Holidays can look very different when celebrating with parents who have dementia. Mother’s Day can be a difficult holiday because it is often focused on memories, and your mom may have lost many of those memories that you once shared. And this is a reality for many families across the country because it’s more common for women to develop dementia than men; in fact, 2/3 of all individuals with dementia are women. However, you can still celebrate Mother’s Day in a meaningful way with your mom. Here are some tips to make Mother’s Day special for your family.
Do Something Together
Plan to do an activity together with your mom. This can help you create new memories with her while also engaging her. Try water coloring, going for a walk, watching a movie, looking at art together, etc. You could also bring a meal to her and enjoy the good food together.
Try to choose an activity that you know your mom would enjoy and that will also be easily adaptable to her schedule. Many seniors with dementia do best when they stick to a routine because it prevents some confusion or disorientation.
However, getting out of the house or a senior care facility can also be beneficial for your mom. You could do a day trip and spend some time outdoors. If you choose to do an activity out and about, make sure you schedule in time for breaks in case your mom needs time away from noise, crowds, and other stimulation.
Reminisce about the Past
If your mom still has some of her long-term memory, then you can reminisce about the past and talk about earlier memories that you shared together. You can prompt reminiscing by showing a photo album or by talking about the memory yourself.
Reminiscing about the past actually has many benefits for seniors with or without dementia. It can help promote physical health, help them improve their quality of life, and stimulate the mind to eliminate boredom.
If your mom cannot remember or remembers things a bit differently, don’t get frustrated. Dementia physically changes the brain, and it’s not your mom’s fault that she is unable to recall some of the sweet memories that you cherish.
Focus on the Positive
When spending time with your mom with dementia, you may feel overwhelmed or experience grief. Maybe your mom doesn’t remember your name or her relation to you. She may not be able to perform routine tasks. However, there are still positives you can focus on in any situation.
For example, you can take the time to appreciate the qualities that your mom still exhibits — a warm smile, an openness to strangers, affectionate, etc. You can appreciate the time you can spend to serve her and help her perform those tasks that she can no longer complete on her own. You could also tell your mom about the memories that you have by framing your mom as a star or superhero.
Let Yourself Feel
Throughout the day with your mom or even leading up to the holiday, you may feel a variety of emotions — happiness, grief, frustration, sadness, hopefulness. It’s okay to take a moment and let yourself feel these things.
During this time, you can reach out to a friend or family member to talk about your feelings around Mother’s Day and your experiences with your mom. This can help you process your emotions and feel support from those closest to you.
Give Her a Useful Gift
Traditionally, children give their mom gifts on Mother’s Day. And you can still do that if your mom has dementia! You just may need to think outside of the box when looking at gifts for her. Instead of choosing a nice candle, opt for something that will engage your mom and help stimulate her mind and senses. Remember that seniors with dementia may not remember how to use common items, making some items unusable or even dangerous. But there are a number of safe gift ideas out there!
For example, you could get her a teddy bear that can play music, a beautiful baby doll, or a weighted blanket. The Alzheimer’s Store has a special collection of gift ideas that you can browse through to find the perfect gift for your mom.
Get Some Help
If you are planning a meaningful Mother’s Day with your mom, don’t hesitate to reach out to Caring Senior Service. Our care experts are specially trained to handle the unique challenges that come with caring for someone with dementia. We can help make sure that your day goes smoothly and that you can spend time focusing on being a son or daughter, while we take care of the caregiving aspect. Sometimes this break in caregiving responsibilities is just what you need to focus on the relationship that you and your mom share.
For information about how we can help out this Mother’s Day, reach out to our care team.