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My father is 95 yrs old, has dementia and is in a wheelchair, my mom is 88 and also in a wheelchair. They are currently in memory care. I am seriously considering not bringing them to my sons wedding. They will need help getting there, help while there and assistance getting back to facility. I’m sure family members will step in to help, but I will be a nervous wreck worrying about them. Am I just being too selfish? Will they even remember what’s going on?? They are both confused on most days. I don’t want to be the “bad” person here. Wow, guess I answered my own question. Still would like your opinions. Thanks.

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I remember my own wedding when grandmom was there the whole time. The mother of the groom spent most of the time attending to her.
Fast forward and I am the mother of the groom. I am calling around to find a caregiver service to see if someone can get my mom to spend the last hour of the reception. I know that an entire wedding day will be too much for her but some of my relatives will be glad to see her. In the long run, next week she will not remember the occasion. By the way, this is a morning wedding so sundowning will not be a factor
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I'll start by asking how well do they even know/remember your son? You don't say that your mom has dementia but since they are both in memory care I assume she must have some cognitive decline as well. I vote to find other ways to share the excitement of the day with them - if you type "weddings" into the site search you'll see this isn't an uncommon problem and people have come up with many creative solutions!
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I went to a wedding a few years ago and there were some ill grandparents moaning (pain?) throughout the ceremony. This completely spoiled the wedding and was even a little scary. They probably didn’t even know they were there. This was extremely sad and upsetting for all the guests.

If your parents are able to sit quietly and enjoy, by all means, have them there. Hire someone (or 2 people) to completely get them ready, to sit with them throughout the event and to take them home. If you can’t hire someone, appoint a family member to help in this way.

Give yourself a break for this special family event.
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I agree with everything you wrote except "If you can’t hire someone, appoint a family member to help in this way." No one wants to be appointed to take care of two old and confused people with lots of medical problems.
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Are your parents in the same city where the wedding will take place? Do they want to go to the wedding? Does your son want them there?

The answers to those questions can help you decide.

Long distance travel is probably out of the question. If in town, can you hire someone to get them there and care for them during the ceremony?

Another option might be to have a video feed from the wedding to their apartment.
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I just recently made my mom go to my sons wedding. It was a bit of a chore. She's 89 and in a wheel chair and we had to stay at a hotel. She didn't really want to go and I was hurt. My sister was in the hospital with cancer and died the day after the wedding. I wanted my mom there. I wanted the whole family there. She did go for me but it was difficult for all of us.
I have come to realize that's she's in a mind set that she no longer really wants to participate in these kinds of events. She does not have any impairment mentally. She's just had enough and wants to stay home. It's easier and she's comfortable and has no regrets. She does not give us a hard time if we go and don't take her so it's me that has to come to terms with her not wanting to go. I think the same holds true for you. There is a point in our lives when the going is more than we can take. Particularly if you have dementia or alzeimers and being in a routine safe at home and comfortable. I like the idea of a video feed, not so hard to set up if you have a tech savvy person available. My son set up a video feed for my sister but we don't really know how much she saw or heard. I don't think it's selfish at all to keep your family safe at home. I know my mom went because I wanted her there but she didn't really enjoy it as much as she should have it was just too overwhelming.
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TaylorUK Apr 2019
It is all too easy to force elderly people to do what we want, it is their needs and feelings that need to take precedence in cases like this, I fail to see why you should be hurt, it was your son's day not yours.
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No its not wrong. And for the reasons you have discribed.

This topic has been discussed on the forum. I personally would not do it. They will have no idea what is going on and will get overwhelmed easily. This is YOUR day. There will be so much to do. Like said, you are going out of your way for 2 people who will not remember it. Then the incontinence. Do you really want to have to change two people in a public bathroom? In your wedding attire?

There was one member whose Mom already had a caregiver. They paid the caregiver to bring Mom to the wedding. Attend to her the whole time and take her home when she was ready. It worked for her.

I think another member mentioned the couple went to the facility so grands could see them dressed.

Look at it this way, would you be doing it for you out of guilt or for them. Because if for them, they will have no idea what is going on.
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It would be better if your son and his bride, if they'd like to, made a detour specially to see his grandparents soon after their wedding. Take some cake and the photos and the service program, and make a fuss of them.

If your parents are confused on most days, I should have thought the full wedding experience would be an exhausting ordeal for them. It has nothing to do with your selfishness, it's about whether they would benefit and whether they would bring extra joy and pride to the occasion.

I'm sure your son would be very proud of them no matter what; but he'd never forgive himself if something awful happened to them because the wedding was just too much.
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You have no obligation to take elderly parents to a wedding.  After all, it is the bride and groom's day so unless they (bride and groom, that is)  are insistent, then I would not bring them.  What would be the point, really?  Doesn't sound like the elderly grandparents would enjoy it and it is not about them anyway.
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Just yesterday, when discussing something I really wanted to try to arrange for my dad, my good friend asked "Are you doing this because he really wants it or because you think he should want it?" I think we all do a lot of projection of our own desires onto our caregiving for our parents. We want them to want to be at the wedding, or graduation, or birthday party. I've found my dad doesn't enjoy activities with lots of people, noise, activity. He far prefers hearing the stories about the event when I tell him about it (over and over and over). I think your parents would far more enjoy a visit with the new bride and groom sometime later where it's not just a whirlwind of activity and noise. I know you want your family all together at this special time but it really will limit your enjoyment and it won't bring joy to your to your mom and dad, only confusion and exhaustion. Go, enjoy the wedding without them. Bring them pictures, stories, and a slice of cake after the fact.
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No it would not be wrong, in fact it may be extremely stressful for them as they won't know people and it will be a lot of people all at once- I wouldn't even tell them he is getting married.
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Spare them, yourself, and your guests the stress and leave them home. It's probably best for all.

My uncle insisted on bringing my aunt w/Alzheimer's to my parents' 50th anniversary party at a restaurant 9 years ago, and it was way too much for her to handle. She was confused and spent a good 45 minutes wailing in the bathroom while her daughters comforted her before they finally decided to take her back home (almost 2 hours away).

My dad, who was in the early stages himself, was very upset to see his sister in such distress. It was the last time much of the family ever saw our aunt, and it's a sad way to have to remember her.

My parents went to see her a few weeks later, and they had a lovely, peaceful visit in the comfort of her own home.
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We think our folks would like to be part of the 'day' but sadly, it just doesn't work. Mother will go a few places, but she wants to leave 20 minutes after she gets there. And if nobody fusses her, she gets mad.

I took her to her 70th! HS class reunion and she looked probably one the worst there. She did manage to get her walker over the rough ground and we found a shady place for her to sit, but she was very upset by the varying degrees of aging she saw amongst her classmates. (I think out of a class of about 250, there were about 40, plus their caregivers.) Nobody fussed at her, none of her closest HS friends are alive anymore..she herself looked old, much older than the 87 she was...and then one gal gets up (former cheerleader) and leaps onto the picnic table bench and proceeds to lead them all in some old fight songs. The sad, sad difference between this woman and mom (honestly, most of the women) was the final straw and mom wanted to go home. Maybe 30 minutes, as I had told her I wasn't hauling her 50 miles to eat a sandwich and turn around and take her back home.

I would take videos and such of the wedding day and show them to the folks after the fact. My dad did make it to my daughter's wedding, but he was unable sit up so we had to bring him in on a gurney type thing--he fell asleep and snored...then when the ceremony was closing he wakes up and starts talking, very loudly that he needs to go to the bathroom.

I have no idea if he was aware of where he was. In fact, my sweet daughter was a good sport about it, but I kiboshed him coming to any other weddings.

We are torn between wanting 'family' there, but we need to weigh in how checked in or out the elders are. My MIL came to a baptism and confirmation of 2 of our grandkids a couple weeks ago, She had NO IDEA who they even were. And the kids didn't know who she was.

All the events, while ignored by others, made me really, really sad. I hate seeing the decline and I hate the demands they make that they come to all things--or worse, say to wait until the day of and cancel on us.
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What about skyping?  I am not a techy person, but I bet your son is, or someone else is who can figure out how to set it up and could do this.  That way they see the wedding without having to attend the wedding.  I would go to someone who has the equipment and the knowledge and throw out what you want and see how they can help.
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We took my parents to my nieces wedding a few years ago, and spent the night in a hotel. All dad wanted to do was go "home", the wedding was too much for him, they didn't really know anyone but the ILs, and the noise was confusing to him, as was the hotel. Mom enjoyed herself but dad's ALZ made things difficult, and I was quite stressed. If you can leave them behind and show pictures and a visit later, go that route. Then enjoy yourself!!
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Tayloruk, I was hurt because my son was not going to have his only grandmother there who he cares very much for and his only and favorite aunt, who was in the hospital dying. I thought my mom would have put her feelings aside for him, particularly since her only issue is age (89) and a wheelchair. So even though it's his day, he did have a preference for who the guests were. I now realize if she says I don't want to, I'll leave it at that. She had mostly a good time, but hates leaving home and didn't feel it was worth the effort.
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TaylorUK May 2019
I think the comment "only issue is age 89 and being in a wheelchair" rather minimises the effects of these two things. When we get to 89 we will be in a position to comment on this being something one can simply put aside the feelings from. I would have thought that if he cared so much for his grandmother he would have preferred to have her there he could appreciate that it is a situation that may cause her distress and he can share the day with her in other ways she will enjoy. I interpret from your post that the person hurt is you not your son, and feel we have to be very careful not to impose our preferences on people who do not share them.
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You might make a sweet video of them wishing the couple well on their wedding day. We did that and it is a treasured keepsake. My parents didn't want to travel to my niece's wedding. It's very hard on them away from familiar surroundings. Ask them if they want to go and if they say no, as you suggested, leave it at that.
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You'd be doing everyone a tremendous favor by not bringing your elderly parents and letting everyone whose at the wedding enjoy the day and celebrate the happy couple. You are mother of the groom. Don't you want to be fully present for him?

Most couples are lucky to get 5-minutes with each wedding guest. What are your parents going to do with themselves the other 235 minutes?

And I have been that family member who, in formal attire, needed to help my MIL, also in formal attire, into a bathroom stall. Somehow when one is wearing an evening gown and heels, a bathroom stall feels like the size of a shoebox.
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I personally wouldn't bring them to the wedding. If they are in wheelchairs, dealing with dementia, incontinent and confused most days, it would overwhelm them and they might lash out. You are not being a bad person.
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We took my mom to my nieces wedding last year. It wasn't a good idea. My husband ended up driving her back to the NH 1 hour away before dinner. She was so confused, thought she was at church for a funeral.
My niece and her husband came into the NH a couple of weeks later in their wedding outfits. My mom was so happy to sit and have tea and cake with them. Also showing them off to everyone at the home
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Jan. That was a wonderful idea for niece/husband to come in their wedding finery to your Mom's NH. How kind and considerate of them.
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My baby got married last September and yes my 94 year old mom was there. Mom had a blast. Grandkids, great grandkids, nieces and nephews all enjoyed visiting with her. I never saw her sitting alone and she enjoyed all the food and watching all the dancing. Unfortunately she doesn’t remember any of it which saddens my daughter but I remind her that during those few hours she indeed enjoyed herself immensely. I hope that if you decide to involve grandma it goes as smoothly for you as it did for us. Congratulations to your son.
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Usually seniors care more about the ceremony than the reception. Most receptions are crowded, noisy and alcohol fueled anyway. You could have them attend the ceremony, then take them or have someone else take them back to their residence. If they protest, just tell them the reception is going to be long and loud and you don't think they'd enjoy it much or be comfortable and, as a parent, you can't leave in the middle to take them home. Maybe later you could have a quiet, private family dinner at your home with the happy couple and the grandparents and show them pics or video of the ceremony and reception.
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I don't think it is wrong not to take them and in fact, I encourage you not to take them. People with dementia become nervous, anxious, agitated and confused when they are removed from their normal routine/surroundings. It would be so hard on them as well as everyone around them.

Early on in my mom's dementia I took her to my aunt's funeral (her sister-in-law) and with all the people coming up to hug her and love on her but she had no idea who they were she kind of shut down. She was so much more confused than normal for a couple of weeks after we returned home. It was just too much for her. Emotional and sensory overload.
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What does your son want? My kids would want them there, we took my stepfather with moderate dementia at the time out of town to both my nephews ‘ weddings. I’d get a friend, relative or caregiver to bring them to at least to part of it, if they are up to it physically and particularly if they live locally . From the other comments, I’d assume it’s up to the person . My stepfather was never incontinent and basically just talked less and less. But it was one of the last times we were all there as a family. It’s a nice memory .
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Had any of my grandparents still be alive I would have done what ever I could to have them there for my wedding. See what your son wants.

Maybe someone could be hired and they could attend the ceremony only and then have any photos you want with them taken right away and have them return to memory care before the reception. While they may never remember the event it may bring them some joy. If they are up to it have them come to the reception, they may enjoy the dancing and visiting, be prepared that they may need to return to the care home if they become stressed. 

If their attendance at the event is not going to work ask your son if they want to stop in after the ceremony for a quick visit. Ask Memory Care to have them up, dressed and ready for the visit. Have the photographer go along to capture a few photos.
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NO - 1 you're not a bad person rather you are a caring person who wants to do what is 'right'

2 don't bring them as it may be cruel to do so - up rooting them just for a few hours may upset them for days - they won't be able to fully understand who is who & what is going on - if they usually take a nap they won't be able to etc - if they have any hearing issues then the music & all those people talking will upset them too - yes, you will be on tender hooks the whole time

3 instead ask the bride & groom to visit them where they live just after the wedding  & bring a piece of wedding cake or other item - take pix - your son can present his wife to his grandparents in a quiet setting - or just before the wedding if that works better but after will be less frantic
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I think it depends more on how strongly your son feels about having them there. If he does want them there take family members and friends up on offers to be in charge and maybe hire a caregiver to tend to them as well. Maybe there is even a caregiver at the residence they are in who would take the outside work, I imagine this isn't a new situation to them and they may have experience. If you have siblings they would be the logical ones to oversee and be the contact for the caregiver you as mother of the groom shouldn't take that on. For instance my niece is graduating from high school in June and while my mom is mobile and not as much work as your parents are probably I am taking sole responsibility for getting her to and from and overseeing her for the day, my brother shouldn't have to even think about what's up with mom but I know it's important to him probably even more than it is to my niece, that mom be there.
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Hello Bobandflo.

You are definitely not being selfish as I can see You are very concerned about Your elderly Parents Who would feel so very out of place in attendance at their GrandSons Wedding. I would see it as an act of kindness not to invite the Elderly GrandParents to attend the Wedding. Instead I would ask Your Son and His lovely Bride to attend in their Wedding attire at the Memory Care facility a few day after they Marry and arrange for a Padre to be there to Marry them Both again in the Company of Your Mom & Dad. This can be a much shorter Wedding Cermony with a little party after. Can
you imagine the delight in Your Parents Faces. This would be a win win way to go.
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Regardless of what your son wants, think about your parents and what you might be putting them through if you were to take them. For some people, it goes off without a hitch and the person is able to enjoy themselves but for many others, it’s an unpleasant and frightening experience. So no matter how badly your son wants his grandparents there, please think about them too.
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Not wrong. Kind and caring to all involved.
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You will be doing your parents a GREAT service by not
Packing them into the car
Taking them to a place that is loud
Has lots of people they do not know..(even if they "know" them they will not know them)
Disrupting their "normal" routine
Staying out late
Loading them back into the car getting them back"home"
Worse would be if this is a distance away and you/ they would have to spend the night in a strange place.

You can show them pictures, bring them a piece of cake and if you happen to take a video that would be nice.
Relax, enjoy yourself have a great time.
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