by Jeanine Genauer
Visiting mom on Mother’s Day should be a joyous occasion. For those of us whose moms are experiencing limitations from aging or are memory impaired, this can seem like a daunting task. However, a little careful planning can help make a Mother’s Day visit much more successful. Here are some tips to help make the most of the time you share on this special day:
- Set aside a block of time for the visit, don’t have time pressure to be somewhere else
- Bring grandchildren or others along for the visit who can bring smiles, take pictures
- Memories are important, dig out some favorite family photos to share
- Give mom some current photos that can be displayed , label them with names and relationships
- Play her favorite music to trigger joyful memories, leave her with a playlist
- Bring sweet treats, soft candies and cookies may be best
- Stock her pantry with a few special items, longer shelf life items best
- Create a calendar with special dates for mom to remember, bring addressed occasion cards that she can use to commemorate the events
For moms who have Alzheimer’s or other dementia, the Mother’s Day visit should be short and sweet, perhaps an hour visit. Also, if you can, plan your visit prior to 3 p.m. so that sundowning does not interfere with the quality of the time you spend with her. Looking at old photos and reminiscing is a great way to spend the time. Although you may expect conversation difficulties, you can minimize these if you stay away though from asking questions such as, “Do you know who that is?” Rather state, “Look at Sara, your newest grandbaby. She has grown quite a bit since last year.”
Careful planning is the key to a successful Mother’s Day visit. Know what you might want to talk about or do. Work with a facility’s staff if necessary. Share your concerns and your appreciation. Creativity, flexibility, tolerance for confusion, a sense of humor, patience, commitment, time, and willingness to make the most of the moment will all add to a successful visit.
Most of all bring your love and have a Happy Mother’s Day!
Discover more resources for caregivers and loved ones from Juniper Communities.