If you’re spending Easter with a loved one who has dementia, there are plenty ways make sure you both enjoy yourselves. Make an Easter bonnet, organising an egg hunt, or eat hot crossed buns together, but whatever you do, just make sure your loved one with dementia feels included. Here’s simple ways from the team at Unforgettable.org to make Easter easier for everyone.
Make an Easter bonnet
This very traditional craft activity is something the whole family can get involved in. It can be very simple to get started – just dig out an old hat with a brim then start adding pieces of ribbon, cardboard cut-outs of eggs, chicks, bunnies and tie in some spring flowers.
Go on an egg hunt
Another great family activity, if your loved one is able to move around easily, you can enlist them to either help hide the eggs, or be part of the egg hunting group, helping grandchildren. If they’re less mobile these days, they may still enjoy watching the hunt progress around the garden (just make sure to keep talking to them and including them in conversation).
Make hot cross buns
Hot cross buns are everyone’s favourite during Easter. Depending on what stage of dementia your loved one is at, they’ll no doubt enjoy getting involved in the making, baking and decorating of the hot cross buns. Even if it’s just helping to knead the dough, or glazing the buns, it all provides activity and a sense of purpose for someone with dementia.
Prepare the Easter lunch together
Whether you go for traditional roast lamb or opt for chicken, pork or beef, sitting down for a family lunch is all part of Easter. Your loved one with dementia may enjoy helping to prepare the lunch, so if they’re able, give them some tasks to be getting on with, whether that’s peeling carrots or stirring the sauce. Remember, it may take someone with dementia longer to eat food, especially if they struggle with chewing and swallowing, so keep the portions small and consider serving it in a special insulated plate so it keeps warm.
Decorate an Easter tree
A popular pastime in Germany, creating an Easter tree is a lovely activity and makes a great focal point on the day. Take some branch cuttings that have some spring buds and flowers on (we recommend forsythia or cherry blossom), arrange in a vase of water and then decorate with painted eggs, cardboard Easter decorations and ribbons.
Spend time outdoors
Go for walk in the park, take a stroll to church or why not visit a petting farm? Farm visits can be a great activity for people with dementia because they’re so interactive
Go to church
If your loved one is religious, or enjoyed going to church at Easter in the past, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t enjoy it now they have dementia. Often, hymns, prayers and religious events can stir deeper memories that are actually easier to access, and so more comforting for someone with dementia, than the general day-to-day.
Take a trip down memory lane
Everyone likes reminiscing but it can be particularly enjoyable for someone with dementia, for whom the past can be more vivid than the present. Watch a classic movie or start a conversation by reliving old memories and moments.
Do you have special family traditions during this time? Let us know by leaving a comment below.