Time with our mothers becomes more precious as we age. We all intrinsically understand this, but as caring offspring, we may fall into the trap of becoming “task masters” – focusing only on getting jobs done like doctors’ appointments, paying bills, and assisting with household tasks.

Let’s make Mother’s Day as special for our older mums as it used to be when they were younger and we spent the day making a real fuss of them.

The best gift we can give our older mums on Mother’s Day is quality time.

This can be difficult if your mum is frail or has a chronic medical condition and may require a shift in mindset from carer back to son or daughter, but the effort we put into making this day special is sure to be appreciated.

Keeping older people busy and engaged also contributes to their overall health and happiness. It helps to increase their feelings of self-worth and reduces stress and depression – what a wonderful gift to give on Mother’s Day.

So how can we spend quality time with our older mums on Mother’s Day?

Firstly, make sure the activities you plan are physically manageable. Check with your mum’s medical or allied health team prior to the day if you are unsure of her capabilities. We don’t want to end Mother’s Day with a trip to the emergency department.

Here are some simple ideas for special celebrations for your older mum on Mother’s Day, remembering that it is all about making time available to really talk and listen to her.

1. Enjoy a family meal or cook her favourite meal for her

How many times has your mum prepared your favourite meal as a celebration of one of your milestones or even just to cheer you up? Now is the time to return the favour, whether it’s taking her out for her favourite type of food (even if you’re not a fan), cooking something together that she loves, or preparing her favourite dish and eating with her.

2. Go to a park

The park could be as simple as having lunch outdoors at your mum’s place or having a picnic outdoors. If she’s up to it, take her for a drive to a favourite park and have morning tea or lunch there. You could bring along the music she enjoys and photos to share with her. Another option is to take a book she loves and read to her. Even something as simple as spending time quietly together in nature, breathing in fresh air and enjoying the sights and sounds is wonderful use of time.


3. Visit the Botanical Gardens

Enjoy a walk around the Botanical Gardens and visit the gift shop. Have a coffee or morning tea together at the café. Consider scheduling an official tour or some sort of gardening class for your mum. Send her photos the next day of the plants and flowers you saw together.


4. Go shopping – antiques, plants, whatever she likes

Most mums enjoy shopping and may be missing their visits to the shops. Take mum on a special shopping trip. Does she love antiques? Are plants and flowers something she loves shopping for? Maybe she enjoys specialty food shops or delicatessens but finds them difficult to get to now. A shopping trip can be combined with lunch and an afternoon ice cream can be a lovely way to end the day.


5. Work together on a puzzle or play a card game

Puzzling or playing card games with your mum gives you a wonderful opportunity to really talk with her. You could bring her favourite wine or coffee and have music playing in the background that she enjoys. It’s also a wonderful way to keep your own and your mum’s minds active, which has great health benefits, and solving a puzzle or winning a card game can be a cause for celebration and a sense of achievement.


6. Have a spa day together

Find a spa that specialises in massages for older people. Massages for older people involve a light, gentle touch and passive stretching to ease muscle tension without excessive friction on the skin. Take your mum for a manicure, pedicure, or both. Ask her to pick a nail colour to take home and there’s a Mother’s Day gift sorted! If going out is difficult for your mum, consider giving her the spa treatment yourself at home.

7. Share memories

Creating a photo book or album together is a wonderful way to share memories. You can create a new album with old phots and ask mum to talk about each one. This is another great way of exercising mum’s mind and gives you a wonderful opportunity to learn more about her history. Ask questions like “Tell me about the house you grew up in?” or “What was primary school like for you, Mum? Did you enjoy it?”

RELATED: Five questions everyone should ask their mums

About Home Instead

Home Instead is a specialist provider of high quality, relationship-based, in-home care for older New Zealanders. We help with a range of personal and lifestyle needs while providing welcome companionship. Our services include assistance with personal care, light household duties, meal preparation, medication reminders, and transport to appointments, shopping and social outings. We take personal responsibility for providing the best in-home care and support to meet our clients’ needs and are committed to addressing the individual and national challenges of New Zealand’s ageing population.