Christmas means many things to many people—typically a time for food, family and festivities. But for people affected by dementia it can be more difficult.

There is always so much to consider at Christmas, and that’s especially true for carers.

So, Alzheimer’s Society with help from their online community Dementia Talking Point, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you make the most out of the festive season.

Here are seven top tips to help you support your loved one (and yourself) this Christmas:

1. Put decorations up gradually - Introduce the Christmas environment slowly. Think about putting decorations up gradually over a few days so it doesn’t come as a big change to the person’s usual setting.

2. Keep it simple and familiar - Someone with dementia may feel overwhelmed over the Christmas period, so it's best not to overdo it. Keeping the day's activities low key will help your loved one to relax. Sticking to a familiar routine is also a good idea where possible. Having meals at regular times and in familiar surroundings will help to limit any potential confusion.

3. Get everyone involved. There are many ways to involve people living with dementia at Christmas time – from something as simple as hanging a bauble on the tree to doing a spot of Christmas shopping.

4. Create a quiet room. Many guests can be overwhelming, so ask family and friends to spread out their visits over the festive period. If things do get busy, designate one room in your house a ‘quiet room’ where your loved one can relax without loud noise.

5. Bring back old memories. Whether it’s an old song they used to enjoy or a classic Christmas film, find something fun you can take part in. Making a family photo album or memory box could be a nice way to spend time together.

6. Be mindful of food. Although many people eat a lot at Christmas, a full plate can be daunting for someone who has difficulties eating. If you're doing the serving, try not to overload your loved one’s plate. We've also got lots more general tips to help with eating and drinking on our website.

7. Be flexible. It’s easy to get caught up in Christmas traditions, but your festive season might begin to look different as dementia progresses. It's always worth having a plan B, and be prepared to change your plans if a particular element isn't working.

I hope these tips help to make your loved one who is living with dementia more comfortable during the Christmas period. Just remember to enjoy the season and try not to have too many expectations this Christmas. Make sure to relax and have some fun!

If you’re looking for information, support or advice about dementia, you can call Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22 or visit

  • Linda Matthews is the Alzheimers Society's services manager for Hillingdon and Islington