While Christmas can be an exciting time for many it can also be extremely difficult for those suffering with Alzheimer’s. The hustle and bustle, change in routine and the pressure of family visits can be very overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be this way, the Alzheimer’s Society have put together a list of top tips to help people affected by dementia to have a happy Christmas.
Put your decorations up early and slowly
Introduce Christmas decorations gradually, over the course of a few days or even a week, so that it doesn’t come as a big change to the person’s usual setting.
Spread out family visits
A large number of guests can be noisy and overwhelming, so ask family and friends to spread out their visits over the festive period.
Create a quiet room
If things do get busy, designate one room in your house a ‘quiet room’ where your loved one can relax without loud noise. You could also schedule periods of rest throughout the day to ensure that things don’t get too much for them.
Keep routine as familiar as possible
Meals at the same time and in familiar surroundings can help your loved one relax.
Be mindful of food
Although people tend to indulge more with food over the festive season, a full plate can be quite daunting for someone who has difficulties with eating, so try not to overload your loved one’s plate.
Play some familiar Christmas music or reminisce over old photos
We’ve found that music and photos the person relates to can help them to relax – and can also add a nice to touch to your festivities!
It’s good to talk
Christmas can be a very stressful time, so don’t bottle it up. Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point forum is a place to ask advice, join in discussions and feel supported by others living with dementia. Find us at http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/
We know that singing and listening to music can help people with dementia communicate, improve their mood and leave them feeling good about themselves. Many people with dementia are still able to enjoy music and sing long after they have started to lose their language abilities. Why not try one of Alzheimer’s Society’s magical evenings of Carols by Candlelight? With special Christmas readings from a host of celebrities and music from Alzheimer’s Society’s own Singing For the Brain choirs, these dementia friendly carol services take place between 3rd – 21st December 2016 across England and Northern Ireland. Got to www.alzheimers.org.uk/carolsbycandlelight to book your tickets.
With a bit of planning, Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be too stressful. Shop in the morning when it’s quieter and you can take your time. A number of major retailers now have employees who are Dementia Friends in stores, including Argos, Barclays, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and M&S. So look for the badge and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Alzheimer’s Society offers vital services to support people living with dementia. Text GIFT to 70707 and donate £3 to Alzheimer’s Society