Mother’s Day is one of those big day, special occasions in most long term care facilities - there is an anticipation much like Valentine’s Day. One of the reasons for this is that families try to ensure that they visit on Mother’s Day and there is a tradition of celebrating the occasion. Extra care is taken to ensure that everyone will look their best for the day and it feels like a very special day.
Mother’s Day celebrations don’t have to be one big event and it may be more enjoyable and meaningful for residents with dementia if there were several smaller programs in the week leading up to the big day. These programs don’t focus on only the women who are mothers, rather, they celebrate mothers in general, allowing everyone to participate.
One of the most beneficial outcomes of these programs is the conversation and reminiscing that the program encourages. Rather than talking about their role as a mother the participants will more likely remember stories of their own mother, a grandmother or some other mother-figure from their past.
Some ideas for programs:
- Watch several 1-3 minute clips of famous mothers from movies or television (such as June Cleaver from "Leave it to Beaver" or Harriett Nelson from "Ozzie and Harriet") and talk about the mother or the show.
- Look at old fashioned recipe books and have the group decide on a cookie recipe for Sunday’s tea (or for the bake group on a different day).
- Have a short music group with 5-10 songs that are about mother – there are old classics, country songs, modern songs. Select the ones that resonate with your group.
- Aprons are something that many people associate with “mother”. Look for images of women wearing aprons or even better locate a variety of different apron styles and talk about them
- Lead a discussion group to talk about Mother’s Day traditions – start the conversation with some background about the history of Mother’s Day and use our free Mother’s Day Trivia activity to learn more about. Talk about different ways that people celebrated Mother’s Day such as family brunch, breakfast in bed, giving carnations or family get-togethers.
It can be fun to have the big celebrations, but for people with dementia it can also be overwhelming. Offering smaller programs leading up to the big event can turn Mother’s Day into Mother’s Week and be even more successful.