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Dealing with dementia in the holidays





CHRISTMAS is traditionally the season of goodwill and a time for family but it can also be a fortnight of added stress and upset for those caring for someone with dementia as extra demands placed on the carer can leave them exhausted.

A decade ago many carers probably felt there was little help available even in terms of basic advice for looking after a person with dementia but the past few years has seen increasing dementia assistance which is easy to access because many families in Stratford and south Warwickshire are now looking after a loved one with dementia as people continue to live longer.

Assistant In The Community Center Giving Advice To A Senior Man. (61528627)
Assistant In The Community Center Giving Advice To A Senior Man. (61528627)

Help is at hand and organisations like Stratford District Council, Alzheimer’s Society, care homes and individuals now offer a range of tips that can assist carers to cope with dementia at Christmas time.

The following tips are taken from How best to celebrate Christmas with a person with dementia (theconversation.com)

• Have realistic expectations of what you have the time and energy to do, and what the person with dementia has the ability to do.

• Communicate with family and friends about how things may be different this year.

• Ask for help, remember your tiredness and agitation is contagious.

• Plan somewhere quiet where the person with dementia can have some “time out” from the family celebration.

• Give family and friends activities they can do with the person with dementia.

• Get family and friends to give you respite so that you can enjoy the Christmas season too.

• Ask family and friends to spend a little one-on-one time with the person with dementia.

• Let others know that the person with dementia may value gifts of company rather than material goods.

These tips below are taken from Christmas top tips for living well with dementia | Alzheimer Scotland (alzscot.org)

• Spread out family visits

A large number of guests at one time can be overwhelming, so ask family and friends to visit you at different times over the festive period. If you are staying overnight with friends or family it can be helpful to make sure that rooms and hallways are safe and well-lit. Adding labels to doors, for example the bathroom, can allow the person with dementia to be more independent.

• Keep routine as familiar as possible

Christmas Day means a change to the usual routine but serving meals at usual times and in familiar surroundings can help the person living with dementia feel more relaxed.

• Be mindful of food

Christmas lunch can be daunting for someone who has difficulties eating, so try not to serve large portions.

• Get outside if you can

Even though it is cold, make sure to wrap up warm and get some fresh air.

Julia Joy, home manager at Ambleside, Straford said: “Don’t underestimate the power of music. Play your loved ones’ favourite Christmas tunes or connect over carol singing – this is also a fantastic way to raise cheer, bring people together and get into the festive spirit.

Finally, the most important thing is to have fun. Certain games or crafts – including ‘pin the nose on Rudolph the reindeer’ – come with plenty of physical benefits, such as increased motor skills, while keeping the brain active, which is essential as we age.”



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