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  • Writer's pictureRonald Allan Caluste

A Mother's Day Unlike Any Other: Celebrating Love Through the Fog of Dementia

Mother's Day is a time to celebrate the women who nurtured us, championed our dreams, and held our hands through life's challenges. But for families navigating the journey of dementia or Alzheimer's with their mothers, the traditional brunch and flowers might not hold the same meaning.  However, this doesn't diminish the love you share. Here are some heartfelt ways to show your mother you care and celebrate her spirit on this special day:

Connecting Through Memories:

  • Reminiscing Walk: Take a walk down memory lane, visiting familiar places from your childhood or hers. Point out landmarks, share stories, and reminisce about happy moments.

  • Photo Album Time: Look through old photo albums together, gently prompting conversation and encouraging her to share memories.

  • Create a Sensory Memory Box: Fill a box with objects from her past - a favorite perfume, a scarf with a familiar scent, a piece of fabric from a cherished dress. These can trigger positive memories and evoke a sense of comfort.

  • Listen to Familiar Music: Put on music from her youth or favorite genre. Singing along can be a joyful and engaging activity.

Expressing Love Through Comfort and Care:

  • Focus on Sensory Experiences:  A gentle hand massage with her favorite lotion, brushing her hair, or offering a warm blanket can be calming and create a positive connection.

  • Embrace Calming Activities: Folding laundry together, watering plants, or listening to soothing music can provide a sense of routine and shared activity.

  • Respect her Reality: Don't argue with her about disorientation or confusion. Validate her feelings and focus on providing a sense of security and comfort.

  • Simple Acts of Kindness: Brush her hair, help her get dressed, or offer her a favorite snack. These small acts communicate love and care.

Celebrating the Person She Still Is:

  • Engage in Activities She Enjoys:  If she used to love painting, provide her with large paint brushes and washable paints.  If she enjoyed dancing, play some simple music and gently move together.

  • Focus on Nonverbal Communication:  Smile, hold her hand, look her in the eye. These nonverbal cues communicate love and connection even if verbal communication is limited.

  • Read Books or Poems: Reading aloud in a calming voice can be a soothing activity. Choose stories or poems that evoke positive emotions.

  • Laughter is the Best Medicine: Tell funny stories, share humorous anecdotes, or watch old comedies together. Laughter can create a positive atmosphere and spark joy.

Creating a Supportive Family Environment:

  • Plan a Small Family Gathering: A quiet gathering with familiar faces can be more enjoyable than a large, overwhelming event. Encourage conversation and reminiscing.

  • Involve Children in the Celebration:  Even young children can participate by playing simple games, singing songs, or drawing pictures for their grandmother.

  • Embrace Technology: If your mother is unable to visit in person, consider a video call.  Seeing familiar faces can be comforting.

  • Take Care of Yourself: Caring for someone with dementia can be exhausting. Ensure you're getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and making time for self-care activities. A well-rested and healthy caregiver can provide better care.

Additional Resources to Show Your Love:

  • Create a Personalized Playlist: Put together a playlist of her favorite songs or music that evokes positive memories.

  • Plant a Memory Garden: Plant a garden with flowers that hold special meaning for your family.

  • Donate in her Name: Donate to an Alzheimer's research foundation in her honor.

  • Write a Letter: Write a heartfelt letter expressing your love and appreciation for your mother. Even if she cannot fully understand it, it can be a valuable keepsake for yourself and the family.

Remember, Mother's Day with a mother facing dementia may look different, but it can still be a day filled with love, connection, and appreciation. By focusing on shared memories, offering comfort and care, and celebrating the person she still is, you can create a meaningful experience that honors the bond between you.

Beyond Mother's Day: Making Every Day Special

These tips can be adapted and incorporated into your everyday routine, demonstrating love and support throughout the year. Remember, small acts of kindness,  personalized care, and celebrating her spirit can make a significant impact on your mother's well-being, showing her she is still cherished and loved.

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