The Christmas period can be a stressful time for all concerned. The noise, excitement and the change in routine can be confusing and distressing for some people living with dementia. With careful organisation and forward planning by in-home care providers it is possible to have an enjoyable festive season.
Do What Suits You Best
If you know that a noisy environment is going to be too much for you to cope with, let your care provider know well ahead of the big day. It may be that traditions like twinkling lights on a Christmas tree may cause you anxiety. If so, don’t have one. You may have to accept that you can’t cook a full Christmas lunch anymore but this is something your care-giver will help you with. If you can, let your family and visitors know in advance how much you can tolerate rather than have them bombard you with questions. This is something your carers can take care of.
Carers Can Plan Ahead….
Any dramatic changes to a routine especially those involving new people, sounds or experiences can have a profound effect on someone in the throes of dementia and this can cause long-lasting upset which can be hard to deal with. It could help carers and patients to have a practice run before the big day to gauge how the patient is going to react. Research by the Live-in Care Hub has found that care agencies with highly trained staff who specialise in dementia care and who are fully supported offer the best experience in dealing with occasions such as these.
….And Include the Family
If family members are due to visit they should be told beforehand what to expect and how to react. Honesty is the best policy here in order that family members understand the complex needs of someone who may have difficulty in communicating or remembering. Carers can explain that because the person they love is different to how they were, they may not remember things or people and overwhelming them with questions can be distressing for them.
Keep the Noise Down!
Loud music, noisy televisions and party poppers may be the spirit of Christmas for some but for a person living with dementia the noise overload may upset and confuse them. Rather than the loud music which you may not know or appreciate, why not instead play music from the past. Research by various agencies has shown that dementia sufferers who lose short-term memory can often be comforted by listening to music that they knew in their younger days.
However you decide to celebrate Christmas just remember to keep the noise and chaos to a minimum and if you wish to withdraw from the party then do so. Your highly trained and alert care-givers will be on hand and paying close attention to your needs. When you have dementia Christmas Day may be different but whatever the day brings just try to relax and enjoy it.