Honoring Mother's Day When Mom Has Alzheimer's

Nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's are women.

Women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer's crisis, and the burden on women is never more apparent than on Mother's Day, when families come together to celebrate their mothers and grandmothers. The disease places an unbalanced burden on women at work and at home, forcing them to make difficult choices about their careers, their relationships and their futures.

  • About 13 million women are either living with Alzheimer's or caring for someone who has it.

  • Nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's are women.

  • More than 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers are women.

Celebrating Mother's Day, like other holidays, can be challenging when a mom is living with Alzheimer's. On these kinds of special occasions, a person with Alzheimer's may feel a sense of loss because of the changes being experienced as a result of the disease. At the same time, caregivers and other family members may struggle with figuring out how to celebrate Mother's Day with someone living with dementia.

Mother's Day can remain a meaningful and enjoyable occasion for families impacted by Alzheimer's disease. Planning will take more thought and each family's unique circumstances will need to be taken into consideration. The following tips from the Alzheimer's Association can help:

  • 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 and find support. Call the 24/7 Helpline 800.272.3900, to speak with a trained social worker whenever you have questions or concerns. Learn more about Alzheimer's in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregiver Center at alz.org/care. For 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.

SOURCE Alzheimer’s Association - NYC Chapter