Mothering Sunday can be a difficult day for those whose mothers have dementia.
As one of my client’s whose beloved mum has dementia said:
“It’s an ill wind that doesn’t favour someone”. What does she mean by that? Well, by her own admission, mum would say that since having dementia, she has discovered on some levels what true happiness is because she has mostly forgotten what her demons are. She has forgotten a lot of the stories that made her self loathe, or caused low self-esteem, lack of self-worth and bouts of depression. The challenge for me as we look to celebrate Mothering Sunday is that dementia is taking her away from me, and this cuts more deeply on this day.
Before dementia arrived we had a very challenging relationship. Now we have much more harmonious relationship. Dementia has become a duel edged sword, that has me ‘grieving on the job’ but also has enabled me to access greater acceptance, a depth of compassion and self healing, as I respect the choice that mum has made for her to be able to live out her life.“
Dementia can cause a range of symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, and difficulty communicating.
However, it’s still possible to celebrate Mothering Sunday and make the day special for your mother. Here are some tips on how to celebrate Mothering Sunday if your mum has dementia:
- Focus on the present: Instead of dwelling on what your mother can’t remember or do, focus on the present moment. Enjoy spending time with your mother, even if it’s just sitting together and chatting.
- Plan a meaningful activity: Choose an activity that your mother enjoys and that is manageable given her current abilities. This could be going for a walk, doing a puzzle together, reading to her or listening to music.
- Involve other family members: Mothering Sunday can be a time to bring family together. Involve other family members in the celebration, whether it be through a video call or in-person visit. This can help create a positive and supportive environment for your mother.
- Use visual aids: Visual aids can help your mother understand and communicate better. Use photos, videos, or written notes to help your mother remember people, places, and events.
- Create a memory book: Creating a memory book can be a meaningful way to celebrate Mothering Sunday. Include photos, stories, and memories of your mother’s life, and spend time looking through it together.
- Prepare a special meal: Preparing a special meal for your mother can be a thoughtful and enjoyable way to celebrate Mothering Sunday. Choose her favourite foods and involve her in the preparation process as much as possible.
- Take care of yourself: Being a caregiver for a mother with dementia can be emotionally and physically draining. In many ways you are now HER mother, so be extra kind to yourself and make time for yourself on Mothering Sunday, whether it be through self-care activities or seeking support from others.
Celebrating Mothering Sunday with a mother who has dementia requires patience, creativity, and compassion. By focusing on the present, planning meaningful activities, involving other family members, using visual aids, creating a memory book, preparing a special meal, and taking care of yourself, you can make the day special and meaningful for your mother. Remember that even if your mother can’t remember the details of the day, the love and connection between you will still be felt.
If you feel you need support, consider working with a professional. A CET practitioner can assist you to release your painful emotions from the past so you are more emotionally and mentally resourceful you can read about our reCET Yourself programme by clicking here.
Dr Lisa Turner