One of the joys of the holiday season is checking the mail and discovering cheerful cards from family and friends.
It was especially appreciated in 2020 when so many celebrations were moved online, postponed or canceled.
In 2020, I attended a Zoom wedding, hosted a Facebook Live funeral and was invited to a drive-by car parade for my Grandpa’s 100th birthday. You, too, likely experienced virtual or canceled celebrations.
So it was especially fun to open Christmas cards this year and see pictures of my cousins and their kids and marvel at how much they have changed during a year of lockdowns when we were not able to see them in person.
(I like to tape our holiday cards on an inside door, arranging them in the shape of a Christmas tree.)
Admittedly, I don’t want to un-deck the halls with boughs of holly this year. But I know, once Epiphany comes and goes, my husband will insist.
Whenever you decide the time is right to clean up Christmas, save those cards and don’t let them end up in the recycling bin. Instead, create a keepsake you can share with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s.
The quick-and-easy way to complete this project is to punch a hole in the upper left corner of all your cards and then gather them together on a binder ring.
Voila! You have a flip book to pack in your purse and share with dad who has Alzheimer’s or mom who has dementia the next time you visit them.
I know how difficult it can be to connect with loved ones who have memory issues. Having this flip book will give you a visual to use when telling stories to your loved one. You can check out my blog post Tips For Visiting a Loved One With Alzheimer’s for even more ideas.
Depending on their stage in the disease and whether or not they live with you, your loved one with Alzheimer’s may even be able to help with the project. Or you can involve your older kids in the project as well.
By adding a few more steps to the project, you can organize and personalize the flip book.
- Mount the cards on 8.5 x 11-inch construction paper. (You can put more than one card on each page as space allows. Or cut the construction paper in half to make a smaller book.)
- Use colorful Sharpie pens to identify the people in the photos and where they live.
- Create a cover that says something like, “People Who Love (INSERT LOVED ONE’S NAME).”
- Laminate the completed pages to extend the life of the flip book.
- Use a three-hole punch to create holes for binding.
- Use three binder rings to finish the book.
When I visited my mother on Christmas Eve, I gave her a small plastic Ziplock bag with several pieces of homemade pumpkin bread.
Using a Sharpie, I wrote her first and last name on the bag in case she put it down before getting back to her little apartment room. That way, staff could return it to her.
She remarked that she liked seeing her name in print and that she rarely sees her last name anymore.
I mention this to encourage you to write your loved one’s full name on the cover of the flip book.
My hope is this project will help you connect with your loved one with Alzheimer’s and spark joy in both of your lives!