Holidays can be a difficult time for families who have someone with dementia, especially Alzheimer's Disease. Celebrating the way you used to may not be appropriate. What if Mom doesn't recognize you anymore? Here are some ways that you can still celebrate with and honor mom this Mother's Day.
1. Mother’s Day Brunch or Tea Party
If mom is still able to go out and is comfortable with crowds you may consider a really memorable Mother's Day brunch. But be careful, a lot of times people with dementia don't do so well in crowds. And Mother's Day is the most popular day of the year for going out.
Does the day you pick really matter?
You could choose to celebrate on a different day you know. After all, you will probably be the only one who knows that it really isn't Mother's Day.
Try to find a intimate restaurant or one that has a small private room where just you and your family can gather together. The Four Friends Tea Room in Pearland, Tx may be just the right place. Quiet and intimate with a private room available. Have the room decorated with her favorite flowers and make her the center of attention.
When taking mom out is not an option
So take the party home!
And by home ,I mean ,wherever she is!
If she's in a Memory Care home or facility make arrangements with the staff. See if it would be okay if you brought in mom's favorite food and flowers. You may consider getting mom a corsage for the occasion.This always makes someone feel special.
If mom is living in a large assisted living facility they probably have a private dining room that your family can use. You could bring in mom's favorite food. Or you may be able to have the chef cook something special for your family.
If Mom is living in a small Residential Care Home consider having a Mother's Day celebration at the home. Talk to the staff in advance make sure they don't already have something planned. If they do you can join in on their celebration with all of the families. You might consider bringing a corsage for all of the ladies.
Think Small And Intimate
Rather than a large brunch you can have a tea party or an ice cream social. Anything that makes it special for Mom. And if your mother doesn't know that she's your mother- it's okay! Just tell her that you're celebrating her because she's so wonderful. Everybody likes to feel special and Alzheimer's and Dementia patients are no different.
Mom lives in the past now. So enter her world. Bring a box filled with pictures and mementos from long ago. And really take the time to sit with Mom. Go through the box one item at a time and just allow her to tell you about each item or picture. You may discover some stories that you have never heard before. If she starts talking about President Kennedy as if he was the president today don’t try to explain that he is not the president anymore. Just ask her what she likes about him. Remember you're in her world now. Be present with her.
3. Find an Activity to Connect
Sometimes conversations are really challenging when someone has dementia. Try to find an activity where the two of you can connect. Coloring books are popular. You might want to color together. Also putting together puzzles might be another way to connect. But remember not to get ones that are too challenging. It can be frustrating for someone with dementia.
Bring some hand lotion and different bottles of aromatherapy scents. Ask Mom which scent she likes. Take the time to let her smell all of the bottles. Do not rush the process. If she is having trouble choosing one gently guide her or uses a blend of several scents. Then mix a few drops of her favorite one into the lotion and gently massage her hands and arms or maybe her feet. What a great way to honor mom!
Flower arranging can also be a fun activity that the two of you could do together. In fact if Mom is in a Memory Care Facility get the other ladies involved and make it a group activity. Or if other family members are visiting all of you could do this together. Have a variety of flowers for Mom to choose. Once made she gets to put the beautiful vase of flowers wherever she wants.
4. Give A Gift That Encourages Engagement
Choose gifts that stimulate the senses. A soft blanket, scented lotion or a CD with her favorite music from when she was young are all good choices. Depending on her stage in the illness, you may even be able to do something like going on a family outing to the zoo or to play miniature golf. Think outside the box to find the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
“My mother in law used to love to go for a drive in the country. We found an old fashioned hamburger joint in Bellville that she loved. It looked like something out of the 50’s or 60’s. We would always stop there for lunch.”
At Light Heart Memory Care We Are All About Family.
Talk to us about ideas to make the day special. Our caregivers may have some good insights on what will work and what will not for your Mom. We want to help you keep that strong connection and enjoy a fabulous Mother’s Day!
Pat Mack has been helping families make the right decisions to care for someone they love since 1997.
Email her today for more information.
Or Give us a call today and come for a tour.