Christmas help

CHRISTMAS is a very emotional season, especially for those of us who have someone in the family with Alzheimer’s.

I find this time incredibly difficult since my father moved into a care home. His first Christmas there was daunting, I decided to take him home for Christmas Day, but I had gotten out of the routine of being his sole carer and he had deteriorated badly, I found the day a terrible struggle trying to cope. All I wanted to do was cry and rage against this disease that had stolen my father from me. I felt very sorry for myself, the next Christmas was worse as I decided not to repeat the experience of taking dad home as it would have been too traumatic for him, then I had to cope with my own guilt and grief of the situation.

If visiting someone in a care home at Christmas, the Alzheimer’s Society advise that you must take into account what is manageable for the person. Perhaps taking a lot of people with you isn’t advisable, an individual visit or a very small group might be easier for that person to cope with. If you are having a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s with you for Christmas there are tips and advice on the Alzheimer’s Society website on planning and communication If you are seeking support trying to cope with a person with Alzheimer’s you might like to visit their online forum Talking Point or ring the National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 11 22. At this point I would also like to shamelessly plug my book, ’They Can’t take that away from me.’ If you are looking for a Christmas stocking filler this book is filled with over 200 celebrities including Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs, Kim Cattrall and Dame Judi Dench talking about their favourite song and what memories it evokes for them. Every penny I make from the proceeds goes to The Alzheimer’s Society. The book is available from