250,000 people with dementia celebrate Christmas in the community

About 70 per cent of the 353,800 Australians with dementia live in the community and will be looking forward to celebrating Christmas at home with family and friends.

That's up to a quarter of a million households that will be particularly mindful of enjoying a dementia friendly Christmas and HammondCare At Home's Sarah Cassidy and the Dementia Centre's Juliet Kelly say a few simple tips can go a long way to enhancing this experience for all.

People with dementia can sometimes find participating in conversation more challenging and Sarah and Juliet say that getting out the photo albums, home videos and memorabilia, not uncommon at Christmas or New Year, is a great way of making conversation easier and more inclusive. Music is another inclusive and supportive element.

Lots of noise and busyness can be tiring and so setting aside a quiet space for a break can be helpful, according to Sarah and Julet, as is starting meals in a traditional way, such as saying grace, so people with dementia know what is expected.

Contrasting colours for food and crockery, smaller portions sizes and having finger food options are all meal ideas that everyopne can benefit from but particularly provide dignity and choice for the person with dementia

Finally, with the generosity of Christmas in mind, Sarah and Juliet encourage providing time out for primary carers by offering to accompany the person with dementia during mealtimes or other parts of the day.

Watch as Sarah and Juliet describe these and other tips for enjoying a dementia friendly Christmas.

* Sarah Cassidy is an experienced community aged care manager with HammondCare At Home and Juliet Kelly has worked as a Dementia Centre consultant and researcher and delivers training through HammondCare College.