Mom has dementia and incontinence recently moved to ALF, still asks to go home. My 81 year old parents have been together for over 60 years. Mom has moderate to advanced dementia with serious incontinence. Dad was primary caregiver until incontinence got so bad he needed to move her to Assisted care memory facility (1 1/2 months ago). Mom has not fully adjusted and still asks to go home when he visits. He has been able to take her out for a drive, but she resisted going back in when they returned to ALF. The family will be coming to the family home for Thanksgiving and Dad wants to bring Mom home overnight so she doesn't miss out on family traditions. Looking for advice if this is the best approach. My sister and I are worried she will have a set back in her adjustment to living in ALF.

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Like Suber48, we ended up having two holidays. With multiple elders there were years where some came to the home while others stayed in the care facility. It all depended on how they were doing and the stress they would go through coming to the house.

In the end, having two separate celebrations (yes, it's a lot of work) was something that we did for years. The whole month between Thanksgiving and Christmas was one long decorating binge for me - at one time decorating 3 places besides my home, having meals in two places, etc. It's exhausting but it was better than having a person with dementia set back from the stress.

This is different for everyone, often depending on the stage of dementia. As you can see, there is a lot of good advice here in the community so read each addition and see what best suits your situation.

Take care of yourself, too. This is tough.
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We had two Thanksgivings. My Mom's nursing home had the big meal at noon. We all went and ate with her, then ate again later at home without her. The important thing is being together at some point. Depending on her level of dementia, it could be a big setback for her. She needs consistency to adjust to her new normal. We made the decision because her short-term memory was bad so she would have forgotten shortly after and we didn't want to upset her new routine. You need to decide from her perspective. No right or wrong answer. Best wishes.
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I think Sueber has the right approach. It is a lovely idea to bring her home for maybe the last time and of course Dad is so sad. She is still cognicent enough to know she is being kept somewhere against her will.
6 weeks is a very short time in the acclimatization process and she will be with family she has not seen for a while which will be confusing as well. Talk to the AL staff and see what they feel is best for Mom but my guess is that it is too soon for an overnight visit.
By all means have everyone visit her but keep the groups small and only have the closest share the meal with her. it will just be too overwhelming.
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Oh, one more thing I noticed in your post: "My sister and I are worried she will have a set back in her adjustment to living in ALF" along with your mother not wanting to go back after the 'drive' with your dad.

I have to ask, is your dad doing this for your his wife and your mother or is he doing it for himself, i.e., to pretend there will be a Thanksgiving like all the rest?

It's not going to happen.

You also didn't state how many would be at the house, their ages, etc.

I just can't believe that the Assisted Living Facility isn't going to have some sort of Thanksgiving Dinner along with something nice for the 'residents'.

You just need to realize this isn't going to be 'The Notebook', or The Waltons Last Thanksgiving with Mom where she, in a blue silk dress, hair all coiffed, lipstick and makeup, nails done, etc., suddenly realizes who everyone is and comes out of her trance for a moment or two.

Perhaps her last Thanksgiving with the family was last year. It may be nicer to remember how that went instead of trying to make something up that may not happen.

Look, I tried this last year with my mom, I did the whole nine yards, etc., No, she wasn't transferred from nursing home to home, but it still went south. You know what she did? She sat there and ate and ate and ate, without taking a breath, choking on her food, then sneezing (because that's how she does it) asking for tissue after tissue, not looking up, not acknowledging anyone, etc. The 'routine' that dementia patients so need went out the window and it took me at least two/three days to stabilize the 'patient'. At that time, her dementia wasn't all that bad (or I didn't think it was). Please, spare the family. Spare your mom. Keep it simple. She's never remember. It's all for you and your dad. If it's that important for you and your dad, then do it. But it won't be a really good memory or at least I don't think it will.
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If all of you can handle it. My opinion, take her home. It has to be just as bad for dad as it is for mom? Married so long... then gone.

If the family is coming to the family home for Thanksgiving, give mom the chance to be with family. Tomorrow may be a whole new thing..
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Speak to the carehome staff.
You need to be honest with yourselves.
Your mum is confused enough, I suspect, and realistically needs more time to settle in. Bringing her home (especially for thanksgiving) will confuse her and she will have to relive the pain of separation for her when she has to go back to the home.

Appreciate your dad's emotions, but ask the home what can be arranged in the home to celebrate thanksgiving?
Ask the experts their advice. Need to take the natural emotions out of the equation and priorityreally needs to be what is best for mum, because she is unable to understand decisions. Your dad, whilst sad, can apply reason to tge situation.
Ask about making some kind of arrangement for your dad and you on the day to try to make it special for you all.
Must be so so hard for your poor dad.

Love and hugs.
Helpful Answer (6)

this may sound terrible but what happens when she throws a fit and wont' leave, who is going to pick her up and put her in vehicle to take her back to ALF. how much of that drama do you want to go thru? I would love to have my father with us on Thanksgiving day also but I know this is going to mess with his mind in more ways than one. We want to do some things to make "us" feel better and we don't think how it will affect them for days to come when they are back in the ALF. Is someone prepared to handle an "accident" if it happens, just saying. Spend some time with your loved one at the home and then go home to celebrate with the rest of the family. or maybe arrange to have your father eat with your mom that day at the home. OR maybe go somewhere else (like a restaurant) to eat and then take her back to ALF. wishing you luck
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I wouldn't do it. I took moms decorations to ALF and put on the table and in her room so she sees familiar decorations on the actual day. I plan to cook thanksgiving dinner Wednesday and go spend the day w her Thursday at ALF. This way she gets me all day and I get leftovers if u will to come home to. Win win.
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I understand your situation and am trying to make a similar decision regarding my loved one for Christmas. It is difficult, however, what I have learned to do is to consider the reality of how things are and how that is different from what I want to see happen in my non-dementia mind.

In my mind, I would think a visit at home with the family would be warm, comforting, just like the good old days, but that is not reality. Depending on the severity of your mom's condition, your Thanksgiving might not be at all what you all envisioned. What if your mom gets home and starts crying or is paranoid? What if she needs many diaper changes through the night? Is there someone who can do this? What if she screams and refuses to leave the house or claims it's not really her home at all?

Of course, none of those things could happen, but you still have to deal with her getting upset when she is returned to the Memory Care facility the next day? From my experience, it seems like a lot of drama and anguish just to make myself feel good about bringing my loved one to a house that she may or may not recall as her home when she arrives and will likely not remember seeing the following day.

Of course, it's personal decision. Your mom will adjust either route you go on this. Sometimes we all learn lessons from our attempts to handle dementia issues.
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there is no shame if you cannot bring your mother home for the holidays, but if you do, i pray that all goes well and you will know if it is possible to do it again. if you find out from the NH or ALF that it was super stressful on her, then the next time you might have to figure out another plan. And one thing for sure, no family is the same as the next. some have plenty of help, others don't; some have full time jobs; other's don't; some have room for the extra help; others don't. you do what you need to do and you will know how to handle the next time. the home care expenses comes out of the "patients" pocket, not the tending family, so if they don't have coverage for that or can't get help thru aging assistance office, then you do what you can, if that means they are in a home, so be it. life is not fair and has never been guaranteed that it would be easy. Only you know how your mother is mentally and how she might be affected, so take it from there. times change and the days of old gatherings and happenings are not the same as present times. you do what you can do in the present.
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