Top tips for dementia friendly Christmas
CHRISTMAS can be exciting times for so many but it can be challenging for those living with dementia as the hustle and bustle of the festivities can be overwhelming.
NoosaCare have put together eight key points to help you make Christmas as enjoyable as possible – for everyone.
1. It’s Christmas (enjoy!)
Make the festive season work by adapting to what suits both of you. If you need to give your loved one some quiet time in the lounge room with a meal while you sit in the dining room with family, do it. The most important thing is providing a comfortable and calm space for your loved one so they can relax and enjoy things at their pace.
2. Plan out the Day
Spontaneous visits can be quite stressful, bearing in mind that a change in routine can be confusing for a person living with dementia. Organise visits and times in advance so that there aren’t too many people and too much noise going on at once. If your loved one becomes overwhelmed try and redirect using quiet tones to another area or activity.
3. It’s a team effort
Make sure you ask for help so everything doesn’t fall onto just your shoulders. Have family and friends help you with practical things like hosting the celebrations at their house or providing the Christmas meal at your house (so you don’t have to cook) and wrapping presents that lighten the load and allow you to relax as well.
4. Get outside and soak up Noosa’s awesome weather
Being outdoors can lead to significant physical, psychological and social benefits. Why not take a walk - nature can be a great mood booster for both of you. Morning activities before the heat of the day sets in can be more rewarding as like most of us, come afternoon, we are ready for a Christmas siesta.
5. Stick to your night time routines
People with dementia often have difficulty sleeping through the night. With a lot going on during Christmas sleeping challenges could increase so try stick to the bedtime routine wherever possible. It will help your loved one feel safe and secure.
6. Always include your loved one
Focus on what they can do so that they feel part of the festivities rather than what they cannot do. Encourage them to help you whether it be wrapping a gift, setting the table or deciding what present to buy the grandchildren.
7. Enjoy every moment
Embrace this special time with your loved ones. Try not to worry about what could go wrong. Make the most of the days – seeing grandkids, spending time with family, eating delicious food and spending time in nature. If despite your best efforts something goes wrong, don’t panic. Move through the moment and support your loved one as best as you can then remind yourself of all the amazing experiences you’ve shared during the day.
8. Be flexible, allow time for rest and quiet
It’s easy to get caught up in Christmas traditions, but your festive season might begin to look somewhat different as dementia progresses. It’s not a bad idea to have a back-up plan if things become overwhelming. Another idea is have a designated quiet room where your loved one can go and relax without the loud noise.
NoosaCare’s Popular Dementia Cafe will be back on January 28, 2020 at the Tewantin-Noosa RSL from 9.30am.
The aim of the cafe is to increase the opportunity for connections and social support for people with dementia and carers in a shared community setting.
Contact NoosaCare on 5449 8799 or email email@example.com for more information.