If you are caring for a person living with dementia at home, Mondays with Mimi is where you can have your questions answered. In her 20 years at St. John’s, Mimi DeVinney (our Dementia/Quality of Life Specialist) has heard dozens of questions about caring for people living with dementia. Check this page on St. John’s Online Dementia Resource Center every Monday, to see Mimi’s answers to submitted questions.

My mother was just moved into memory care and is not happy about it. Any advice for me and my siblings to help cheer her up? -Bill S.

Sometimes we can’t really “solve” a situation like this. And sometimes we feel the need to solve it more than the elder involved does. You are all doing the best you can under the circumstances. Books, magazines, TV or music, maybe puzzles or writing materials, may cheer her up, depending on her preferences. Send thoughtful cards that she can look forward to.  “Care packages” could include pictures or snacks, soft socks, anything that might give a little comfort or joy. I once spoke with an elder who the staff in our home was concerned about, because they couldn’t “get her to do anything”. And she informed me that she liked to “just sit”. “And think?”, I asked. “Not even that”, she said. “Just be.” Elders are better at “just being” than we are. Also, consider joining a support group with other people in similar situations, and be sure to look after yourself.

My mom and dad have always loved to go to dinner. Recently, as my father’s dementia has progressed, mom feels more uncomfortable bringing dad out in public. I went with them to dinner this week for the first time in a few months and I definitely noticed a change. His table manners and lack of social graces definitely attract attention now. I want to tell my mom to not worry about it and continue taking dad out as long as it’s safe, but I’m not sure she’s comfortable doing that anymore. Could you suggest anything that could help mom manage these trips out to dinner? -Debbi S.

Ask Mimi

If you have a question for Mimi related to dementia care at home, use this form to contact her.