Re-capturing Christmas memories for people with dementia

Memory loss is common in people with dementia and can be distressing for them and their family and friends, however there is lots that can be done to help manage memory problems.

As Christmas comes once a year, your loved-one will no doubt have many happy memories of the festive seasons gone past but may not be able to re-capture them easily, so we’ve put together some small tips and tricks you can use to help them at this time of year.

Play Christmas songs or carols

We mentioned on our blog in the past how helpful music can be to those with dementia and the same goes for Christmas music too. If you can play your loved-one some Christmas tunes you know they once loved, this can help sooth them as well as stimulate and bring back some long forgotten memories of Christmases past.

It is also a great way for dementia patients to share emotions. Listening to music can often lead to dancing and hugging, bringing a sense of security.

If your loved-one was a fan of carols then it might be an idea to go along to a service nearby. The Alzheimer’s Society runs a series of dementia-friendly Carols by Candlelight events, with special Christmas readings and music from its own Singing for the Brain choirs. You can find the nearest event here.

Look back at photos of past Christmas get-togethers

Photographs are a great way for someone with dementia to reminisce about good times they experienced in the past. Christmas is often surrounded by many happy memories, which can be forgotten by someone with dementia, so if you have photographs from past family Christmas get-togethers, why not get the photo albums out and look through them together, discussing and pointing out important people such as family members and friends as you go.

Keepsake ornaments and decorations

Families often have one or two Christmas ornaments or decorations that have been passed down through the generations or from family member to family member, so it is worth digging these out if you can as much like photographs, they can help trigger memories from the past and spark off conversations.