For any of you that recall my past posts, let's start this with an update. My 91 year old mom is finally in a memory care unit! Not only that, but she's in the one that was my absolute top pick - it has a five star rating, mom's geriatric team raves about this place, and I thought we'd never get her placed there because she'd be Medicaid pending status (I've found the best places prefer private pay patients) and there was a waiting list a mile long. However, miraculously 3 beds freed up at once at the same time the psych hospital contacted the facility looking for placement (mom was hospitalized at this time). They said yes and we moved her in 3 weeks ago! We are incredibly blessed. This facility is awesome, the people are awesome, it's homey and the grounds are beautiful.
Anyway - this will be mom's first holiday in a nursing home. And to be clear, when mom had the ability to make decisions on her own, she refused to even talk about elderly apartment complexes, assisted living, etc. She wanted nothing to do with elder communities at all to the extent that she once told a geriatric case manager that she didn't need those place because she had a family and they'd take care of her. Now she's at a stage of dementia where her comprehension skills are very low and answering the question "when can I go home?" is virtually impossible. I've tried to keep it simple and positive and tell her "when the doctor says you're better." But she simply doesn't understand what that means and just goes back to talking about the various nieces or in-laws that she can go live with if we won't let her move in with us.
Some of our visits to the memory care unit are good ones, but then others are not for all the usual reasons - she forgets how frequently we've visited previously, she misunderstands what a nurse tells her and holds grudges, she doesn't like having to comply with the daily schedule (getting dressed, bathing, etc).
Our last visit was a very emotional one for her. She was intently focused on making a plan to get her out of there, so I'm nervous about visiting her tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I'm worried she'll know it's the holiday and insist on us taking her with us when we leave. I don't want to not visit on the holiday. But I also don't want to upset her or spoil the day with a confrontation, especially with the kids in tow.
Fingers crossed that she doesn't realize what day it is but in the event that she does, do any of you have advice on how to handle holiday visits with dementia relatives? Do you make a big show of the day or try to downplay it? Longer visits or shorter ones? Any advice on how you handle these special days of the year would be appreciated.