Christmas is a time of joy, love, and togetherness. It’s a season when families come together to celebrate, exchange gifts, and create cherished memories. For loved ones living with dementia, however, this time of year can be both joyful and challenging. Supporting your relatives during the Christmas season involves more than just gift-giving – it’s about staying connected and creating a comfortable, festive atmosphere. In this article, we’ll explore ways to support your loved ones at Christmas, emphasising the importance of staying connected with family and decorating the house thoughtfully.
Encourage family members to share stories and memories from past Christmases. This can be especially meaningful for loved ones living with dementia, as reminiscing about happy times can bring comfort and connection.
Choose gifts that are meaningful and tailored to your loved one’s interests and hobbies. Personalised gifts, such as photo albums or custom-made items, can evoke cherished memories.
Plan activities that accommodate the mobility and energy levels of your family members, from young children to those who may have limited mobility. Simple games, puzzles, or holiday-themed crafts can be enjoyed together.
When decorating, be sure to prioritise safety. Avoid using decorations that pose tripping hazards or could be harmful to your family members, and secure wires and cords to the floor or walls to prevent accidents.
Familiarity for dementia
For loved ones living with dementia, familiar and non-overwhelming decorations are essential. Avoid excessive flashing lights or loud decorations. Opt for traditional, classic decorations that they may recognise from their past.
Consider creating memory ornaments that feature family photos, names, or special moments. Hanging these ornaments on the Christmas tree can be a meaningful way to help your loved one reminisce.
Some individuals, including those with dementia, may benefit from sensory-friendly decorations. Incorporate textures and scents they find comforting, such as soft, plush decorations or fragrant wreaths.
Soft, warm lighting can create a cosy and inviting atmosphere. Use candles, string lights, or LED candles to add a gentle glow to the room.
Play familiar and soothing Christmas music to enhance the festive ambiance. Consider creating a playlist of your loved one’s favourite holiday songs.
Supporting loved ones who’re living with dementia during the Christmas season is an opportunity to show them love, care, and inclusion. Staying connected with family through personalised gifts and sharing memories can foster a sense of togetherness. Thoughtful decoration choices, especially for those with dementia, can create a warm and comfortable environment, enabling your loved ones to enjoy the winter season to the fullest. By taking these steps, you can ensure that Christmas remains a time of joy, connection, and love for your family.
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