The Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of support mechanisms for families of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, many of the “Top 10 Ways To Help A Family Living with Alzheimer’s” is to keep them engaged. As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, there are many ways to engage with your friend or loved one.
Engage Family Members in Activity
Traditions abound at Thanksgiving but none as common as the bountiful tables set for the holiday. With your loved one, “sniff” different spices used for cooking – cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, chives, garlic and sage. As you smell the different spices, talk about and relate them to particular foods of the season; cider, potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie, etc.
Go for a walk looking at the amazing colors of the season. Collect some of the vibrantly colored leaves and sticks from your journey. These treasures can be sorted by size or by color. A simple activity is to place the items on a sheet of self-adhesive paper and cover with another sheet of non-adhesive paper. Use a hole punch and string a piece of yarn through the hole to create a sun catcher.
Sing songs related to the holidays. Some wonderful old Thanksgiving hymns include “We Gather Together” and “Now Thank We All Our God.”
Engage Family Members in Conversation
A review of the origin of Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for conversation.
Did you realize that 102 passengers left England for America to start a new life aboard the Mayflower on August of 1620? 15 of the men aboard were named John and 4 of the women were named Mary. There were a total of 155 children on board. The Mayflower was 90’ long and 25’ wide (about the size of about 2 school buses) and only went 2 mph or 48 miles in 1 day. With 102 passengers and 20 sailors, there were no bathrooms, no beds, and no kitchen.
They turned back once and their second attempt lasted 66 days. Many were cold, seasick, and homesick and some passed away while enroute.
In spring, 1621, Native Americans taught them how to work the land, hunt, fish, & survive in America. In the Fall of 1621, they celebrated their harvest with the natives; 91 came & feasted for 3 days on fish, turkey, corn, beans, pumpkin, & squash. President George Washington declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1789.
This story can open up many doors for discussion; how does your family gather for the holiday? What traditions did your loved one participate in as a child? What foods are the favorites to eat and to make for Thanksgiving?
We are so thankful for all of those individuals and families we are able to help and support. Although, your friend or loved one may not always be able to show their gratitude to you, know what a blessing you are and continue to be for them!