The Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance recognises that although the needs of people living with dementia are long-lasting, with the right care and support, both an individual’s well-being and quality of life can be enhanced. Where possible it is best to support the person with dementia to keep doing things for themselves. This can take patience, but it will ensure that the person maintains their skills and independence. With Christmas upon us, the Alliance has put some tips and commonly asked questions & answers together for the festive season.
Tips for Christmas:
Are there some activities the person may enjoy doing in quieter moments? Do you have any old photos you could look through together? Try to involve people in your own activities, such as cooking, walking and cleaning.
If the house becomes very busy in the festive period, it would be good to create a ‘quiet room’ and avoid watching television or listening to music in there.
It might be enjoyable for the person to sing Christmas carols – it’s good to do something with others and singing also stimulates the mind.
Commonly asked questions about supporting a family member
Q. Is there anything I can do to help my family member with their memory loss around the home?
A. Some practical ideas include:
- Labelling cupboard doors with written labels or pictures can help in areas like the kitchen or bedroom. Also, coloured stickers can be helpful with on and off switches.
- A diary that you can both check daily can help with appointments and socialising.
- Putting medication in daily trays or in a special container, such as a Dosette box, to help remember to take them on the right day and at the right time. This can encourage independence when taking medication and help to prevent mistakes.
Q. How can I be sure that my partner living with dementia has enough to eat and drink?
A. Mealtimes are important and enjoyable times of the day for everyone. Try to keep to regular meal times and eat together if possible. Having a regular routine really helps so it is always best not to disrupt a routine that is in place. Try and prevent distractions at mealtimes, and keep the surroundings calm, such as turning the TV off or music down.
Q. How do I help with repetitive phone calls or conversations with my parent who wants to go home?
A. Asking and desiring to go home is a common request that people with dementia make. There are a number of reasons for this, sometimes it is because they feel unsafe or insecure, especially if they are on their own, or sometimes it is because they no longer recognise their surroundings so are seeking familiarity.
It can be helpful to talk to your relative about their childhood home as this is often the home people with dementia are referring to. Looking at photos and talking about past experiences can also help.
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