Living with Dementia at Christmas
They say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can be a challenging time for people living with dementia. A lack of understanding can lead to people with dementia being left out and not invited to join in with Christmas festivities. Additionally, many people living with dementia worry how family and friends (who they may not have seen for a while) will react to any unusual behaviour.
If you do not know much about Dementia we recommend that you attend a free Dementia Friends Information Session. You can contact one of our Dementia Friends Champions at Whitehead Monckton here to request a session or visit https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ to see what sessions are scheduled to take place in your local area.
A Dementia Friend is someone who has attended an Information Session and learnt a bit more about what it is like to have dementia and the small ways they can support those living with the condition. The more people increase their understanding of dementia and become Dementia Friends, the more we can reduce stigma and support people living with the condition not just at Christmas but throughout the year.
Charities dedicated to supporting people living with dementia such as Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK have lots of tips on their websites for keeping those affected by dementia involved during the festive season. Families can also telephone the charities’ specialist helplines to obtain helpful advice and support.
Personally, my favourite tip is to sing (or listen to) a joyful Christmas carol or song together. It is well documented that music has the power to unlock memories and reach parts of the brain in ways other forms of communication cannot, leading to improved brain activity, wellbeing and mood. Dementia affects everyone differently, but for many the happy feelings evoked will stay with the person for a while, even if they forget about the activity itself fairly quickly.
Article written by Bekka Fuszard, Solicitor and Dementia Friends Champion