My mother is in a SNF near my home. She has vascular dementia and very limited mobility. I visit her twice a day, every day. (I know that people will suggest that I should visit her less frequently, but I am her only child and her only visitor, and she gets very confused and upset if I am not there. I have (sort of) come to terms with it.) She refuses to participate in any of the activities and insists on eating meals in her room, so unless I am there, she sits alone in her room all day. I have tried hiring private aides, but she refuses to interact with them. She only wants me.

I recently went to France with my husband for a week-long vacation - the first time I was away for more than a day since my mother's stroke in March. This involved my arranging for my kids and my niece (who all live far away) to come and stay at our house and take turns visiting my mom. She was happy to see them but very confused and anxious about my absence. She did not really understand where I went, when I was coming back, etc. It created a lot of stress for her both in the lead-up to our trip (though I told her about it only a few days in advance) and the whole time I was gone.

My husband and I have now been invited to a wedding in India at the end of November. The bride is someone we have known since she was a young child, and we are close with her parents. Our daughter and her boyfriend will also be attending. I would very much like to go, but I am struggling with leaving my mother again. I know she will be very unhappy during the week we are gone. I will not be able to have other family members visit her during that time so she will be completely alone. The wedding is during the week of Thanksgiving so she will be alone for that (though she would be unable to leave the SNF in any event). I really don't want to add to her unhappiness -- which is profound no matter what -- but also feel like my husband and I deserve a life. I also know so many of you here care for your loved ones in your homes and have it much harder than I do, and I feel spoiled and greedy taking another break so soon after the last one.

What would you do?

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Go to the wedding. No doubt about that is the right choice, in my opinion. Mom will stress out over anything and trap you in her world. Live your life for you not her.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to vegaslady

I genuinely hope you’ll go to the wedding. It’s a sad fact that “happy” is over for your mom, your presence is a comfort to her but far from a fix. You’ll look back with regret at missing such a nice trip and milestone occasion with your family. Your mother will be cared for in your absence and will appreciate seeing you again when you return. A healthy and whole mom would want this for you. Enjoy the trip, minus any guilt
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Daughterof1930

This is a really hard situation. I can see that you are feeling a LOT of pressure.

I think you should go to the wedding. You do deserve to have a life.

Mom is lonely and not happy, no matter how much you do for her. So, take the trip and. know that mom is in good hands during your time away. She doesn't have to agree or be happy. The priority is for her to be SAFE.

Enjoy Indiana!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to againx100

Has your mother ever been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist?

Vascular dementia brings on many changes in the brain both physiologically and chemically. The end result is often anxiety, agitation and depression. A good geripsych can help with meds that will help your mom be calm (not doped up).
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
SplitSecond Sep 16, 2022
Yes, my mom is under the care of a geriatric psychiatrist and is on both anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication. I think the anti-anxiety medication helps somewhat to keep her calm, but it does not stop her from being unhappy and lonely. The weird thing is that she actually has a lot more human interaction now than before the stroke -- when she lived on her own and I visited much less frequently -- but she feels much more alone.
Call the Visiting Angels or and request a companion who will entertain mom without getting hurt or insulted if she's rude or dismissive......someone with dementia experience. They can play cards, watch movies, read a book or doing some activities that you know your mother enjoyed previously. The dementia experience will help immensely.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to ConnieCaretaker
SplitSecond Sep 16, 2022
We have had companion aides who had dementia experience. They did not get upset when she was rude to them, and they kept trying, but she still absolutely refused to have anything to do with them. They could take her outside (which will not be an option in November), but that was about it.
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