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Q&A: Christmas and dementia – sharing practical advice

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DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
3,280
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My parents are determined to stay in their own home and whilst that is getting increasingly difficult we have decided the easiest way is for me to do a 5 hour round trip - that I do every week. A day early and cook a roast. Whilst I will not get to spend much of a Christmas it will reduce stress and confusion all round if it is essentially just another day and I will do Christmas with hubby when it suits us.
Hoping roads will be nice and quiet for a smooth journey
I did this for many years on Christmas Day
Make your life easy ( I recommend Lidl goose fat roast pots frozen & honey glazed parsnips! )
Year before last cooked 3 Christmas dinners at 3 different houses!
Xxx
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
3,280
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Hi I’m sorry to
Hear your Dad passed away, I lost mine to Alzheimer’s at Easter is year. Mum mum has vascular dementia and is in a care home. She used to love Christmas but as you say now it’s just another day of her staying in bed. The care home will try to get her up but can’t insist. It’s so sad because all of her past Christmas have now disappeared in the big hole in her head. I will buy her grandchildren vouchers for her but she hasn’t a clue who they are. At least last year I had dad to listen to moan on how awful the food was, didn’t like his new jumper or the world in general really. Most of which was my fault. like many people on here I hate Christmas it’s all just to sad. I will light a candle for him and my sister who died forty years ago now. Take care of yourself at this both awful and hopefully joyous time x
x
Bless you , I will enjoy the food & toast Dad - who loved Christmas & am bedecking the house in lights & light bridges to celebrate Dad. We all find our own ways to cope - there is no right or wrong way in any of this
Sending love & light to you & yours
Xx
 

leslyz

Registered User
Oct 24, 2015
278
0
I hate the necessary lying. Xmas is going to be mum's first one at the care home,
I've arranged to c her there and stay with a friend cos I live miles away. Rang the home today to check how mum is and had a chat with her and told her I'd be seeing her on xmas day she asked me what we had to do and I said not to worry it was all being sorted out and mentioned one of the carers who she gets on with. She said 'why would Simon know about it'. It was really difficult I didn't want to unsettle her saying she'd be there 4 Xmas cos right now she is relatively settled and thinks she's at home but I felt deceitful and that she could sense I was being evasive. Maybe I shouldn't have called but I usually speak at least once a week if I can't get up to see her. Mum's presentation is still pretty good and whilst she's very disoriented in time and place she can hold a decent conversation. She was/is an intelligent woman and still got cognitive reserves that have protected her so even now she tries to make sense of things, tries to problem solve and sort things out.

I know it will all be forgotten but I just hate this, hate the dishonesty and I know she can sense it. it's so difficult emotionally manoeuvring through the best way to keep the contact whilst protecting her too. I'm so worried I've made things worse. I know I have to be strong but I'm on my own with this and those difficult feelings are hard to manage.
Thanks for this outlet, I just needed to get it off my chest. I guess this uncomfortable squirmy feeling will pass.
 

Psimmons458

New member
Dec 22, 2019
1
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My 80 yrs. old was recently diagnosed and she leaves independently with caregiver assistance. She recently has had 2 new caregivers and the agency is now looking to replace another due to the caregiver not wanting to deal with my mothers behavior- anger outbursts and confusion.
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
12,956
0
Merseyside
My 80 yrs. old was recently diagnosed and she leaves independently with caregiver assistance. She recently has had 2 new caregivers and the agency is now looking to replace another due to the caregiver not wanting to deal with my mothers behavior- anger outbursts and confusion.

Welcome to DTP @Psimmons458
 

AshestoAshes

Registered User
Aug 10, 2019
14
0
My sister and I have always taken it in turns having my Dad on Christmas day, but he went in to a home a few weeks ago, and we have found that when we take him out, even for a small walk, it upsets him when we take him back. We get 'this isn't my home. I don't know where I am. What am I doing here?' etc. and he is unsettled then for We have taken the decision this year that he will be less upset if he stays at the home on Christmas Day. I will visit first thing, followed by my brother, then my sister in the afternoon, but I can't help but feel guilty. My head knows it's best for Dad - but my heart says different.

Hello @crazyone I really identify with this. It's my dad's first Christmas since moving to his care home a couple of months ago, and I have moved from thinking 'I'll bring him to my house for Christmas dinner' to 'Maybe it would be better to just take him out for a bit somewhere nearby' to 'Perhaps it would be better to visit but not take him out anywhere'. He still doesn't think he is there permanently and refers to eventually going home, or to 'that nice care home we looked at' (which is actually the one he is already in!) He also forgets intermittently that my mum has died. I am increasingly worried that trying to take him anywhere won't benefit him and will only upset me and my immediate family who would be making it happen. But then I also feel very guilty at the idea of not doing anything 'different' for Christmas even though I recognise that brings all sorts of problems with it.
 

Embion

New member
Dec 23, 2019
1
0
My mum in law has Alzheimer’s and dementia, she started showing signs around 5 years ago, however in the last year it has completely taken hold of her. She was put into a home 3 months ago as she couldn’t manage, we live 70 miles away so relied on other family members to help out but it was just too much. Since being in the home, she is anxious, panicked and confused 98% of the time.
My sister in law is taking her out of the care home for Christmas Day. Which I think will be lovely for her, however she hasn’t left the home once since she’s being there. Is bringing her home for the day going to be manageable for her? Will she be scared or frightened? My husband is panicking that when it comes to taking his mum back to the care home, she won’t want to go back? We just don’t know what’s the best thing to do? Can anyone offer any advise please?
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
12,956
0
Merseyside
My mum in law has Alzheimer’s and dementia, she started showing signs around 5 years ago, however in the last year it has completely taken hold of her. She was put into a home 3 months ago as she couldn’t manage, we live 70 miles away so relied on other family members to help out but it was just too much. Since being in the home, she is anxious, panicked and confused 98% of the time.
My sister in law is taking her out of the care home for Christmas Day. Which I think will be lovely for her, however she hasn’t left the home once since she’s being there. Is bringing her home for the day going to be manageable for her? Will she be scared or frightened? My husband is panicking that when it comes to taking his mum back to the care home, she won’t want to go back? We just don’t know what’s the best thing to do? Can anyone offer any advise please?

Welcome to DTP @Embion
Taking her out could be risky. Personally, I’d visit her in the home rather than disrupt her new routine and cause confusion and anxiety.
Please keep posting as you’ll get lots of support here.
 

Louise7

Volunteer Host
Mar 25, 2016
3,135
0
I agree with Cat27. Your mother in law hasn't been in the home long and is still settling, plus she is anxious and confused most of the time. Taking her out of the home environment at the moment would, I think, not be a good idea. The hustle & bustle of Christmas, with more people/noise around and changes in routine, can be very unsettling for those with dementia and although your sister in law means well your husband is right to consider the potential problems that may follow. Perhaps suggest to your sister in law that it would be better to leave trips out until Mum is a bit more settled and less confused & anxious rather than risk disrupting everyone's Christmas.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
679
0
Not sure where to post this but I just wanted to mention that I got my partner 'Joy for All' companion dog for Christmas and he absolutely loves it. I got it from alzstoreuk.com. It's a kind of very cute robotic dog that barks and wags it's tail when you stroke it or talk to it. I heard my partner chatting away to it this morning! The Joy for All company does cats as well.
 

Duncan Lyon

New member
Oct 29, 2019
4
0
My Dads eyes always lit up at seeing me though he got confused right at the end. The joy he expressed when young children visited relatives & the cognitive boost that brought amazed me throughout his journey.
The heart it is believed has as many memory cells as the brain; with my own personal experiences I truly believe that. Love transcended all even at the end of Dads journey.
Your love for family will as well I feel confident of that
Merry Christmas my lovely, & enjoy the joy of youth at Christmas xx
Thanks for the reply, things are going well so far (only 1 really foggy day) and the grandchildren do give a new lease of life, and a new perspective. My daughters say that no matter what happens, "You'll still be dad."
Looking forward to 2020, more than I was a month ago, and I hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year. x
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
3,280
0
I hate the necessary lying. Xmas is going to be mum's first one at the care home,
I've arranged to c her there and stay with a friend cos I live miles away. Rang the home today to check how mum is and had a chat with her and told her I'd be seeing her on xmas day she asked me what we had to do and I said not to worry it was all being sorted out and mentioned one of the carers who she gets on with. She said 'why would Simon know about it'. It was really difficult I didn't want to unsettle her saying she'd be there 4 Xmas cos right now she is relatively settled and thinks she's at home but I felt deceitful and that she could sense I was being evasive. Maybe I shouldn't have called but I usually speak at least once a week if I can't get up to see her. Mum's presentation is still pretty good and whilst she's very disoriented in time and place she can hold a decent conversation. She was/is an intelligent woman and still got cognitive reserves that have protected her so even now she tries to make sense of things, tries to problem solve and sort things out.

I know it will all be forgotten but I just hate this, hate the dishonesty and I know she can sense it. it's so difficult emotionally manoeuvring through the best way to keep the contact whilst protecting her too. I'm so worried I've made things worse. I know I have to be strong but I'm on my own with this and those difficult feelings are hard to manage.
Thanks for this outlet, I just needed to get it off my chest. I guess this uncomfortable squirmy feeling will pass.
I hope it all went well at Christmas lovely it’s a difficult time emotionally on this dementia journey. please don’t beat yourself up, xx
 

Saun_A

Registered User
Jul 9, 2016
3,122
0
Happy New Year everyone! Wow, what an amazing Q&A that was. Plenty of questions asked and valuable advice shared. Hope everyone found that useful.

As it is now the new year, and as all good things must come to an end as Chaucer once said, it is time to close this thread. Thanks everyone. Take care.
 
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