The holidays are over, and a new year has begun. This is always an appropriate time to recall the best memories of the previous year and plan for more moments of joy in the coming days. Every occasion that brought a smile to your care receiver is an opportunity for celebration. Many of our happiest times last year revolved around family and friends. It is a joy to be with those who know and love you the best! We were able to travel to my mother’s ninetieth birthday celebration in North Carolina. My husband, Ed, really enjoyed the plane trip as he sat by the window and pointed out familiar landmarks as we flew over the Mississippi coastline. It was good to be traveling without getting constant instructions from the passenger seat! Although Ed did make some comments about how the pilot was flying the plane.?
I want to encourage you to cherish all the positive moments that you share with your care receiver. In her book, Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey, Jolene Brackey said, “With short-term memory loss life is made up of moments. There are not perfectly wonderful days; there are perfectly wonderful moments – moments that put a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eyes. Five minutes later, the person will have forgotten what was said and done, the feeling, however, lingers on” (p. xii). My greatest joy comes when I see a smile on Ed’s face, this is a time when we really connect in an emotion. This doesn’t happen very often, but it is worth taking time to share a laugh over a joke, a television comedy, or a funny happening.
Here are some simple ways to share a moment of joy with your care receiver:
- Ask your loved one to share a funny story from his or her childhood, or young adult escapades.
- Look at pictures of friends or family that recall pleasant memories and happier times.
- Tell a funny story about something you or one of your pets did. (Our dogs are always doing something to make us smile.)
- Invite friends or family to come over to celebrate a special occasion or share a favorite dessert.
- Plan a short get-away to a place that holds good memories.
- Enjoy some music that recalls an enjoyable time or a happier period of life. (Ed and I enjoy listening to classic country music.)
You can find more ways to bring joy to your life in Missy Buchanan’s book, Joy Boosters: 120 Ways to Encourage Older Adults. There are many opportunities to create moments of joy that are specific to your care receiver. So, I challenge you to make your loved one smile at least once every day in 2018.
Brackey, J. (2017). Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press.
Buchanan, M. (2012). Joy Boosters: 120 Ways to Encourage Older Adults. Nashville, Tennessee: Upper Room Books.