News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


People with dementia need special care at Christmas

Tuesday 19th December 2017

People with dementia need special care at Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, most people are spending December preparing themselves for the holiday rush. But according to Dementia Auckland CEO Rod Perkins, people with dementia have special needs at this busy time of year.

“Family members or friends with dementia often require a “less is more” approach to help support them through the holiday season,” says Rod.

“We understand people are busying catching up with relatives, however the bustle of guests coming and going can be very disorientating for a person with dementia.

“It’s important not to “quiz” people with dementia about people’s names. If the person seems to be having difficulty with names, just give them the name of the person, such as saying, ‘John, here’s Keith just stopping by to say Merry Christmas.’ By giving this cue, you can empower the person living with dementia to just enjoy the conversation without distress.”

Choosing the right gift for someone is always important, and dementia can be another consideration when selecting a gift.

“Research has proven the importance of mental stimulation in keeping symptoms of dementia at bay, and a gift of memories is a great way to offer this,” says Rod. “There are so many great ideas for stimulating memories, like creating a memory box of old tickets, photographs and souvenirs, making a scrap book or compiling a music list of their favourite songs.”

People with dementia can also have trouble navigating a new environment, so if you’re traveling to an unfamiliar location, take the time to do a ‘walk through’, and make sure that doors are clearly identifiable. Ensure that your family member is able to move smoothly from one room to the next, and that lighting is consistent. For example, for some people flashing Christmas lights are distracting, and for others they are a non-issue.

Familiar foods that are easy to eat are more accessible for people with dementia, and can also function as a memory aid. It may also be helpful to select plain crockery, or plain table linens.

“We mostly recommend that you enjoy the holiday,” shares Rod. “Supporting a person living with dementia may take some pre-planning at this time of year, but the rewards are worth it.”

There are currently 15,000 people with dementia in the greater Auckland region – a number that research shows is expected to double over the next 15 to 20 years.

Dementia Auckland provides a wide range of services and support across the greater Auckland region. Dementia Key Workers offer intensive support and practical strategies for the carer of a person with dementia, including home visiting, telephone consultations, and support groups.

The holidays are an occasion to be enjoyed by all, and dementia shouldn’t prevent anyone from celebrating with friends and family. For more advice on celebrating a dementia-friendly holiday season, contact Dementia Auckland at on 0800 4 DEMENTIA.

- Ends -

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: From Free Press to Fancy Dress - Spielberg's The Post

Stephen Spielberg's The Post is an opportune newsroom drama in which a corrupt Republican president wages war against the "liberal media," as its plucky proprietor risks economic and legal ruin to bring the Pentagon Papers to public light. Its true protagonist is publisher Katharine Graham, a stringently diplomatic businesswoman, reluctantly compelled to take an overtly political stance in the interests of democracy and freedom of the press. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Black Dog of Empire - Joe Wright's Darkest Hour'

On the eve of England's contorted efforts to negotiate its ignominious retreat from Europe and the chaotic spectacle of the Tory party ratifying its undignified departure from a union originally designed to prevent another World War, there has been a renewed appetite for movies about 1940. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Anger Begets Anger - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

For fans of what Ricky Gervais termed "number movies" (Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, Ocean's 11, Se7en), Martin McDonagh's latest offering will be a welcome addition to the roster. The Irish playwright turned screenwriter and director has produced another quirky and darkly comic tragedy that evolves around the futility of anger and grief, retribution and revenge. More>>

Howard Davis: Sexting in George Dawe's Genevieve - Part I

Te Papa's permanent collection includes an enormous oil painting by the English artist George Dawe called Genevieve (from by a poem by S.T. Coleridge entitled 'Love') that was prominently featured in the 2013 exhibition Angels & Aristocrats. Compare the massive immensity of the bard's gorgeously gilded harp with the stubby metallic handle of the Dark Knight's falchion, both suggestively positioned at crotch-level. Dawe's enormous canvas invokes a whole history of blushing that pivots around a direct connection to sexual arousal. More>>


Ethnomusicology: Malian ‘Desert Blues’ Revolutionaries To Storm WOMAD

Malian band Tinariwen (playing WOMAD NZ in March 2018) are a true musical revolutionaries in every sense. Active since 1982, these nomadic Tuareg or ‘Kel Tamashek’ (speakers of Tamashek) electric guitar legends revolutionised a traditional style to give birth to a new genre often called ‘desert blues’. They also have a history rooted deeply in revolution and fighting for the rights of their nomadic Tamashek speaking culture and people. More>>

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland