Being a carer at Christmas
With the festive season just around the corner, many families start to make plans for the holidays. For those caring for an elderly friend or relative, this means a lot more than simply decorating the tree and wrapping presents – it requires careful thought and planning for family members that require extra support, particularly at this time of year.
Short-term respite care in the run up to Christmas carries a number of benefits for you, your loved ones, and your extended family. It offers an easy way to catch up on that ever-growing “to do” list and just a couple of days’ (or even hours’ break) can give you the extra time needed to finish the shopping or wrap a few secret presents.
And whilst you are out and about amidst the rush, your loved one can receive all the assistance they need in a warm and friendly environment, so when it comes to the big day, everyone can relax and enjoy cherished time together.
For those with memory-loss, confusion or dementia, Christmas can be a difficult time of year. But spending time in a relaxing environment, and with the company of others during the holiday season can help grow confidence and build social interaction. Participating in group activities also makes them feel included and can lift their spirits during this often busy and stressful time.
Top tips for carers this Christmas:
1. Decorate the house gradually – introduce the new environment slowly so it does not come as a surprise to your loved one.
2. Routine and tradition – keep Christmas simple and familiar to limit confusion. Keep activities low-key and do things that are familiar.
3. Make sure they’re involved – from simple things like decorating the tree or preparing some veg, it’s important that your loved one feels included.
4. Keep the noise down – a challenge, particularly at Christmas, but those with dementia or confusion occasionally need quiet spaces to relax.
5. Bring back old memories – sometimes a look through the family photo album or just putting out the same, familiar decorations can help those with dementia feel more comfortable.
6. Leave room on the plate – It’s easy to pile the plate up at Christmas, but for those with confusion or dementia, a lot of food can seem daunting... and remember, leftover food can always be eaten the next day.
7. Be flexible. No matter how much you plan, the effects of dementia in a family can have a huge impact at Christmas and things may look and feel different. Always have a plan B.
Wellbeing Daycare offers short-term daytime respite care for adults with memory loss, confusion or early onset dementia. For more information on how our team can support you through the Christmas period, call 01372 727583 or visit www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/daycare