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.¬†