SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Mother’s Day isn’t always easy for families struggling with dementia-related illness but these tips will help you give mom a wonderful day.
Women makeup two-thirds of Americans who live with related diseases, and families and caretakers know it can be difficult to connect with a loved one who doesn’t always remember your name.
Especially when it’s your momma.
“Mother’s Day is a time to honor the special mother figures in your life, and it can continue to be special with a few adaptations,” said Jennifer Reeder, the Director of Educational and Social Services with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Reeder said following a few steps can help you celebrate Mother’s Day in a dementia-friendly way.
One option is to reminisce with your mom by showing old photos that can bring joy and comfort. Even if she can’t remember names, you can describe the images for her. Just avoid asking questions like, “Do you remember?” You don’t want her to feel embarrassed or ashamed.
Dementia can take a lot from a person, including their ability to do the things they previously enjoyed. The things once enjoyed by your mom can often be recreated to bring her joy. If she once had a favorite restaurant, order her favorite dish. If you can’t take her to the restaurant, you can always bring the restaurant to her by ordering take-out.
Music can make a massive difference in patients experiencing dementia-related disease. Even those who can’t recognize family members can oftentimes sing the songs from their childhood and remember every word.
Former dancers have been known to reenact movements when they hear songs from their former careers. Perhaps consider bringing a musical instrument and giving them the opportunity to feel it in their hands.
You can choose to make new memories with your mom. Quality time is the best present you can give her, so when planning for your day, you can consider what your mom can do now. Let your focus remain on joy and steer clear of anything that can cause stress for either of you.
Make a Mother’s Day card in advance and read it out loud to her. Maybe she can’t understand what you’re trying to say to her, but writing your feelings will help you understand things a little bit more.
Mental decline is not easy for either those experiencing the slow loss of their memories, and it can also be difficult for family and friends who just want your mother to remember who she is again.
But there’s a phone number you can call to receive support when you need it. The AFA’s helpline is staffed by licensed social workers who are trained to help you. And it’s available seven days a week. Just call 866-232-8484.
Don’t like the idea of talking with someone about what you’re experiencing? You can text! Just type out a few simple sentences and send them quickly (before you lose your nerve) to 646-586-5283.
Web chats are another option, too. The AFA simply wants to help.
Some people really are that kind.
Open your very first web chat here and get the support you need.