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Top tips for looking after someone with Dementia this Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, for some. But for those living with dementia, the festive season can be something of a lonely time, leaving them feeling left out and isolated. The nature of their illness, coupled with people’s lack of understanding, can leave these people feeling stressed and unable to join in with the fun and laughter.

In England, an estimated 21 million of us have someone close to us who is living with dementia. If you’re spending Christmas with someone affected by this condition, here are some top tips for making them feel welcome, involved and safe in your home:

  • Take things slowly
    If the person lives with you full time, making big changes to their environment too quickly can be disturbing. Introduce Christmas bit by bit, putting up a few decorations at a time rather than making a huge change all at once.
  • Keep it simple
    Try to avoid big, loud or complicated events, as lots of noise and unfamiliar people could make your loved one feel overwhelmed. Stick to a few close friends or small groups of visitors at a time to keep things safe.
  • Schedule in some down time
    Remember that your loved one may become exhausted during the day, and may need a bit of time to themselves. Make sure there is room in your schedule for them to retreat to their bedroom or to a quiet area for a bit of down time if they need to.
  • Be inclusive
    Find ways to get your loved one involved in the processes and activities around Christmas. From hanging up some tinsel to wrapping a present or two, its crucial to help them be involved so that they feel included and loved.
  • Sing together
    Many people living with dementia find singing a wonderful way to bring back memories and join in with the community. Put some Christmas music on the radio, or go out to a carol service, and enjoy this festive time together!

If you’re worried about how your loved one with dementia will be perceived by others, you’re not alone. An estimated 45 per cent of people are concerned about how other guests will react to the unusual behaviour of their loved one with dementia, and 63 per cent of people living with dementia have said they receive fewer social invitations since receiving a diagnosis. Don’t shut them out, as this is the worst thing you could do.

Try some of our tips for getting everyone involved and making things manageable for your loved one living with dementia. Christmas is a time for family and togetherness, so make the small adjustments necessary to accommodate everyone adequately, and enjoy this special time of the year.

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