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Mother fell and broke her hip last summer and had to move to assisted living. She has not regained her ability to walk mostly due lack of motivation which she calls fear. Additionally she has urinary incontinence and sometimes fecal incontinence when straining.
Her baby brother (79) passed away Saturday. I am struggling to try to get her to the funeral in Colorado Springs. She requires assistance with almost everything and we do not have family or additional support. I am her primary caregiver and I work full time. I am already burnt out. I don’t think I can manage it. Any suggestions?

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How far away is the funeral? How long will she be there?

Have you looked into services like Visiting Angels? I use them for my 97 and 100 yr old aunties as a companion who they really like a lot and I've been very pleased with her. The people who work for VA are usually vetted and experienced. Maybe you can hire them for this single event. If your mom (or you) don't have the financial means for something like this then I don't really know what other options you have. My mom and aunts did not attend the funerals of 2 of their siblings. Don't feel bad or guilty if she doesn't get to go. Maybe have someone there video it or take pics to show her after. Maybe have people at the event record video greetings addressed directly to her saying how they missed her but understand. Not perfect solution but better than nothing.
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worriedinCali Jul 23, 2019
It’s across the country
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My mom did not go out of town to her brother’s funeral. They sent pictures. We sent flowers. The family completely understood and didn’t expect her to travel.
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I say no you should not try this. You never know what might happen to the flight and what if you are stuck on a plane on the runway for an extra hour? My mom didn't go to my sister's funeral because she knew she would have problems knowing what to do and remembering where she was and what was going on. She didn't want to be a distraction from why everyone was there. I would have tried to take her if she had wanted to go, but once at the airport and there at the funeral, I saw how difficult it would have been.
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NO.
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My then 91-year-old FIL lost his brother about a year ago. We're in California, most of the family is in South Dakota. We "attended" the funeral via Skype.

Everyone involved was fine with the arrangement; we even got to catch up a bit with some of the family.
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faeriefiles Jul 23, 2019
That is a wonderful solution.
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Who is in charge of decisions regarding your mother, she or you?

What does she want to do?

Does she have money to throw at the problem?

When is the funeral?

Say, just to think it through, that she is in despair at the thought of failing to attend and has ample money to cover all expenses. Then, let no one say "impossible!" Where there's a will (and money) there's a way. Suitably qualified escorts can be hired, her travel needs can be accommodated, there are hotels in Colorado Springs, and so on. All - or rather "all" - you need do is manage the project. You don't even have to go.

But if she is in two minds about it, or money is tight, or to be honest if no one had told her about her brother she'd never have thought to ask... If, for any number of reasons, her attendance at this funeral would be an impractical empty gesture, then get in touch with your uncle's family, ask what tributes are being invited, make your mother's apologies, and request that they send her an Order of Service and a copy of any eulogy.

And don't worry! You can only do your best. Anyone who wants to give you a hard time about it is free to come and see if they can do better, no?

Um, just by the bye. That "mostly due to lack of motivation which she calls fear." I know it's only an aside but it is a revealing one, which makes me agree that you are singeing if not actually burned out. What sort of additional support - in the everyday, not just related to the funeral - might help?
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It doesn't sound very feasible to me. I'd explore if the service will be live streaming. Do you have a computer or phone that she could watch the service on? The funeral homes in our area provide that now. It's great for those who are not able to attend a service.

For a senior with medical issues to not be able to travel cross country is certainly understandable. I know that I wouldn't expect it at all. Is she okay with it?
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No. Definitely no. She’s in no condition to fly across the country unless she can hire at least 2 personal attendants and even then, it’s going to be difficult for them and her. An airplane bathroom is not big enough for 2 adults so how will you clean her should she have an accident on the plane? A cross country trip means hours on a plane, you can’t have her sitting in poo for hours, stinking up the whole plane. Even if you hire a caregiver, have you flown out of a major airport recently? We just flew and on our return trip home, we had quite an experience! At our departing airport, our gate changed to a gate in another terminal right after we arrived. We had to get on a monorail type thing in order to get to new gate. This happened a total of 3 times within 90 minutes. Each time they changed the gate, it was in a different terminal so we had to keep catching the monorail. (We know better now. Next time we will park ourselves in one place until 30 minutes before take off, instead of moving every time the gate changes). And there are no seats on those things, you stand and hold a metal pole. We had a 1 hour layover in Phoenix and as soon as we landed there, we got an alert that our next flight was delayed by 4 hours! We also had to change gates once but the terminal didn’t change.
If you will need wheelchair assistance, keep in mind that there are more people who need help than there are staff to help them. So you may be left waiting a long time before someone comes to help you. When my mom flies down here & uses wheelchair assistance, it takes 20-30 minutes after everyone else has grabbed their bags, for the staff to bring her down to the baggage claim. On our way home this last trip, we were seated by the counter at the gate and as a plane was arriving, I heard the gate attendant complaining that she had 11 passengers with wheelchairs on that flight. She called over the loudspeaker for assistance and then I heard her telling someone that the last she needed help, no one came. Once the passengers were off, they brought an airport shuttle thing (like a golf cart but for people) to transport the people with wheelchairs and rollators and guess what? Some of the people weren’t cooperative and refused to get off their rollators and ride on the shuttle. They wanted to be pushed on their rollators by staff who also carried their baggage. All of them had carry on suitcases they needed/wanted staff to carry and all I can say is, they were held up there for over 30 minutes and they were still there when we had to get up and go to another terminal after our gate changed.

unless your 88 year old incontinement and mostly immobile mother can afford a private plane and 2-3 full time caregivers, my vote is a big NO.
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lealonnie1 Jul 23, 2019
After reading this, I need to run and chew up a bunch of Tums!!!! What a great case you make for never taking our elderly LOs on an airplane trip.
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Is her brother's funeral being held in a church that uses "Live Streaming" for its church services?  Our church services are shown on "Live Stream" on Sunday morning and can be viewed on the internet for several months afterwards. 

When my Mom died, we "Live Streamed" the funeral service and had several DVDs of the funeral made that I sent to family members who were unable to attend Mom's funeral.

I agree that your Mom should not fly to Colorado Springs.  Her health is not good enough for her to tolerate all of the stress (physical, emotional and mental) that occurs when flying. 

I think that you should go to your Uncle's funeral and then bring a DVD home with you that you and your Mom can watch together.
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I would not attempt this. This will not turn out good. Could you have someone at the funeral video the service on their phone or skype?
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No. You cannot manage the trip and she should not be subjected to it.
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No. You should not. I hope she has wonderful memories of him. Help her make an album about him, a scrapbook. Help her honor him in any way she can at home. He will not miss her. Please don't put her through something so grueling.
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Keepurheadup,first my sympathy to you and your Mom about the passing of her brother.

I use to fly on a regular basis, thus my screen name, but in today's world fahgettaboudit. It is not the same.

Re-read what worriedinCali had written about her experience. Add to the list, you need to get to the airport 2 to 3 hours ahead of your flight..... there are long lines at TSA security checkpoint, and if Mom starts to fuss and not cooperate, she will not be allowed to fly as Mom will be wand scanned since a wheelchair cannot go through the metal detector. If the scanner indicates something, then Mom will need to be patted down.... go to the TSA website for more information, and to see what is allowed in your carry-on bags, no you cannot carry a water bottle from the non-secured area to the secured area.

Now, let's talk about climate change and what it has to do with plane travel. I have heard too many times on TV and from people I know who have recently traveled by plane about how a plane will hit an air pocket and drop down thousands of feet, scaring the heck out of everyone. this is happening more and more.

Give me train travel any day :)
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jacobsonbob Jul 25, 2019
A lot of excellent points. However, you can carry an EMPTY water bottle through security, and then fill it in the secured area. Many water fountains even have a feature for filling bottles. I usually do this when I travel by air.
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No no a thousand times no! Perhaps someone can video the funeral service so your mom can feel like she was there without the nightmare of actually GETTING there! Not to mention the ALTITUDE in Colo Springs is horrendous for a senior WITHOUT health issues! My sister whos 55 gets as sick as a dog with altitude sickness every time she comes for a visit. My condolences on your loss of your Uncle.
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DollyMe Jul 24, 2019
You have made a good point about Colorado, my uncle lived there and when I was there visiting I had a problem breathing, the high altitude bothered me.
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I recently lost my brother in law, and took my 93 y/o father to the local memorial in Los Angeles, about 40 miles away. That drive took 2.5 hours (yes traffic totally stinks here) and even that was a stress because he refuses to pee in his diapers (at least intentionally) and we had to stop in South Central LA to pee....not a good situation! Once at the location, everything was about him...needing to pee again, wanting food, more drinks. I didn't get to participate in the memorial services because I was focused on his needs. And during the presentation, he could not hear a thing anyway and kept saying "what did they say?" He would have gotten more from the ceremony if it was on Skype or on DVD where you can raise the volume up! So, I agree with that suggestion. When his brother passed away last year, it was not given to him as an option to go, and he was perfectly ok with it. Just brought back pictures and videos. Just remember, what is felt in the heart is often the most important. Sometimes, going to a funeral for the guests is about closure....seeing their loved one in the casket. Bring back pictures to help with the closure if they cannot go. So sorry for the loss of your uncle. Best wishes.
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DollyMe Jul 23, 2019
I noticed when I took my father to funerals after he was 80, he couldn't handle it, it was too depressing for him, everytime he had a set back, health wise, it flared up his diabetes. He was losing his family and friends, it crushed him. So, we (he & I) decided not to do that anymore, he still mourned but it was much better for him. My father died at 84, of small cell lung cancer, he had never been in the hospital until the week before he died. And, only with very slight dementia, hardly noticeable.
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I sincerely hope the OP takes the good advice of so many not to attempt the flight. My mother could walk, and didn't have an incontinence problem, but at age 85 she developed severe leg cramps on a coast to coast flight and was in extreme discomfort. Luckily no deep vein thrombosis that time, although years later she suffered from one after a long car trip. In addition to all the other good reasons listed, prolonged sitting should be avoided in the elderly.
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I vote “no”.
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your mom really is not in any condition to travel.. I do understand and I’m sure the family will too.. just tell your mom they had to change plans for some good reason and had it earlier so your mom was sadly missed but elder living is complicated with issues that require innocent make up stories that really do the trick... I’ve been there and done it all... I thought I was going to die first but realizing this... I also realized I was making the decisions and my parents conditions did not warrant a decision from them...saying it nicely goes a long way... do it... and take care of you...when my dad was still driving at 80 and was having memory lapses I took his license and keys from him... seven yrs I listened to how I ruined his life.... but it was better than him hurting himself or god forbid someone else... it isn’t easy but taking time for yourself is vital... I wasn’t lucky enough to have $ for assisted living and at least she has help there if needed and when it is time for a nursing home... I told my parents, at different times, they needed rehab and when they could walk and go to the bathroom and clean up they could go home... every week I said the same thing... it worked because they new they couldn’t do it.... it is so hard... getting old is a bitch..,,good luck... Donna M
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There comes a time when you must look at situations such as this from a "head Perspective and not a "heart" perspective. A funeral is something that is a ritual in our society but what matters most is the time with the person when they were living. The stress of flying a frail elder, with incontinent issues and traveling through our airport security, then getting her on an uncomfortable plane seat, for literally hours, where she won’t be able to move about and possibly get a DVT, will not make it to the bathroom quickly let alone be able to easily get into a bathroom on the plane ALONE because two can not fit in it is nonsense. And then what if the plane were delayed for hours? Or you sit on the tarmac for hours waiting to take off. Imagine the worst case scenario because in the world of flying it could and just might happen. NO..I would not take her. Simple as that. Somethings are just not possible. Her health precludes this trip.
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Sad as it may Seem, I would not Allow her to go. If someone could Assist her, I see no Problem. Sorry for her loss and yours.xx
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No, when I last flew my 88 year old mother across country she was crying when I picked her up - last out of the gate because there weren't enough wheelchairs for people demanding them. While I waited for her I noticed that MOST of the people in the wheelchairs seemed to not need them as they leapt up energetically at the exit to walk outside. It was a disgusting site to see those lazy people, while my mother was left behind for over an hour. (I couldn't get through security as I didn't have a ticket). Just like the healthy young people leaping out of jeeps or tall SUVs in handicapped parking spots.... Don't do it to your mother.
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cwillie Jul 25, 2019
Navigating through an airport can be very taxing for people with health conditions that don't require them to need a wheelchair in every day situations, my BIL recently arranged for one because he was recovering from heart problems and could have never manage without it. Some disabilities are in your face and easy to spot, many others are not.
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Many funeral homes stream services
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Actually, I'm on the opposite side of this. If your mother wants to go, you should help her get there.
The key, though, is does she want to go? If the answer is yes, then stock up on Depends and speak with her doctor to ask if there's anything special you need to do to help her.
Most flights are relatively short these days.
Talk to the airline. They are very accommodating. They will provide wheelchair assistance, even if she doesn't typically need a wheelchair. They'll take you through security, take her onto and pick her up at in the airplane, take you through the airport, make bathroom stops, and help you find your luggage (be sure to tip them).
Get a hotel that is accessible. Make all the plans ahead of time so there are few surprises.
Your mother will never get another chance to say goodbye to her brother. She should have this chance, if at all possible.
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jacobsonbob Jul 25, 2019
It would also be important to make sure the mother REALLY understands what is involved in such a trip, especially if she hasn't traveled by air in recent years.
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Just my own point of view....no. I think the struggle would be too much for her and you. She would be embarrassed if she had an accident on the plane or airport. You know how tiny the airplane bathrooms are. Would you be able to get her in one of them and then cleaned up? I just don't think it would be wise.
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Don't do it. On top of all the reasons previously stated, air travel has been fraught with many delays this summer due to the grounding of the new Boeing jet, weather, and maintenance issues. My son spent 3 hours on the tarmac while they attempted to repair a wing flap only to disembark and stay an extra night. A couple sitting next to him on the tarmac has already experienced that the day before....two unexpected, time-consuming delays! Make a list of the family she might have seen if she attended and set up skype or phone visits with them.....maybe one each weekend.
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"sometimes fecal incontinence when straining"--just curious as to what this means. It appears to be somewhat of a contradiction.
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ccheno Jul 25, 2019
Straining to stand from sitting in chair, straining to reach something across the bed or off the floor, straining to put on her shoes or pull off her slacks. Straining to lift her purse or climb a step.
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Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind. I wholeheartedly agree. No.
Listen to your gut.
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I think it would be lunacy to attempt a cross country flight with your mother in her condition! Flying is stressful enough under "normal" conditions, never mind putting your mother and anyone else involved through this! Increased stress can cause a number of medical issues and make matters worse. Also long flights and being immobile in a cramped space can increase the chances of your mother developing a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) with fatal results!
I would involve your mother as much as possible with picking out and sending flowers to the service and a card (Mass card if she is religious) to the family. There have been other wonderful suggestions as far as pictures and contact with other family members but I would NOT attempt to put her on a cross country flight.
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No absolutely not! You go to funeral but leave Mom in ALF .
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NO
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