Designing Christmas Dementia Style

Christmas is a great celebration time for family, loved ones, friends, children, pets and it seems any other living object that can get involved in the festivities.

The more that social media becomes involved in our lives, it seems that we have to take more and more pics to prove to everyone that we are having a great time.  Remember that being with someone at Christmas is about time spent with loved ones, cherishing life and enjoying the moment, then sharing and reliving these colourful, funny or emotional moments from different points of view at a later time.

Recently when speaking with one of my beautiful friends Kathleen who is living with dementia, we were talking about the “epidemic of Christmas” (her words).  When we were concluding our conversation, her final words were –“Love & Kindness needs to be the epidemic”. Truer words could not be spoken.

For a person living with dementia, it is very often noisy, overwhelming and exhausting.

Let’s look at just a few little ideas on how we can make this Christmas more memorable, loving and kind for a person living with dementia.

  • Keep background noise to a minimum – Christmas Carols are great, but not all day and night, and not whilst we are trying to concentrate on conversation and remembering our relationships with our loved ones.  How about a few carols at the beginning and the end of the celebration?  Keep me safe in a quieter area of the room, and give me a space to have time out if needed – a “little rest”during the day is a wonderful break for me to rekindle my thoughts and energy.
  • Name Memory Aids – We all struggle at times to remember names and relationships.  Name memory aids are a great way for everyone to glance and remember names – that is when the automatic connection comes in regarding relationships.  If relationships are not being recognised any more, bring it into your conversation somehow, or just be straight out with it.  “Hi, I’m Bianca, your neighbour from number 16”, for example.
  • Presents – Usually a person living with dementia delights more in experiences in the moment rather than expensive or gifts that have no meaning. Remember that the Christmas celebration is overwhelming enough, let alone all the presents.  Try celebrating all throughout the year rather than just one day.  Make a roster with your family, friends and loved ones for small visits rather than all at once.  These are the gifts that will live on forever.

Wishing you love and kindness, and all the joy of a beautiful New Year ahead.

Bianca from Heart to Heart Connections