What Are You Doing for Christmas?


“What are you doing for Christmas?”

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked that question. Last Sunday, at a lunchtime party, I had a similar conversation with more than a dozen people. My answer is simple. Christmas Day this year will be the same as it’s been for the last four or five. After breakfast, I’ll travel the 40 or so miles to see Mum. I’ll persuade her to open her present or, more likely, I’ll open it for her. We’ll sing a carol or two, laugh and then I’ll head home. For Mum, Christmas Day will be much the same as the 358 which have preceded it this year.

It’s the same story for many of the 800 thousand plus people living with dementia in the UK. And it’s the same story for the 600 thousand plus carers who look after them. I make no apology for firing out those statistics. It’s worth remembering how many people are directly affected by dementia.

I’ve been fortunate to meet many carers – sometimes husbands, sometimes wives, daughters or sons. Their devotion is often inspirational, their patience seemingly inexhaustible.

What are they doing for Christmas? The same as they do for the rest of the year. They’re coping.




About duncancajones

I am a coach and mentor, a charity trustee and a journalist. Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog.
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7 Responses to What Are You Doing for Christmas?

  1. Sue Davies says:

    Thinking of you all and especially your Mum, Duncan and wishing so much things were different for you all.
    With love and fond memories
    The Davies family

  2. misifusa says:

    My mom is too far away for me to get in the car to see her. So I am visiting her after Christmas. Sadly, I had presents wrapped for her to open and she didn’t really care to open them. Breaks my heart truly to see the difference every month when I visit her.

    • I didn’t realise the true meaning of the word heartbreak until Mum started down the road of dementia. Seeing Mum every week spares me seeing the difference you talk about. It’s gradual but unyielding. I hope you enjoy your time with your mom when you do get to see her.

      • misifusa says:

        I understand dear friend. It’s so hard to watch our loved ones deteriorate I talk with my Mom everyday, several times a day via phone and I see her once a month. It’s hard, but I am grateful that she still knows me and that we are still connected. Big hugs to you and your Mum. ♥

  3. Duncan, I’ve come over to your blog to thank you for your kind words and for reading mine. It is wonderful that you write your story, and you do it with honesty and forthrightness. There is no easy way; none of this is kind, and others need to understand. My experience has been that telling these stories is the only way to help others “get it.” I’ve had so many people say to me, “I had no idea what Alzheimer’s is like until I started reading your blog.” Nancy Broz

    (Have you considered adding “subscribe” to the right hand side of your blog?)

    • Thanks Nancy. I really appreciate your words. I agree – spreading awareness is often the most positive thing we can do when faced with dementia. The support and love to be found in the blogging and social media dementia community is wonderful. Duncan

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