Tips and advice on how to make Christmas special and enjoyable for your client when you work as a carer.
Christmas day can be such an emotional time of year for many of us, but especially for people who are vulnerable, particularly the elderly. Almost 1 million older people feel lonely at Christmas and half a million older people will spend Christmas day completely alone.
Christmas can be especially challenging for people with dementia, and the icy weather at this time of year can cause additional problems for those who also have mobility challenges and issues.
It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom though, especially if you’re providing live-in care for an older person this Christmas because you can make all the difference. Your job puts you in the perfect position to make your client’s Christmas extra-special. Here are some tips and ideas to help inspire you to do just that:
- Get Decorating
If your client spends a lot of time at home, it makes sense that their home should be full of festive cheer. Making decorations is a really good idea for an activity to enjoy with them, and going decoration shopping is another great festive activity to enjoy, as long as you go when the shops are quiet. Just be sure to slowly place decorations over a few weeks if necessary as it can be distressing for those with dementia to suddenly see a big change in their safe environment.
- Write Christmas Cards
Keeping in touch with friends and family is so important as you get older. Helping your client write Christmas cards nice and early will help them stay in touch with those they love, and will help them feel connected with others during this emotional time.
- Take Them To See Public Displays
Whether it is the big tree in your local town, or a Christmas light event in a local park, Christmas displays are a great reason to get your client out and about enjoying the festivities, just watch out if it starts to become too busy or noisy.
- Suggest Christmas Events With Other People Their Age
You can look around for events that might interest your client, so they can connect with other people their age. Mince pie and coffee mornings are always great social events and help your client connect with others over the festive period.
- Help Your Client Stay In Touch With Friends And Family
Whether you help set up Skype calls, help them look at photos on Facebook or arrange for friends and family to come over for a visit, helping your client stay in touch with those they love the most will make a real difference to them this Christmas.
- Get Remembering
Carol services can be incredibly beautiful, and they also help bring back lovely memories for your client. The same can be said of looking through old photographs, and even watching old movies or singing certain songs. Music (listening or singing) can have a very beneficial effect on those with dementia – helping to both soothe and stimulate memories. If your client finds it comforting to remember certain things, do what you can to help them.
- Get Them Excited About Christmas Day
It might just be you and them on Christmas Day, or they might be with an alternate carer. But that doesn’t have to mean that Christmas is a sad time. Encourage them to get excited about Christmas, whether that is through food, an indulgent lie-in, or through a lovely walk you’re going to do with them on the big day. Make the day as comfortable, relaxed and nice as it possibly can be for them. The very fact they have you there is likely to mean the world to them.
Live-in care roles are perfectly designed to make a difference to the lives of older people. At Christmas time, you can make even more of an impact on the lives of those you work for. Follow the tips above and be creative with how you make Christmas special for your client. Simply having you there is already improving their quality of life, but extra activities can make the festive period more special for them.