Should I bring Mom to my niece’s house on Thanksgiving?

Follow
Share

My 92 year old mother has dementia with sundowning and full-blown delirium in the evenings. My niece is really, really pressuring me to bring my mom to their house on Thanksgiving night (not a good time of the day for her). Her nagging is really stressing me out. Mind you, these are nieces and nephews who she rarely sees. I think she should stay at the nursing home where she has only been for 2 weeks. I think it would be a huge disruption and exhausting for her to be in a loud house with 20 people she doesn't remember all trying to talk to her and ask her questions. I think it would really set her back. Plus, I am the one who will have to tend to her while she's there (i.e., toileting, etc.) as she can't walk and is a dead weight of 110 pounds for me to lift. I am exhausted and do not want to go through this since I don't think either of us will benefit from this visit. I am not close with these relatives and they usually ignore us when we are there, except to ask a lot of questions of us both. I feel they are being very selfish to pressure me and I don't know what to say without causing a rift. Please help. I am new to this forum. My mom and I are very close and this whole thing is devastating to me. I am griefstricken and full of anxiety, and I am going this all alone as my sister just died a few months back and my brother lives out of state. Thanks.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
18

Answers

Show:
"No, I'm really sorry, but bringing mom to Thanksgiving this year would not be a good plan. Perhaps you can stop in to see her on Saturday or Sunday in earlier part of the day? Her dementia makes late afternoons a really uncomfortable time to visit. You might Google "sundowning" if you'd like to know what I'm talking about. Mom has a medical condition that is going to mean that we all need to work together to meet her needs. I hope I can count on your to be on "Team Mom".
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Hi Deborah, welcome to this site. I agree with Barb. Not this year. Not to a house with 20 people, many of whom she barely knows. Visit your Mom in the nursing home and perhaps share a midday meal with her. You might even bring some homemade cookies or treat for her table and the staff breakroom. (Ask the staff if everyone at her table can have these treats).
Then, in the evening, go to your niece's and kick off your shoes and have a lovely holiday meal prepared by others. If/when they ask where your Mom is, just tell them she wasn't up to it and the staff suggested you leave her there. BUT, then turn the tables and suggest to them that she will be up for company Friday during the day and that you hope they will visit her then. Enough said.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

DeborahLynn, you have NO obligation to your niece or anyone else who doesn't participate in your mother's care. And don't let her put YOU on the defensive.

This is what I see in these kinds of situations. A nonparticipatory relative tries to intimidate the caregiver into agreeing to that person's suggestions and desires.

If you feel strong enough, you can also turn the tables on her and ask the niece why SHE doesn't come to visit your mother as she's much more able to do so than your mother is to travel to someone else's house.

Don't let her cause any more stress to you. If she starts nagging, ask her if she understood what you told you the first time, and then excuse yourself because you have to take care of your mother. It does take some strength to say something like that; it always takes me awhile to get to the point, but when I've put someone in their place, I feel as if they're getting the message that they can't intimidate me.

And don't chide yourself for being sensitive. It's an asset your niece lacks.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

DeborahLynn, welcome to the group. Your question is an excellent one, especially with the holidays coming up upon us. And so sorry to read about your sister passing.

Ok, regarding the Thanksgiving get together, try using what is called a "theraputic fib" which would greatly benefit you and your Mom. Tell your niece "the nursing home will not let your Aunt leave without the doctor giving permission, and the doctor said absolutely not". If the niece starts to nag, again tell her that sentence.

We have to realize that the younger generation is usually clueless about Alzheimer's/ dementia, and no matter how much you try to educate them, they continue to be in denial until they are up close and personal with the situation. Remember, you are in charge, and no whippersnapper is going to tell you what to do :)
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Chuckle. You could enjoy making your niece very sorry she asked - but that's probably just my impish sense of humour getting the better of me.

Thank your niece for wanting to include her granny in the family occasion, and genuinely appreciate the good intention. Tell her the evening would be nothing but an ordeal for your mother. And if she really won't take your word for it, tell her that if she wants the right to an opinion she'll have to spend a few evenings in her grandmother's company first.

Also, more generally. Start worrying a LOT less as soon as ever you can about the approval of people you don't care about.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Just a quick share here, as I asked today whether it would be wise to take Dad to my daughter's home. (She has twin 7-year old boys, & it's a loud house, but it's only 10 minutes from Dad's facility). The director explained that with his level of dementia, he probably wouldn't enjoy it, because he will probably be confused for at least part of the afternoon. And, even if he does enjoy it, he may turn the situation into something different in his mind after we take him back. So, all in all, probably not a good idea. She suggested stopping by to have a slice of pie with him. Add to that, the staff told me that most of the residents stay put for the holidays, so he won't feel left behind.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Bloody hell, DeborahLynn.

The sister who died so tragically - and how many years have you been dealing with that? Anorexia does terrible things to the people who care about the person, not only the person herself - she wasn't the niece's mother, was she? Is the niece your brother's child?

Even so, that horrific loss would help explain your niece's strong urge to get the whole family together in a huddle. But you have still made the right decision, because whatever the emotional undercurrents you are in charge of the daily practicalities of your mother's welfare, and that would include not placing her in a stressful environment.

And I'm quite sure that that's exactly what the doctor *would* have said. Your niece doesn't need to know you didn't actually ask him... ;)

How is your partner getting on with his rehab?
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Come back and chat with us often, DeborahLynn. You've got a lot going on in your life, at a time when you are also mourning a tragic loss. You sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders. You probably don't so much need advice as support. We'll be here for you.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Yes, Deborah
You made the right decision, gracefully

No question or complaint too big or small

Dementia is far more difficult than I could have ever imagined

If nothing else, I hope you can enjoy a piece of pie on Thursday
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

BTW, I like geewiz's suggestion. Most care facilities have the main meal midday. You could join Mother and also go to the evening event, if distances permit. I don't mean you have to eat two entire large meals but just having pie with Mother might please here.

The plate of goodies to share is a good idea if there is something unusual Mother likes that isn't available where she is. We found that there were always snacks available at the NH and we cut way back on bringing treats.

We let Mother enjoy the special meals they prepared for holidays. We had occasional non-holiday special meals with her by reserving a small community room, bringing a tablecloth, flowers, nice dishes, and some take-out. Mom especially liked Chinese. We brought a home-made dessert and made sure there was enough to share in the employee break room. But we didn't do this instead of the facility holiday meal -- that was a nice event for her, too.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.