Alzheimer’s launch a dementia friendly Christmas

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Today the Alzheimer’s Society have launched a Guide to having a dementia friendly Christmas:

I know I’m so very lucky. I have 2 such wonderful daughters and their partners. Just because I have dementia hasn’t made them treat me any differently. They know I’m still me. We’ve just adapted ourselves to fit comfortably into our new world.

I’m lucky enough to have several Christmases this year. I’m going to spend (and have already had) days with friends on the run up to Christmas. I’ve got one Christmas with Sarah and Adam and then another on the 25th with Gemma and Stuart. It doesn’t matter what date you have your Christmas get togethers – it’s just a date. Enjoy them all for what they are and for whom they’re with.

I’m someone who is equally happy on their own as I am with loved ones. I consider that to be a fortunate trait as I rarely feel lonely. Others are not so fortunate and need people around them. If you know someone like that, make sure they have regular contact with the outside world this Christmas. A simple card through the door can make someones day and having a cuppa and a chat will be even better.

Christmas can be a chaotic at the best of times – shopping in heaving town centres, with long impatient queues is not a pleasant experience for anyone.

The Alzheimer’s Society found from a survey of 800 people with dementia, the top activities they found a struggle were:

Christmas shopping – 79%
Parties and get togethers – 74%
Community events such as carol concerts and Christmas markets 63%
81% said busy shopping centres were overwhelming
49% of carers said they thought it an isolating time

I’ve always loved the build up to Christmas but this year I’ve been surprised at my reaction to what use to be enjoyable activities.
I used to wander walk happily for hours around crowded streets but this year I can relate to the 81% – it was overwhelming, the noise and hustle and bustle just caused confusion and disorientation. So this year I went first thing in the morning before the crowds arrived. I still went to the Christmas fayre but went when it opened and started at the far end so it was quiet. Once it got too much I didn’t give it a second thought to retreat to a tea shop for a cuppa. It’s been announced that Marks and Spencers, Homebase and Argos have dementia friends in store during the shopping period – I may just test them out……

If, when you’re out shopping, someone is looking lost, frightened, confused or anxious, don’t pass them by. Smile, say hello and ask if they need a helping hand – you never know, it might be me….

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

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