Christmas can cause mixed feelings for those with a loved one living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s common to experience a sense of loss for the way things used to be and to feel guilty about what we think we should do or how we think we should feel. Read our tips on Caring for Someone With Dementia and Alzheimer’s at Christmas.
At a time when you believe you should be happy, you could instead find that stress, disappointment and sadness prevail. You might also feel pressure to keep up family Christmas traditions, despite the demands caring places on your time and energy. Yet, by adjusting your expectations and modifying some traditions, you can still find meaning and joy for you and your family this Christmas.
How to Celebrate Christmas with Dementia and Alzheimer’s…
- Tone down your Christmas decorations
Did you know blinking and flashing lights and large decorative displays can cause disorientation? Avoid lighted candles and other safety hazards, as well as Christmas decorations that could be mistaken for edible treats — such as artificial fruits.
- Keep it simple at home
Prepare meals together. Your loved one might be able to participate by stirring ingredients or rolling dough. Concentrate on the doing rather than the result.
- Keep it calm and quiet
Family get-togethers often involve music and loud conversation. Yet for a person who has Dementia and Alzheimer’s, a calm and quiet environment usually is best. Keep daily routines in place as much as possible and provide your loved one a place to rest during family get-togethers.
- Celebrate Christmas in their own home
A change of environment can cause anxiety. To avoid disruption, consider holding a small family celebration at home.
- Minimise visitors
Arrange family members to drop in on different days. Even if your loved one isn’t sure who’s who, two or three familiar faces are likely to be welcome. A large group, however, might be overwhelming.
- Schedule family visits at your loved one’s best time of day
Prepare family members. Update them on your loved one’s status ahead of time so they know what to expect.
Remember family and friends who’ve offered their assistance. Let them help with cleaning and shopping.
- Trust your own instincts
You know what’s most likely to agitate or upset them. Resist pressure to celebrate the way others might expect you to. You can’t control the progress of Dementia or protect your loved one from all distress — but by planning and setting firm boundaries you can avoid needless holiday stress and enjoy the Christmas festivities!
Respite care at Christmas
We’re here to help. If you’re looking to take a break after Christmas or for a long-term care at-home solution then why not consider a live-in carer? A live-in carer will live in and provide care and support to a relative 24 hours per day, 7 days per week thus ensuring peace of mind for families. Live-in carers are experienced in understanding the different stages of Dementia and are equipped with coping mechanisms to help support individuals and their families.
To find out more about how we can help you or a loved one on a short-term or long-term basis please call our care team on 0330 0535014
Don’t forget to download your FREE Understanding Dementia Guide.