Making Christmas more dementia-friendly

It’s not been an easy year for anyone, so we want to make the best of the Christmas celebrations this year.


Christmas can affect a person with dementia in lots of ways. Many people with the condition like to have a set routine. The busyness of the festive season often means that routines change, and this can upset someone with dementia.

It’s not just the person with the condition that can be affected either. It can also put enormous pressure on family members and carers as they want to ensure their loved-one has a wonderful time. However, they shouldn’t feel guilty for keeping the day as normal as possible.

To ensure everyone has the best possible time, our expert carers have put together some top tips for anyone whose loved-one will be celebrating with them as part of their support bubble this year:

  • Stick to routine as much as possible on the big day. Have the person with dementia get up and do their morning routine as usual. Try to keep lunch and dinner timings the same. Always ensure there is somewhere quiet they can go if it all gets too much.
  • Make sure the person with dementia has all the medication they need over the festive period. Often chemists and doctor’s surgeries can have alternative opening hours at this time of year.
  • Use Christmas songs, decorations or candles to evoke memories. Something they hear or see might spark a memory and could lead to a family conversation and trip down memory lane. Remember never leave a lit flame unattended.
  • You should try to involve them as much as possible. Perhaps they could help with setting the dinner table or help out in the kitchen, even if it is something as simple as stirring. It’s important a person with dementia feels included.
  • Avoid having lots of different patterns and decorations at their dinner table place setting as this can cause confusion. Use a plain tablecloth if possible and use different coloured plates so they can differentiate between them. Also, try not to overfill the plate as a person with dementia can sometimes have difficulty with eating.
  • It’s important to have a ‘plan B’. As much as you can plan the day for your loved-one, it might become too much and they might prefer to go home or to a quiet place for a bit of a rest. Don’t feel defeated if you have to action your back-up plan.

We always ensure our service users with dementia always see the same friendly faces they’re used to during the Christmas period and that their routine stays the same as much as possible. If anyone needs any more advice, they can get in touch with us by calling their local branch. Details for our branches can be found here.