Honoring Mother's Day When Mom Has Alzheimer's


Last updated 5/7/2024 at 6:13pm

Celebrating Mother’s Day, like other holidays, can be bittersweet and challenging when mom is living with Alzheimer’s. Mother’s Day, however, can remain a meaningful and enjoyable occasion for families facing Alzheimer’s and other dementia. To help these families with Mother’s Day celebrations, the Alzheimer’s Association offers these tips:

●        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.

●        Connect with mom virtually. Schedule a FaceTime, Skype or Zoom call with mom and invite other family members to participate. Prepare ahead of time to ensure the platform you use is one your mom can access easily. Consider taking the call to the next level by adding a slideshow with favorite pictures of mom and cherished family photos.

●        Join in. If the person with Alzheimer’s lives in a care facility, consider joining in on 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. If someone asks for gift ideas, suggest items the person with dementia needs or can easily enjoy. Ideas include an identification bracelet, CDs of favorite music, comfortable clothing, favorite foods and photo albums of family and friends.

●        Find support. Many adult children may feel grief, sadness or guilt preceding or following a holiday. It can be helpful to discuss these feelings with a trusted friend or family member. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers support groups and tips for coping with caregiver depression and stress. You can access local support groups from the Alzheimer’s Association Houston and Southeast Chapter at alz.org/texas.

“It is important to celebrate all of the special mothers who have impacted our lives,” said Richard Elbein, Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer’s Association Houston and Southeast Texas. “Even though the celebration may differ from past celebrations, families can still provide a special day that their mothers will enjoy.”

 Nearly 7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, with more than 459,000 here in Texas. Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s crisis with nearly two-thirds of women living with the disease and more than 60 percent taking care of someone with Alzheimer's and dementia. More specifically, over one-third of dementia caregivers are daughters.

 For information and support, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website at alz.org or call its 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900.


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