Resource Center / Health and Lifestyle / 15 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day in Assisted Living

15 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day in Assisted Living

Looking for ways to celebrate Mother's Day with your mom? Whether you're nearby or far away, Seniorly has some great ideas for celebrating Mother's Day in assisted living.

By Haley Burress Updated on Apr 19, 2023

April showers bring May flowers and who can you give those May flowers to? A mother, of course! 

Mother’s Day is often thought of as the unofficial start of sunshine, warm weather, and family gatherings that mark the summer months. And while you might be wondering how to celebrate or what to give, we are here to tell you that the only thing that matters to your mom is that she gets to spend some quality time with those she loves.

We’ve pulled together a few ideas of how to celebrate - including fun gifts to give - any of the mother-figures in your life. While these are ideal for those living in an assisted living or other senior living community, they're also excellent starting points for any kind of celebration.

So here’s to the moms, aunties, mentors, and other mother figures who have shown up and showed out for us throughout our lives. They are the best.

Celebrating Mother's Day in assisted living

If you’re lucky enough to be near your mom and can celebrate with her in person, enjoy your time together! Don’t worry if you can’t be with her on the actual day of Mother’s Day; you can always celebrate her a few days earlier or later. Here are a few fun ideas you can use as inspiration as you tailor the experience for her preferences and abilities.

  • Go out for brunch. A Mother’s Day staple, brunch is an excellent way to spend quality time with one another and maybe even enjoy a glass of champagne. Plan ahead with her assisted living team to be sure she is ready to go when you arrive to pick her up. Don’t forget to bring along any medications she might need to take while you are out, as well as any mobility aids she might need to be safe.
  • Take a drive around the old neighborhood. If your mom isn’t keen on big brunch crowds or has significant mobility challenges, you can still get out and about by taking a drive. Your assisted living team will be happy to safely transfer her in and out of your car. Once she is settled, take a drive around the old neighborhood, pointing out favorite spots like the park where your brother broke his leg when he was on the slide or the softball field where you hit your first home run. A quick drive-thru run can lead to a car picnic at a park.
  • Plant flowers. You can run to the flower market together, or you can bring the flowers and supplies with you when you visit. It's a great tableside activity for those who may have mobility issues or are in a wheelchair.Head outside and plant a few pots of flowers or herbs. You can leave the pots outside in the garden or bring them into your mom’s apartment. To make it even more special, consider having grandkids paint the pots with their own artistic flair.
  • Hit the farmer’s market. A stroll around a local farmer’s market is a sensory explosion that can be just what you both need to shake off any dreary days or winter vibes that have been hanging on. Don’t forget to bring any mobility aid so that your mom can feel confident and safe.
  • Put together a family album. Bring along a stack of family photos and look through them together as you put them in an album. Have your mom tell stories about each photo and write down bits and pieces of the tales as the caption for each photo.
  • Compile a recipe book for the family. If you haven't already done so, Mother's Day is a great time to gather those special recipes that your mom is so well known for. Not only is it a great way to pass down family traditions, but it's a subtle way of letting her know that all the effort and work over the years had a lasting impact.

Be sure to check what’s happening in your mom’s senior living community as well. Many communities go all out to plan special events for residents and family members on or around Mother’s Day. If you can attend, do so! You’ll have a great time and you’ll be able to spend time with your mom enjoying a special tea or entertainer. While you are with your mom, feel free to strike up a conversation and “adopt” another resident for the day for anyone who doesn’t have family at the event.

Celebrating Mother's Day when your'e far apart

Not everyone can be with their mother on Mother’s Day. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t celebrate her and create a meaningful moment or two. These ideas are created for those who are connecting while miles apart.

  • Send a spa day care package. If your mom likes to be pampered, fill a box with her favorite lotion, shampoo, and face cream. Add an eye mask (a weighted or scented one can be especially relaxing), nail polish, and a cozy robe to complete your care package. Tell assisted living staff you are sending it so they can offer assistance with the spa experience if your mom needs it.
  • Schedule a video call, complete with a toast. Video calls can feel more personal than a phone call. Plan to catch up with your mom as well as do an activity together, like the crossword puzzle in her paper. Don’t forget a toast where you can virtually clink glasses together.
  • Create a playlist. If your mom is tech-savvy, consider creating a playlist just for her on her favorite streaming platform. Get the grandkids involved too, selecting music that makes everyone think of her.
  • Pick up the phone. A phone call might be the best way for your mom to connect with you on Mother’s Day. If possible, take the call somewhere you feel relaxed. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and settle in to make her the center of the conversation. For adult children with complicated relationships with their moms, phone calls can sometimes be stressful. If this is the case for you, consider a quick meditation for patience before you dial.

Release the guilt. Mother’s Day is not always about flowers and happy phone calls. You might be feeling guilty or overwhelmed this year due to being far apart from your mom, or you might be feeling sad because your mom has declined this year or doesn’t realize it is Mother’s Day due to dementia. Sometimes the best strategy for guilt and sadness is to sit with it for a bit. Let yourself feel your feelings while also reminding yourself you are doing your best and so is she.

If you’ll be away for Mother’s Day, you might want to let your assisted living team know. They can pay extra close attention to her that day and remind her of your next visit or phone call.

Mother's Day gifts to give for those in assisted living

While moms typically just want to spend time with their kids on Mother’s Day, you might still want to show your love by picking up the perfect gift. Here are a few ideas that might help you shop for the woman who has it all.

  • These clear acrylic bird feeders attach to the outside of your window, giving an up close view of wildlife outside. I have one of these on my office window and admittedly have spent more time staring at the visiting birds than I anticipated! Pair the feeder with a small bag of bird feed. Let your assisted living team know as well so they can help her keep up with going out to refill the feeder.
  • Warmies® are more than a stuffed animal. These cuddly guys are heavy and full of lavender. They can safely be microwaved as well, turning them into a sensory experience suitable for someone who lives with chronic pain or cognitive decline.  
  • Snack subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving. If your mom is a snacker, she’ll love getting a small box of new treats each month. Choose a box that suits her dietary needs and preferences. For example, if she loves trying new things, a Universal Yums box featuring snacks from different parts of the world might be perfect.
  • Speaking of subscription boxes, you can find them for almost any interest or preference. Look for a flower subscription, puzzle subscription, or coffee subscription. These are fun to receive and you can often choose a 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month option when purchasing.

Sharing an experience with your mom is often the best way to create memories and connect. Schedule experiences for the next few months for the two of you to do together and create a calendar so she will be able to look forward to the outings. Ideas are catching a movie, grabbing coffee, having a picnic, or doing a craft project.

We are sending you love this Mother’s Day, whether it finds you looking forward to it or sitting with some uncomfortable feelings. Remember to stay in touch with your mom’s assisted living team as the big day approaches; they are there to help both of you have a good experience together.

Here’s to all the women who give so much to others every day. We’re toasting you and celebrating you today and everyday.

Works consulted:

  • Crabtree, Steve. "U.S. Seniors Maintain Happiness Highs with Less Social Time.." Dec 12, 2011.
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    written by:

    Haley Burress

    Haley Burress writes for Seniorly on the topic of senior living and the aging experience.  With a long history of roles in Life Enrichment and Dementia care management for top senior living providers like Sunrise Senior living, Haley now also serves the non-profit senior living sector in a volunteer capacity.  Ms. Burress holds a Bachelor's degree in Healthcare Administration from Northern Illinois University and a Master's degree in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from Aurora University.

    View other articles written by Haley

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