Mother’s Day is Sunday May 14th this year and for most its a fun day full of celebrating all the moms out there. Unfortunately, almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women and when mom has Alzheimer’s, Mother’s Day can be challenging.
Symptoms can make it hard for her to engage and participate. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease some may withdraw and be less comfortable socializing, while others may really enjoy seeing family and friends. A greater level of care is required as the disease progresses into the moderate and severe stages. Mom may have a more difficult time communicating, become more-easily frustrated or angry, or may act out in unexpected ways.
That doesn’t mean this day has pass without being recognized. Mother’s Day can remain a meaningful and enjoyable occasion for families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. Planning may take more thought and each family’s unique circumstances will play a part in the day.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers families several tips for celebrating Mother’s Day when mom is living with Alzheimer’s disease:
Take a person-centered approach. Focus on what is enjoyable for the person with Alzheimer’s, such as looking at family pictures or enjoying the person’s favorite food. If they get overwhelmed in large groups, a small quiet gathering may be preferable.
Keep it simple. Consider a celebration over a lunch or brunch at home or where the person is most comfortable. Ask family or friends to bring dishes for a potluck meal or have food delivered by a local restaurant or grocery store.
Join In. If the person with Alzheimer’s lives in a care facility, consider joining in any facility-planned activities.
Don’t overdo it. Sticking to the person’s normal routine will help keep the day from becoming disruptive or confusing.Depending on the person’s stamina, plan time for breaks so the person can rest in a quiet area away from noise and crowds.
Adapt Gift Giving. Encourage safe and useful gifts for the person with Alzheimer’s. Diminishing capacity may make some gifts unusable or even dangerous to a person with dementia. If someone asks for gift ideas, suggest items the person with dementia needs or can easily enjoy. Ideas include: an identification bracelet, comfortable clothing, favorite foods and photo albums.
Educate yourself/find support. Learn more about Alzheimer’s in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center at alz.org/care. There you can also find more tips on supporting a family member with Alzheimer’s, join the ALZConnected online community, and find more information about your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter services and programs.
If you need additional support this Mother’s Day, please visit our Alzheimer’s Caregiver Center at alz.org/care or please call our Helpline anytime, day or night, at 800.272.3900.