We asked readers and Talking Point members about dealing with a person who has dementia not remembering important dates.
Advice from other carers about forgotten birthdays and anniversaries
‘I already knew my birthday and Christmas would be forgotten, so had no expectations on the day, that way I'm not disappointed.’
‘Mum was upset when she thought she had forgotten my birthday but she hadn't because I reminded her, took her to choose a card, let her write a message (with a bit of inspiration from me, mostly flattering) and then put the card somewhere safe so that she wouldn't lose it. Hey presto! I "found" it on my birthday.
‘She was so pleased and amazed that she had remembered. Not romantic or spontaneous but better than the pain of feeling forgotten.’
'We now go together to a local shop and I wait outside with the dog while she selects a card,' says northumbrian_k.
‘My wife always claims to have bought me a Christmas or birthday card but can never find it, even if she remembers to look. We now go together to a local shop and I wait outside with the dog while she selects a card and gives it to me (wrapped up) for safekeeping. The day before, I give it to her to write and she then seals it and gives it back to me. On the day, I leave it out for her and she presents me with it.
‘It is always a tasteful card and, as I have never seen it, I can comment on it with genuine enthusiasm, pleasing us both. This seems to have worked quite well for the last two years, even when she tells me that she likes the card that she has given me better than the one she has received from me.’
‘I was very hurt the first time Mum forgot my birthday, especially as it was very out of character for her and before we really knew what was going on.
‘Last year I knew she would not remember, so I set my hubby up with a list of a few things I liked and asked him to help Mum get something. I got a lovely bracelet and Mum seems pleased when I wear it and tell her she bought it for me.
‘Hubby also got a card which Mum wrote and he kept safely. Then we went to take Mum out for a cuppa and cake, and she presented me with a card she had written herself. This after forgetting for several years on the trot.’
'We bought her a card organiser (an A4 wallet organiser would do),' says Lilly.
‘Mum still really wants to send cards for birthdays but getting sorted with cards was becoming very stressful. We bought her a card organiser (an A4 wallet organiser would do). Each month has a clear list for each day and a wallet for cards.
‘We pencilled in the full name of each recipient on the appropriate day. We went together to buy cards in bulk and stamps – this reduces the number of trips and anxiety when a birthday is looming. We chose cards for the first six months of the year and put them in the appropriate month. We typed addresses on sticky labels so she puts these on envelopes with the unwritten card inside. We have a notification in her electronic calendar on the tablet when she needs to write the card and another one when she needs to post it.
‘She is happy that she is remembering and that her friends and family feel remembered. We operate a similar reminder system with phone calls to friends and family she sees less often.’