Helping A Person With Dementia During The Christmas Holiday

Helping A Person With Dementia During the Christmas Holiday


Picture of Christmas Tree with Lights
Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

Dementia Helping your loved one ~ Family and loved ones may find the holidays a difficult time. It can be especially difficult for those with Dementia.

Here are Eight ways you can support those with Dementia during the holidays:

  • Put decorations up gradually ~ Introduce the Christmas environment slowly. Put up decorations gradually over a few days so it doesn’t come as a big change to the person’s usual setting.
  • Keep it simple and familiar ~ Someone with Dementia may feel overwhelmed during Christmas. Keep the day’s activities low-key and limit the number of activities. This will help your loved one relax.
  • Get everyone involved ~ There are many ways to involve people living with Dementia at holiday time – from something as simple as hanging a bauble on the tree to doing some holiday shopping. Playing holiday music and singing favorite carols can be a simple way to involve the person in the festivities. Making sure they feel included is imperative.
  • Create a quiet area ~ A large number of guests can be overwhelming, so ask family and friends to spread out their visits over the festive period. Have a place to relax if things get too busy. 

Family Photo Album 

  • Bring back old memories ~ Whether it’s an old song they used to enjoy or a classic Christmas film, find something you can take part in that is important to the person. Making a family photo album or memory box could be a nice way to spend time together.
  • Be mindful of food ~ Although many people eat a lot at Christmas, a full plate can be daunting for someone who has difficulties eating. If you’re doing the serving, try not to overload your loved one’s plate.
  • Be flexible ~ It’s easy to get caught up in holiday traditions and how things have always been done in the family, but your festive season might begin to look different as Dementia progresses. Plan for changing your plans if a particular element isn’t working. 
  • Plan ahead ~ Living in an assisted living facility? Ask the home what their plans are for Christmas Day. 

*The original article was written by the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK, in Dec 2022.

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