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Mother's Day celebrations may need to be adjusted if mom has dementia expert says

05/09/2015 10:30 EDT | Updated 05/09/2016 05:59 EDT
Many families often enjoy Mother's Day traditions, such as brunch or a big family gathering, but for those whose mothers have been diagnosed with dementia, celebrating Mother's Day may require adjustments.

Traditions like brunch at a busy restaurant could actually make her anxious, angry or confused.

"I think the biggest thing we're seeing that families need to do is to adapt and to pay attention to what isn't working anymore," Sara Wagner with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"And that can be hard because we have certain rituals or customs that … you've been doing all your life for your mom and your mom's always enjoyed it."

Here are a couple of tips on how families can celebrate moms without causing them unnecessary stress or anxiety.

Find a place that won't be overstimulating

"Think about the location and whether it's conducive to a quiet room," said Wagner.

"Maybe you could have the celebration in one room, and then if you're noticing that Mom is having a hard time, you can take her off. One family member can go sit with her or take her for a walk to remove her from the situation for a while."

Celebrate at her care home

"If she's having a really hard time [adjusting to living in a care home], then you might want to have a celebration at the care facility to keep reinforcing that that is where she is living now," said Wagner.

"Sometimes, if somebody is taken out too soon, then they think, 'Oh, I'm going back home,' and then that makes it a really hard thing for her family to bring her back."

To hear the full interview with Sara Wagner, listen to the audio labelled: How best to celebrate mothers living with dementia

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