If your mother or grandmother has dementia, trying to celebrate Mother’s Day can sometimes be a painful experience. While you can remember all the lovely things she’s done for you over the years, she may feel confused and disengaged. She may forget who you or your family are, which can be especially heart breaking on a day like that.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to let the day pass unrecognized. There are plenty of activities that will be enjoyable and indulgent to remind your mother or grandmother how great she is, but which are also suitable for dementia.
Here’s our pick of the best ways to celebrate Mother’s Day…
Movies and Music
Why not put on one of her favorite movies – perhaps one she might have enjoyed when she was younger – make some popcorn and settle down on the sofa. If her dementia has reached a stage where she struggles to follow storylines, she may prefer a relaxing evening spent listening to her favorite music.
If your loved one always enjoyed getting outdoors and doing some gardening, this could make a lovely activity for the Mother’s Day weekend. Even if their mobility is more limited there are adapted gardening tools with easy-grip and extendable handles which will make it easier.
Who doesn’t love getting pampered? If your mom or grandmother always enjoyed getting her hair or nails done, this could be a very enjoyable activity to have done. You could either organize for a mobile beautician to come along to your house, or even do some DIY pampering. Create a relaxing atmosphere with music and scented candles and then sit her down with everything you need to hand including lavender-scented products, hand cream, nail polish, hair brushes (and if you’ve got the hairdressing skills, scissors for a trim).
Reminiscing Over Photos
If your mother or grandmother seems to be spending more and more time in the past, take advantage of that buy digging out photo albums and reminiscing over them. Reminiscence can be a great activity for stimulating conversation and boosting engagement, and your mom will enjoy talking about days that she can remember, rather than trying to think back to events in the last couple of years, which may be harder.
Creating a traditional Mother’s Day bouquet could be an enjoyable activity to do over the weekend, especially if she also enjoys gardening and can take flowers from her own garden. You could get some oasis bases or small vases to stick cut flowers into, or pieces of ribbon to tie bunches of flowers together. Pick flowers that have a scent to boost the sensory experience.
Whether your mother or grandmother was a baker pre-diagnosis or not, most people enjoy the process of making and eating food. Bread is a good product to make as kneading the dough can be very therapeutic and easy for someone with limited dexterity. However, even beating eggs and sugar together could be a useful activity for someone with dementia, and which will provide a sense of purpose and enjoyment.
Song and Dance
Play some of her favorite songs and music from when she was growing up – if you’re unsure what this was, think back to what was in the charts when she was growing up. She may even enjoy getting up and having a dance if her mobility allows, but if not, watching others dance can be a good activity. Consider putting on a DVD of a ballet or musical. A classic such as West Side Story, Oklahoma or Wizard of Oz has bright, vibrant dance routines that could very well spark some recognition.
This can be a great activity to get the whole family involved, especially grandchildren. Get out paints, pencils or crayons and encourage your mom or grandmother to draw whatever they like. The children could make their own Mother’s Day card and color it in.
Finally, Some Tips on Presents . . .
When buying items that are suitable for dementia, you’ll discover there are gifts that can be lots of fun and other that are more practical, but equally well received as a gift. So it’s a good idea to think about what kind of gifts they liked receiving before their diagnosis. If your mother got offended when you bought her a kettle for Christmas, giving her a kettle tipper (useful if the person with dementia struggles with coordination) is probably not the best choice for Mother’s Day. However, if she always enjoyed getting a basket of soaps and bubble baths, she will probably enjoy receiving gifts that have a sensor slant.
Happy Mother's Day From Memory Matters!