Enjoy Christmas living with Dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia or living with dementia yourself can be challenging – and at this time of year the emotions we all experience are often heightened, our routines are changed as we prepare for the festive period with friends and family.

21m people in England are estimated to have a close friend or family member living with dementia and if this includes you or one of your loved ones then the prospect of Christmas can be confusing or even upsetting. If you remember a few simple things, and perhaps introduce a few new traditions to help Christmas still be a wonderful time of the year.

Research by Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK shows that half of people affected by dementia find Christmas to be the most isolating time of the year, with many stating they are dreading the festivities.

Did you know?

  • Almost 40 % of people found shopping for Christmas presents has become challenging because shops are too busy, and 98% feel that shops are not good at supporting people with dementia at Christmas.
  • 38% felt the extra noise associated with the excitement of the festive season can be frightening or stressful.
  • Just under a third found preparing Christmas dinner more challenging.
  • 22% said decorations such as Christmas lights and trees can be irritating and confusing.

How can you help?

  • Get everyone involved: There are many ways to involve people living with dementia at Christmas time – from something as simple as a few decorations or writing cards to doing a spot of Christmas shopping. The important thing is to remember to make sure they are included.
  • Don’t rush: Put up your tree and Christmas decorations gradually, over the course of a few days or even a week, so that it doesn’t come as a big change to the person’s usual setting.
  • Christmas shopping: With planning, Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be too stressful. Shop in the morning when it’s quieter and you can take your time. Help with buying the presents and enabling your loved ones to make choices.
  • Time for memories: Whether it’s an old song or a classic Christmas film, find something you can share. Making a festive family photo album or Christmas memory box could be a nice way to spend time together.
  • Musical events: Try to include people living with dementia when attending carol services, as singing carols is a great joint activity which research shows is really enjoyed and it can bring back lovely memories.
  • Regular Routines: Keep to routines where possible – such as set meal times and visiting routines over the festive period.
  • Don’t over do it: Someone living with dementia may feel overwhelmed by lots of noise and unfamiliar people around, so try and keep visitors to a few at a time. Schedule periods of rest throughout the day or have a quiet room they can retreat to in case things become too much.
  • Provide support: The important thing is to know how to provide the right support for someone if they become confused or agitated. You could designate a quiet area in the house where the person with dementia can relax should they need to.
  • Be patient: It’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, but if someone seems confused or is taking a bit longer to do something, take a breath and be patient.
  • Look after yourself: Don’t forget to make some time for yourself to relax and enjoy Christmas.

Facts and figures compiled by the Alzheimer’s Society. For more information visit www.alzheimers.org.uk or visit www.ageuk.org.uk.

if you would like to find out more about our care homes and the care we provide for those living with dementia, please contact us on 0808 223 5391 or enquiries@caringhomes.org.


Riverside Place

Home Manager

Katie Wilkinson


Plaxton Way,
SG12 7FB

0808 208 4570
View care home

The Pines

Home Manager

Julie Twidle


104 West Hill,
SW15 2UQ

0808 223 5542
View care home

Whittington House

Home Manager

Lyndsey Dixon


58 Whittington Road,
GL51 6BL

0808 223 5396
View care home

Wytham House

Home Manager

Koren Evans-Slade


Oaken Holt,
Eynsham Road,

0808 223 5402
View care home

Home of Compassion

Home Manager

Avril Jones


58 High Street,
Thames Ditton,

0808 223 5406
View care home

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