Mother’s Day ~ That has a nice ring to it, don’t you think or do you?
As we approach Mother’s Day, those of you who are caregivers to mothers with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, may feel it’s not a happy day. “What’s to celebrate? My Mother doesn’t even recognize me.” “Why visit? All my mom does is say mean things to me!”
Yes, that might be the case. As hard as it can and might be to face those challenges, it is worth the time to spend with your Mom. She may not know you, but you can sit and hold hands, talk about anything and everything. Share stories about the kids or grandchildren. Bring her artwork the grandchildren have made and place it on a bulletin board in her room. It doesn’t need to be difficult just keep it simple.
If your Mom is saying mean things to you, redirect the situation by showing a family album to her and start reminiscing. Whatever you do, don’t become frustrated and go off in a huff! That only confirms what she’s thinking about you.
As hard as it is to be loving when you have darts being thrown at your heart, you will have to muster through it. Yes, you’re feeling hurt and maybe getting a little emotional and feel the need to leave. Instead, try this: “Mom, I forgot something in the car. I’ll be right back.” Walk out of the area where she is (it doesn’t actually have to be going to the car) and go into another room. This gives you a “moment” to collect yourself and your emotions. As soon as you feel calm enough, go back and start your visit all over. If she’s still being unkind when you go back in, you can just tell her it doesn’t seem like it’s a good time for her to have visitors and you’ll come back a little later. I know how difficult this can be because I experienced this myself.
If there are grandchildren in the picture, make sure and take them with you to see their grandmother. I guarantee, even if your Mother doesn’t recognize them, she will be delighted just to be around children. The visit doesn’t have to be an hour. More than likely your Mother won’t have any concept of time so even if you’re there 30 minutes she will enjoy the company. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. . .kids and pets make dementia patients very happy!
“I will look after you and I will look after anybody you say needs to be looked after, any way you say. I am here. I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother.”
―Maya Angelou, Mom & Me & Mom
Your Mother is always going to be YOUR MOTHER! Somewhere deep inside of her she still knows you. She is a person who deserves total respect and most of all she deserves pure unconditional LOVE. Don’t let your “feelings” get in the way. This is not about you, it’s about your Mother and who she is now.
“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.” Mitch Albom, For One More Day
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!