Celebrating Mother’s Day in Long-Term Care

Mother’s Day brings to mind brunches and flowers, children and families coming together to celebrate the brave, strong, loving and supportive women in their lives.   But elderly mothers, possibly living in long term care, may not be able to participate in traditional outings or take pleasure in the same gifts they once enjoyed.

How can families honor mothers or grandmothers  in a way that will not cause anxiety or add clutter in a small room, often shared with another resident?

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Long Term Care

  • It’s important to think small because there is often not much table or dresser space in assisted living accommodations and large flowers may overwhelm the room.   Flowers with a strong fragrance are also not advised in close quarters.   Try a petite bouquet, a small flowing plant or a small silk arrangement instead of a large bunch of cut flowers.
  • A lightweight,  pretty throw can be a useful and appreciated gift for an elderly or unwell mother.  Make sure any clothing or blankets can be washed in the laundry and are not too delicate.  New slippers, nightgowns or dressings gowns are all appreciated in long-term care where these items are in constant use.  Look for slippers with sturdy, grippy soles that offer stability and are easy to get on and off (think velcro straps).
  • Photos; an album, digital photo frame or framed pictures are a great reminder that loved-ones are thinking of mom.  They also offer staff and visitors an opportunity to open a conversation about the resident’s family and friends and the life they have led.
  • Seniors with dementia may benefit greatly from listening to music they remember from their youth.  An iPod, pre-loaded with a selection of favorite songs or a small cd player and a few discs can be a great gift that will help calm anxiety and bring joy to elderly moms.
  • Food, a small treat to be kept nearby, can also be a good gift for mom.  Check with staff first to make sure there are no dietary restrictions or allergies to be safe.  Again, think small, having too much candy or cookies may not be the best for mom’s health.
  • Try booking an appointment at the hair salon.  Most long-term care residences have a salon where mom can get her hair done and in some cases, her nails too.  A little pampering does wonders for women of any age.
  • Of course, a visit from friends and family is always the best gift a mom can receive.  Shorter visits, spread out over several days can be easier for nursing home residents.  Rather than having the whole family descend at once,  shorter visits from different family members may be appreciated.  Try to look for a change of scenery if possible.  Many assisted living homes have a garden space, library or common gathering room.  Call ahead to see what may be available.

“My mother…she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel.  I want to grow old and be like her.” Jodi Picoult – American Author