28 March 2019
Mother’s day is all about honouring those influential people in our lives who have helped to shape our identity, and supported us on our journeys. It is the perfect chance to spend time with the family, but it can be difficult to know how to celebrate when your mother is living with dementia.
At Promedica24, we have been supporting people with dementia, and their families, for over 12 years through our live-in care services, ensuring people are able to stay in their own homes and live independent lives for as long as possible.
Here are our top tips for creating a relaxing and calm atmosphere on Mother’s Day for a loved one living with dementia:
Plan meals out carefully and in advance
Taking your mum out for lunch is a popular choice for many on Mother’s Day. If you’re considering this, there are some points to think about to ensure it is a positive experience for you both.
A noisy and crowded environment can be confusing for those with dementia, and it could be difficult to concentrate if there are lots of distractions. Consider a place that your mother is already familiar with, and try to find a quiet area.
You will also need to consider any visual impairment your mother may have, as well as their perception of food. Often, food for those living with dementia would be presented colourfully and would be easy to identify. Ensure there is food on the menu that your mother will be comfortable eating.
Your mum may also be used to sitting at home with a tray, or using utensils that are easy to grip. Be sure to bring these along where possible, to avoid any confusion or distress.
Finally, do not be disheartened if they do not enjoy or eat all of their food. The change in routine and surroundings could be difficult for them, so be patient and understanding.
Activities at home
If getting out and about is not an option, and home is where they feel the most safe and secure, there are activities you can organise to make the day extra special. A special dinner served in a familiar and comfortable setting would be a great alternative.
Cooking is a great way to keep the mind stimulated and can decrease agitation. Your mother may still enjoy cooking, so let her be involved as much as possible. Encourage them to help with the simpler tasks such as laying the table or stirring. Food stimulates the senses and is also a perfect way to share memories of cooking together when you were younger.
Reminiscence activities are a lovely way to share special moments together. Watching family videos, flicking through old photographs and talking about childhood, life experiences and hobbies are a great way to communicate with someone with dementia. People living with dementia often retain a strong long-term memory and take solace in reflecting on times past.
Music is well known to soothe the symptoms of dementia and will help to create a calming atmosphere. A playlist with a selection of your mother’s favourite songs from her childhood can elicit some powerful memories and be a great way for her to connect with her past. Singing has also been known to be able to reach parts of the damaged brain where normal communication cannot, so why not enjoy a singsong together.
You can read more about the benefits of music in dementia care in our Magic Moments blog.
DementiaUK also offer some great advice and tips on how music therapy can benefit those with Dementia.
Getting outside makes us all feel better, and this is also true for those with dementia. Physical activity can have many benefits, including regulating sleep, preventing restlessness and lowering the risk of developing depression.
Whether it’s a five-minute walk to the park or a trip to a beach, getting outdoors could make your Mother’s Day extra special.
There are many physical benefits to being outdoors, as well as psychological. This can include reduced aggression and agitation, spiritual uplift, reduced stress levels and improved sleep and awareness.
My mum doesn’t recognise me
In some cases of dementia, and as it progresses, individuals will stop recognising family members and people they know. This can be upsetting, even though you may have known this time would come.
If your mum cannot remember your name, or does not recognise you or a family member, remind them who you are and let them know it’s okay, as you have not seen each other in a while. You will want to ease their anxiety, so be calm and patient and do not correct them.
Photos and videos can sometimes help to trigger memories, especially if they show progression in time. You may want to label photo albums or photo frames with names and dates to help them remember family members and special occasions.
Sometimes, wearing clothing, or perfume, can help the person associate with you. These can evoke positive memories, if communication is more difficult.
Taking part in activities together will help you to reconnect with your mum, even if they are struggling to remember you.
Gifts for Mother’s Day
Your gift to your mum in the early stages of dementia may not be that different from what you would normally buy. However, in the later stages of dementia stimulating gifts could help to bring back memories or help to keep them calm and engaged. Aids to help with their daily living could be useful and games and activities will keep their brain stimulated. Or, it could be more of a reminiscence item from their past, such as an old fashioned radio or piece of antique furniture.
Alzheimer’s Society has some great ideas of gifts for people with dementia.
How Promedica24 can help
Our live-in care workers are experienced in caring for those living with dementia. We are able to offer high quality care in the person’s home, where they feel safe and secure, encouraging independence and choice. Our packages include respite care and long-term care, and care plans would be personalised to the individual.
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