Five ways you can have a dementia-friendly Christmas this year Posted on November 26, 2019 (March 12, 2020) by Charlotte Rhind-Tutt The festive season can be overwhelming for people living with dementia, but there are things you can do to ensure everybody enjoys the festivities. Celebrating Christmas with loved ones is one of life’s greatest joys, but it can also be an extremely stressful and lonely time for people affected by dementia, as well as their family and carers. According to Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to one million by 2021. With this is mind, tens of thousands of families will be preparing for a Christmas with someone affected by the condition, and many will be living alone. View this post on Instagram Today, there are 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. By 2030, that number will have risen to over 75 million. We need to create a world that's prepared for that increase. A world that understands the issues around dementia, provides the proper support for carers, and offers kindness and respect to those affected. A cure tomorrow – care today. That's what we believe in. Want to help us build that world? Share this post. Encourage your friends and family to join our community of over 2.6 million Dementia Friends. https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ Help us do more for people living with dementia: today, and tomorrow, and in the years to come. A post shared by Alzheimer's Society (@alzheimerssoc) on Oct 14, 2018 at 1:00am PDT Between parties and noisy family get-togethers, the festive period can be an overwhelming experience, but there are a few simple tweaks you can make so that those living with dementia can feel included. We asked Alzheimer’s Society to share advice for creating a dementia-friendly Christmas this year, so everyone can join in on the fun. Here’s what they had to say… 1. Keep it simple View this post on Instagram 'Five years ago, my mum, Lilian, and her elder sister, Mary, were clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. One year later, mum’s twin brother, Ernest, was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We involve our Golden Oldies throughout the festive season (all year round, in fact) – they feel very much part of the family despite their dementia battles, and, regardless of their dementia, they are still loved. On Christmas morning the three of them help out, preparing food in the kitchen, setting the table with my daughters, putting out the brightly-coloured crackers and table decorations. Laying the table is not always right, at least one place setting will have lots of forks and spoons but not a knife – it doesn't matter. It helps them remember, and even if they can't remember, they still laugh and smile, know we've all had a good time, and know that they're loved very much.' A post shared by Alzheimer's Society (@alzheimerssoc) on Dec 16, 2018 at 1:00am PST People with dementia can become unsettled in unfamiliar environments, so keep things simple. Plan the day ahead, stick to familiar routines and be aware of the triggers that may cause confusion or agitation. Having lots of people in your home at once can become overwhelming to someone living with dementia. Excited guests, loud music and multiple conversations can be confusing, and may cause anxiety. Try creating a ‘quiet room’ in your home where someone with dementia can retreat if they are finding things a bit much. Above all at Christmas, think about what the person with dementia is feeling. Be prepared to adapt and be flexible if needs be, even if that means some of your usual ‘rituals’ get tweaked. 2. Remember everyone needs to feel valued View this post on Instagram Yeah yeah I know but it is gonna happen ok? #christmascards #mini #relations #new #newcards #newchristmascards A post shared by Dom Early (@domearly) on Nov 12, 2018 at 7:45am PST Everyone needs to feels valued and this doesn’t change when someone has dementia. Think about how someone with dementia can continue to contribute at Christmas time and find a way to help them do this. Hanging a bauble on the tree, writing Christmas cards together, setting the table or helping to prepare food are all small actions that can help a person with dementia be included and give them a sense of independence. Arts and crafts, like making paper chains together with children in the family, are both fun and easy, and may encourage someone with dementia to recall activities from their own childhood. 3. Slowly and gradually decorate View this post on Instagram It's nearly Christmas. Can't wait! #christmastree #christmas #christmasdecorations #lights #presents #december25 #tryingtogetinthespirit #ilovechristmas #wishiwasakidagain A post shared by Trudi (@trudster7) on Dec 21, 2018 at 2:37am PST Decorations are a big part of Christmas, but can also be overwhelming for some people with dementia if introduced all at once. It can be confusing and distressing if furniture is moved around so that things are not where a person expects them. Rather than change things all at once, put up decorations gradually. 4. Involve everyone in Christmas shopping View this post on Instagram Love these alternative decorations in Carnaby Street and they look amazing at night when they are illuminated…….whale decorations….just saying @alli.fordham 🐳😂 #carnabystreet #whales #christmasdecorations #alternative #londonlife #vibes #outandabout #lovelondon #christmasshopping A post shared by Earth By Loraine Evans (@earth.by.le) on Nov 25, 2019 at 11:15pm PST With a bit of planning, Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be too stressful. Many families recommended creating a shortlist of gifts with pictures from online shops and asking someone with dementia to choose what they want to purchase their loved ones from this. Other ideas included shopping in the morning at garden centres. They usually have festive decorations but are quieter than other shops and often have cafes to relax in. 5. Embrace Christmas carols View this post on Instagram Need somewhere to channel your festive spirit? Tickets are still available for our Carols at Christmas concerts in Sheffield, Birmingham, Norfolk and Suffolk. Head to our story to book tickets today 🕯️ A post shared by Alzheimer's Society (@alzheimerssoc) on Dec 10, 2018 at 3:55am PST Music is incredibly beneficial to people living with dementia, and Christmas carols are no exception. For people living with dementia, singing can trigger some wonderful memories, help them communicate, improve their mood and leave them feeling good. Music can reach parts of the brain in ways that other forms of communication cannot, and it’s a great way for people with dementia to share their emotions. When attending carol services, why not call to see if you can reserve some seats so you don’t have to get there early and wait in the cold? You can even ask if the lyrics or hymn sheets could be printed in a large font. After all, singing carols is a great way of bringing the family together and get into the Christmas spirit. For more advice and ideas on having a dementia-friendly Christmas visit alzheimers.org.uk/christmas Next article Related Posts:Eco-friendly decorating ideas for a more…Six early signs of dementia to look out for this ChristmasQuiz: Can you fill in the lyrics for these Christmas songs?