Everybody hope to enjoy a relaxing Christmas with close people. However, the hustle and bustle of getting the whole family together can be challenging and many carers feel anxious in the run up to Christmas Day, especially when some of their relatives have Alzheimer’s disease.
Read the Dementia UK 5 key tips to enjoy the day!
Tip #1: Get everyone on board
If you are the carer, you might be feeling nervous about how friends and family will react to the person with dementia on the day. Talk to guests in advance.
Be honest explaining what is happening or simply say that they are experiencing difficulties with memory and conversation. The most important is to include the person you care for in as many decisions as possible: ask her how she is feeling about Christmas and if she want to inform beforehand of changes in circumstances.
Tip #2: Help friends and family with ways to communicate
Share some of these tips so that friends and family feel equipped and ready to enjoy your time together.
Tip #3: Have a practice run
If you are inviting a person with Alzheimer’s, or want to bring a loved one out of a care home, have a few practice runs along the way. This way you will be able to gauge if it’s achievable.
Include the care home staff and ask how they might be able to support you. When its time to go home, say ‘we have to go home now’ rather than ‘you have to go home’; if you are doing things together it can make it less confusing.
Tip #4: Involve the person with activities on the day
Make sure your loved one feels included in the day. Think of ways they may be able to take part, such as laying the table or helping to prepare the meal.
Watching one of their favourite films or listening to a piece of music that they love may be calming and bring back special memories.
Tip #5: Consider their needs
Christmas days can be noisy: try to reduce unnecessary noise such as party poppers, loud music or blaring television when people are also chatting.
A busy day can be tiring and confusing for a person with dementia, so keep it manageable. Try to take her home in daylight rather than wait until it gets dark so that she can see where she is.