Right Dementia Care for the Festive season.
Christmas means different things to everyone but the festive period is one many of us look forward to. We spend more time with family and friends and get into the spirit of showing people how much we love them. But for people impacted by dementia it can be a time of added stress and pressures.
The Alzheimer’s Society has put together some tips for making the most of the festive Season whilst supporting a loved one living with dementia (and yourself) this Christmas.
1. Introduce Christmas decorations slowly
The home is a familiar place to all of us but for those living with dementia this is particularly important. New Christmas decorations can transform how a home looks and this can be stressful for a loved one with dementia and have a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing. Start early and introduce the tree and other decorations gradually. Try not to move furniture to accommodate the tree but choose a small tree capable of fitting in any suitable space.
2. Keep it simple and familiar
It’s important to not go overboard and make this time of year unusually busy or hectic as those with dementia may feel overwhelmed. All activities should be low key which will help everyone to relax. Routines should not be altered if possible so meal times should remain constant to prevent any confusion.
3. Keep everyone involved
It’s important that those living with dementia are kept active and stimulated so including them in what’s happening will help them. This can be anything from helping to dress the Christmas tree to helping set the table.
4. Have a quiet room
Increasing numbers of guests and visitors can be stressful and unnerving so ask family and friends to stagger their visits at this time of year. If there is a room you can designate as a quiet place this will help your loved one relax without loud noise.
5. Bring back old memories
This can be anything from singing old songs together to sitting down with a family album or watching old movies. It’s about helping them to re-connect with things they once found familiar. It’s ok if they don’t remember just spend a nice time together.
6. Be mindful of portions
Christmas is a time for most people of over indulgence but for those with dementia a stacked plate can be very off putting. Eating can be difficult so keep all portions
small and try not to overload their plate.
Dementia impacts everyone differently and you must take each day as it comes. It’s important not to become stressed with any last minute change of plan.
Living with dementia might require increased flexibility in your approach and when this happens remain calm and move onto plan B.