Mother’s Day can require some creative thinking when your mom has dementia.
“Mother’s Day is a time to honor the special mother figures in your life, and if your loved one lives with dementia, it can continue to be special with a few adaptations,” said Jennifer Reeder, director of educational and social services for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA). “Following a few steps can help you celebrate your special person and the bond you share in a dementia-friendly manner.”
The foundation offered some tips:
- Take time to reminisce.
- Look at old photos together because familiar faces and places can bring someone with dementia joy, even if the person can’t remember the names of those pictured.
- Describe the names and talk about the occasions as you go through the photos. Avoid asking the question: “Do you remember?” It can make someone living with a memory disorder feel embarrassed or ashamed.
- Adapt old favorites to fit new circumstances. Get takeout from a favorite restaurant if Mom is no longer able to go there in person.
- Listen to your mother’s favorite music with her.
- Spending quality time together can build new cherished moments. As you plan activities, incorporate what your mother can do and what she chooses to do now, and not what was possible in the past.
- Flowers can be a great gift for someone living with dementia, because the scent can help improve mood, promote positive feelings and stimulate the brain. Purchase a bouquet and enjoy the fragrances together.
- Make a Mother’s Day card, and read it to your mom. The act of writing it and communicating your love can help lift your own spirits, even if your mother can’t fully grasp the meaning.
If you need additional information or support, licensed social workers trained in dementia care are available on the AFA’s Helpline. They’re available seven days a week by phone (866-232-8484); text message (646-586-5283); and web chat (www.alzfdn.org).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on dementia.
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