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The festive season is a time for family, friends and gatherings. Here are five simple ways you can make your celebrations more dementia-friendly.
1. Simple is best
People with dementia can become disorientated and unsettled in unfamiliar environments so keep it simple. Plan the day ahead, stick to routines as much as possible, and be aware of the emotional triggers that may cause confusion or agitation.
2. Keep it calm
Having lots of people in your home and too many activities underway can become overwhelming to someone living with dementia. Excited guests, loud music and multiple conversations can be confusing and may cause anxiety. Aim for a mix of active and quiet activities throughout the day and have a ‘quiet room’ where someone with dementia can retreat if things become a bit much.
3. Share the caring
Create opportunities for family members and friends to share the caring role. They may assist by hosting an event in their home or go out as a group for a specific activity such as carols by candlelight.
4. Everyone needs to feel valued
Everyone needs to feel valued and this doesn’t change when someone has dementia. Think about how someone with dementia used to contribute at Christmas time and find a way to help them do this. Hanging a bauble on a tree, writing Christmas cards together, setting the table or helping to prepare food are all small actions that can help a person with dementia feel included and give a sense of independence.
5. Seek support
The festive season is a time when both the person with dementia and family members may feel a sense of loss. This may impact more strongly upon those people without family members or those who may be away from their family. However dementia impacts you, we are here. The National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500, is open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday except public holidays. Or you can visit dementia.org.au
Want to hear more stories from people impacted by dementia, updates on research, support and resources available to you and ways you can get involved to improve the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers? If you haven't already, sign up to Dementia Australia’s monthly eNews: https://www.dementia.org.au/newsletters