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Christmas and Dementia

Living with dementia brings all sorts of challenges for carers living and supporting loved ones with dementia.

Christmas in the UK is a huge event where the country stops and celebrates with family and friends. The noise, lights and simply the general bustle of Christmas can evoke lots of conflicting emotions for people with dementia.

And that’s where the pressure starts for you. Not having that person to support with all the arrangements and sharing in all the activity and excitement in the way that they used to. Christmas can trigger a time of huge reflection and it is absolutely a time when you want your loved one to feel a part of things.

Use this Christmas to reminisce and reflect on how your Christmas’s were celebrated historically. What were the traditions of your childhood that you could recreate and talk about?

So, this Christmas accept that it’s not going to be the same as previous years – and that’s OK.

Remember to put you and your loved one first.

Why not put up your decorations gradually. In fact why not use the month of December to find items and put them up? It can be something that you do each day at the same time before supper?

Remember routine is incredibly important and big changes to the environment can be disorientating.

Christmas Cards can be a joy and a burden in equal measure, if you don’t send out the normal amount of cards it simply doesn’t matter, but try writing them over a period of days rather than hours.

Attending lots of events as you used to is going to cause exhaustion for you both. Lower your expectation of what is achievable and remember routine, routine and routine.

Last month we talked about the power of music and dementia.

Music can evoke a host of memories, so pick up some Christmas CD’s, perhaps Kings College Cambridge for the Carols, perhaps a Christmas Hits CD, Nat King Cole … and work through the songs, we guarantee you’ll find one that is a connector! What does it matter if it’s played on repeat?

Ivy House is working with the charity ‘Playlist for Life’ and will be a ‘help point’ in 2020 to help people find the right music to offer comfort.

And so now as 2019 comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas. If you need support, come to our support group on Saturday 4 January and be a part of our community that can support you. We are here to help.

Jane X


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