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Celebrating 84 with Mom at her Memory Care Community

Today my mom turned 84. Taking mom out has been overwhelming and while I am in the process of getting a travel wheelchair and a DMV parking form, it made more sense to celebrate with her in her community. We are both adapting to this new normal.

BurgerI focused on bringing in some of her favorite things, a hamburger and cake for lunch, and took the advice from some of the readers about the activities they do with their loved ones.

We started with the hamburger and Mom quickly dug in.

84CakeNext we sang Happy Birthday. Mom joined in the singing, ate some cake and then moved onto gifts and activities.

Thanks to those of you who made suggestions about some other activities to try. Some of the new ones include:

Magic Painting. This came from Mary (Thank you). I recalled using it with my daughter when she was young and we were unable to find any for mom’s birthday. So instead, we got a stained glass window kit. We had a good time doing this together and now the completed work hangs in my mom’s window. It goes well with the 4 oil paintings hanging in her room that she painted herself years ago. It took some time for her to feel confident she could put the pieces in the right spot, but we traded off and she watched as we struggled to get the shapes in exactly the right spot too.

My daughter was trying out some painting that included water colors on the pages. One word of warning: lots of other residents will be attracted and come visit while you visit. Unfortunately, one of the residents drank the water-glass for the paints before my daughter could stop her. Thankfully, they are non-toxic. We will try this again next time.

Mona Lou (Thank you) mentioned doing real painting. This requires a room that can be locked since it’s more time-consuming. My mom was a painter and unfortunately, her community doesn’t have this activity, but I’m working on seeing if it might be something they try out.

Mona Lou also mentioned music. I could always get my parents and then just my mom to the events with music in her old community. The bigger the band the better. She hasn’t been very interested in the solo musicians or just listening to recorded music and the new community doesn’t attract or schedule the big bands. Just because she doesn’t like it today (or does like it today), doesn’t mean she won’t enjoy it tomorrow. Always open for trying good ideas again.

Hand-holding. Thank you to Remember Me who mentioned this is always a nice way to spend time with his wife. I agree. I shared my feeling that hand holding was underrated as I was navigating my dad’s cancer options about 2 years ago.

Animal picture books. Mary also shared that she created picture books with a wide variety of animals they could look through that her dad enjoyed.

This milestone felt like just another mark on a long journey on which I’ve embarked. Thank you for offering many new ways to re-engage and spend a nice day with the mother I love. Celebrated. 

8 comments on “Celebrating 84 with Mom at her Memory Care Community

  1. It sounds like it was a lovely birthday celebration. I couldn’t help laugh at the paint water being drunk. Glad it was non-toxic.

  2. I find it hard to have/make time for fun with my parents. I’m the primary caregiver–and handle most of their finances and coordinate with health care providers from several hours away. Because I work full time, I have to make every trip count. So often, my visits are spent looking at paperwork or trying to deal with medical issues. My siblings also live out of town but offer limited assistance, and I struggle not to live in resentment. I swing from sad to angry to exhausted.

    • You are a good daughter! It’s overwhelming. You feel guilty no matter what you do. I don’t feel like I ever have the right balance. I also still move through periods of resentment. When something pleasant happens I try to savor it. I hope you can find some positive moments on this journey.

  3. It sounds like you made the day special for your mom, and I agree, hand-holding is underrated!

  4. Sounds like you had a great day with you mum. Music is great here and hearing Maureen sing word perfect to South Pacific is lovely. My mum is the same: she loves her singing. Dancing is also popular and Maureen often takes my hand and we waltz around the kitchen , Even with dementia she still tries to lead! At 94 my mum is too unsteady on her feet for dancing but she will still smile when I talk about her and dad doing the slow foxtrot to Moonlight Serenade.

  5. It sure sounds like you have all the bases covered. Yes, taking a loved one on an outing can be cumbersome, to say the least. It got to the point with dad that such outings became more stressful – for him and me – than beneficial so I too had to resort to finding things to do within the confines of his memory care unit. Keep it up, and Happy Birthday to your mom!

  6. That is the way to go….Caring for your elders is like caring for yourself….

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