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My husband and I are caring for my mother in law. She has early onset dementia. Her condition, and her, was neglected until just recently. Her dementia has progressed to severe. She has a hard time understanding anything these days. She can't read, write or speak intelligibly most of the time. She gets "weird" in public; disoriented, confused, scared, frustrated, pouty, etc. Her daughter is having a baby on Monday, and wants us to bring her mom for the birth. I'm not sure that's a good idea, but don't want to say no either. It feels like there is no right choice. Any advice?

I'd be worried that demented mom might forget that it's her daughter's baby and get upset when she can't take the baby. As in, won't give it back if she holds it. There are triggers in demented brains that don't make sense and I would not want a newborn in the middle of it!

It's sad, but you and your hubby need to say no, that's not possible. There's the flu, there's the triggers, there's whatever virus Mother is carrying, there's the bathroom issue, there's... just too many things to go wrong and take the attention away from the joyful event. They can visit Mother in a few months.
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Reply to surprise
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My son’s partner had my grandson via an emergency c-section last month. We had hours of waiting first for the surgery, then when she was prepped it was another 4-5 hours before we saw babe.

Her dad and I were in a waiting room with another man who was waiting for his DD to give birth naturally. It was no place for someone with dementia. It was confusing for us at times as we waited for word if baby and Mummy were ok.

The NICU was another distressing place to visit with the baby hooked up to monitors, IV etc, feeding tube. Not a place for someone who is confused.
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Reply to Tothill
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People who have dementia and get confused, agitated, etc. in public, should not be taken there, imo, because, they are not able to have the experience the family member might want. It's unnecessary to unsettle them for someone's else's pleasure. I'd try calling or face timing with her for a minute. PLUS, at this time of year, the flu is terrible. Most of the hospitals have special rules for visitors. Not only could your mom bring something in to the baby and mother, but, she could pick up some illness while visiting. I'd be very cautious about that. If she does go, I'd have her wear a mask, which she might not understand. If you're not sick and can avoid going to medical offices and hospitals, you should, imo.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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I’ll throw in that it isn’t you who should be telling SIL no... it should be your DH. He can use words you give him, but HE needs to tell SIL.

If you have recently begun caregiving an in-law, it is probably good for you and DH to discuss this. For some reason, even the best in-law relationships can devolve if you are a spouse “telling” them what they can and can’t do with their mom... even if you are the one with her the most. DH needs to do this or you (rather than the disease) become a target for siblings.

I will also echo the other posters. As for being present for the whole labor, I can’t even imagine how anyone could think that would be a good idea.

Even visiting right after baby is born is not a great plan... if she is that confused, routine is best. The germ thing is also a big deal. My MIL had the worst hygiene from the dementia. Especially after bathrooming.

Maybe your DH can share with SIL what that type of visit would be like through the eyes of someone with dementia. Large, scary institution with weird lighting (because their vision is different - see “dementia goggles”), lots of people milling about which puts them off balance, physically as well as mentally, dark parking garage, odd noises - beeps, alarms, etc. What our brains tune out can be a cacophony in the brain of a dementia patient. Family and nurses expecting certain reactions from her that she can’t provide... pressure to think and perform. Everything is strange and everything is scary and most people are the enemy... because they are strange. Add in forgetting multiple times why she is there in the first place, and it turns a lovely event into a war zone for mom.

With all of this, SIL will probably not get the warm, fuzzy experience she is looking for.

Not to mention all of the work for you and DH to hold up that visit. But I wouldn’t mention that at the front end. She’d likely think you are being selfish and make it about that.

SIL needs to hear it isn’t good for Mom, the baby, and that because DH loves her, he wants SIL and her husband to have the best experience possible. Acknowledge that the disease takes certain things away and he hates it too, but that he (and you) will help with maybe FaceTime, etc. to make it as good of an experience as the DISEASE will let it be. That puts him on her side with the disease as a mutual enemy.

A really good alternative is FaceTime... I am always surprised that more people don’t use this for elderly. She can see mom and talk to her... mom can see daughter and the baby from the security blanket of her everyday. When mom is done, someone can just sign off with love. And they can focus on their baby.
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Reply to 499HopeFloats
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MountainMoose Feb 14, 2020
Preach it, Hope! So many great perspectives!
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I figured it wouldn't be a good idea. I am hurting for them both. I will call the hospital and see if they can be "the bad guys". I just don't know if I have it in me.
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Reply to Alazrielle
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Your profile says you are caring for someone who is 52, if I'm reading this correctly this is your husband's sister who is having the baby, right? I understand her wanting her mother with her at this time, but the sad reality is that the mother and support she craves just isn't possible. Has your SIL spent much time with her mother recently, is she aware of where her mother is at?
Unless things are drastically different where you live new moms are back home within hours of giving birth, one day at the most, and natural births don't occur during convenient daytime hours either. I would make arrangements to take her to see the baby once they are back home, and ask your SIL if there is anything else you can do so she feels supported during her time at the hospital.
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Alazrielle Feb 14, 2020
They will probably be in the hospital for a few days. She is having to be induced and a C-Section is still possible. It is my MIL and her daughter is having a baby. I was thinking that having them visit, when they are ready, would be better. I think it will go smoother with her in familiar surroundings. She will already be enough upset with all the fuss and all. I just needed to hear that it was alright to say no. It feels so mean...
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I want to add that if/when grandma and newborn meet, please make sure that gma's hands are washed immediately before she touches the baby.

My mom stopped washing her hands after toileting when she only had very mild dementia. I had to be very insistent that she needed to wash with soap before interacting with my small grandbabies.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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No, don't take her. She will not understand why she is there or enjoy it. She will probably want to go home as soon as u get there. Does SIL expect her to sit thru the labor? Won't happen. I agree with taking her to the hospital too.

I guess I am weird. I never understood this...the whole family has to be at a birth. It was just me, DH, doctor and the nurse. My Mom was "call me when its over". We didn't want to know the sex.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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You need to say no.

Exposing an unvaccinated baby (actually LOTS of unvaccinated babies) to your mother in law is extremely unwise.

I would check with the nurses at the nursery and make them the bad guys. They will tell you to keep her away.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Many times, relatives who do not see the elderly one daily or weekly do not realize how the LO is deteriorating.  Just tell SIl, your MIL would love to see the baby, but the hospital is not best.
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Reply to FloridaDD
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Explain to your SIL that this time is about her daughter and grandchild. Mom being there will take the focus away from the new member and momma and possibly create hard feelings if she gets to confused. Tell her that she is welcome to come pick mom up and take her if she insists.

I would also ask her if mom gets sick from being at the hospital is she going to take her and deal with her until she is better. It is flu season after all and very likely that you will all be exposed, the difference being healthier immune systems.

Congratulations on the pending arrival. Great grandma can be included when things are a bit less intense.
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