Family stress for the holidays.

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My mom has live-in help but the brunt of bill-paying, first response, etc. is on my sister. Sis is at the end of her rope, BUT she invited the whole family to her house for Thanksgiving. She called me saying she doesn't want anyone there. Well, that ship has sailed. I tried to tell her to run off and take a day or two to herself while we're there. Anyone who is in her position who can give constructive advice on how I can help her?


It sounds like what you told her about running away and taking some time for herself is the best idea. Chances are, though, that she feels like she needs to be there. A nice gift from the family would be to do all the preparation and caregiving while you're there. Treat your sister like the queen that she is if she stays there. It sounds like she may need family to pitch in more. Maybe you guys can talk about ways to help while you are all there -- of course, deferring to the wishes of your sister. She sounds like a gem who has been through a lot.
Exactly what I am doing this year, run and hide for five glorious, relaxing days while the sibs and agency caregivers run the show. Ride a horse, soak in a hot tub, drink on the porch, read a book, just do whatever I want to do, when I want to do it. I won't even miss the turkey dinner or the dysfunction that comes with my family! And one sis is staying three nights, caregiver other two nights.

Last years holidays were pure he!!!!!! Will not do that again, I much prefer my own company.
I think I can relate to your sister, especially if she was often the holiday hostess in the past. Giving a party, hosting a big family event, cooking and baking and cleaning all are a part of a "normal" life, and caregivers often long for a sense of "normal" among all the craziness. So I understand why she bravely invited everyone.

I also understand the "oh my god, what have I done" panic as the event date draws nearer.

Is there any way that you and perhaps another family member or two could help Sis have her cake and eat it too this year? Call and offer to come over and clean house on Tuesday ... or offer to hire it done. Is the event usually an everyone-brings something affair? If it hasn't been in the past this would be a good year to start that tradition. Volunteer (or recruit another family member to do it) to organize the food brigade so that Sis only has to make the pies or the mashed potatoes or the turkey or the one thing she likes to do and takes pride in. And tell her which relatives are going to stick around while she takes a few days off.

If that ship has truly sailed and it is too late to cancel or if cancelling would cause your sister pain, then try to help all you can while letting Sis still be the hostess. Offer specific things. "What can I do to help?" may not get the best response. If you say, "I'll come Tuesday and clean," she can say Great! or My cleaning lady already has the covered. Be ready with another suggestion.

Your heart is really in the right place! I hope you can help make this a successful "normal" event for your sister, and that you can also talk her into taking a few days off.
I do the cooking for holidays...partly because my sis never put much effect into learning to cook and I did because I love to cook. Our mother has Alz and is in a memory care facility. She is physically fine . I insist on cooking a holiday dinner because I want my mother here since she is physically able and it does not cause undue stress to bring her to my home, I prefer my cooking and so does everyone else. The problem is I have to work Thanksgiving Day, I don't get off until 5:30...too late to start a big dinner...sis said, "it is ok if we have dinner late, I can drive home in the dark". Really??? We are having Thanksgiving dinner on Friday...Can you figure out why??/ My sis can't.
sharynmarie, over the years our Thanksgiving has been on Friday, on Saturday, on Sunday, and once in a blue moon on Thursday. This means that most of us have two big feast days. Grown children now can get together with in-laws, I take advantage of invitations to parties of various sisters. Or some years I helped a good friend get ready for her Thursday party and in turn she helped me with one of my non-holiday parties.

Sounds like Sis would have the opportunity to eat Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday with mom in the memory care unit. That could be special in its own way.

Reasonable, mature adults are flexible.
I cant add anything else but support for you and I agree with the others. She means well, I probably would of done the same thing!
Jeannegibbs, same here, we haven't done Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving in years. Same with Christmas, and New Years Day. We do the Sunday before each holiday, each birthday, too... less stress as the grocery stores don't feel like panic buyers just before a snow storm.

Reason we do this is because my sig other has worked holidays for many years [his line of work doesn't stop for holidays]. Then on the holiday itself I use to do volunteer work at the local hospital, probably will miss it this year because I can't make the drive like I use to :(

Plus the grocery store does the cooking for me, all I need to do is heat and serve. I will be picking up the box with the cooked turkey and all the fixings tomorrow, for Sunday's dinner having my parents over.
I like having thanksgiving on Friday. There is less stress to get the dinner done so those coming from out of town can leave before dark. It is more relaxed and enjoyable.

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