12 activities for Christmas 2023

It’s nearly Christmas!!! It brings a wonderful list of things to look forward to – delicious mince pies, Christmas decorations, a visit from the big guy to say the least. Whilst it can be the most wonderful time of the year, we recognise it can also be distressing, especially those living with dementia. Therefore, we have come up with a list of simple activities you can do with your loved ones this week.

  1. Decorate the Christmas tree. Try to keep the decorations a simple and easy task to avoid confusion or overstimulation. Perhaps they have a favourite bauble or decorations that they have been using for many years, which can bring back happy memories but also make things feel familiar.
  2. Look at past time photos. Don’t focus on people in the pictures, that the person might not remember, but rather items in the pictures – for example, a Christmas tree, a sled, snow, etc. You may start a memory album with some of these pictures.
  3. Watch a Christmas film together. Christmas films can help trigger old beloved memories. Sitting down quietly together to watch a favourite movie can help them feel at ease so try and find films that you know would be familiar to them.
  4. Baking. A great activity to get involved together in prep for Christmas. It can even help trigger happy memories by reactivating certain smells and taste.
  5. Get creative. This is a great activity to get involved in prep for Christmas, especially if the person creative. Perhaps you can string some dried fruit or glue tissue paper to make pretty a garland, wreaths or Christmas decorations.
  6. Cuddle a family Pet. Pets have been known to have many benefits for all ages as it can help improve mood by decreasing anxiety or sadness. Their calming influence can also help reduce blood pressure.
  7. Play music. Music also has some many benefits and triggers certain feeling. This nostalgic feeling can help them live some wonderful memories. They may even surprise you and start singing to the lyrics.
  8. Go for a walk. If the weather is sunny and the temperatures aren’t too cold, why not bundle up and go for a walk? Many seniors will enjoy taking a stroll with a family member or home caregiver to admire holiday decorations. For seniors who aren’t prone to getting overwhelmed, window-shopping at the mall or along the street can also be a fun way to get out of the house.
  9. Play a game. Try and find a simple game with easy-to-follow instructions that you can both enjoy. These can be large print playing cards, dominos or bingo.
  10. Do a festive puzzle together. Avoid anything that even be complex or can cause more confusion. Simple word searches are always a good start.
  11. Get them involved in wrapping. Get the person stick bows or labels on presents that you wrap, even if they are just empty boxes wrapped as decor to go under the tree. If wrapping gifts with wrapping paper is too complicated, gift bags and tissue paper can make it easier so they can still be involved.
  12. Read your loved one their favourite story. Reading has a huge number of benefits and can even help transport them back to a happy memory. Getting them to ready also helps preserve language and memory longer.

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