Remembering Momma

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The Real Nurse Jackie
The Real Nurse Jackie

I think Mother's Day can be a special day in our facilities. I think the past week just proved it yet again. But it goes beyond just one day.

Some of us are blessed to still have our moms; some of us are blessed with memories. I visited a dementia unit last week (at a very impressive culture change facility, if I may add) and I started to think what it might be like if "Momma" didn't remember me. It hit me personally, I guess.

In our careers, we see the devastation of dementia every day and emotionally support the family members who deal with the pain of being "forgotten."  But how would I handle it if my mom forgot who I was?  What if I wasn't the "baby" anymore, a role I still love to escape to now and then.

Who doesn't love to hear, "Hey, baby girl, let Mom bring you a cocktail out to the veranda."  (Ahhhh, I feel the tension leaving me now!) 

But if mom did forget, how could I honor her and help myself deal with that pain? How can I honor all these "moms" whose time and place is in the distant past? Maybe by being who they need me to be at the time? Maybe just sitting and listening and holding a hand (or brushing hair) for a few minutes while they talk about whatever it is that is on their mind at the time?

That's why I think Mother's Day can always be a special day. Yet we have an incredible opportunity to honor all these moms in special ways — and not just on the second Sunday of May each year. 

I would love to hear from you. What have you personally done for your residents around Mother's Day?  Did your facility typically have a particularly special routine or celebration that you can share?  If so, leave your comments in the space below.

And to all of the mothers out there: Hold on to those memories as long as you can. Oh, and have a relaxing beverage in your favorite quiet place—  whenever you want!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC —  a real life long-term care nurse who is also the director of clinical affairs for the American Medical Directors Association. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet.

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