Feeling Remembered by Surprise Mail
Wintertime - it's cold and bleak, maybe with some snow. Most of us want to stay in and stay warm. I know I like to snuggle up with a cup of tea on the sofa.
From January to March there usually aren't too many social events going on. Most of us tend to stay at home. Fortunately, technology and social media let us stay connected with one another. Who isn't familiar with that little jolt of excitement when someone sends you a picture or funny video? Or even just a "how've you been" text?
What happens when you aren't receiving those texts or you have to rely on someone else to be put on a call? It becomes pretty easy for those winter blues to set in.
The importance of feeling remembered
There is always so much to do in December: shopping, cooking, holiday parties. It's a time when everyone is together - when everyone feels included. During the following months, everyone goes back to their regular schedules. What does that mean for individuals with Alzheimer's?
Typically, it means less social interaction. It could also leave them feeling forgotten during those long winter months.
My family and I noticed that my Dad would feel pretty down after the winter holidays. This wasn't due to seasonal depression.
Prior to his diagnosis, my Dad worked, ran daily, and had other things that filled up his time. All of that stopped once he had Alzheimer's.
No more socializing at work or dropping in to watch a hockey game with friends. How could we, as his caregivers, remind people to check in?
We came up with the idea of asking family and friends to send him greeting cards.
Simple greeting cards for loved ones with Alzheimer's
Greeting cards and postcards are a great form of communication. They usually have a simple message that is easy to process like, "Thinking of You" or "Stay Warm this Winter". The message isn't overwhelming and should be pretty understandable for your loved one.
Most cards have a blank space in them for writing. You can ask the sender to add a little extra note or story that's directed to your loved one.
Greeting cards and postcards typically have a large, bright print on them. The pictures are not too busy when you look at them. This means that your loved one most likely won't be overwhelmed by what they are looking at.
The images on the cards can serve as good conversation starters. Your loved one may receive a card with a winter scene of people sledding or skating. This is a great opportunity to ask them to share a story about an experience they've had in the winter. Let's keep those conversation skills going!
Spread out the mailing
Assigning a month or week for certain people to send the cards might be a good idea. The first time we asked for cards so many came within a week. Of course, my Dad was so happy to get so much mail. It just ended too soon! Spreading it out will keep the cards coming throughout the winter.
Alzheimer's and feeling remembered
Having it be from someone you care about is even more meaningful. This is just one way we tried to keep my Dad connected with family and friends. A card with a simple message of "hello" can go a long way.
What are ways that you have tried to keep your loved one connected with others? Tell us about your experience in the comments below, or share your story with the community.
Which, if any, of the following most often trigger agitation in your loved one living with Alzheimer's disease?