1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. ethel

    ethel Registered User

    Jan 14, 2012
    Hello everybody.
    Havent been on here for a while, but always reading other posts. Mum lives with us and some days are really challenging but we seem to get though somehow. Feeling really guilty at the moment as me and family are going away for Xmas. Have eventually found a respite home for her but that doesnt stop me feeling so BAD about her not being with us, this is the first break I have had for nearly a year.My main problem is trying talk to her about presents and cards as some days she says she has to go and buy things then other days its all gone and blames me for not telling her. It would be much better for our lovely confused relatives to not have a Christmas at all but then you have to think of the rest of the family. How does anyone else cope with all this stress, I would welcome your views.
  2. rhubarbtree

    rhubarbtree Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    North West
    Hi Ethel,
    Christmas is stressful enough without adding dementia into the equation. Had an incident yesterday with OH which I'm still trying to come to terms with. Can not even write about it because I'm so upset.

    When OH's mother was first diagnosed she was very wound up about presents. We told her not to worry that year, but she did, often ringing to say all the presents had been stolen. We eventually had the idea of taking her to buy large boxes of biscuits for everyone. These were wrapped, labelled and placed prominently on her dining table. Did help that year.

    Enjoy your break.
  3. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    Think we all cope like you, muddling through it all. As you say it would be easier to ignore Christmas but the other family members wouldn't understand and anyway you deserve a break.

    How about just telling Mum when she queries presents etc it's all sorted, even if it's not, and just keep repeating it, that may calm her a bit and she may not be so anxious. Tell her that we did it together sorted it all out in one go so she doesn't have to worry.

    As for the guilt trip see it as a Christmas gift to yourself, you and family deserve it. I know where you are coming from as my parents won't go anywhere or do anything, so we go to them but it's too much for them too. My son has invited us over but I can't leave them alone on the day either. They both have dementia, mum hasn't a clue most days but Dad does so it's harder.

    Once you leave her at the home, which you should consider a holiday for her too as I'm sure the residents will be entertained more this time if year etc, just refuse to think about it until your return home. The carers will soon contact you if they need to. Try and rest up and relax. Make the most of every minute. Good luck.
  4. ethel

    ethel Registered User

    Jan 14, 2012
    thank you

    Many Thanks for your kind comments and I will try not to worry !!
  5. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I just used to buy presents then mum and I would wrap them together, she would give me a little money (too much would have given her palpitations as she was still in the 50s) for them, we would have a lovely afternoon together doing it quietly and calmly and I would say things like 'oh that was a lovely idea of yours to buy x for x and put it away til now. Then we would decide on a few cards for immediate family. Bingo job done, presents done, all calm and whenever she started to get fraught I would just show them to her stacked in the cupboard.
  6. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My Mum 74 with AD actually said to me the other day that Christmas was too much for her brain :(

    Just too much happening on top of Christmas cards and presents, and with end of year school activities for my children, end of year work Christmas functions for me, my sister, father and my birthdays, and Christmas.
    As well as Mums weekly Alzheimers activity groups finishing for 4 weeks!!

    I have the Christmas cards sorted and I now just give all the grandchildren money from Mum & Dad. Funnily enough Mum still tells me to give them the same amount as she has done, its Dad 78 with MCI who lives in the 1950's and thinks a few coins are enough :)

    My parents live in their own house behind me and last year everyone came here for Christmas. It was too much for Mum and for me :eek:, so this year we are going to my sisters.
    Mum of course has been told several times what we are doing on Christmas Day, and its written on her white board, but she is still saying we haven't told her anything and that we don't want her to come.
  7. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    Sending you all warmest wishes.

    OP - I sincerely hope you and your family enjoy Christmas. Tell the guilt monster to b--- off for the season!
  8. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Some links

    Ethel and others:

    Here are links to some other discussions on this topic, on the off-chance that something will be helpful for somebody:


    I don't know that I have much advice, as this is the first Christmas for me with my mother in the care home, and knowing that she has dementia. The last several years have been difficult, and not knowing she had Alzheimer's didn't help. Although knowing doesn't necessarily help, either.

    I am muddling my way through this as are many others and am happy to hear any advice or suggestions anyone has got.

    Thank you all so much.

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