I have a Pentax 928 zoom (28-90mm) and have to say that it has worked perfectly. For someone who is only interested in P&S photography it would be perfect! There's even a few manual override options to play with. Macro, exposure and various flash options. I would have to say, with any camera options try out the anti-red eye. My nieces absolutely hated it. Most shots had zero red eye because they were shut!
Always look on the bright side of life de dum de dum........... :) :) :) Dave C Scottish Nikonian My Gallery
They are very similar. I think it should come down to which one feels better in your mother's hands. The Canon has a slight edge in zoom range and speed but not very significant. My daughter has a Sure Shot 85 and has been very happy with it. I think most Nikonians would zoom with an SLR and maybe buy a fixed lens point and shoot as a backup. Two that I really like are the Olympus Stylus Epic and the Rollei Prego 30. This is assuming that my wife doesn't let me get a Leica Minilux, of course. Ray
Take a look at the Samsung Evoca 70 SE. It has a Schneider lens, time and date feature, 3 yr. warranty, comes with the case and battery and feels good in your hands. It also has an excellent track record as far as reliability goes.
My suggestion would be to look into the Canon Elph with zoom lens or the Canon Elph Jr, which I have and never leave the house without it. Each uses the APS 24mm film and are completely automatic, with many flash modes and three picture formats. See my pictures below taken with the Elph Jr.