Celebrating Mother’s Day When Mom Has Alzheimer’s

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s crisis. This burden on women is never more apparent than on Mother’s Day, when families come together to celebrate their mothers and grandmothers. The disease places an unbalanced burden on women at work and at home, forcing them to make difficult choices about their careers, their relationships and their futures. Celebrating Mother’s Day, like other holidays, can be challenging when a mom is living with Alzheimer’s. On these kinds of special occasions, a person with Alzheimer’s may feel a sense of loss because of the changes being experienced as a result of the disease. Planning will take more thought and each family’s unique circumstances will need to be taken into consideration.

• 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. 

• 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 and find support. Call the 24/7 Helpline 800.272.3900, to speak with a trained social worker whenever you have questions or concerns.

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