Easter with the family and activities for people with dementia
With Easter approaching, many families are getting together over the long weekend to spend time with each other. Family times can be busy, chaotic and full on. Organising such an event with your family can become overwhelming. Is everyone going to get on? Are the kids going to have plenty to do? Will everybody have enough to eat? Questions such as these, often overshadow the real reason we get together over easter – because spending time with our nearest and dearest can leave us feeling loved, content, and happy.
If you’re also caring for someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, planning a family get-together might feel like it’s bringing some new challenges. There are many support groups and activities for people with dementia, especially in St Albans. But how can you organise activities for people with dementia in your own home?
It can be so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that you forget to enjoy the time you have. To be present with your family, sharing a meal and a couple of laughs. One meal or weekend may not seem like much at first, but the feelings they create can leave a bigger impact than you think.
As you get older, the people around you become your support more and more. Especially for family members with dementia. It is more important now than ever to just be present and enjoy the company of your family.
Life is short and can change with the hop of a bunny, so we at ENA want to encourage everyone to take this Easter weekend to spend with your loved ones!
It’s the feeling that matters
When planning a family activity that will include someone living with dementia, it’s important to remember that it’s the feeling that matters. When you think back on your Easter holiday you might remember that silly joke your nephew made, or the delicious pudding you had 2 helpings of. Maybe you remember being nice and full at the end of dinner, but is that all you feel? Whatever happens throughout the day will leave emotions in us. And for those who have trouble remembering, like individuals with dementia, these emotions are what stick.
It does not have to be the biggest or best Easter celebration or even a ‘specialised’ activity for people with dementia, what matters is how you treat the people around you. Memories are less about the fine details and more about how you feel.
Before getting upset or frustrated take a moment to ask if it is worth creating a lasting bad feeling. For you, it may be easy to shake off a heated moment, but for your dad with dementia, it may leave behind a more lasting impression. One that he won’t fully understand or be able to clear out. It may actually create an even deeper upset as he struggles to ask why himself or others are unhappy.
So if your dad gets to have a laugh with the grand-kids or his favourite dessert, it will be more likely to leave a positive feeling. Which will carry on, even if the full memory isn’t there. If you choose to be encouraging and supportive it can leave a lasting impact no matter the activity. Try keeping the question of “what feeling might this leave?” in mind this holiday.
Tips to calmer holidays
A lot of families already have their own quirky and fun traditions. Maybe it’s Uncle Jimmy dressed as a giant Easter bunny or who can eat the most chocolate eggs in a minute. It can be more difficult to continue holiday traditions if your loved ones require ongoing care. So here are a few ways to help everyone feel more comfortable:
Bring the party to them. Somewhere they are already familiar with and can find a quiet space if they get overwhelmed.
Plan ahead of time. This allows you to assess any risks or to get any extra help you may need, like one of our ENA carers!
Be patient. Routine is usually key for individuals who have a carer, so with holidays, it can be overwhelming. The best thing you can do is be patient and not plan anything that will feel too rushed.
Make sure you include them and never speak as if they are not there. Your tone and body language make up over 80% of communication, so people may be picking up on a lot more than they reveal.
If you’re looking to get out in Hertfordshire this Easter holiday check out these events!
Head to Willows Activity Farm for hunts through the garden and even a schedule of shows to keep your little ones entertained for the day, including the Peter Rabbit, Lily Bobtail & Mr Tod Show. Advance Tickets Booked Online: Child £19, Adult £18, Senior, £17, Disabled £12, Group £11 Tickets On the Door: Child £23, Adult £22, Senior £21, Disabled £13.00 30 March – 22nd April 2019
Easter Family Fun Day at Cedars Park on Theobalds Lane for face painting, arts and crafts, bouncy castles, egg hunts and other fun activities for children.
Sun 23 March 2019, 12.00pm – 4.00pm
St Albans Antique and Vintage Market at Charter Market Area in St Albans
Sunday 21st April 2019 – 9am till 3:00pm (last entry 3:00pm)