Holidays can be a wonderful time of year filled with family, food and laughter. However, it can also bring on stressful times and hurried schedules for everyone. This is why the holidays can be especially hard for those with memory loss.
People living with memory loss do best when things are kept to an even keel. They tend to feel most comfortable in surroundings and with people they are most familiar. As a result, caregivers find that some people with memory loss become more agitated or forgetful during this time of revelry.
However, celebrating the holidays with your loved one with memory loss is extremely important. You may just need to adapt your expectations and current way of celebrating to incorporate their needs into the mix. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you have the merriest of holidays:
Follow Past Traditions – What was one way that your family always celebrated Christmas? In my family, my grandmother always served lutefisk. Today, lutefisk would be the farthest from my family’s taste buds, but if helps my loved one with memory loss bring back a memory or even a smile, I would say, “pass the butter please!” However, it does not have to be food. Perhaps it is singing Christmas carols before opening presents. Music is one memory that is typically held far into the disease process; even those with severe memory loss or who can no longer speak may sing a verse or two of “Yankee Doodle.” Try breaking into Silent Night with your loved one and see what happens!!!
Simplify – We all want a seven course meal at Christmas with eggnog and eighty dozen kinds of cookies to munch on. However, for our loved one with memory loss those extra special trappings are not important and can be intimidating. They just want to be safe, happy and healthy. It is important to keep in mind, what really needs to be done to make this time special for everyone. Maybe it is ordering pizza so that the family can sit and reminisce with Grandma or fixing one course of Dad’s favorite food, even if it is a grilled cheese sandwich. It is the time you spend together, not in front of the stove that truly matters.
Family and Friends – It is important that family and friends see your loved one. However, realize that a big crowd of people, especially small children, can be overwhelming. It may be best to set up specific times for different groups to visit. By doing this you also ensure that your loved one gets to spend quality time with each one of their visitors. Ask your guests to bring old photos of them with your loved one. Ask them to reminisce about the photos with your loved one and then add them to a scrapbook that your loved one can look through after the holidays are over.
Gifts – When searching for a gift try finding something that is traditional, simple and reminds your loved one of special moments in their life. A scrapbook is a great gift, as most people enjoy looking at pictures and it can usually help bring back memories. A CD of their favorite music or a replica of a car that they once owned may also help trigger memories.
Of course, clothing and other essential items are also wonderful gifts to give and their immediate caregiver will be most grateful, but for the person and for you finding a gift that brings back a memory is truly the greatest gift of all. These magic moments make the holidays truly merry for everyone.
My father has been here only a little over 2 months. The positive change in him has been DRAMATIC! I would HIGHLY recommend Azura........ I would give it 10 stars if they allowed it! This is the premier facility for any family member with cognitive issues! They do treat residents like family, believe it!
Review posted by Stephen Diedrich
The staff at Oak Creek are all fabulous! It takes special people to care for our loved ones. If has been a trying year for all and the staff at oak creek get a shout out for their kindness and compassion they give to my mom and the others. They have all gone above and beyond to make things seem as normal as possible for my mom! All of the staff have been so helpful and kind! They are all fabulous!!
Review posted by Mary Kubacki
"We want to thank you for the loving special care you took of our mother, Diane. It was truly mom's home and you all became part of our family. Everything was home for her....from the beautiful rooms, large sunny windows all around, good food made with love, fun and personal activities from people who really loved our mom. We would highly recommend your facility to anyone. The staff from the director, to the doctor, to the nurse, to the caregivers and the maintenance man were all extremely helpful, caring, loving and professional. There are not enough words to say how much we appreciate all of you. Your exceptional care, kindness, and love were beyond anything we could have imagined. You were part of our family, and we will miss you." - Gail Sommers and Deborah Guse
Review posted by Gail Sommers & Deborah Guse
Just moved my sister-in-law to Azura Stoughton on February 12th. I feel like I’ve found a little piece of dementia heaven. The staff has gone way beyond my expectations to meet her needs and take time to know her. Anyone who has dementia deserves the TLC they receive at Azura. I’m so impressed.
Review posted by Gail Aaroen
Thank you to the Azura Memory Care team, Sheboygan location for the amazing, loving care they provided my dad. They truly loved and cared for my dad as if he was their own. It is such a warm, loving, family environment I only wish we would have moved my dad there years earlier!
Review posted by Patti Bunch
Review posted by Ron Paxson
I have enjoyed working with patients at Azura Care as a Physical Therapist Assistant. The staff has been very helpful in sharing important information about the patients to make their therapy sessions as productive as possible. They are open to learning techniques to help keep patients safe and improve their ability to perform daily tasks with less assistance. Their interactions with patients show caring and compassion with a focus on the needs of each individual to enjoy the best quality of life possible.
Review posted by Barb Eisenberg
The journey of caregiving for my Aunt started over 4 years ago. It has been a very long difficult journey. It is hard to watch and frustrating to watch a loved one decline, as well as for them to live the decline. My Aunt found her final peace at Azura Memory Care in Sheboygan. It was not only her peace but mine as well. I no longer had to worry about her care as I could see that she was loved by her Azura family. She passed away on June 21 and they knew how important that it was for me to be there, but I also found peace that if I was not there, she was with family that loved her. No words can express the appreciation for the care, compassion and love that they have for all their residents. God has opened many doors through my journey and the doors at Azura were truly a gift from God. This family made a difference in a long journey. I will always have them in my thoughts and prayers. They are where and doing what they are meant to do!