The holidays are rapidly approaching, and I am not the only one having trouble keeping up, I am sure. Ten members of my family, including myself, will be having a real Christmas dinner this Sunday at my house. I have had to enlist the help of my housekeeper this year. (My helper usually comes just one day every two weeks for four hours and cleans the “public” areas of our home.) My dementia doesn’t allow me to be able to handle all the excitement of a dinner party; I want to be able to talk and be with the family without worrying about the final heating of food and putting the food on the table. This Christmas is very special; my little eight year old nephew has been living with a brain tumor since early summer. St. Jude’s has helped reduce the tumor a little, but there is not a lot of hope that he has many years left. We need to build memories NOW. So, getting a little help with the dinner is a small price to pay for the time it will allow me to enjoy with him and the rest of the family. We have so very much to be thankful for, and time spent together is one of God’s best gifts.
On the some other topics:
Six a.m. may NOT be a good time to bake cookies! I tried today. Could be that I didn’t exactly measure out the cream of tartar or the baking soda or the flour correctly…I DID put it in the correct measuring spoon, but didn’t level it off—sorta eye-balled them. My cookies may have been made into balls which were too large. I thought they were 1 inch balls… The results were huge sugar cookies which spread out so far they ran into one another. I had to cut them apart to take them off the pan. Then, I had to cut each cookie into fourths to make them a better size to pick up. Guess I’ll give them a cute name like “Sugar Bites” or "Better Sugar Bits” … The taste? Like sugar cookies, so that part turned out okay!
I also taught my fourth Strengthening Your Mind class today at the senior center. This time it involved one’s sense of touch. The participants had a great time trying to identify unknown objects in bags using just their sense of touch. They also had to distinguish between numerous objects in other bags. The last thing I had them experience was what it was like for those people who had lost the feeling in their fingers; they had to put on a pair of gloves and identify unknown objects. That proved to be especially eye-opening!
We had a lot of laughter and fun exercising our minds using our sense of touch!
My husband and I continue to work with the Wii. He has typed out for me a set of directions which tell how to turn the TV on, the Wii on, and how to insert a disk. I should be able to do it myself when he is not home, but I’ve been too busy to find out!
So far, my bowling skills have advanced pretty well; I’ve even beat the pants off my husband a couple of times (not literally)! Hopefully, after Christmas we will set up the Wii Balance Board and I can review its benefits for you.
I do wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanakkah to all my readers! I hope that all those with dementia are making lists and keeping up with all planned events. I suggest, though, that you NOT try to do too much! For caregivers, please tune in on the emotional health of your loved one. Do not subject him/her to situations which cause duress. Sometimes, the family gathering you’ve always had may be too much this year for your loved one with dementia. Keep an eye out for agitation and fear; if these rear their awful heads, diffuse the situation by putting your loved one in a calmer location; talk about Christmases of old; talk about good memories you have and encourage your loved one to talk about good memories of his/her past. You may find that you discover things you never knew before!
Published On: December 18, 2008