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My mother lived with me for 3.5 years before I had to place her in an assisted living/memory care facility. Every time I visit she asks at least 5 times when can she come to live with me. Some days she doesn't remember that she lived here that long. Every time I tell her that she has to stay where she is until I retire from my job.
With the holidays a few months away, I'm trying to decide what to do about them. Do I risk her being more upset and depressed by bringing her home for dinner and gifts for Christmas, or plan on having the festivities with her at her apartment?


I'm leaning towards spending the time with her at her place, but was curious as to how other people handle this.

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Mom's facility did a bang up job for Christmas, with singalongs, a special dinner and lots of volunteers. We brought family Christmas to the facility the prior or following weekend. We arranged to have the big community room and invited all of our families and friends to a huge dinner. We generally had about 30 people attend. Mom would stay for about an hour, eat some food and watch the great grandkids playing. There was never any thought given to bringing her out of the facility to any of our non Ada compliant homes.
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Well--do you have a lot of children who will be running around? You need to consider the other residents of the ALF. Will there be adequate room for all the people who'd want to come? Does your mother 'know' it's Christmas, or are you thinking of doing this b/c you feel bad that mom isn't home for it?

My mother talks the talk of "family" but in reality? Parties with the whole clan make her so anxious. And she always gets hurt b/c there is NO WAY you can corral 75 people into one place on the same day. We stopped the Christmas party 2 years after I just lost it---tried to make it perfect for mother and a flu bug wiped out half the family. That couldn't be helped. Mother acted like I was the one who made everyone sick--and I was the one who had schlepped all the stuff through literally 2 feet of snow...for HER to have the party.

Consider other people, too. I personally would not love the idea of being packed in a tiny apartment with my relatives for the sake of trying to make mom happy.

What we do is just make sure each family member head takes the time during the month of December to get their families to Mother's apt and spend about 1/2 hour with her. That way she can see the littles, nobody gets overwhelmed and she can actually "visit" with each family.
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We round up all the out of town grandkids and head over to the memory care in the morning of one of the days around Christmas when people are in town. The memory care has a nice luncheon for families the first week of December, 4-h carols there the week before, and a neighborhood church sings on Sunday afternoons. We visit in the am because mthr behaves best then. Everyone smiles and we have her unwrap 1 present, take some photos, and she's ready to have a nap or have lunch. As soon as her focus shifts, we leave. It's exhausting for her to be around this many people, and none of us want to change her underwear and cause her that indignity. As long as it is a stranger changing her, it's her little secret. We did this even when she had a longer attention span than now. Honestly, she won't remember our visit, but she will see the open box and assume we've had Christmas. Our visits are for *our* benefit and we don't want her to be miserable. Short and sweet.
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The only event we ever took Mom out of the facility for was her sister's 100th birthday celebration. It was a nice day in summer, with tables set up under canopies and wonderful food. It was at the home of her sister's granddaughter, and not a place where mother would ever expect to stay. She enjoyed all the attention and having her picture taken with various groups. Later she liked looking at the pictures. We hired a medical van so she never had to get out of her wheelchair. I think she stayed just under two hours.

The nursing home had several events for Christmas, including some for family, which some of us attended with Mother. We held a family party in one of the community rooms after Christmas but before the tree was taken down. It was a pot luck with many of Mother's favorite foods. We brought gifts to donate for bingo prizes and Mother was proud to see the big box we took to the activities office. Some added a little cash to her personal spending account, to help with her hairdresser fees. She really didn't need gifts.

We did something similar for her birthdays, on a smaller scale. And sometimes for no occasion at all us sisters would bring in a nice tablecloth and dishes, pick up chow mien, and have a special lunch with her.

She never entered our homes after she lived in the NH.
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My mom is at home with me so my answer may not totally be helpful. For years and years Christmas Eve was at my mom's house. When her Alzheimer's progressed, I would go there early to cook and prep. Then that became too much so one of my daughters took over as hostess and we all brought food. Two years ago, it was a bit rough on mom...too much activity. Last year we celebrated for 3 weeks...inviting different family members at different times. Mom was able to be in her environment, with 3-5 visitors at a time, for a shorter period of time. It worked out well for all of us. We do the same thing for her bday. I make lots of cupcakes and she loves being sang to ;-)
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Dear DownSouth,

Since my grandmother moved into a nursing home at 92 years old, my aunts and uncles rarely take her out. They have decided it is a lot easier to host functions at the nursing home. They have a room you can rent out. We bring the food and all the family goes there for a couple of hours.
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Thank you all so much! I should have added that the family festivities will just be me and my daughter, my brother is disabled and lives far away, and his sons also live far away. If we had a bigger family the facility has several rooms for private functions. She does have room in her apartment for the three of us to have dinner at her dining table, maybe I'll get a small holiday meal from Honey Baked Ham and have a gift exchange. And watch a holiday theme movie with her.

And I will check with the facility to see what they have planned. I did eat Easter dinner with them all in the dining hall, and went for a manicure and mimosa event for Mother's day.

Luckily I can still take mom out to see plays and musical performances and a light lunch or dinner, those are things we did while she was still living with me, and she enjoys them.
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When my MIL was still alive last year for the holidays, whenever we stayed at their building where they do an terrific job of celebrating, decorating, entertaining, feasting, etc. everything went very smoothly and we all enjoyed the holiday. Whenever we loaded them up in a car and drove to a relative's home, it was crazy stressful for everyone involved.
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When I read "having the festivities at her apartment" I pictured a nice family meal for 5 or 10 people and an exchange of gifts, the huge family gatherings mentioned by some of the other posters have me feeling astonished, wow!
I agree that celebrating at her home seems the best course of action, you mention an apartment so it really is her little home and makes it an easier decision, unlike places where there really is no option for a private family gathering.
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I have to add that here in Vegas some of the medical transport and ambulance services actually do transport those that are evaluated capable are transported home for certain holidays.
It makes the news every year.
And they are volunteers.
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