A NOT-FOR-PROFIT dementia daycare provider is sharing expert advice to help families in Somerset navigate the festive period and support their loved ones with dementia to feel involved in home festivities.

The Filo Project offers unusual, award-winning dementia daycare across Somerset, including Bridgwater, Burnham, Shepton Mallet, Chard, Ilminster, and Yeovil, whereby hosts welcome into their homes’ small groups of socially isolated older people with early to moderate dementia.

The busy changes to many families’ routines and home environment at Christmas time can be challenging for relatives or friends who have dementia.

Decorations suddenly appearing, noisy family gatherings, and changes in mealtimes can be disorientating, but Christmas can also offer valuable opportunities for people to reminisce about past happy memories and feel valuable by contributing to family festivities.

The day is led by clients’ interests and abilities and feels like a relaxed day with friends.

Libby Price, co-director of The Filo Project explains: “Our ethos at The Filo Project is all about understanding and respecting that everyone’s experience of dementia is different and one size does not fit all.

“If you can flex your festivities to what your loved one is interested in and still able to do, you’ve got a greater chance of a more relaxed, fulfilling time where everyone can feel involved.

“There’s no doubt that caring for someone with dementia is challenging, but we believe that with the right support for both the person living with the condition and their family, people can still live well with dementia and feel part of a family Christmas.”

One Filo Project host, Merle Weiner, will host four people with dementia in her home on Christmas Day itself.

She said: “When one of my clients told me that they were not able to see their family on Christmas Day I suggested that they spend the day with me in my home.

“Three other clients will also be joining us. We’re going to enjoy a traditional Christmas meal, followed by some singing and charades, and then listening to The King’s Speech.

“My advice for families preparing for Christmas with a family member who has dementia is to allow them to help as much as they can and want to. Christmas morning might jolt a memory of putting the turkey in the oven – let them help if they want to do that.”

For more information about The Filo Project visit www.thefiloproject.co.uk or call 0333 939 8225.