A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

On Mother’s Day, here are some tips for celebrating when mom is living with Alzheimer’s disease

Mother’s Day can be challenging for families affected by Alzheimer’s – especially when it is a mom that is living with the disease. Women are disproportionately impacted by this devastating disease: nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.

How families choose to celebrate Mother’s Day when mom has the disease depends on the person living with Alzheimer’s and the family’s unique situation.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers families the following tips for celebrating Mother’s Day when mom is living with Alzheimer’s disease:

• 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.

•  Keep it simple. Consider a celebration over a lunch or brunch at home or where the person is most comfortable. Ask family or friends to bring dishes for a potluck meal or have food delivered by a local restaurant or grocery store.

• Join In.
If the person with Alzheimer’s lives in a care facility, consider joining in any facility-planned activities.

• 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/find support.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center at alz.org/care. There you can also find more tips on supporting a family member with Alzheimer’s, join the ALZConnected online community, and find more information about your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter services and programs.

From Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana

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