It’s Christmas! This morning, my son asked me if I was looking forward to it? I was honest, I said, not really.

The truth is, I always approach Christmas with a heavy heart. My dad died in the early minutes of Christmas Eve six years ago. It’s hard to forget this anniversary – and this will be the first Christmas without my mum who died in August of Alzheimer’s.

So whilst it will be really lovely to see my children’s excitement, I will also be missing my parents.

On the positive, I am really happy that I’m spending two days this week, talking to care home staff and residents in Nottingham – part of the evaluation work we are doing to support the Nottingham Vanguard.

Christmas in care homes is a really fun and happy time. The decorations are up. The staff and residents are in high spirits. There are lots of parties for residents and relatives. Santa visits and brings a smile to everyone’s faces.

It can be a very different experience for those who are earlier in their journey.

As the Alzheimer’s Society reminds us, Christmas can be very challenging for those who are living with Alzheimer’s in the community – with routines disrupted, crowded shops and the burden of thinking about presents and Christmas cooking.

Often families do not really know how bad home life has got – especially for those caring for a loved one. Parents may hide the truth from their children. Mine did. If you live away from home, coming home might be quite a shock. If you have a loved one or parent living with Alzheimer’s, it is worth downloading these top tips from the Alzheimer’s Society to keep the festive season bright.

Take care and have a good time this Christmas. Make some great memories…