Put decorations up gradually

INTRODUCE the Christmas environment slowly. 

Think about putting decorations up gradually over a few days so it doesn’t come as a big change to the person’s usual setting. 

Keep it simple and familiar

Someone with dementia may feel overwhelmed over the Christmas period, so it's best not to overdo it. Keeping the day's activities low-key will help your loved one to relax.

If they usually go to church around this time but are unable to, consider online or televised services.

Sticking to a familiar routine is also a good idea where possible. Having meals at regular times and in familiar surroundings will help to limit any potential confusion.

Get everyone involved

There are many ways to involve people living with dementia at Christmas time – from something as simple as hanging a bauble on the tree to doing a spot of Christmas shopping. 

Playing Christmas music and singing favourite carols can be a simple way to involve the person in the festivities.

The important thing is that they feel included. 

Create a quiet area

A large number of guests can be overwhelming, so ask family and friends to spread out their visits over the festive period.

If things do get busy, designate one room or space in the home a “quiet area” where your loved one can relax without loud noise. 

For some people, listening to music on headphones can be a good way to block out the noise and feel calmer.

Bring back old memories

Whether it is an old song they used to enjoy or a classic Christmas film, find something you can take part in that is important to the person. 

Making a family photo album or memory box could be a nice way to spend time together.

Be mindful that there may be things the person does not wish to reminisce about, such as upsetting events and people that they miss. 

Be mindful of food

Although many people eat a lot at Christmas, a full plate can be daunting for someone who has difficulties eating. 

If you are doing the serving, try not to overload your loved one’s plate. 

Be flexible

It is easy to get caught up in Christmas traditions and how things have always been done in the family, but your festive season might begin to look different as dementia progresses

It is always worth having a plan B, and be prepared to change your plans if a particular element isn't working. 

Plan ahead

Consider minimising situations where the person with dementia is put on the spot to remember names. 

Think about giving a gentle reminder each time a new person arrives, or ask that people introduce themselves. 

Speaking with family members in advance, especially younger children, may help avoid embarrassing moments for someone with dementia too.

If the person with dementia is living in a care home, it can be helpful to ask the home in advance what their plans are for Christmas Day - particularly if they have restrictions on visiting times or amount of people allowed at any one time. 

Join The Alzheimer’s Society online community Dementia Support Forum which is free and available over the entire Christmas period. 

Join or visit anytime to get more advice, share experiences and connect with others in similar situations.

For more information visit: www.alzheimers.org.uk .