Six Practical Tips to Smooth in the Festive Season

We all struggle with change at times but when we have the capacity to understand these changes we can put strategies in place but, where capacity is lacking there are some simple things we can do to ease in the inevitable changes to routine over the festive season.

  • Make sure you know the person that you support. Has Christmas been a time of difficulty in the past? Will they be visiting family or family visiting them? Have they been let down by family visits in the past? Do they like routines and find change difficult? 
  • Prepare them for the changes. Involve them in as much of the planning as you can. They may like a timetable to show them the changes that are going to be happening. If members of staff are having time off make sure this is communicated, especially if it is preferred member of staff. 
  • Liaise with families to make sure that any planned visits run smoothly. If someone is now living in a supported home and the plan is to go home for a few days families can often forget how different the time may be when their loved one returns. 
  • If particular activities are on hiatus due to the holidays make sure that there are appropriate alternatives in place, things that they would like to do, not just any activity to fill the gap. 
  • Where there may be specific trauma associated with this time of year be aware it is likely to arise and be ready to support that person as appropriate to their needs. Try to avoid the particular trigger points if possible, though this can be particularly difficult.
  • Try and maintain the boundaries that you have spent the rest of the year putting in place. We often like to be more flexible at this time of year but for some people changing these boundaries can make them feel particularly unsafe. Have fun but within the context you normally would.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of dos and don’ts. There can be as many ways to deal with the situation as there are people being supported. Hopefully these tips can help Christmas run a little more smoothly for you and any of those people that you support.

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