This image shows a whole turkey on a platter for Christmas

“It’s not all Turkey and Tinsel”

this image is very bright. It shows the words Turkey and Tinsel"

It’s not all Turkey and Tinsel

Sneak preview of my Christmas article for Devon Life. “It’s not all Tinsel and Turkey” – Christmas caring for someone with #dementia. – It’s not gone to the Editor yet, so edits welcome xx

“It’s not all Turkey and Tinsel”

Amidst all the excitement and planning for a “Happy Christmas” spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands of people who won’t have a Christmas to remember. These are people living with dementia and their loved ones who care for them.

For the many thousands of people with dementia, Christmas Day causes increased anxiety and stress. I know Christmas tends to make us all sadly a little more stressed than usual, but for someone with dementia, it can really unsettle.
For many they won’t know it is Christmas Day, they will just know the increased numbers of visitors and people rushing around makes them feel scared and bewildered.

“It’s not all Turkey and Tinsel”

It’s about keeping the home environment as normal as possible, a few visitors at a time, like a normal day.

It’s not too many presents at once so as not to overwhelm them. Gifts need to be simply wrapped – sellotape is a menace to all elderly people let alone someone with dementia. Helping someone with dementia open their presents helps to enforce the fact the gifts are intended for them and not to be given to someone else. This is another cause of anxiety and stress when someone with dementia believes the gifts under the tree are for other people and “ we must find who they belong to”.

Forget even the tree and tinsel and as for Turkey. Some people find it easier to go for a curry!

It’s having the old traditional Christmas films on the TV in the background. Bing Crosby – White Christmas, the music is soothing and familiar.

Familiar, the same carols the same music the same faces. Familiar, comforting, and safe. Not too quiet not too loud – just right.

‘It’s not all Turkey and Tinsel”

It’s the lack of spare funds for carers too, £62.50 per week carers allowance leaves little or no space to save, many save £2 a week all year. Many carers past pension age lose the allowance to have to struggle on the state pension. Do you know why they call it the State pension? It is because so many pensioners’ finances are in one because it’s not enough to live well on.

Christmas Day for many gives the chance of a break from routine, but for those caring for a loved one with dementia, there is no break, they need routine.
• No break from having to ensure their loved one doesn’t wander off,
• No break from the additional laundry due the incontinence(sorry to be blunt, but it is true,
• No break from the need to constantly answer a question although you have already answered it 100 times before,
• No break from reassuring your 85-year-old Dad that HIS Mum is not coming to tea.
• No break from helping someone wash and dress and help them with their meals,
• No break from ………………………anything…………so “It’s not all Tinsel and Turkey”!


Award-winning blogger and care columnist for Devon Life magazine, Caron also campaigns for recognition of the needs elderly people and their carers. Designer and creator of the award-winning Dementia Assistance Cards which are free to all, and helping thousands of people globally Caron is passionate and committed to making a difference

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