6 ways to help families of the sick or elderly enjoy Xmas

Thursday, 07 December, 2017

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As we approach Christmas, your patients and their families may turn to you for advice on how to manage the festivities. To this end, Group Homes Australia founder Tamar Krebs provides expert tips on how to cope with Christmas planning if a loved one is ill or older, or has dementia.

1. Approach the festive season differently

Offer to cook if your loved one used to do the cooking. Order food if you cannot cook or get family members to pitch in and bring dishes.

2. Think about changing the location

Instead of eating in, head to the beach for a picnic lunch or have a BBQ at a beautiful park.

3. Don't focus on how things used to be

Create new memories and live in the moment. Celebrate what your loved ones can do rather than what they can no longer do.

4. Do not waste energy worrying if your loved one will be around next Christmas

Enjoy that they are around this festive season. Tell them how much you love them and how happy you are to spend Christmas with them. Take photos and savour the moment.

5. Make Christmas a time for reminiscing

Looking at old photo albums or mementos is a very powerful tool to help remind that person of who they are, what they were capable of and what makes them unique, rather than just being a person who is living with a diagnosis of dementia or an illness.

6. Not everyone has family around to help care for them

Suicide rates peak at this time of year, as it can be an incredibly lonely and isolating experience if you are not surrounded by friends and family. If you know someone who is living with dementia or an older Australian who will be alone this Christmas, please reach out to them and include them in your celebrations.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Lightfield Studios

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