Dementia Christmas Tree Analogy

I’m not sure what dementia is supposed to look like.  Although I have some really good moments when I feel like anything is possible, I also have moments when confusion and disorientation take control of my emotions, my actions and my body functions. Dementia doesn’t just happen over-night.Think of a beautiful tree all decorated with lots of new lights, ornaments and ribbons.  One day one of the bulbs start to flicker.  You tap it a little and it goes back on. Over time, another starts to flicker and another.  Sometimes you can get them to come back on and sometimes they will not come back on.

So, you make adjustments to distract from the burnt-out lights.  Move an ornament or add some tinsel to enhance the lights.  All the while this is happening, your tree remains beautiful and brightens the room.  People who don’t see your tree often or who visit during the day time may not notice the lights flickering or those that are totally off.  But youkathys-christmas-tree know that in time all the lights will fade.

I have times when my lights flicker and some of those “bulbs” don’t want to come back on, for example with math.

For now, enough lights are still shinning that I can try to brighten the world. Physically I am strong and healthy.  My husband Roy and I have found that I CAN do many things that I did before – I just have to do them diff

erently. We try to find an adjustment to compensate for the flickering

Sometimes people say “You don’t look like you have dementia.” and I’m thankful my lights aren’t flickering or that we’ve made the right adjustments.  For now my tree stands tall, bright and beautiful.  With routines and adjustments I able to live a beneficial, happy life. The day may come when all my light bulbs are dim, but for now, I
am thankful for all the days when I can be useful. As my husband reminds me, a Christmas tree is also beautiful during the day when the lights are off.

I am not the same Laurie I was, but with adjustments, planning and routines my lights can still sparkle.

There are many variations using the analogy of dementia being like a Christmas Tree. I think this is such a great analogy that after writing it I put it into a video.  I am honored that Dementia Action Alliance (  is using this video in their network for good fundraising effort.  Dementia Action Alliance networkforgood

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Love & Laughter,


© Copyright November 2016 Laurie Scherrer

12 thoughts on “Dementia Christmas Tree Analogy

      1. Laurie Scherrer Post author

        Thank you for sharing this Norrms. I love this analogy. I’ve read your version, Barry’s post, Harry’s post and I dont remember who else. But each time I see how it impacts someone to help them understand. It is the best explaination I have ever heard. Merry Christmas my friend!


  1. Ann Eichenberger

    Your analogy is fabulous. Most people can relate to a holiday tree even if they are not Christian because Xmas trees are woven into our culture and the branding that businesses use.
    Thank you for sharing this valuable way of explaining dementia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laurie Scherrer Post author

      Thank you Ann. I can’t take credit for thinking this up and I’m not exactly sure where/when I heard it first. To me, this analogy provides a better understanding of dementia than anything I have ever read. I hope it helps you to help others understand dementia.


  2. Earl Bailey

    Great reading of your account and those who shared. I don’t know whether or not that’s where I am but at 77 I guess I can forget some things, right?


  3. Pingback: This Holiday Season Context of History and Symptoms | Truthful Loving Kindness

  4. Ann Napoletan

    Laurie, thank you so much for sharing this analogy. So many caregivers express the desire to understand more about what it “feels” like to have dementia and I look forward to sharing your post.


    1. Laurie Scherrer Post author

      Ann, Thank you for the kind comment. Two other posts you may find helpful on my website are: “Dear Teenager, this is what dementia feels like” and “Last Night I Wept.”



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