As Spring is finally upon us and gardening is just around the corner, let’s remember why the flower for Alzheimer’s disease is the forget-me-not. Years ago, Marilyn left the voicemail message on her home phone and my grandfather has yet to change the mailbox message. The other day I tried to get ahold of my grandfather, so I called his home phone. Unfortunately, he didn’t answer. That’s when I knew I would listen to the phone ring and ring, until finally their answering machine picked up the call. It was my grandmother’s voice, before her dementia diagnosis, and listening to it brings tears to my eyes every time. The most challenging acceptance to face is that dementia continuously progresses. Here are 6 ways to remind yourself that your loved one with dementia is in fact the same person as before.
1. Plant forget-me-not flower in your garden next year!
These flowers are so beautiful and will remind you of your loved one. Plus, they are perennials, so they will return on their own each and every year.
2. Engage in an activity they always loved
Sing or play music with them, create art together, or read them one of their favourite stories.
3. Tell them one of your favourite memories you had together
Reminisce on all of the fun times you had with them, and continue making memories with your loved one.
4. Educate others
Stigma exists around dementia, so educating and informing others about the disease can help end this stigma. Remind others that although your loved one may have dementia, they are still the same person. Encourage friends and family members to visit.
5. Create a keepsake
A way to always keep your loved one in mind is to make something that you can wear or keep with you day-to-day. Our family recently created jewelry out of Marilyn’s fine spoons, and it is a great way to keep that special person close to your heart.
6. Embrace those special moments
Although individuals with dementia may forget from time to time, we must not forget them. Continue to engage in activities that might bring out their amazing personality and create memories together.