This is a very difficult situation for many people. So develop a flexible attitude for the visit. Be kind to yourself as visiting can sometimes be sad by conjuring up past memories of the person prior to his or her developing dementia. You may need nurturing so take a supportive friend along and plan something nice for yourself on the way back.
For the visit, take along something that may stimulate the five senses – e.g. food treats, fresh flowers, music, photographs, or even a newspaper might help to engage the person initiate a conversation. Remember that persons with dementia are not usually able to initiate the activities of the visit. Be prepared for changes in their ability and changes in the way you communicate with the person. Gentle touch such as hugs, hand and neck massages, and hand holding can replace or complement the conversation. Try to enjoy the time together.
Trying your best to enjoy the festive season and helping the person you care for do the same by not over taxing yourself is the key to reducing stress during the festive season but it is “easier said than done.”
The Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society wishes you a very happy and healthy festive season!
Written by Tom Teranishi
Japanese translation by Tomoko Koike
This article was originally published in December 2012 and December 2015 issues of the Bulletin.
Do you have questions about either one of our residence options?