St Patrick’s Day, on March 17, was a religious feast day to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. Nowadays, it largely celebrates Irish-American culture in the United States.
How to celebrate St Patrick’s with Alzheimer?
St. Patrick’s Day offers endless activity ideas and is a fun to celebrate event also for those who are not Irish. Many people get into the spirit by dressing in green clothing and eating green colored food. Irish clubs and pubs often hold parties or have special deals. Although it is not an official holiday, normally some cities in the US have large street parades. The most common St Patrick’s Day symbol is the shamrock. It’s also a great way to celebrate the arrival of spring and an excellent excuse to get out of the house and enjoy friends and family.
Although your elderly loved one may be living with Alzheimer’s, there are many activities he or she can participate in celebrating St Patrick’s with Alzheimer.
Underneath 9 ideas for St Patrick’s with Alzheimer that are a great way for your loved one to have fun, keep his or her brain stimulated and eliminate stress.
- Start off by wearing something green; it can set a fun tone for the day and can be used in conversation all day long.
- Have an Irish-themed movie night; choose your loved one’s favorite Irish films or films featuring his or her favorite Irish actors. If you need some movie inspiration, try Far and Away, with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, The Quiet Man, featuring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, or My Left Foot, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. When celebrating St Patrick’s with Alzheimer includes watching a favorite movie or television show, it can stir positive memories and inspire good feelings about the caregivers and loved ones in their lives.
- Organize a sing-along; purchase or download popular Irish songs and playlists for a St. Patrick’s Day sing-along at your home. Special songs for St. Patrick’s Day include: When Irish Eyes are Smiling, Irish Lullaby, I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover and Danny Boy. Alzheimer’s patients can recall memories and emotions, and have enhanced mental performance after singing classic hits and show tunes from movies and musicals. Also read our previous blog: why music activates alzheimer patients
- Do some craft. This allows your loved one to communicate using the emotional and creative centers of the brain, as opposed to the logical and memory centers, which can helps seniors with Alzheimer’s experience more peace of mind and less stress or anxiety. Some examples:
- paper strip shamrocks – have the person help cut strips of green shaded paper. You can draw lines on the paper as a guide, if needed. Then the person can help make the loops, as you staple to make a fun shamrock shape.
- draw a shamrock shape on a piece of paper with a permanent marker and then have the person color it in or glue green string on the outline you made.
- rainbow snack: line up colored Froot Loop cereal to create a rainbow. Then eat! Create a sample first, that the person can follow.
- for seniors with physical health limitations, creating holiday-themed cards or decorations with a computer program can be enjoyable.
- Irish pub crawls are very popular on St. Patrick’s Day.
- If your loved one is still mobile, go from room-to-room. Let residents in groups figure out which portion of dinner each would like to prepare. One room can start with drinks, the next would host appetizers, and the following rooms would prepare dinner and dessert. It’s a great way to socialize without having to leave the facility.
- If it is challenging for your loved one to go from room-to-room when eating dinner, allow your loved one to help you cook the Irish-themed dinner. Cooking is a great way for your loved one to continue doing things he or she once enjoyed, which helps maintain independence and some cognitive skills. Making the dishes can help your loved one maintain a sense of purpose in life.
Some popular St. Patrick’s Day recipes include:
- Corned beef and cabbage
- Irish soda bread
- Shepherd’s pie
- Spinach pancakes
- Bake Some Green Treats for Others
Also St Patrick’s with Alzheimer is all about the color green, so grab a bottle or two of food coloring and bake some green treats with your loved one. From cookies to cakes, there’s no limit on what you can turn green, and sites like Pinterest offer plenty of recipe ideas.
When you’re finished, deliver the treats to friends, neighbors, a nursing home, or the local police or fire departments. Your community will enjoy the fact that you thought of them, and it’ll provide your loved one with a sense of accomplishment and belonging.
- Irish Jig Dance-Off
This is a great way to keep the brain active. For an Irish jig dance-off, give all the players a number that is written on the back of a shamrock. While playing Irish music, the participants need to do their best dance. The last three players standing win a prize, which should also be Irish-themed, like Irish candy, CDs, a shamrock pin or an Irish DVD.
- In many parts of the country St Patrick’s Day falls on a spring-like day. What’s a better way to welcome warmer weather than by getting out and gardening? Gardening is a great way to spend quality time outdoors. Planting flower or vegetable seeds is a quick and easy way to get your aging loved ones involved and provide them with a sense of accomplishment.
- Organize a St. Patrick’s Day Treasure Hunt: make team of residents and staff for a holiday-themed treasure hunt. In this way they can help each other out, and your clues can lead to lucky gold coins. Make sure to get creative. The treasure hunt can be something you do in the facility, or you can take it out into your garden. Engaging in fun activities all year long helps seniors boost their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, but some may need a bit of assistance to remain active.
While doing activities with a loved one with Alzheimer, play their favorite songs softly in the background. Get them involved by starting the activity oneself and then asking them to join in. Activities for people with Alzheimer have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when your loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again another time.
Irish or not, celebrating St. Patrick’s with Alzheimer is a great reason to get crafty, celebrate a rich heritage and show off creative skills.