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With the Holidays coming up, my question is whether or not to take Mom with me to our usual social gathering. It's a 45 minute drive to their house (not family). Mom seems to get agitated if sitting longer than a few minutes. She expects to be served food immediately upon arriving to their house. Then immediately expects dessert, then demands to be taken home. She sees me as being responsible to tell her what to do and provide all that she needs while there (she won't speak up for herself).
She gets excited about the idea of going to visit her former work friends, but I'm thinking it might be too much for her (and for them!) at this point.
I know it is too much for me, as I am good friends with this family now also, and I wish to stay and visit longer than just to eat a meal. Has anyone had a similar situation?
PS - I'm an only child, she has no in town family and no friends other than these people.

I would not take her. Dementia patients get overwhelmed easily. Taking her out of her comfort zone is not good. I would just go alone explaining to her Boss that its just not possible anymore for Mom to attend.

For some reason Dementia patients can't sit for long. My Mom, maybe an hr and she was ready to go. Her AL building was a square. She walked around it all the time. Never in her room. A former classmate, at 70, has ALZ and no longer drives. But he walks miles around town every day.
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Loris15 Oct 13, 2019
Thank you for that! My Mom is that way exactly, she can’t sit for very long and walks constantly.
i know her friend will understand, and I think it’ll be easier for everyone if I just take her for a short visit before or after the Holiday.
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You are a saint. You should take your parent to the holiday event and all lucid-minded persons will know that your mother has Alzheimer's disease and act in manners to not upset her.
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Hi Lori15,
First let me thank you for all you are doing. I have spent the last 5 years caring for my mom with AD, 24/7, with occasional breaks from paid home care. We lost her just a few weeks ago, but let me assure you that the time you spend caring for her will be your highest and best truth of your soul. My first advice is that if you don't know how she will be able to tolerate such a trip, then a bit of effort with experimenting on a couple of day trips to nowhere will give you the information you need to make a decision. If she is already following your lead, then lead with love. My mom had severe sundowning in the last year. Anything after 2pm was especially taxing on her anxiety and fears. Remember that even if there is nothing to be anxious or fearful of, it is her emotions. My mom would also love the idea of getting out to go see someone, but couldn't actually do it. So we would get ready to go everyday (even up to 2 weeks before she passed) then we would walk outside for about 2 blocks. I would hold her hands and walk backwards in front of her. So the IDEA of visiting made her happy. Then 2 blocks and she was done for the day, and just wanted to rest. Friends who KNOW this disease will completely understand and know that your judgement is sound. Bear in mind that your mom probably recognizes that she is declining and might be embarrassed by social situations that are beyond her. My mom was a trooper at pretending she knew what was happening around her 2 years ago, but in the last year she wasn't able to mask her lack of understanding. At that point it is a kindness to not put her in a situation that will hurt her fragile mentality. YOU KNOW where she is at on her journey. We here at the forum can only give you tips. TRUST yourself. You are doing the best you can. Big hugs....
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Manches300 Oct 9, 2019
Also agree with Dollie 1974 on the book "The 36 hour day". WONDERFUL book.
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Hi Loris15,

I am pretty new at this, my mother has Vascular Dementia (moderate) since March 2019 among other health issues. So far I have been attending events that we still both enjoy, I’m am trying to give her the best quality of life, even if we attend for a couple of hours, it makes her happy.

However I am choosing not to take an airline to a relatives house for Thanksgiving this year, the airport scene with bustling people/long security lines, sitting on a plane for 3 hours, in contingency issues, I feel it’s to much for me to handle alone, let alone luggages, walker, wheelchair and taxis.

Everyones situation is unique. If your mom is still able to remember them (co-workers, friends, family) and enjoys the scenery a bit, I feel it’s worth going if not too far.

I just would like to mention, I have read a great book, it has helped me to understand a lot and put me in “their” perspective, it’s called the “36 Hour Day”, I can relate to a lot of pages in this book and it helped me feel that I am not alone.

God Bless you both and good luck:)
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Loris15 Oct 9, 2019
Thanks I’ll look that book up.
A book I found helpful generally, was Leeza Gibbons book “Take your Oxygen First”.
My health has suffered thru this process with Mom, and feel I need to make sure at all times that I’m not promising more than I can handle.
Holidays are stressful enough!
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Take advantage that she still wants to visit with old friends. You might ask her doctor if he could order something for anxiety just to take the edge off. She might last longer in the group environment.

Or, maybe make it an overnighter and take someone with you - one of your friends - so you can shorten mom's visit and extend your own. Also possible you wouldn't have to stay overnight, if the friend you bring can babysit mom and give her undivided attention for an hour or so while you visit. You might even be able to hire a caregiver to attend with you to attend to mom while you're there. If mom too antsy and wants to leave, take mom and caregiver to hotel so you can return for your own visit.

Pack some snack items for the 45 minute drive and for arrival at friend's home. She can snack until actual meal is served...and afterwards if dessert not immediately available. Let her visit with the old coworkers.

The alternative to this would be to invite the former coworkers to her house for brunch or lunch in the coming months. Perhaps one or two of them might even come a day before and spend the night with her for a longer visit.
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Loris15 Oct 9, 2019
Thanks yes I’ve decided that a separate short greeting with them would be fine for her, like knowing what restaurant they’ll be in one day, then she can wave and say hi but not have to sit down.
i can’t get her to sit thru a restaurant meal, so getting her to sit in a car for 45 minutes, then sit at their house for 3 hours just won’t work for her or me.
she goes into a “Mommy meltdown”...!
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Thanks for bringing this up. I should get a plan ready for my mom to have a few outings, probably just to my house with one of my sons and one of my grandsons, but certainly not to any of the big family events around the holidays. She gets so confused and tired. They also will have events of some sort at the assisted living and I will attend those with her. Does the assisted living where your mom is have celebrations where they invite the families? Your issue I guess is that your mom remembers she has her friends and expects to go, but you've already fibbed that it won't be happening this year, so an alternative where some people could go to her would be nice if possible.

Halloween first. I should make some costumes for the assisted living residents for when they answer the door to the neighborhood children.
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Loris15 Oct 9, 2019
Yes they do have a Holiday gathering at the AL.
so far she has refused to go to any, saying she doesn’t like to sit, and everyone there she says is “crippled”..., makes me cringe when she says that...i told her the “fib” that these people may not be up for cooking and entertaining this year, as they are in their 80s, and the man just had chemotherapy for prostate, so I would never assume anyway..and he really did have chemo.. I assumed he may not be up for all the fuss of entertaining..
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You have described the scenario well. maybe it would be wiser to have a short, smaller get together - during the day - with these friends instead of the all out party. It can be tailored to your mom's attention span and needs.

You can then have somebody else stay with your mom while you enjoy the party as planned. Don't feel guilty about "ditching mom" since you already know how the event would go and you would feel "cheated" out of the event you we looking forward to as well.
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Loris15 Oct 9, 2019
If I could find someone who works Holidays I would gladly hire them! 😊
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I have struggled with this myself.  I was killing myself to make things "the way they have always been" and at some point you have to say...it's not worth the stress and mom is not the same person with the same needs and abilities that she once had.  I have also learned the hard way that my mom is much happier when her routine is not interrupted.  At my mom's AL facility, they have events and the residents are allowed to have friends and family join them in the dining room for a small fee.  I would invite these good friends of your moms for dessert and coffee at your mom's place (in the dining room)  That way your moms day doesn't really change and if she wants to go back to her apartment, she can.

My moms extended family still doesn't understand why she can't come spend a late Christmas evening with all of their grandkids running around.  First of all she doesn't like to stay up that late, second of all she doesn't remember your house so everything is strange and confusing to her and thirdly having a bunch of little kids running around and screaming is not a good time for her.  They just don't get it, so I have to decline for her and let them get angry at me.  I suggest that they swing by and have a cup of coffee with her or just to say hello and they never do.

There is a learning curve with all of this and you will get to a point where you know what is best for your mom and what you can manage.

Best of luck.
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Loris15 Oct 9, 2019
That’s exactly my situation! She loves the idea of going, but the actual “doing” is not possible for her to deal with at this stage of her Alzheimer’s. She’s always been a difficult person, and even more so now.
Not everyone sees this behavior in her, because it all gets directed at me...!
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OOOOOooooppps, have to add, Loris. Anyone who would be critical of your mom as the victim of a dementia related disease, or you as a caregiver, isn’t worth getting embarrassed for.

Do your best and don’t worry about ignorant onlookers who don’t know caregiver life.
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NeedHelpWithMom Oct 6, 2019
I agree. It’s not like she can help it. My friend says the same thing when someone criticizes her son that has autism. She used to be embarrassed. Not anymore because she realizes that some people will never understand the situation. They foolishly think it’s a situation where a child is misbehaving. It’s hurtful and couldn’t be farther from the truth.

People don’t always bother to educate themselves on situations different to what they are familiar with in their own lives. They don’t have a clue about sensory issues with someone who has autism.

The same could be said with dementia. We can’t criticize their behavior because their behavior is the norm for someone with dementia. Plus it’s just plain insensitive. Would we criticize a cancer patient for throwing up after chemo? Certainly, many things go along with the territory.

Thanks for this reply and pointing out something important for everyone to read.
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Not a positive experience for any of the very nice people involved, including mom.
Arrange another social event in a quieter more familiar setting for Mom, but send regrets to this one.
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Isthisrealyreal Oct 6, 2019
Loris should be able to go and enjoy Thanksgiving with these people that are her friends.

Sorry, I totally disagree that she should miss out because mom can't handle these situations any longer without making things uncomfortable for all involved. We don't take children to every social activity and we shouldn't be expected to take adults that suffer diseases that impinge on all around them either. It's unrealistic to expect them to adjust or to expect the caregiver to never enjoy a break.
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Oh, I didn’t realize that she was in AL. Great! No sitting service needed.

I wouldn’t be concerned about what you tell her too much. You came up with a sensible plan. If she gets to see them before or after the event that would be great. Otherwise, I think the way it stands is fine.

Good luck and enjoy your holiday gatherings with your friends.
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Neither you or she will enjoy this event. Is there a sitting service near you that you could take advantage of so you could attend the holiday gathering with your friends? Socialization is important. Isolation is not a good thing.

Do a separate celebration with your mom in the comfort of home where she is familiar. I can tell by your posting that you do not have unrealistic expectations from her. It sounds like you are well aware of her behavior, thus knowing that she will grow impatient and want to leave shortly after eating and then you will feel shortchanged with your visit. So do both mom and yourself a favor by booking a sitting appointment early because you know they will fill up quickly as the holidays approach.

Best of luck to you. Let us know how you enjoyed the party please. Go, don’t miss the opportunity. You can’t get back lost years. Divide your time as equally as you can for you and your mom. Hugs!
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Loris15 Oct 6, 2019
Thank you, I was thinking I’d probably just visit her all that morning, up until the AL facility lunchtime, then head over to my friends house.
i know she wants to see them so I thought maybe I could arrange a “walk by”with them, sometime before thanksgiving, where she can say hi to them, but we don’t have to linger.?
i might have to fib a little to her though about Thanksgiving, as she will be expecting to be invited over to their house.
i already told her that since they are older also, and one has been sick, that they may not have the energy to cook and entertain all of us this time.
She seemed to understand that concept. fingers crossed!
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I would plan a get together where all of you can meet up closer to mom. Know that this is for her and it is an eat and run event, then you can go enjoy the holidays without her. It is okay to not take her with you. She obviously doesn't understand the social aspect any longer.
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Loris15 Oct 6, 2019
Thank you, she never has really understand social norms and concepts, but it’s getting worse as she declines. Since this is also the friends family gathering, I certainly don’t want for them to feel uncomfortable, catering to her instead of enjoying their family time.
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I would not put her through the party ritual.
It is stressful getting her ready, stressful travel and a lot of people can cause stress not to mention being away from her "routine".

If there are a few that would like to see her make a date that she can have a few visitors and then you and the visitors can go out and have a coffee or a lunch or dinner after the visit. This way you will be able to see them again. mom can see her friends and it will be on her territory and you can keep the visit real short. I would think no more than 30 minutes. If there are a lot of people that would like to visit break it into a few on one Saturday and a few more the following Saturday. This way she gets a break between and is less stressed and will have a few more visitors the next week.
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Loris15 Oct 6, 2019
Thank you, it’s just her old boss and his wife. They are older and don’t drive much but I think I could arrange to take her near them and meet quickly for a “wave by”! She honestly won’t sit longer than a few minutes, not sure why..
so hard accommodating all her needs and demands sometimes..! but if I don’t, I get the “evil eye”, and bad behavior from her, causing me to have to apologize to everyone..!
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