Festive Fundraisers And Dementia Tips From Alzheimer’s Society


Rob Baker Ashton ©

Alzheimer’s Society are reaching out to everyone this festive season.

The charity are staging two very different fundraisers, and also offering advice on celebrating Christmas with someone who has dementia.

Elf Day For Alzheimer’s: December 3

Start the festive celebrations early on December 3. Whether you don pointy ears and bells, sparkle head-to-toe or dust off your most colourful Christmas jumper, all that matters is raising money to help the 850,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK.

You could…

  • hold a best dressed competition with your family, friends, or colleagues
  • host a festive games night or bake sale
  • organise an Elf Day at a school.

Stuck for costume ideas? Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop has plenty of elfish items available to buy.

Many people with dementia  have deteriorated over the pandemic due to social isolation and lack of routine, so Alzheimer’s Society support services are needed more than ever.

Sign up for your free fundraising pack and make sure you use the hashtag #elfday for your ‘elfies’!

Alzheimer’s Society Carols at Christmas: December 15

Church full for carol concert, choir at front

Join the charity for an evening to remember in the magical surroundings of Southwark Cathedral… or from the comfort of your own home.

Sing your heart out alongside our Gospel choir, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Shalom Chorale, and The Voice contestants Classical Reflection to your favourite carols. Adding to the festive atmosphere will be celebrity readings and musical performances. The event will be live-streamed so people can join in from home.

Tickets are £45 for in-person and £10 for virtual. You can register interest at alzheimers.org.uk/carols.

7 Tips For A Dementia-Friendly Christmas

For many of the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, Christmas will bring challenges.

There may be pressure to have a wonderful time, which can cause guilt and sadness for carers. Changing routines during the festive period can also be confusing or distressing for people with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456) and Dementia Talking Point online community are there to help if you need them.

Here are some tips from Alzheimer’s Society, and from people who have used these services, to help you create cherished Christmas memories.

  1. Avoid building up a mental of image of what you want Christmas to look like

Many of us have treasured traditions we associate with Christmas, from Bucks Fizz to carol concerts or a game of charades. But dementia can be unpredictable. It is important to try and be adaptable to how the person with dementia is feeling.

Be ready to reassure and support your loved one, as they may become disoriented by the flurry of events. This is especially so if plans change at the last minute as they did last year.

Family enjoying Christmas dinner Pic: Istockphoto

Pic: iStockphoto

  1. Eating at Christmas

The eating habits of people with dementia can change. They may not eat as much as they used to. This can be for lots of reasons – being in pain, having difficulties with communication or damage to the brain caused by their dementia.

Make sure you don’t overload the plate – small and regular portions often work best.

  1. Plan activities that include everyone

Having dementia doesn’t mean your loved one won’t want to be involved in the festivities. Think about what they enjoy doing and make adaptations.

For instance, if they really loved choosing presents for people in the past or going to Christmas services, but are not as mobile as they were, you could shop with them online or watch Christmas services over the internet too. Our annual carol concert on December 15 will be both online and in person.

There is often lots going on at Christmas. When it comes to activities, choose ones you know the person enjoys and think about how to adapt them if necessary.

For example, if the person enjoys playing cards but find groups too much, they could play with one person instead. Make sure you ask the person what they’d like to do as well.

  1. Create a space for down time

Christmas can be overwhelming for everyone, especially if there is lots of noise and activity in the house. For some people with dementia, it can all become too much. It is really helpful to have a quiet, safe space or room, where the person can take some time out if they need to.

  1. Take the time to remember past Christmases

Treasured photos, songs or activities can be a great way to engage with people with dementia.  Take the time to sit down with your loved ones and reminisce.

It can be enjoyable for everyone and is a great way to stimulate conversations.

  1. Stay connected

 

Whether because of the pandemic or for other reasons, it might not be possible to be with loved ones at Christmas. It is important to stay connected, and there is a lot of technology available to do this.

Smartphones, tablets and computers all allow you to stay in touch using text and picture messages, as well as phone and video calls.  These can all be a great way to share the day with each other if you aren’t able to do this in person.

Happy woman using a smartphone lying beside Christmas tree. New Phone? Transfer Your Data YBEC

Pic: Shutterstock

  1. Seek out support

Whoever you are and whatever you are going through, you can turn to Alzheimer’s Society for confidential support and advice this Christmas and all year round. Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line and online community, Talking Point, are there to help at what can often be a difficult and lonely time for people affected by dementia.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, our services have been used more than 5.5 million times. Being able to answer every call to our Dementia Connect support line is so important. Help Alzheimer’s Society continue to provide vital support to people affected by dementia this Christmas, and all year round, by donating at alzheimers.org.uk/christmas-gift