Holidays and Dementia

I underestimated how hard the holidays can be.   Even the best of us cannot help but remember how our loved one ‘used to be’. And, if they have passed, it’s hard to get through that ‘first’ holiday without them.

We admitted Mom into hospice in my home on Christmas day last year. Her cognition and engagement reports from Fit Minds made making the decision easier. Mom was no longer engaged and had lost most of her cognitive functioning. She literally forgot how to walk within a two week period. Confined to a wheelchair on Christmas, she was still happy. We treated her with respect and when she blurted out “Go kill yourself” to her nephew and then laughed, we laughed with her. We knew she loved him so much and we knew she didn’t mean what she said. Her laughter afterwards proved that.

Dad gave her a blanket which she used for the next two weeks. It was in Christmas colors and it was comforting. I bought her two pairs of shoes. She loved them. She never wore them. They are still in my closet. I sometimes wear them and my daughter tells me I look like an old lady.

Be gentle with yourself this holiday season. If you are caring for someone with dementia, this time of the year is hard. If you are reading this, you are doing your best. But be careful to give yourself self-care too. Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Blessed New Year.

– Janet

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