Tips for Celebrating Mother's Day with Loved Ones Dealing with Alzheimer's Disease
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Celebrating Mother's Day with a mom who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's disease can be a challenging reminder of the woman she once was. The Alzheimer's Association is sharing resources in central Virginia for children to take advantage of leading up to Mother's Day on Sunday, May 11.
Regina Kerns’ mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago.
"It’s a tough disease, and it’s tough to watch," she said. "It becomes real personal when it’s your own family."
While it's difficult for Kerns to take her mom out in public, several resources in central Virginia are making it easier for her to help her mom enjoy some of her favorite places and activities.
"Being able to go to Travinia, where they've done the dementia-friendly training for the staff, is helpful. The Fralin Museum that does the art fusion for people with Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer's Association doing memory cafe, getting people together just to have that social interaction with other people that understand," Kerns said.
When celebrating Mother's Day, the Alzheimer's Association says it's important to plan things that mom enjoys most, and to keep it simple.
"You don't want it to be too overwhelming. Maybe schedule some breaks where things are a little quieter and less chaotic," said Lauren Blackshaw, family services manager.
If you plan to take your loved one out to dinner or a movie, there are things you can do to help make the experience easier and more enjoyable for everyone: "Some people carry around little cards that will say, ‘My loved one has Alzheimer’s, please understand,’ and you can hand that to people when you show up places so they get a sense of what the difference is," Kerns suggested.
While moms with dementia or Alzheimer's disease may not be able to remember every detail of the day, they will remember how you made them feel.
"You can enjoy a day with someone and they'll remember that experience even if they don't remember all the details," said Blackshaw.
"It’s always important to make sure that you bring together enough people and enjoy the moment and whatever that brings," Kerns said.