By Izabela Klaczkiewicz, General Manager at Loveday Abbey Road.
Christmas is my favourite time of the year and it is such a special time within a care environment. There is nothing more magical than seeing the happiness and memories that it evokes in our Members and at Loveday. We are dedicated to meticulously tending to every festive detail, from the decorations and presents to the activities, excursions and of course the food!
During the festive season, supporting individuals with dementia requires thoughtful consideration to ensure a warm and inclusive experience. Below I share some practical tips and advice to help create a happy Christmas for all:
First and foremost, maintain a familiar and comforting environment. Decorate with familiar items, avoiding excessive stimuli that may cause confusion or sensory overload. Maintaining routines and consistent schedules helps create a sense of security.
Engage in meaningful activities tailored to their preferences. Crafting ornaments, baking cookies, arranging flowers, listening to familiar holiday tunes, or reminiscing about past celebrations can evoke positive memories. Encourage family and friends to share anecdotes and get involved with preparations; inclusivity is key for everyone!
Provide clear communication and simplify festivities. Use simple language, break tasks into manageable steps and avoid overwhelming them with choices. Create a calm atmosphere by minimising loud noises and bright lights.
Be attentive to their needs, offering help and assistance when necessary and allowing breaks to prevent fatigue. If you’re attending gatherings, I would recommend choosing quieter settings and smaller groups to prevent sensory overload.
Above all, practice patience and empathy. Understand that the person may experience challenges and it’s important to be flexible in adapting plans – always plan for plans to be changed, that’s my greatest piece of advice! Ensure caregivers receive support, as their well being is crucial in providing quality care during the festive season. By fostering a compassionate and accommodating environment, Christmas can be a joyful and inclusive time for everyone!
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