For those of you with a family member, friend or neighbor with dementia, I have an idea of continuity to share with you. It’s really simple, but it works.
About 6 months ago I was visiting my neighbor, Miss D at her secured location. I brought 2 Snickers bars and a roll of Life Savers – her favorite candy. She giggled with delight as I gave her one of the candy bars. I placed the other bar and candy roll under her pillow. I know Miss D hides her valuables under her pillow and she would find these gems after I left. A few weeks later I added a 3rd Snickers bar to give to her best friend Miss T, a resident on the dementia floor. I always make a point to give Miss T her candy bar with Miss D. I follow the same pattern on every visit.
Connections were growing with $4 worth of goodies each week. One day I shared with the man at the newsstand I was visiting Miss D as I bought the candy. He remembered her buying the newspaper from him every day until a year ago. Now he always asks how Miss D is doing and hopes she returns home soon. I in return tell Miss D the newsstand man says hello and she stays connected to her neighborhood. You may think your loved one with dementia doesn’t remember your visits or when you give them something – why bother. I believe they do remember with their hearts. Miss D hugs and kisses me each time I visit her before I give her the candy. Her friend, Miss T also hugs me and tells me in Spanish what a good friend I am to Miss D and I tell Miss T how much I appreciate her friendship with Miss D.
This goodwill happens by being consistent and showing up for our loved ones with dementia.
Being a weekly Snickers Fairy helps, too.