Our elder is a high functioning member of a memory care unit. She is beginning to adjust, but it’s still difficult. At the Valentine’s party we had a few weeks ago, she showed the most enthusiasm I’ve seen her display since she arrived. She even asked me what I was planning to do next.
To be honest, getting through that party was all I’d been thinking about, but I realized that she needed a “next.” So did everyone else in the unit, even if they didn’t participate overmuch. Every event, no matter how minor it is to us, is important to them, so therefore, on to St. Patrick’s Day.
Decorations: I am grateful for dollar stores. They have some of the best decorations, and they’re affordable when considering a large group of people (14 plus staff and us). We have hats, bead necklaces and hanging decorations. There are themed placemats for the table, and I would imagine we can make some of our own. Who says we only have to do things on one day?
Music: I’m a fan of Celtic music and have quite a collection. There’s a big HD TV to play the DVDs on. I also have some harder to find music on my laptop. Believe me, I’m going to play the Irish Rovers singing the Unicorn Song.
Food: I have a bottle of green food dye and I am not afraid to use it. Green cake, green cider, green Sprite…you name it, I’ll probably turn it green. My family (except our elder, who hasn’t been around us for St. Patrick’s Day) is used to the green. I can’t wait for her reaction. If it’s anything like her son’s, it will be well worth it.
Poetry: There are a few Irish songs I know that are better read in the form of poetry, at least if I’m the one doing it. Finnegan’s Wake is one of them. The only thing better would be to find an Irishman to read it. Poetry went over very well at Valentine’s Day, and I imagine it will again.
Dancing: Dancing? In a memory care unit? Well, yes. There is one person who likes to dance. However, in this instance, I believe the directors have called in some real step dancers. That I can’t wait for. I love to watch them. I’d break my neck if I tried to do it, but it’s fun to watch.
One of the biggest problems our elder and all the others in her unit deal with is boredom. The activities director works hard to keep this dangerous situation at bay, but she can always use a helping hand. If you have an elder in a facility, see if you can help. It is a blessing to them and it will be a blessing to you.