If your mother or grandmother has dementia, trying to celebrate Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet experience. For whilst you can remember all the lovely things she’s done for you over the years, she herself may not be able to. However, there are still plenty of enjoyable activities you can do together, to show her how special she is.
Here’s our pick of the best ways to celebrate Mother’s Day
Movies and memories
Why not select one of her favourite movies – perhaps one she might have enjoyed when she was younger – and sit down together to watch it. If she doesn’t want to watch it to the end, that’s fine, it’s quality not quantity that counts.
Tip: If a whole film would be too much, go to the BBC Archive for a free, endless supply of vintage TV clips, from the 1930’s onwards. You could watch a Pathe news clip from 1945 or catch a very young looking David Attenborough meeting a gorilla…Whatever her taste, there are more than 1,500 clips so you’re bound to find something that will resonate.
Who doesn’t love getting pampered? If your mum always enjoyed getting her hair or nails done, you could try some DIY pampering. Create a relaxing atmosphere with music and scented candles and then sit her down with everything you need to hand, such as moisturising creams, nail polish, files, hair brushes etc.
Tip: Try using lavender scented products if possible. Lavender can be particularly calming for people with dementia and may help to relieve the effects of sundowning.
Create a life story book
Most people with dementia love a trip down memory lane, so why not start creating a life story book? The Unforgettable Life Story Book has been specially designed to make telling the story of your life enjoyable and rewarding, and to capture precious memories in a fun and flexible way. Reminiscence can be a great way to boost mood and stimulate conversation – you might even discover something you didn’t know about her childhood or your family!
Tip: We have lots more information and advice about creating life stories with people who have dementia.
Creating a traditional Mother’s Day posy could be an enjoyable activity to do over the weekend, especially if you can pick them yourself from the garden. Arrange flowers in a vase or stick them in an Oasis foam base. If possible, choose flowers that have a scent to boost the sensory experience.
Tip: For more inspiration take a look at Margaret O’Neil’s beautiful paper flower arrangements which are also scented. Margaret lives with dementia but remains as creative as ever. Check out her arrangements here https://creative-carer.com/mum’s%20art.html
Whether your mother or grandmother was a baker pre-diagnosis or not, most people enjoy the process of making and eating food. Bread is a good product to make as kneading the dough can be very therapeutic and easy for someone with limited dexterity. However, even beating eggs and sugar together could be a useful activity for someone with dementia, and which will provide a sense of purpose and enjoyment.
Want to read more on any of these subjects? Here’s two articles that might interest you:
Heather’s dementia story: Making these flowers brings Mum great joy
Using the scent of lavender in dementia care