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Managing dementia over the holidays is difficult

christmastreeI feel guilty as we are rolling into Christmas. When my Mom suddenly failed last month and we were advised that we should move her into hospice, I was thinking this would be my first Christmas without a parent. I was both sad and relieved by that idea.

My Moms quality of life is beyond low. She seems constantly agitated and bewildered by the events around her. She still does not understand how she ended up in wheelchair. She never seems to be comfortable. She’s also entirely dependent on someone else to help her do everything, which she bristles about. All I can do is make sure she is as comfortable as we can make her and advocate for her wishes.

Because I didn’t think she would be here, I didn’t order the little Christmas tree for her room she treasured last year. I hurt walking down the hallway filled with wreaths to arrive at her empty door. I fixed that on my next visit and we made a new wreath in the shape of a star for her door together.

The holidays are always difficult. There are new places and faces and a lot of activity. You strive to uphold the cheer of the family gathering, but often find you are managing around embarrassing moments.

We learned to avoid celebrating holidays on a day other than the real day – it just confused my parents when we celebrated Thanksgiving early one year. I have a few posts from the last few years on trying to manage through Christmas. I smile and grimace as I reread these older posts.

My one bit of advice is to simplify activities and enjoy the time and connections you can make with those you love the most. Consider writing them down. My guilt dissipates as I reread my posts knowing I’m doing the best I can. Wished. 

4 comments on “Managing dementia over the holidays is difficult

  1. You are doing an amazing job, not only for your Mom but for all of us out here walking the same path. I am so grateful that you are sharing your journey, you help me every day. Thank you!

  2. Thanks Leslie! Knowing that helps me a lot as well. I need to share it, even when it’s hard to admit.

  3. I’ll be remembering last Christmas when dad spent the day with us and thoroughly enjoyed himself, even if he forgot everything two minutes later. We had a feeling it might be his last Christmas – at least the last in which he would be alert enough to take part. Up until two weeks ago we thought maybe he’d manage to another but he passed away on 3rd December. We’re so glad we did everything to make last Christmas a good one and to store up happy memories for this and future Christmases.

  4. Thank you for the note. I’m sorry for your loss. Such a tricky trek we are all making.

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