Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Tuesday, November 29
By Barry Christmas, Congregational Care
Read Galatians 6:2 NIV
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
When planning Christmas gatherings around a loved one with memory issues, it is better to skip the “Twelve Days of Christmas” and focus on “Silent Night”.
Holidays can be a stressful time for all of us, but most especially for our family members with dementia. A room filled with laughter and voices, children running and squealing with excitement, festive holiday music playing in the background and the family dogs underfoot can be overwhelming for those who are cognitively challenged. Such a chaotic atmosphere is more than they are able to process and quickly becomes intolerable for them. They are unable to recognize some people’s faces, and struggle to remember the names of those who look familiar. They may lovingly embrace one of their grandchildren, but fail to recall their name. All of this confusion makes them want to retreat to another room and be alone.
Keep celebrations simple and on a small scale. Consider having several intimate gatherings with close relatives instead of one big party with the whole family. The grandchildren can benefit too by having their own special one-on-one time with grandma and grandpa. And if your loved one is unable to recall names, consider having everyone wear a festive name tag at all of your holiday gatherings. This will help put your loved one at ease, instead of reminding them of their worrisome memory lapses.
Unfortunately, more and more families are seeing their aging relatives develop dementia. We pray every day that the Lord will help us find the cause and a cure. In the meantime, hold your loved ones close to you and remind them you will always be there for them (even when they no longer recognize who you are).
Dear Jesus, during this happy season of family gatherings to celebrate your birth, bless all who are caregivers and their loved ones with dementia. May they enjoy their time together, and make new and lasting memories. Amen.