10 ways to have a Zesty little Christmas

Zesty Christmas Dementia Activities

We first published this blog post of Christmas Dementia Activities in 2015, but we’ve re-published it on our shiny new website and doubled the amount of ideas so that Christmas 2016 can be even Zestier!

Christmas and the festive season can be both a terrific and tricky time for lots of people: our troubles may not feel miles away, we may not have faithful friends near to us and our hearts may not feel that light.  This can particularly be the case for people living with dementia in residential care, and their families, so here are 10 ways that you can create some terrific times and help everyone enjoy some Zesty moments this Christmas.

1. Ask people (or their families) if they have any Christmas traditions that they as a family or an individual would normally enjoy doing in the festive season. Can you help them to carry out that tradition this year? You can read about round the world christmas traditions here.

2. Putting up the decorations is a big part of Christmas for some people-some of us just don’t feel festive until we’ve hung baubles on a tree! Involve your residents in this process as you decorate the home and their rooms. Give people choices of what decorations are used and where they are put, even if they aren’t able to physically deck those halls. This would also be a great occasion to invite family members to come and join in!

3. Find out when your local church is holding a carol service or Christingle and take some of your residents along. If this isn’t possible, ask the church if they would be able to bring a service to you. If they need help to be more dementia inclusive, you can direct them to our Creative Congregations training programme for churches!

4. Find some old Christmas cards with various scenes on them, from Santa landing on roof-tops to the nativity, and use them to do some story telling with small groups of people. There’s some nice pictures on this website. 

5. Host a Christmas craft day where you invite family members in to enjoy making some Christmassy goodies with their loved one. You could make Christmas wreathsGingerbread Christmas decorations or your own nativity scene.

6. Get a Bright Box One to One Kit for lots of ideas of things to do together at any time of day or year!

7. One of the challenges of having dementia is that too often people see your ‘happy golden days’ as behind you. We absolutely don’t believe this is the case, so why not spend some time asking people what their goals/hopes are for 2017, have them on display somewhere and then work with friends, family and colleagues to try and make those things happen.

8. Make an indoor snowman by stuffing white pillowcases with scrunched up newspaper. Use a scarf and hat to accessorise and use black and orange card to make facial features. You could recount the Raymond Briggs story of the Snowman together.

9. Re-write the words to ’12 Days of Christmas’ to include things that participants would like to be given by their ‘true loves’.

10. Get a CD of Christmas classics and have an ‘intros’ competition.

We hope that you, the people you care for and their families really do Have Yourselves a Merry Little Christmas with this list of Christmas Dementia activities. Please get in touch with us if you would like to discuss how we can work with you to bring brighter quality care to the people you care for in 2017. You might be interested in our 2017 Out of the Box training events for even more ideas of how to make activities Zesty!

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