Top tips for Christmas

Man smiling with woman

Here are our top tips if you are having a guest with dementia:

  • Plan ahead: If the house is unfamiliar to your guest, putting labels on doors could help – for example, the bathroom, the kitchen.
  • Think about safety: make sure you leave lights on and doors opens so the person with dementia is less likely to get confused if they’re up at night. Remind people to close outside doors securely if needed.
  • Food and mealtimes: Don’t overload your guest’s plate. Although many people eat a lot at Christmas, a full plate can be quite daunting for someone who has difficulties eating.
  • The person with dementia may feel self-conscious at a large dinner table, so avoid making them feel centre of attention.
  • Drinking excessively can cause arguments and accidents. Ensure drinking stays within sensible limits.
  • Emotional needs: Think of some activities the person may enjoy doing in quieter moments. Do you have any old photos you could look at together? Try to involve people in your own activities, such as walking or cooking and cleaning.
  • Think about their usual or past religious attitudes. Would they like to go to church or listen to hymns?
  • If the house becomes very busy, designate a 'quiet room'  and to agree not to watch television or listen to music in there.
  • It might be enjoyable for the person to sing carols – it’s good to do something jointly with other people but singing also stimulates both mind and body.
  • Remember your needs! Congratulate yourself for coping, and for being there for someone who needs you. Try to pace yourself and set realistic goals and remember to take time for yourself

You can contact the Alzheimer’s Society’s National Dementia Helpline or our online discussion forum, Talking Point (manned 24/7), which may also be a source of comfort and advice. 

Alzheimer's Society National Dementia Helpline – 0300 222 1122  or  The Helpline is usually open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and Saturday and Sunday 10am - 4pm.

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