Find out some useful tips, tricks and resources to help you make the most of the Christmas holidays, and to avoid any additional stress it may cause.
If you are one of the 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia, the chances are Christmas is at least a little challenging for you.
Everyone's emotions are exaggerated, routines are off kilter and social demands are at an all time high.
If Christmas is a holiday that you struggle with as somebody living with Dementia, please be assured that you are not alone and there are lots of things that you can do to enjoy this challenging time of year. Take a look at these 6 tips to help you get started:
- Take Your Time Transitioning Into Christmas At Home
Dementia is a condition that doesn't do too well with change. However, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on decorating your home for Christmas. To make it less of a dramatic change overnight, slowly add decorations so that you can get used to the new items. If you have a live-in carer or regular assisted living staff then speak to them about this process so that they understand your needs.
2. Don't Be Afraid To Adjust Christmas To Your Needs
You'd be surprised at how many people struggle with the entire holiday of Christmas. Nearly 20% of people find Christmas completely overwhelming, and they don't have to contend with dementia on top of everything else.
Do everything you need to do to make this period of time as comfortable for you as possible and try to communicate your needs to friends, family and your live-in carer if you have one. The more comfortable you are, the more you will enjoy Christmas rather than just feel you have to endure it.
3. Avoid The Crowds
Even the most zen shopper can struggle with intense Christmas crowds during the height of shopping season. You can avoid the crowds by shopping online or by shopping with a trusted loved one or carer during the quietest times. Avoiding the chaos of Christmas should give you more space to enjoy it.
4. Relive & Make Memories
Reliving memories can be extremely comforting, especially if you memory needs a little more prompting than before. Christmas holds strong memories for many of us, so it is a good time to relive memories and happy periods. Look through old photos, sing your favourite songs, watch movies - anything you need to remember times gone by. Even better, you can make new Christmas memories with your friends and family too.
5. Keep A Routine
Routine is so important when you live with dementia and Christmas can completely throw it out of whack. If you are one of the 49% of people with dementia who find a change in routine at Christmas difficult, don't feel you have to completely disrupt your day to day habits to accommodate the season. Prepare for days when your routine will change, but otherwise, try to align Christmas with your routine as much as you possibly can, and let others know about your needs so they can try to keep to your routine where possible too.
6. Get Help If You Need It
If you are finding Christmas a real struggle and you know you need help, speak to your GP or a trusted loved one about getting help. A live-in carer could be a fantastic way to get extra support at home, or perhaps you would feel more comfortable in assisted living. The first step is reaching out and asking for the help you need so that you can have a safe and happy Christmas along with the rest of the year.