Easter is a time for many families to come together. However it can prove challenging for families if a family member has dementia, particularly if routines change and there are lots of people around. To help families enjoy and celebrate Easter, we spoke to Admiral Nurse Mutsai Hove Bird about some suggestions.
Including the person with dementia.
Make the person with dementia feel included in activities and conversation. Tailor what they do to their abilities, hobbies, likes and dislikes.
Enjoy Easter traditions and the memories they bring.
As well as attending an Easter church service or a Seder dinner during Passover, there are many activities for the family which can also be enjoyed by the person with dementia. These can include: arts and crafts, such as painting eggs, or perhaps going for a walk to burn off those extra calories. You can also put on a favourite Easter film or piece of music enjoyed by the person with dementia.
Easter eating and drinking.
Inviting a family member with dementia to help out with meal preparation can be a great way to make them feel included. Making a simnel cake or eating hot cross buns together can tap into positive memories. Remember, some people with dementia can struggle with big food portions so keep it small to begin with, and then offer more if appropriate.
Make time for yourself.
Never be afraid to ask for help if things get a bit too much for you. Asking family and friends to look after any house duties during Easter can give you some time to recharge and relax. You could also ask if they’re willing to sit with your family member with dementia to talk to them and help them feel included. People are often happy to help, but might not think to offer themselves.
A bit of preparation can reduce stress over Easter. Keep a list of useful telephone numbers such as out of hours medical services and the Helpline. If you are going away, make sure your relative has packed medication and any personal care support aids they may need.
The Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline will be closed on Good Friday 19th April, Easter Sunday 21st April and Easter Monday 22nd April.