Mom has dementia and her behavior is starting to make others uncomfortable. What is the best way to handle family gatherings?

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I wish I could say that this will go away soon, but for my husband not being able to drive was the single most dreadful thing about having dementia. He mourned the sale of his beloved Miata for at least a year. We were lucky that he at least accepted that he couldn't drive when he got the DMV notice in the mail, but I made sure to get his car off the property as soon as possible.

Whatever her reaction, she absolutely cannot be allowed behind the wheel. Whether to get the car out of sight or to allow her to see it daily is a personal decision and depends a little on the risk of her sneaking out to drive it. I am so glad that the public officials are being responsible and telling her not to drive!

Have you removed her drivers license and gotten her a state ID card? That tends to reinforce the message.

I wish I could tell you something that would make this easy.

Does Mom enjoy gatherings, or are they overwhelming for her at this point? If they are overwhelming or uncomfortable for her I suggest inviting the closest relatives/friends over to see her at home, one or a few at a time. Mention that a short visit of 20 to 30 minutes is best.

If Mom still enjoys gatherings, taking her to them is a kindness. If possible, have a helper with you to attend to her so that you can enjoy the gathering, too. Ideally the helper could take her home if she becomes agitated or tired.

We recently had a family gathering (30 people) at our house. My husband with dementia remained in his bed. I was hoping that family could go in an visit a few at a time, but he wasn't alert enough for that on that particular day.

Try to do what is best for your mother. If others are uncomfortable I think they can handle it for short periods.

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