Understanding Dementia- November 2020

Written on: November 20, 2020

The holidays are upon us and with them come special concerns when we love someone with memory issues.

Memories are such an important part of the holidays– remembering people, activities, places and foods.

Perhaps your loved one was a wonderful cook or baker (I know mine was!) How do we help them participate in the preparation of special treats without relegating them to the sidelines? Think of a task within the recipe that your loved one can handle. Have a few ideas handy in case their skill level (e.g. peeling vegetables, or slicing dough) aren’t quite up to par. Think of things that need the least amount of supervision, and won’t ruin the recipe. Even prepping the table where the cookies will cool, or washing the mixing bowls are necessary tasks when cooking for a crowd!

Remember to share your favorite holiday memories, with photos if you have them! Also, practice patience when your loved one remembers something differently than the rest of those present!

Music is a great way to bring the holidays into focus. You might be surprised at how easily your loved one remembers words to hymns and songs that are only heard once a year! Music memories are VERY strong.

Someone recently shared a video on Facebook of a prima ballerina with Alzheimer’s listening to Swan Lake which shows how strong music memory is. Watch this link and be amazed!

If your loved one is in a care facility, you should prepare yourself now for the likelihood that you will not be able to visit with them during the holidays. Hopefully, through technology, you’ll be able to “see them” virtually and express your affection to them. Put some special decorations where they will be seen during the call, or walk around with your phone to show off the tree, or the Nativity, or the beautifully set table.

Being creative is the best gift we can give in these challenging times.

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