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I'm flying home with mom for her 50th high school reunion in December. The reunion is Christmas weekend. We are staying with my mom's sister. My mother is demanding to stay longer than the week. No one will be here to assist with her if I leave her. My aunt is 79 (10 years older than mom) and she has her own health issues that she is in denial of half the time. My mother of course is saying, "I'm the mother and you don't tell me when I travel." Mind you, I explained that I do not have enough leave to take anymore days from work. This is it. I told her she is welcomed to ask her sister if she can stay longer and she can pay for her returned trip. How do I deal with this? Tickets were already purchased in advance for this trip. Noone wants to deal with my mom's situation. My aunt already told me I can't leave her there with her. I want my mom to attend her reunion, she's been looking forward to this for months, but I don't want to pull teeth when it's time to get on the plane. It would be great to leave her so I can have some days to myself, but she would not be in the best care there. My aunt is in denial that she is deaf in one ear, she is a recovering stroke and heart disease patient. Two months ago was in a car accident and we don't think she should be driving further than her town for safety reasons. She is stubborn just like my mom, afraid for losing independence and the family is afraid that will cause her her life at some point. She barely hears the telephone, doorbell, close proximity conversation. Sleeps most of the day. My mom gets confused with her medication. So I prepare it and give it to her. I don't let her handle it. We tried that, no go. Ok, just rambling, just need to know how to handle this trip?

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I thank everyone for their input. My mom is in the early to mild-moderate stages. The doctor says she can travel, just not by herself (of course) and we went home on a plane this summer for a family reunion. Its a 7-hr drive to our hometown. She gets confused in car 20 min...too long. She understands flying is faster (some days).She has long term memory still, but the short term is the issue. She can converse for about 10-15 min like her old self and in the next moment say something off the wall. She "puts on" with the public which is how she lived most her life so it's hard for her to keep up "appearance " all day. She was a long-term substitute teacher and she owned her own tutoring center for many years. She was always concerned of what people would say about her and her familty so we had to keep up with "appearances." My mom has always had a bit narcissism in her life. So what she wants is always front and center for her. I was planning on this being the last trip back home for her. Family members need to come to see her. Her siblings try to talk to her about the trip and that circumstances will not allow her to stay this time, i have to work, blah blah, etc.,she doesn't care. I've threatened the"not going" speech if she doesn't "compromise " with returning when I return. But you got to go in order to play that out..So I've said nothing more. Maybe she will be nice and appreciate that I took her and so happy when time to return that she will hug and kiss everyone and we come home a better mother daughter team (smile). Right now I can only pray for the best.
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If you do plan on carrying through with your plans, read up about traveling with someone with dementia. In the upper left hand corner of the screen, you will see three horizontal white lines next to AgingCare.com. Click on them and the search function will drop down. Type in "travel" and you will see that you are not the first person to have these concerns.
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Are you sure that your mother will be able to enjoy the class reunion?

I certainly would have to insist that the trip be done on your schedule. Mother's protests would be dealt with with whatever reasons you can come up with, but, what I find alarming is that you fear that she may become stubborn and resistant when things don't go her way and conflict then ensues at the time to return. For that reason, I would not attempt plane travel with her, but that's me. What happens if she gets belligerrent and refuses to get on the plane? It's not a chance that I would take.

Your aunt has said she cannot supervise your mother, so that would be the end of that prospect as well. Apparently, your mother is not able to comprehend your reasoning for returning on time and I would not pursue that any further. When things like that start occurring, I would question the feasibility of her to travel by plane.

Please let us know how things turn out.
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Sistasoul, has your Mom ever worked outside of the house for any number of years? I ran into that type of situation with my late Mom where the last time she worked outside the house was in 1946. She forgot how difficult it was to run a household and work full-time. She never understood why I didn't have that much time to drive her places.... I needed clean clothes the next day for work and didn't want to do laundry at midnight.

You can also tell Mom that the airlines won't change your return ticket without a large cancellation and rebooking fee.
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Dementia=lack of ability to reason and to see the consequences of actions.

This puts you in touch spot. If she's prone to "acting out", what are you going to do at 30,000 feet if she decides she's been kidnapped?

If she's on psychotropic medication, I'd talk to her doctor about increasing the dosage for the trip to and from. If she's NOT on meds for mood and anxiety and agitation, I would get her asap to a geriatric psychiatrist for a consultation about this trip and her general condition.
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I'm not sure I am understanding the situation. Your Mom is 69 years old with dementia? And she has made the decision to go to a high school reunion? Folks I know with dementia couldn't remember that there was a reunion never mind the other things she is asking for. The plans are made for a one week trip. Stop talking about it - at all. If you can actually get her on the plane and through the trip, hats off to you. This sounds impossible to me and the dementia sufferers I know are fairly compliant. Really, good luck.
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Other than respite care at a facility in the area of the reunion (which isn't a good option), I see only another option: put your foot down and tell her that it's either the plans you have now, and a return back home so you can get back to work, or you don't go at all.

I understand her need for some control and decision making capacity in the situation, but it doesn't seem as though she's either thinking clearly or being cooperative and considerate of you.

We caregivers sacrifice a lot to accommodate our parents' needs and desires, but sometimes we need to be demanding and insist that our needs be considered too. And in your case it's not only that you have concern for how she'll be cared for, but that you have a job to return to.
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