CHRISTMAS can be a particularly difficult time for anyone struggling to cope after a loved one has died with dementia. In the lead up to Christmas, the charity Alzheimer’s Society Cymru offers some tips for coping and adjusting to life after bereavement.
900,000 people are living with dementia in the UK, including 50,000 people in Wales. Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer which means thousands of families in Wales will experience the devastation it causes. Many people will be facing this Christmas without their loved ones.
Rachel Nelson from Alzheimer’s Society Cymru offers advice for coping with bereavement at Christmas.
Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself space and time to grieve. Try to eat and drink enough and get as much rest as you’re able to (even if you don’t always manage to sleep).
Grief is often complex and difficult, and it can be hard to adjust to living without the person. It can help to talk through your feelings with someone you trust such as a friend or family member.
It’s natural for people to feel a wide range of emotions and perhaps find it hard to connect with others who are celebrating. Take some time to reflect and come to terms with your grief. At the same time, try not to become isolated from those who can offer support.
It’s important to look after your spiritual and religious needs if you have them. Many people find these practices helpful and a source of comfort after a bereavement. Religious leaders may be a great source of comfort at this time.
If you’re struggling and time doesn’t seem to be helping, you may want to think about asking for professional support from a therapist or counsellor. It can be a very helpful way of processing your feelings and finding a way forward.
Rachel Nelson, Country Manager for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, continued “Life changes after bereavement. In time, you may find that the pain eases and you feel more ready to cope with life without the person. Some people find adjusting easier than others. How long it takes will vary from person to person, and there is no ‘right’ length of time.”
Alzheimer’s Society Cymru is here for everyone affected by dementia. Call their Support Line on 0333 150 3456, if you speak Welsh call the Welsh-speaking support line on 03300 947 400, or visit alzheimers.org.uk They can signpost you to organisations that offer specialist grief and bereavement support in your area.
To donate to Alzheimer’s Society ’12 Days of Christmas’ appeal visit alzheimers.org.uk/Christmas