Timesavers Concierge, Caregiving & Chauffeur Guest Blog, “Memories Lost and Found.”

Graces Umbrella, ‘be prepared for aging with grace…”

By Elizabeth Downing, mytimesavers.net
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 4:00 PM CST

I love the holidays!  Filled with memories, time with family and friends, great tastes and smells – it doesn’t get any better!  But for families of those who are losing their memories, the holidays can be bittersweet.  It becomes more and more important to engage on a daily basis our loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, and to reenforce the comfort of past events and traditions even more strongly than we normally would.

Consistency is a key element of slowing the progress of these illnesses, along with medications and repetitive therapies which show the same faces, words and situations over and over again.  It is also vital to reduce agitation and stressful incidents.  So don’t make a big deal over who sits where at the dinner table, as long as your ailing loved one knows the faces and is comfortable with the arrangement.  Don’t get all wound up about whether the gifts are opened one at a time while everyone watches and oohs and aahs.  Get more wound up about having the opportunity to present someone with a photo album or memory book of special people, vacations and holiday gatherings – things that will actually prompt a remembrance and a smile.

We know there is not presently a way to stop the progression of the illnesses, but there will always be ways to make our loved ones know how valued they are right now and right here.  Ask them to tell stories of holidays when they were growing up, record them, take pictures, have them identify people in old photos.  Embrace these times with all your might and store these memories for yourself.  By being a little selfish in our desire to learn more about our elders and keep those stories for our own children, we are also being selfless in our desire to bind these generations together.

Memories are priceless, but even priceless things can be lost.  Take the time this holiday season to make sure your priceless memories are preserved and to make sure your priceless loved ones are honored.  The holidays are the perfect time!

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