With the holidays here, my wife with Alzheimer's and I are always invited to a son's home.

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Normally there are others and my wife is not able to communicate or elects not to. She can be ignored.. She is unhappy in these gatherings and I prefer not to expose her to these gatherings. I find it stressful for me. Then I feel guilty for not attending. I do not need this family and their friend's gathering. Have others felt this way. If so, how do you deal with this situation. My wife and I (or her 40 hour per week companion) enjoy each other and she is happy most of the time. Crowds, noise and confusion are a problem for her.
Thanks for any help.
A Blessed Christmas to all.


It's easy, just say NO to your son's invitation. I am really surprised your son doesn't realize how uncomfortable his mother is at these gatherings.

There will be other times that you and your wife and visit with the son during the year, or maybe the son can visit your place if his Mom is comfortable with that.

I think that it's fairly common to feel that way as you get older, there is nothing wrong with declining their invitation.
The family wants to include you and are feeling that they would be hard hearted to leave you on your own, so they try to insist despite your objections. They truly don't understand how all the noise and commotion can be confusing and tiring, even for those without alzheimer's!
These gatherings are very stressful on those with dementia and maybe even more so on their caregivers. We went through this in my family every holiday for the past four years. Initially I agreed to take mom to sibs homes. But, the first year it was obvious that is was just too confusing and tiring for Mom, then had even more impact on me as I was the one to pick up the pieces upon returning home.

Sibs thought I was keeping Mom from attending to be mean, vindictive or whatever. I did not care, we need tough skins to survive family onslaughts at times. My Mom was moved to a facility earlier this year then found out that it is too difficult for Mom, all the commotion etc, facility discouraged sibs from taking mom out for Thanksgiving.

Just say no. But, if it will work for you invite son and family for a short visit with Mom. Many times these invitations out to family gatherings are done to make that family member feel better. Like they are doing something to help, continue to include the elder in activities.

I understand completely.
No, stay home with her, but encourage your son to visit for an hour. When mom was in Assisted Living, family visited one couple at a time and left when she got tired.
Of course your son is going to invite you, even if he understands the challenges. How could he have a family party and not at least invite his parents? But if he does understand the situation he and his wife may be very relieved that you decline the invitation.

Definitely say you are happy that they do this every year and you are proud of his family sentiment, but this year Mom gets too confused and uncomfortable in groups and you are going to create your own tradition at home.
Your son may not understand how uncomfortable your wife is at these gatherings; I think unless someone has been through the dementia experience, it's difficult to understand and/or recognize how uncomfortable someone can be with strangers.

I've seen that this also applies to older folks w/o dementia; they're just more comfortable with a few people they know. That need to socialize with larger groups has past for many older people.

I would tell him how much you appreciate the invitations, then explain how someone with dementia feels in a crowd, and offer as an alternative that you prefer one-on-one get togethers rather than crowds.

Some years ago a very nice and intelligent friend I met through a book club invited us to holiday gatherings, offering that another friend had an elder parent who she brought. They bundled the woman up and sat her near the fireplace, and that's where she spent the evening. I don't think they understood how isolating and patronizing that could be.
My brother invites us for a holiday meal each year. He also invites about 40 other people from his church. He and his wife may say hello to my mother, then they don't talk to her the rest of the time. They are too busy with all the other guests. My mother and I don't know the other guests, so it is uncomfortable for her. Usually she is ready to go the moment we finish eating.

It is no blame to my brother. At least he invited us.

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