It can’t have escaped many people’s attention that Christmas is getting closer. Extensive Christmas displays in garden centres encourage us to buy presents, trees and fairy lights. The Wednesday Group will soon be preparing its contribution for the Christmas Tree Festival in St Swithun’s Church and ideas for their Christmas party are already being discussed.
Sometimes we think that Christmas is really just for children and, as we get older, it matters less, but celebrating these special times can be extremely important to all of us. For carers of people with dementia, preparing for one of our traditional festivals can give the opportunity to reminisce about old times and help their loved one remember how it was celebrated in their own family when they were children. We can, perhaps, ask about the food they ate, how they decorated the house and their family traditions.
Similarly, paying attention to the changing seasons and things associated with them, such as snowdrops, Easter eggs, summer holidays, conkers and bonfires, can give us things to talk about and help to keep people with failing memories connected to their loved ones, their past and to the real world. Reminiscence can validate people’s lives and experiences and may help them recall times when they were happier.
Encouraging a person with dementia to talk about their past may seem unnecessary. Often, they can do this without any prompting at all and it may well be the same story time after time. However, if you encourage them to tell you more, by your interested questions, you may well be rewarded with fascinating tales that will bring pleasure to both of you.
For more information on the Wednesday (Memory) Group, contact Jan on 01777 709974.