For the past 20 years I have visited Mom every week. She used to enjoy visits and we would have lunch and talk. As her dementia got worse, the visits became unbearable with her negativity and being difficult. Now, at 100, she is in AL 40 miles away and seems to have settled in and made friends. For her, I think this is about as happy and content as she has ever been for the past 30 years because she lives minute to minute. (That's not to say that when we talk on the phone - 2 minute conversation, if that, if she answers at all, all she does is complain, which is just her and always has been.)
She is totally a creature of habit and routine now. Our visits seem to disturb her more than comfort her. We have to just "drop in" because she doesn't remember if we tell her we are coming. If we go to have lunch with her, it means she can't sit at "her" table with her friends and makes a huge fuss. She doesn't want to go "out" anywhere and gets uncontrolled loss of bowels from the upset of it. She has a new simple life, and we simply don't fit into the routine she is comfortable with. The last visit from my sister she raised a fuss about eating at a different table, pooed her pants and sat in it at the table. If we just go for a visit, we sit and look at each other while she asks the same question every five minutes and there is no other conversation and talking to her about anything, she doesn't follow it. She lies down, gets up, complains about everything and we can tell she wants us to go. Our visits are down to about 30 minutes because its so uncomfortable for both of us.
So, do I continue to make an 80 mile round trip to spend 1/2 hour when she doesn't want me there after five minutes and won't remember it a few hours later or do I cut back. I bring her food, snacks, etc and she doesn't even know or care where they came from, or notice they are there except when she eats them. I understand her dementia is taking her away. I just feel guilty when I don't go, but I have health problems (more than she does) and it takes me a long time to get things done at home so I'm beginning to dread taking 1/2 day for 1/2 hour that neither of us needs, wants or enjoys. I check on her with the nurses. I'm going to take her to the doctor next week, and to the hearing aid place the following week.
I was thinking of cutting back regular visits to every two weeks, I'll bring her snacks, etc and just stay 1/2 hour? I just don't know what to do.