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Q&A: Christmas and dementia – sharing practical advice

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Bikerbeth

Registered User
Feb 11, 2019
2,114
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Bedford
Mothers manageable but not when I’m on my own! So for both our sakes family will be around 24/7!
Think the shock of Dad passing is starting to hit home with us all - bit worried for mums mental health but team are aware!
Xx
Candle replaced with new one
Xx
Just wanted to say you are amazing and you should be proud of yourself. Giving advice to others when you are going through a sad time yourself and a tough time with your Mum
Thinking of you too @Bunpoots
Virtual hugs to you both.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,906
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I feel a certain amount of trepidation as I'll be cooking Christmas dinner, with my daughter's help, but it will be my PWD and 4 females. Just hoping I can keep him in a good mood, he has such mood swings and I don't want Christmas spoilt for the others. He won't sit and watch TV and he gets so cross if the attention isn't on him or if people are talking around him and he doesn't know what's going on (probably that's understandable). There isn't anything I could get him to do to keep him occupied. Mum might help him with his Dementia jigsaw puzzle but that won't last very long. I wonder if children's games such as pass the parcel might work, does anyone have experience of that? Any advice of how to keep him occupied would be welcome, thank you!

Picture Bingo goes down really well in our house and everyone plays, youngest to oldest. Someone usually keeps an eye on mum's (pwd) card, but actually because it's visual, she does pretty well on her own. Buy some silly prizes and we take it in turns to be the number caller, it usually descends into mayhem, but it's fun.
Tesco sell a Christmas pictures Bingo, not expensive, or if you've got the time, Google and download and make your own. A few years ago,I made a personalised version which applies to the family Dimpsy and we use dried butter beans as card markers, in our house we don't play bingo, the shout goes out for playing 'Bean - Go'.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,906
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I feel a certain amount of trepidation as I'll be cooking Christmas dinner, with my daughter's help, but it will be my PWD and 4 females. Just hoping I can keep him in a good mood, he has such mood swings and I don't want Christmas spoilt for the others. He won't sit and watch TV and he gets so cross if the attention isn't on him or if people are talking around him and he doesn't know what's going on (probably that's understandable). There isn't anything I could get him to do to keep him occupied. Mum might help him with his Dementia jigsaw puzzle but that won't last very long. I wonder if children's games such as pass the parcel might work, does anyone have experience of that? Any advice of how to keep him occupied would be welcome, thank you!

Picture Bingo goes down really well in our house and everyone plays, youngest to oldest. Someone usually keeps an eye on mum's (pwd) card, but actually because it's visual, she does pretty well on her own. Buy some silly prizes and we take it in turns to be the number caller, it usually descends into mayhem, but it's fun.
Tesco sell a Christmas pictures Bingo, not expensive, or if you've got the time, Google and download or make your own. I did a personalised version which applies to the family Dimpsy and we use dried butter beans as card markers, in our house we don't play bingo, the shout goes out for playing 'Bean - Go'.
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
3,280
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Just wanted to say you are amazing and you should be proud of yourself. Giving advice to others when you are going through a sad time yourself and a tough time with your Mum
Thinking of you too @Bunpoots
Virtual hugs to you both.
Oh bless you
I really don’t know what to do with myself at the moment. Hoping that any experience might help someone is a comfort. weird old life isn’t it?
xx
 

AztecCamera87

Registered User
Mar 12, 2019
204
0
This will be the first christmas since dad has been diagnosed, and the first christmas he wont be making the meal! (Although last year I was shadowing him the whole time and correcting everything). It will be just me, dad and my sister for half the day. None of my brothers or other family members, my partner is ill, so cant come, her family are hindu, so while they do the UK cultural thing of present exchanges and a family meal, it's not the number one celebration for them! I will spend Boxing Day with her. I'm cancelling carers and nurses for the day and plan to just do it all myself. So it may be tough. Hes not mentioned christmas despite the cards turning up. Hopefully the food and gifts will spark something positive.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
679
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Picture Bingo goes down really well in our house and everyone plays, youngest to oldest. Someone usually keeps an eye on mum's (pwd) card, but actually because it's visual, she does pretty well on her own. Buy some silly prizes and we take it in turns to be the number caller, it usually descends into mayhem, but it's fun.
Tesco sell a Christmas pictures Bingo, not expensive, or if you've got the time, Google and download or make your own. I did a personalised version which applies to the family Dimpsy and we use dried butter beans as card markers, in our house we don't play bingo, the shout goes out for playing 'Bean - Go'.
Sounds like a good game, I'll see if I can get hold of it - no time to make my own
 

seaville

New member
Dec 16, 2019
4
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@seaville Silly question maybe, but can your Aunt still read? I discovered after months of hearing Mum talk about a book she was reading that she had actually lost her ability to read :( Either way you could just show her the cards and offer to read the verse to tell her who it's from.
Many thanks you've made me think and cheered me up - thanks!
 

seaville

New member
Dec 16, 2019
4
0
In response to millalm's post, it reminded me that my mum's reading glasses disappeared very early on when she went into the care home. Things replaced would soon disappear again as residents would go into other people's rooms, probably thinking it was theirs. Even if she still had the ability to read she'd have had no chance without reading glasses. It didn't seem to bother her - an avid reader whose career had been all about teaching children to read, and who taught me to read before I'd even started school, so I hope that she did no longer understand reading. Perhaps, if your aunt has reading glasses, you could hide them over Christmas ;)?

Sorry, obviously I'm making a (bad taste) joke, but on a serious note don't stress about it. Often the easiest solutions to a problem are the best ones.
That's really helpful thanks and made me laugh! All the best for Xmas
 

Joancz

Registered User
Oct 2, 2019
35
0
Gift ideas for CH staff?
Hi all. Its our first Christmas as a family since mum went into a CH. We would like to show our appreciation to the staff and were thinking of giving a small gift to all staff, and not just the ones we know well? Anyone else done same ?
 

Stripey3

Registered User
May 29, 2019
36
0
@jonecz
I was going to ask the same question. what do people do?
There quite a few staff at my PWD’s care home and they inter change amongst the units. I did ask about Christmas and casually asked if staff can accept gifts and officially they are not allowed.
 

Louise7

Volunteer Host
Mar 25, 2016
3,136
0
Tins of chocolates, some nice biscuits or mince pies, small soaps/toiletries seem to go down well as they can be shared by all.
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
2,445
0
Newcastle
Does anyone have any suggestions to a Christmas problem - my Uncle died in August and my Aunt does not remember he has died as she has dementia. She doesn't ask about him or talk about him but seems OK in her world. She lives in a Care Home and has had her post redirected to me. She has had Christmas cards sent that are addressed to her and her husband as I've not been able to let everyone know of her husband's death. Should I give her the cards and risk bringing up her husband's death or withhold them and then she misses out on the cards? Has anyone else been in same position?
If you think that giving her cards with your uncle's name on might raise unwanted questions or upset her don't give her them. If she is anything like my wife she will have little interest in the cards anyway. I showed her some the other day when i visited but beyond appreciating the pictures/designs she wasn't really aware what they were or bothered about who they were from. The worry of missing out on the cards is yours and is unlikely to be shared by your aunt.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,906
0
Gift ideas for CH staff?
Hi all. Its our first Christmas as a family since mum went into a CH. We would like to show our appreciation to the staff and were thinking of giving a small gift to all staff, and not just the ones we know well? Anyone else done same ?

Many years ago I worked in a nursing home and a relative bought pretty China mugs and filled them with just a few chocolates for each member of staff. A bit of a different present that everyone was pleased to receive.
 

Wifenotcarer

Registered User
Mar 11, 2018
337
0
75
Central Scotland
Many years ago I worked in a nursing home and a relative bought pretty China mugs and filled them with just a few chocolates for each member of staff. A bit of a different present that everyone was pleased to receive.
It is our first Care Home Christmas too. After much thought and knowing that the staff get umpteen tins of sweets or biscuits, we have bought a dozen individual bottles of Prosecco for the staff that work in OH's unit + the Cook and Activities Coordinator. I am going to add a couple of soft drinks for anyone who does not drink alcohol.
 

BLONDY

Registered User
Oct 29, 2011
82
0
2000 MILES AWAY
Dementia is like a gift that keeps on giving. It seems like there is never a day that passes without something difficult to deal with. Each Christmas I have been faced with going through all of my parents' memories as I try to decide what to take to put up in my Mum's room at the care home, my Dad has been gone for 7 years. Each year the selection is reduced due to space constraints, breakable and practical issues. I now have to decide what to do with all of the Christmas stuff that doesn't make the cut. It seems like every object I pick up sparks joy - yes Marie Kondo- every single one, along with the sadness that is now attached to them too. My only sibling, a brother who is an invisible has never been interested in helping me sort or clear out their house, or the 3 other places Mum has had to move to since her dementia was diagnosed, and has had no interest in taking any of their treasures as keepsakes.

Any suggestions on how to let go of all of this precious (to me) stuff?
 

Margaret clapp

Registered User
Sep 1, 2018
13
0
I have vascular dementia and find it very hard this time of year, I am a career for my Husband and have other health problems. My Mother died near Christmas, so did my Husbands father years ago but still hurts. I am trying to fit in lots of Christmas social engagements but it is becoming overwhelming. I do not like to disappoint people though.
 

catsmomzie

New member
Dec 3, 2019
9
0
Dads passing so close to Christmas means I will not be giving him a present this year , so I have a candle & will light it.
As for Aged mother “ the mantra” - “well I never liked Christmas anyway !” Is getting a good outing. A scarf for aged mother & some sweets.
Meanwhile I worry about the staying over of Mum! No carers in 4 times a day to help!
Mothers adversity to cleanliness & general mood plus her incontinence mean a lot more work - add to that the fact that Dads passing last week & me not rushing the funeral through before Christmas & New Year adds to the festivities!

I’m wrapping the single mattress in the safe room with plastic decorators sheets as waterproof mattresses can fail !

wish me luck
Xx
Hello there Desperate of Devon, I am so sorry about your Dads death and so close to Christmas too and the idea of lighting a candle is lovely. I understand your concerns and think that you seem to be managing very well but is that the reality? You have grief and your mother to contend with. Could you not get help when she comes, if only a couple of times in the way of carers. I think it is a good idea to cover the bed with plastic sheets, make things as easy as you can for yourself. Foodwise get things you can just microwave. Dont feel guilty if you have a problem coping and are not always good tempered. I often snap at my husband and also lose my temper which is terrible, but you know we are human beings and are therefore not perfect. I do hope you can find some peace over Christmas and the New Year and my thoughts will be with you and for your father's funeral.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,906
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I have vascular dementia and find it very hard this time of year, I am a career for my Husband and have other health problems. My Mother died near Christmas, so did my Husbands father years ago but still hurts. I am trying to fit in lots of Christmas social engagements but it is becoming overwhelming. I do not like to disappoint people though.

What an amazing - and busy person you are. This happy Season is tarnished with sad memories for you and it's understandable why you involve yourself with so many activities.
Christmas will soon be here and it's a time when we think about those loved ones no longer with us; I like to light a candle and remember quietly and then get on and make the most of the season.
I hope you and your husband can relax and enjoy the festivities, best wishes to you both.
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
3,280
0
Bottle of prosecco
Hello there Desperate of Devon, I am so sorry about your Dads death and so close to Christmas too and the idea of lighting a candle is lovely. I understand your concerns and think that you seem to be managing very well but is that the reality? You have grief and your mother to contend with. Could you not get help when she comes, if only a couple of times in the way of carers. I think it is a good idea to cover the bed with plastic sheets, make things as easy as you can for yourself. Foodwise get things you can just microwave. Dont feel guilty if you have a problem coping and are not always good tempered. I often snap at my husband and also lose my temper which is terrible, but you know we are human beings and are therefore not perfect. I do hope you can find some peace over Christmas and the New Year and my thoughts will be with you and for your father's funeral.
Thank you my lovely , my best friend who is also my support worker will be with us on Christmas Day to help, daughter & OH the rest of the time.
Mums dementia is really kicking in! But I’m pleased that I’m ensuring my health first & foremost at the moment. xx
 

Duncan Lyon

New member
Oct 29, 2019
4
0
I'm lucky as I'm still functioning quite well. My fear is not that I won't remember the grandchildren's names or the gifts we have for them. I am fearful of losing my temper as this seems to be getting worse and more frequent for the most trivial of reasons. I was warned that things may change but I did not think it would happen as quickly.
Yes my memory is getting less and less reliable, but it's this irritation for next to no reason that concerns me the most at present. I've always been known for being calm and even tempered and you can imagine how difficult it is when I feel that my emotions are out of control. It's not fair on the family or myself and I can't seem to be able to regulate my feelings of irrational anger and frustration sometimes.
Thanks for listening.
D.
 
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