Kelley Smith from CarePartners Senior Living joins Suzanne to add insights and advice to the third and fourth of Teepa Snow‘s six tips for making holidays successful for those who have Alzheimer’s and dementia, providing advice and insight.
Tip 3: Be Ready to Hear the Same Story Multiple Times. Kelley says, “This is also a good way to connect with mom and dad. What if, while dad was telling your story about his fishing trip to Alaska – you’ve heard it nine times – ask who went with you. Who went? How long have you known Bobby? Didn’t you guys grow up together? You can steer the story, to see what else do they remember? One of these days you’re not gonna hear that story any more. For your grandkids, what about taking the opportunity to record some of these stories over the holidays? These are things that I look back on, things I wish I had of my grandparents.”
Tip 4. Avoid Direct Corrections. Kelley says, “This is one of my favorites. What Teepa says is, corrections don’t make you feel good about yourself. I’ll tell you something, I’ve been embarrassed in the past by well-meaning people who correct you, and the first thing I always jumped to is, I don’t remember you being my mother, and I’m not five, right? A person living with dementia, their brain doesn’t fire the same way. You have dementia and you don’t really even understand first of all what was said, but now, coming at you is this correction, it’s it’s a little demeaning in a way. I’ve always been a big fan of ‘follow them where they’re going.’
“They’re doing the best they can with the memories that they’ve got. They’re not liars, they’re not trying to set you up, but just telling a story, and they might not get all the details right. Is it important? No, so pick your battles. Not every story is going to be 100% accurate, not every every memory is going to be 100%, and that’s okay. You have to give yourself a little grace too. You’re not going to be perfect. Let it go. It’s not life for death.”
In the next segment, Kelley and Suzanne talk about the fifth and sixth tips. Learn more about CarePartners Senior Living at their website.
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Originally published December 29, 2022
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