Considering not getting anything for DM(17 Posts)
She has dementia (early stages), she gets really upset if there are new things in the house and tries to get rid of them. If we replace something then she gets upset - e.g old oven gloves had holes, she agreed they needed to be replaced, went with us to choose some, definitely her style, a few years earlier it would have been a great gift (she always preferred practical, useful gifts). Next day someone had come into the house and stolen the old ones which were really valuable and replaced them with fake ones .
It is the same with food, she refuses sweets etc, other food she gets cross that there is different food in the house, she will insist that it isn't hers even if we say we gave it to her. She will gather the food together in one corner and it will sit there until we next visit and she will tell us off for leaving it. She refuses to entertain the idea that it was a present intended for her.
Really not sure that giving her something is helpful if she gets cross and upset. I could buy a plant (she still enjoys them but over waters them) and hope she doesn't bin it. I can't get an experience - we always take her out for coffee anyway (so not really a present) and she gets stressed and anxious if we drive out of their little town.
What about a fake plant? Some them are very realistic nowadays and it doesn't matter if she over waters it.
What about a twiddlemuff? There are loads on eBay here
A fake plant probably wouldn't fool her at the moment, I do feel a little mean condemning a plant to death by drowning though. She would just throw a twiddlemuff away. She is still able to go shopping, cook, clean etc. She just hates anything new.
Would she still enjoy browsing through a magazine, a familiar one. Maybe you could sign her up to receive it monthly.
Or make an album of everyone in her family before she forgets faces or names and ye could constantly look over it together.. People with dementia often focus more on their family of origin so have ye any photos of her siblings or her family home.
Gosh that sounds really tough. Presumably she is still fully capable of realising its Christmas and wondering where her present is too.
Would a plant for the garden or something like a bird feeder work?
Or you could buy something she's had before? Then hide the original?
Don't worry about the plants - in the grand scheme of things if she enjoys it as an occupation then it doesn't matter. I think Busy Lizzie like loads of water but I might be making that up. #ikilleverythingtoo
But to answer your post of course it's not unreasonable to skip it if it distresses her
If your DM knows it's Christmas will she be upset not to get anything? It's such a cruel disease and I just want to say sorry for what you are going through.
What about a memory book? An album with pics of her favourite places/people/holidays/ things from the past that you could sit and look at and chat about with her? Or could you make a CD of favourite music that she would enjoy listening to? You could always take it home/keep it at yours if she is distressed by keeping it at hers?
In that case I think not getting her a present would be the kindest thing. If you were to buy a present it would probably be for "your benefit" (sorry I know that sounds harsh) rather than her benefit. Dementia is a cruel disease & sometimes forces us to completely review our interactions with the affected person.
If you are together at Christmas, is she able to comprehend that other people will be getting presents?
Get her a plant if she still enjoys them. If she buns it or over waters it, she bins it or over waters it. She'll still have the pleasure of it for a while before then. Just think of it as buying her a bunch of flowers which happen to be covered in soil rather than sitting in a vase.
A bunch of flowers covered in soil is a good way of thinking about it. She's always been more of the 'we just had a nut and a wooden toy' approach to Christmas, although made it special for us growing up. If we replaced something then that would upset her the most. She thinks we steal things and want to take hers. We don't but sometimes kettles etc break and have to be replaced.
She does have a book of local photos I got her a few years ago that she enjoys but is convinced that someone lent it to her and will want it back soon. A family photo book with names might be good. She often forgets our names.
I can see where you're coming from - the idea is only out of love for her to minimise her distress. You know her best, go with your gut.
Will she spend christmas with you and see others opening presents? If so will she need little things to open, even if they never even make it to her house, so she is not left out on the day? Does she have better days when she does understand more? If so, you have to assume she'll be at her best on christmas day, even if she isn't on the day.
Would she accept a christmas tree or christmas cake because she is used to such things coming in temporarily? Maybe a multi-photo frame with you all might help, so she sees it everyday, but of course it might upset her.
My grandmother has dementia and displays some very similar behaviours. She is also forgetting names, particularly of the newer additions to the family (spouses and babies). My parents bought a multi aperture frame and put in photos of her great-grandchildren with their corresponding parents (her grandchildren) and added a name label for each.
She is very happy to have it on the wall and now she can sneak a look at it to remind herself of who is who as she was conscious that she was forgetting names and it was distressing for her.
Maybe a small photobook of pictures of her growing up and family pictures over the years with names etc. Would make a nice pair with one of the family.
Would something with her name on be any good? Embroidered hankies?
We don't have many pictures of her growing up, it was during the war and not a happy childhood . She doesn't have much insight into her memory issues so might have to tread carefully with the book but I think that it is a good idea, at least with grandchildren and frequent visitors.
I tried to put their Christmas decorations up last year but she just got cross with me for cluttering the place up (they are too frail to come to us so we go there and cook for them). The cake was left uneaten because on the day she wanted a different cake and after that it was identified as 'not something she had bought' and so left. She used to love rich fruit cake.
I made my granda a book with happy memories I had and photos of the family. I included family jokes and phrases. He loved it and would show it to us all the time (then forget and show us again ) other gifts he's loved have been a mug I hand painted with things he loves on, a jigsaw with a photo of the family, a teapot with nice tea and books of local places with photos from when he was young. A mixed tape of favourite songs might also be nice?
He is the same with his memory issues so I couldn't do something that was obviously a memory aid. If you wanted to do a book I could PM you a picture of the one I did next time I'm there?
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