Goodness how the times flies by! Christmas again and this is the first one without my dad. I realise, in the great scheme of things, he was fortunate in so far as his dementia did not stop living quite independently. Yes, we arranged a care package which my siblings and I paid for - Dad would never have accepted the help had he known though. He would shower himself and clean his home, it kept him occupied and helped him to focus. The carers would supervise his medication, prompt him to take more fluids etc, wash the pots if he hadn't done so and generally ensure he was alright. It took the pressure off the family although we would still visit regularly. They were "another pair of eyes to observe him every day" and we're absolutely brilliant with dad. It wasn't all a bed of roses though. Dad could be dreadfully unkind if the mood took him. He would make all manner of accusations against family members but by pulling together we would weather the storm in the knowledge that in a short period of time his mood would change and he would be so kind and gentle. When dad was alive we felt that we still had a connection with our late mum; we had a purpose to overcome the grief of losing her and knew we needed to be strong and brave for dad who had lost the love of his life. This Christmas is going to be the worst of all I guess but we all know that we have each other and although mum and dad are gone they are only a tear away and we have such precious memories to treasure. It is so important to remember that the problems we face when a loved one has dementia ARE the dementia, they don't mean to be unkind and abusive and nasty and disruptive; they are locked into the disease and I guess the changes in behaviour is their way of trying to escape. I want to wish all those who care for someone with dementia a Happy Christmas, be strong and remember when the going gets tough it's the disease you're battling against, not your loved one. Good luck and best wishes.