Kathy Hickman, Education Manager, Alzheimer Society of Ontario
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the crunch is on to find that perfect gift to show your mom just how much she means to you. But what if your mom has dementia? As a mom myself, I can tell you that the gift all moms want the most is quality time with their children—time that shows her that you appreciate her role in your life. Does this look any different if your mom has dementia? It depends on how dementia is affecting her and what her likes and dislikes are.
Here are a few simple, engaging ways to show your mom how much you care—on Mother’s Day or any other day of the year:
If she’s in the early stages
- Tell her you would like to spend time with her and ask what she would like to do.
- Plan a meal together, make her favourite dish or go out to her favourite restaurant. Keep in mind that a quiet location or time of day will minimize distractions and allow for good conversation.
- Take a stroll in the park, go for a bike ride or visit a museum.
- Include her in any family gatherings but be sure to give her the option of stepping away if it gets too overwhelming.
If she’s in the middle stages
- Plan for quieter, shorter visits. This helps avoid overstimulation.
- Give her an album of photos marking special moments in her life. Reminisce together, share stories and remember to laugh.
- Read an excerpt from one of her favourite books.
If she’s in the later stages
- Create a playlist of the songs she grew up with and give her an iPod to listen.
- Give her some scented lotion and pamper her with a hand massage.
- Pick up some fresh flowers and let her sort them in a vase.
Whatever you do, always make time for your mom and continue to share your life with her, and let her know that she means the world to you.