The Dementia Podcast shares tips for a dementia-friendly holiday season.


Christmas is a special time when people come together to celebrate with family and friends. For people with dementia and their carers however the holiday season can be stressful, with changes to routines, increased expectations, and unfamiliar surroundings.

Across three episodes of The Dementia Podcast, Associate Professor Colm Cunningham and invited guests discuss tips and information to help you, your family and your loved one with dementia have an enjoyable festive season.

“We wanted to provide some practical information at a time when people want to be together but for some it can be overwhelming,” says Colm.

“The stresses are even greater at the moment because of COVID-19 adding extra challenges and uncertainty about coming together.”

In the first episode of The Dementia Podcast, Talking Christmas: how to include the person with dementia, Colm talks to HammondCare CEO, Mike Baird about the importance of Christmas as a celebration of his faith and family.

Colm also speaks with Agnes Houston MBE and author of “Talking Sense”, a book that examines the sensory impacts of dementia on the person, about what to consider when including a person with dementia at busy and often noisy occasion.

“If I was having my family over for Christmas, I would be busy planning before the event about where I would be seating the person with dementia, and who would buddy up to support them,” says Agnes.

In the second episode Talking Christmas: festivities and food, Colm focuses on many of the traditions that occur during the holiday season, what this can mean to a person with dementia and their family.

“Christmas traditions, like bringing out the Christmas pudding, saying Grace or Christmas songs can really help the person with dementia to feel included in the day.

I was delighted to speak with Colleen MacDonald in this episode. Colleen is one of our Residential Managers and was able to share some Christmas traditions she has experienced with residents and families at our Southwood care home in NSW.”

The third and final episode, Talking Christmas: taking care of the carer, focuses on the importance of looking after yourself at this busy time, taking a break, and sharing the caring role with others.

Colm also discusses the impact of COVID-19 on people with dementia, restrictions that may be in place, and the ability to come together.

“It was impossible to do this podcast without addressing the impact of COVID-19 in 2020. We finish the Talking Christmas Podcast series with a discussion with Professor Chris Poulos, Head of Research and Aged Care Clinical Services at HammondCare.”

Chris stresses that it is really important to realise that rules around visiting people in care homes will be different in each State and Territory and event within each State, so people need to check the care homes about their rules around visitors at this time.”

More information and support about dementia can be found at

Contact us at Dementia Support Australia 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 1800 699 799 or visit our website at

The Dementia Podcast