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memory support May 8, 2017

Mom doesn’t know it’s Mother’s Day or who I am. Should I still get her a card or gift?

By: Country Meadows | Uncategorized

While your mother may not remember your name or even that you’re her child, she may know that you are someone who cares about her. So, consider Mother’s Day an opportunity to honor her, reminisce and thank her. People with dementia often have moments of clarity, so she might understand and appreciate your thoughtfulness.

If you gave her a card and gift in earlier years, then continue the tradition. That simple act could elicit a memory, however brief, of past Mother’s Days. Continuing family celebrations also can create positive feelings. Visit if you can and do something enjoyable with her, even if it’s just sitting outdoors, looking at flowers and listening to birds. Spending time together is the best gift of all.

“One of the most painful consequences to living with dementia is social isolation,” says Joel Kroft, executive director of memory support services at Country Meadows Retirement Communities. “Acquaintances, friends and even family pull away as behavior becomes more unpredictable and conversation becomes harder. This loss of relationships can be even more painful than the symptoms of the disease. Connections to other people, especially those the person living with dementia loves, is critical to quality of life.”

You might want to enclose a photo of an earlier Mother’s Day or other family celebration in your card. Select one with a familiar image like her favorite flowers or place to visit. Ask her about the photo or image and follow her lead in talking about it.

A lovely, wrapped package might brighten her day or prompt reflection on past holidays. But what to buy a mother with dementia? Consider an item with comfortable, soft textures (bathrobe, slippers, lap blanket) as individuals with dementia tend to be soothed by a pleasing touch.

Other ideas, depending on her dementia level, are puzzles, knitting yarn, a birdhouse kit (to assemble together), recipe ingredients (for baking together), an activity book or playing cards. These gifts provide cognitive activities that help engage and give purpose to those with dementia. Another possibility is a sentimental gift that promotes reminiscing, such as a photo album or scrapbook with pictures and memorabilia or a CD of her favorite songs, as music can boost brain activity.

If you’re interested in more ideas, you might want to check out the holiday gift guide from the Alzheimer’s Association with suggestions listed for various stages of memory loss. For example, for early stage dementia: a clock with the date and time in large type; for middle to late stage dementia: scented lotion (for sensory stimulation) or shoes with Velcro ties.

If your family is dealing with a loved one’s dementia, Country Meadows can tell you what to look for in choosing a memory support program. If you think your family might benefit from care provided by trained memory care support professionals, we would be glad to talk with you. Over the past 30 years, we have cared for more than 10,000 people with memory loss through our Connections Memory Support Services. To learn more about Connections, we recommend you view this video and contact us to learn more.

We invite you to visit our active senior living communities where we also offer beautiful apartments in independent living, as well as in our assisted living or personal care homes. We would be glad to give you a tour any of our 10 retirement communities in Pennsylvania or our Maryland retirement home We can introduce you to our comfortable senior housing in Lancaster, Reading, York, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh and Lehigh Valley, PA or Frederick, MD, where we offer fulfilling, personalized senior living that engages the body, mind and spirit.

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