Proud to be an American! Young and old can celebrate the freedoms we have living in this great nation, and that includes our friends and loved ones with dementia.
At our Lady-Links visits with our dear friends who have dementia, we’ve found three ways to celebrate the American spirit during holidays like Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July, Presidents Day and Veterans Day.
#1 Do activities with a patriotic theme.
All it takes is a supply of patriotic stickers, stars, flowers, flags, and cardstock.
We have found that the peel and stick decorations work best. We made patriotic decorations to share with our neighbors in our retirement community.
Connecting to memories from the past such as saying the Pledge of Allegience will provide enjoyable reminders of childhood routines that were a part of every school day.
#2 Play patriotic music.
Waving our flags to recorded songs such as “Anchors Aweigh” or “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder” or singing familiar childhood songs such as “Yankee Doodle” was a great way to express our feelings of patriotism.
One of our dear friends has a set of hand chimes that she used when she was a classroom music teacher many years ago. Our Lady-Links have learned to play them while she accompanies us on the piano. One of our patriotic favorites to play is “She’s a Grand Old Flag.”
#3 Use a red, white and blue theme for decorations and refreshments.
At one patriotic holiday celebration Lady-Links visit, we frosted sugar cookies with red, white, and blue icing to share with our neighbors. We ate about as many as we gave away! Bakery cookies and cakes work just as well but there’s fun and benefit for the dear friend in helping to make them.
Engaging our dear friends in multiple celebrations about America throughout the year helps keep them connected to the values on which this country was established and helps them feel secure that they live in such a great nation. Celebrating America using a patriotic theme in the (1) activities, (2) music, (3) decorations and refreshments also gives our dear friends a sense of belonging and helps them feel a part of history.