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Share the caring duties and taking an active role: Enjoying Christmas with a loved one who has dementia

The Public Health Agency has issued some advice for those with dementia and their carers this Christmas period.

Image: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

CHRISTMAS CAN BE a difficult time of year for many people, not least for carers and those they care for.

Dementia is one disease that can create a challenging situation for those who suffer from the disease and their carers, meaning that they may not be able to enjoy Christmas the way would have before.

With an estimated 55,000 people in Ireland living with dementia, it is a disease prevalent in many households and families.

Ahead of the festive period, Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency issued its advice to help those with dementia and their carers have a great time at Christmas. 

For those with dementia, the advice is to involve them as much as possible in the lead up to Christmas.

This includes discussing with them what they’d like to, such as visiting friends or have a friend visit them.

For those friends or family who can’t come home for Christmas, setting up video calls could be considered. 

It is also recommended to involve those with dementia in Christmas traditions as much as possible, such as putting up the tree and decorations, or preparing the food.

If you’re carer, the advice is so share the caring duties over the Christmas if family members are home who can help out.

Developing a rota and some back-up plans if arrangements fall through is also recommended.

The Public Health Agency said: “Carers need to spend precious time with their own family such as husband, wife, partner, children and grandchildren. Carers should not feel guilty about relinquishing their caring duties for a brief period; it gives other family members an opportunity to re–bond with other loved ones.

Carers must not forget their own health and wellbeing – carers should plan in advance what they wish to do if they get a break at Christmas from their caring duties. Schedule in activities, shopping trips, visits, pampering and physical activity.

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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