Dementia And The Christmas Tree

Dementia And The

Christmas Tree

By Norrms McNamara

I am often asked “What, in layman’s terms, is Dementia?” and I often answer it this way, especially at this time of year.

If  you can imagine a Christmas tree, absolutely dripping with lights that shine as bright as you have ever seen. Have you ever wondered of the beauty of it and how it shines those lights of hope all around the world?

Then, if you imagine that every one of those wonderful lights are your life’s memories which can be seen (remembered) at any time. Then all of a sudden, one by one, those lights go out. Slowly but surely they start to diminish until they are gone forever, never to return, all memories of loved ones, family and life’s experiences just disappear until the final one folds into darkness and we all know, unless they find a cure what this means.

This is how I explain, in Layman’s terms what Dementia is, BUT!! And as you know by now there is always a but with me LOL!!

If sometimes, you give that Christmas tree a bit of a nudge!! (And I do not in any way condone shaking anyone with Dementia!!LOL) but, if you include and Engage with people who have this awful disease, sometimes, just sometimes these wonderful lights come back on, if only for a second, a few minutes or permanently, it doesn’t matter, the point is they have come back on and that memory has returned, for no matter how long.

I hope this helps and will help people in the future to try and explain what Dementia is, especially around this time of year.

All my love, Norrms xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


12 Replies to “Dementia And The Christmas Tree”

  1. Really? This is nothing like the dementia we are dealing with. Quite funny really, most of those with dementia have forgotten what a Christmas tree is actually for. Such a simplistic view with obviously no idea of what dementia actually is.

    1. Simon
      On Alzheimer’s Speaks we allow voices to be heard in which we don’t agree with. I must say, we don’t agree with your comment as people with dementia go through many phases. This story has been recited by many advocates around the world who are diagnosed and living with dementia, feeling this story is a very accurate picture of the disease. I’m not saying what you experienced isn’t real. I’m sure it is to you, but those earlier on in the disease process also state and stand behind this description of the disease.

  2. I have been my mother’s caregiver for over a year now. She was diagnosed in May 2015. She turned 90 in October and although her cognitive tests show a steep declined from 21/30 to 10/30; I can see the impact that my decision to live with her has made. This xmas tree analogy of lights slowly fading but then sometimes flickering and even staying on is very poignant. I see the joy that my companionship has brought to her quality of life. We live each day ever present and in the moment. Her short term memory is virtually non existent but she still is able to engage in deep conversations with me about past life and memories of my children, my siblings and my dad. We will often take a drive to the seaside with a warm coffee to see the beauty and talk. It is very therapeutic for both of us.

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