Merry Christmas ….Poem

This is a poem from 2018 but when I found it again, it just said everything I wanted to say……

A time of year I love
To enjoy ‘The Holly and the Ivy’
Amidst the ‘Bleak Mid Winter’
When darkness dominates the day

When ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’
And bring calmness to the chaos around
When a ‘Silent Night’
Is all that I seek

I hope to bring
‘Joy to the world’
To family and friends alike
So everyone can sing this ‘Christmas Carol’

‘Deck the Halls’
And ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’
And ‘Have yourselves a Very Merry Christmas’
Singing ‘Tidings of comfort and Joy’

So ‘Come rest ye merry gentlemen’
Feel blessed this time of year
And let me and my family
And Billy, of course

Wish you all
A Happy Christmas
And see you in the New Year…

On the 24th day of Christmas what YOU can do for US……

So today is Christmas Eve, which means we’re finally at window 24 of our #dementiaadventcalendar   I hope you’ve found the previous 23 suggestions useful for what you can do to help us be involved.

this final one if a special message I recorded of me and my playmates at Minds and Voices……hope you enjoy it…

 

A simple Christmas cartoon from Billy……revisited…..

Hello Billy fans…….yes, Wendy has probably never told you that I have more just as many followers as she does…….

some of you may have already seen this cartoon by some of my friends but thought it worth putting them in the limelight as Christmas is very stressful for us cats too…….but in ways that may not have occurred to you……

Happy weekend every one from Billy….oooo and Wendy as well😻🎄

On the 23rd day of Christmas what YOU can do for US…….

Our penultimate window……

I’ve been asking playmates up and down the country….

What simple, practical, cheap tips do you have for OTHERS to help make it easier for YOU to be involved in projects, meetings and events?”

So today sees the  Number 23 window being opened…….

“Be prepared for the unexpected. We never know if today will be a good or bad day, so be sensitive to our changing needs…..”

None of us ever quite know what planet we will be on from one day to the next. So be observant, as we often don’t realise it ourselves straight away. Being sensitive and observant to our state of play today is simply being kind and kindness costs nothing…….

On the 22nd day of Christmas what YOU can do for US…..

Nearly at the end of our 24 days to Christmas…….

I’ve been asking playmates up and down the country….

What simple, practical, cheap tips do you have for OTHERS to help make it easier for YOU to be involved in projects, meetings and events?”

So today sees the  Number 22nd  window being opened…….

“If you’re the Chair of a meeting, give us TIME to think and speak – don’t be afraid of silences….”

The one thing we often need is TIME. We may answer a question that was raised several questions ago because the answer has finally popped into our heads – what does it matter? Or we may need time to put all the right words in the right order…..just give us TIME…..if we havn’t asked for help to find a word and you interrupt by bombarding us with suggestions, we’ll just get confused and our moment will be gone….

On the 21st Day of Christmas what YOU can do for US…..

I’ve been asking playmates up and down the country….

What simple, practical, cheap tips do you have for OTHERS to help make it easier for YOU to be involved in projects, meetings and events?”

So today sees the  Number 21 window being opened…….

“Think what we CAN do not what we CAN’T – there’s always a way to overcome obstacles to our involvement…”

So often people concentrate on the negatives instead of embracing the positives. If we’re not goos at public speaking maybe we’re brilliant at writing poetry or writing music and singing. Either would get over the message just as powerfully as a talk.

If we have trouble verbalising in a meeting, maybe we could type what we want to say for someone to read out…..

There are many ways to communicate and be involved and not all involve speaking…

 

Billy’s dementia appropriate approach to Christmas…..revisited…

I hope I havn’t already repawed this week….I’m getting my whiskers in a pickle so apologies if I have……Wendy’s much better than this than I am …..not that I’d ever tell her…..well maybe I would if I was peckish…….It’s from a couple of years ago ….

 

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Wendy’s out Christmas shopping so I’ve commandeered the iPad to write my blog:)……..well if she leaves it switched on what does she expect!
I knew the month of December had arrived when Stuart got this huge box down from the loft. Once emptied of all the huge branches and baubles, it makes an excellent den – never quite understand why humans insist on filling boxes when they’re so much more useful empty…….

I sat in said box and supervised Stuart putting up the tree – I remember as a kitten climbing up said tree as I thought we needed to start a new tradition of ‘Cat on top of tree’ instead of fairy, but it didn’t take on…I tried again this year, but either the tree is less sturdy or my biscuit consumption has got out of hand as I’d only got halfway up when the tree started to take on a jaunty angle and I thought it best to retreat to the safety of my window sill….

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Humans really need to take a leaf out of my box book, when considering those with dementia at what can be a very noisy, busy, chaotic time of year. So here are my tips for providing a cat dementia friendly Christmas……:

  • Never take us shopping when the shops are heaving – too much noise and crowds cause confusion and disorientates.
  • Before the big day, check they’re not going to run out of medication – order well before – must remind Wendy to read this…
  • Some theatres are now doing dementia friendly performances – see if your local theatre is one – not sure what ‘Cats not allowed’ is all about though…..I know Wendy is going to see ‘Strictly Ballroom’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds……
  • If you’re going to a Carol concert – make sure it’s one that sings the old carols that they will be familiar with so they can join in.
  • Make sure me and Wendy have a quiet area in your house where we can feel happy to go if things get too noisy and confusing. We need our cuddle time.
  • Safety first – I like nothing more than to have lots of paper and boxes lying around but those with dementia have a tendency to fall over anyway and can easily go flying if there’s obstacles all over the place and I don’t want you leaving me alone on Christmas day to take someone to A&E……
  • Allow them to help if they want to (although Wendy would insist I write here that this doesn’t have to be compulsory as Stuart makes a mean Christmas dinner totally unaided…) but others may enjoy cooking – think and plan ahead so they can help if they want to.
  • Don’t be offended if they’ve put the wrong name on the wrong parcel – what does it matter? – it makes it all the more fun opening them! You can never have too many parcels marked with a ‘Billy’ tag – hint hint……
  • Don’t move their possessions around to make space for others – they like consistency and panic if things aren’t where they expect them to be
  • And finally – Don’t be offended if people with dementia want to spend quiet time with their pets – we’re a wonderful calming influence.

Include don’t exclude – Adapt the Christmas environment to be dementia friendly. Plan ahead, don’t make a fuss, make it normal…

Wendy even has a stamp of me that appears all over the place.......😻
Wendy even has a stamp of me that appears all over the place…….😻

On the 20th day of Christmas what YOU can do for US…..

I’ve been asking playmates up and down the country….

What simple, practical, cheap tips do you have for OTHERS to help make it easier for YOU to be involved in projects, meetings and events?”

So today sees the  Number 20 window being opened…….

“If people with dementia are present, ask other speakers to present in an appropriate manner and avoid fussy, jargon fuelled, technical PowerPoint slides..”

No one like to feel stupid, and why should we be any different? If there are lay people in the audience other speakers should deliver in an appropriate manner and not use a talk they’ve delivered before that was aimed at a different audience.

Think carefully about the colour and size of font if you have to use PowerPoint and don’t have lots of information on one slide as that would be overwhelming….Keep it simple, keep it fun, keep it relevant for the whole audience….

 

My calm Christmas……….with Billy …..

Not a reblog today but a new one from me and Billy as Christmas creeps ever closer……..It can be so stressful for some….

As I say in my book….

“…..I’ve learnt so much from animals. This change in my personality, this softening in one part of my brain, has meant I’ve made time to sit and stop and watch, much like they do. Animals lead a simple life – they live in the moment, and that’s what I’ve found I have in common with Billy, an appreciation if now. Many fears have left me now. Perhaps it’s because nothing can be more frightening than dementia. I live everyday with the unknown, which is possibly why I’m not afraid anymore; of cats, of the dark, of the disease…….”

Dementia has taught me the pointlessness of stressing. Most things we stress about are minute compared to the grand scheme of things.

So if you’ve forgotten to buy something for Christmas, so what, simply do without. If you’ve forgotten to send someone a card, don’t fret, simply send them a late greeting and apologise. If you’ve not got time to wrap presents, don’t wrap them, hide them for people to find……children, just like Billy can get as much enjoyment out of hide and seek as any expensive toy…just make it fun…….

This is suppose to be a time of joy and happiness, so don’t let stress get in the way. For those less lucky, pop a card through the letterbox, knock and give them a small gift, simply smile and say hello in the street. I know I’m lucky to have my daughters and Billy over Christmas but random acts of kindness can go an awful long way this time of year….one town has a Christmas fairy hiding envelopes of money and parcels around the town for people to find. They probably get as much joy out of doing it as those finding them…..

I struggle when I see lots of presents that need wrapping so I do it in small chunks. I’m not that good anymore. I used to be able to wrap presents beautifully but not now, but what does it matter? I use festive tissue paper as it’s easier and doesn’t look such a mess when I get in a pickle.  One day I’ll set aside a few to be wrapped, the next day I get the wrapping stuff ready and the third day I wrap…..small chunks has always worked for me….

So don’t make Christmas a big deal, it is after all one day of the year….and I really can’t wait until normality resumes as everything goes quiet and discombobulated over the next 2 weeks….I begin to get worried at the ‘not doing’….having to sit in silence and wait for the world to wake up again…..although I don’t, but that’s what it feels like….

But I’m sure Billy will bring me back my sparkle again as he would say that if I’ve forgotten his food then I need to go out immediately, find a shop that’s opened and if nowhere is opened, wake up the owner….😂…..

Billy has always guessed which present is his….every year under the tree, he looks at all the boxes and then sits on the one that is his…..I wonder if he will have any trouble guessing which is his this year……..🤔😻

On the 19th Day of Christmas what YOU can do for US….

I’ve been asking playmates up and down the country….

What simple, practical, cheap tips do you have for OTHERS to help make it easier for YOU to be involved in projects, meetings and events?”

So today sees the  Number 19 window being opened…….

“Make it easy to find the venue…”

Often you’ve invited us to an unfamiliar place, so we might need lots of help when finding the venue. Some people like to be met at the station, in which case, remember to state clearly where and when and don’t be late. Make sure we have a photo of the person we’re looking for and a mobile number. Some people prefer to get a taxi.

Ask us what method suits us.

I sometimes prefer finding my own way, so providing me with simple instructions – a tube route if in London, a walking map (not forgetting the route in reverse for getting back) and a picture of the building all helps.

A sign on the outside of the building and inside the main reception will help us feel relaxed that we’ve found the right place. Or someone waiting for us at the venue also helps.

Finding somewhere new can be scary for the best of us, so make it as simple as possible…