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My mother has been after me lately to drive her down to Florida to visit her sister and to go to the beach. This is something I dread doing. My mother doesn't walk well at all. She has to stop every few minutes to use the bathroom, which can take about 20 minutes because of her mobility problems. The trip takes about 6 hours one way. She doesn't like her sister much. When I suggest that she call her, she says she doesn't like to talk to her. I ask her why she wants to visit her if she doesn't even like to talk to her. She just yells that she wants to go visit her sister.

This has gotten to be a sore point, since I would have to close my shop and board my rabbit at the local vet. My brothers recently went to Florida with their families and she was angry that they didn't take her. She doesn't stop to think that taking her would have turned their vacations into work. So now she is after me to take her.

I don't like long interstate drives. The idea of taking the trip with my mother saying the same things for 6 hours fills me with dread, as does the idea of frequent stops that turn the 6 driving hours in 7 hours. The worse thing is that I know when we get there, she will want to come home almost right away. She does that to me every time. She wants to go somewhere. We go. Then an hour or two later she wants to come home.

I know that the trip is not a good idea from my side. We'll most like drive down one day and she'll want to come right back. She can't walk on the beach. She can barely walk in the house. Still I know it may be good for her to talk to her sister one last time, even if it is only an hour or so. So I'm torn. If they were close, it would be a no-brainer, but they have avoided each other since leaving home.

I'm weighing the good and bad of this and really don't know what to do. It would have been nice if one of my brothers had taken her, but they didn't. I don't blame them. But I'm left with a decision now whether to do it or not. I thought I would ask other people on the group that have parents with dementia and mobility problems what they would do.

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Don't go do not feel guilty. Mom and aunt own their own relationship, it is not for you to magically heal at the 11th hour. As soon as she arrives, she likely would want to leave. A 7 hour ride with an incontinent person that drives you batty, no way.
To all of us, remember to love the people in our lives so that we do not feel compelled to right a bad realtionship at the last minute.
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JessieBelle, Please note that I do not live with my Mother. I realize that people that live with the person are hearing the complaints 24/7. Yes, boundaries are the answer.
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Chicago, I think that people have a hard time realizing how limited they become. Your mother probably thinks like mine, so if she imagines it, then it can happen. I am going to stick to my no even if it makes me feel bad. I don't really feel guilty as much as I feel defensive when she gets angry. We can be left with the choice of Do I want to face this trip? or Do I want to face this anger? I guess the only thing we can do is put a hard boundary up when we say no, so that anger can't break it down.

Joan, what you wrote reminds me a lot of me. I used to do field work and enjoyed climbing around mountains or sloshing through the swamp. Now I like it better when there is a not-so-steep trail in the hills and a bridge over the water. I don't know how far I could even paddle a canoe anymore. I would probably have to go downstream, then get a truck to take the canoe back. :)
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When I went to IL. to visit my Mother recently, she wanted to go by the house. At first, I said OK. But, as my visit went on, it became evident that she couldn't even get out of bed, w/o assistance. So, she would ask to go and I would say "Absolutely, not." She would say that she can get in a car, etc. "No! I am not going to do that." She would persist with my sister, who is 75 - because for some reason, people will not tell Mother "No." Just say " I can't possibly do that." Repeat.
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Jeanne, thank you. If I read that message I would tell the poster not to go, to maybe look for something local the parent might like to do. I would tell them to ignore the anger and realize it was coming from a person who had lost the ability to reason well. And then I would know that whoever posted would still feel sad and guilty that they couldn't honor the request, which would be a reasonable one if things were different. I know in her mind she thinks she is more capable than she is.
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Jessie - my mother's aborted attempt to fly east last summer was in part a bid for attention, and, I believe, in part, a wish to return to the past, She knows her time is short and she wanted to revisit places we had been as a family and she had been with my father. I felt guilty momentarily, as I understood her desire, but knew there was no way I could take her. She is capable physically, but her emotional state was unmanageable. I did take her to the mountains as a memory trip about 11 years ago - she was 90 then and physically well, but, as always, difficult due to the personality disorder For me, listening to the complaining hour after hour, as we walked and drove through stunning scenery, was a nightmare. From talking too much and not paying attention, she tripped and fell on a gravel path and hit her head. No damage, but there could have been. On another walk, we had to ford a tiny stream. She chose to walk on a mossy log rather than take the safe route. I swore then I would never take her anywhere again.
On a personal note, last summer we went to the Yukon. I have been wanting to canoe again for years. When we got to a place where there was a canoe, and I could have convinced Gary, (who is not a water baby) to heave it out etc., I realised that what I wanted was in the past, as I had so much enjoyed canoeing in my childhood. Once I realised that, I didn't need to again. A couple of weeks ago we visited the Everglades in Florida and took an airboat to see the gators. Being out on the water did the same thing for me - it didn't have to be a canoe.

My point is that maybe you can take your mum to the water side somewhere - I don't know the geography of where you are, and give her an experience that will trigger what she is trying to recapture. Or to a playground where there is sand - or rent a video of Florida, or whatever your imagination can come up with. As far as her sister is concerned, if she doesn't want to talk on the phone with her, I would not worry about it. Maybe she just has to feel thus way for a while. It will pass. We all have to reconcile reality to the limitations of our age.

In any case, do not feel guilty. You have given examples before of times you have done something your mother wanted, then she has changed her mind. Ordering a new bed is one thing, but a trip to Florida is out of sight.
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If I rode 2 blocks in the back of a pickup truck now I'd be in the hospital for a month with pneumonia :-\

I know the feeling of wanting to do that for your mom. I wanted to be able to travel with my dad as well. I wanted to do that for him. But it was just undoable every way I looked at it. I felt bad too but it wasn't like I was laying on the couch all the time, tossing chocolate covered strawberries into my pie-hole and watching soap operas and just being too lazy to care about what my dad wanted. I gave the trip serious consideration, as you have with your mom's trip. We're not saying no because we don't want to be bothered but we recognize our parent's limitations, even when they can't.
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JessieBelle, is this a serious question from you? You are always so logical in your response to other posters!

"If they were close, it would be a no-brainer." But they aren't. If it were a one-hour trip, it would be a worthwhile sacrifice. But it isn't. If Mom could have the pleasure of walking on the beach, it would be nice to give her that happiness. But she can't.

If wishes were horses, beggars could ride.

If Mom didn't have dementia ... if Auntie didn't have dementia ... if either/both of them would truly benefit ...

Read your post as if someone else had written it. What would you advise the poster?
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BTW, I would have ridden in the back of a truck to see Ozzy back then, too. Now I don't think so. :)
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Thank you so much, Eyerish. It sounds like you went through the same logic as I have been doing. If it were a one-hour trip, it would be no problem. But a long road trip is different. One thing that stings me a bit on this is that she didn't do this when she was younger and capable, but now she wants to do it when she can't. Her sister has dementia and mobility problems, so doesn't leave the house except to go to the doctor. I also have a hard time getting my mother out of the house. I am thinking that I can't get her to go in the front yard because she hurts, but she wants to go to Florida.

I have this one side that wants to sacrifice and do things for her. Then I have the other side that counts the difficulties. It is probably my survival side doing this. Thank you, Eyerish. I was feeling selfish, so feel better that maybe I'm not.
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When my dad was alive he wanted to take a trip down south to see his family. He needed me to drive him. We would have had to make the trip in 2 days and my dad was going to spring for a hotel room. One room. For both of us. I told him no way, I needed my own room. I know it sounds creepy, he wasn't creepy, he just didn't see the necessity of having 2 rooms.

First strike.

My dad also had mobility problems. We didn't go very many places where he had to walk a ways because he needed a wheelchair and we didn't have one. All we had was a transfer wheelchair. My dad was a big guy and I couldn't push him in the chair for any length of time myself. He said he'd bring his walker but he needed me with him, holding his arm, in order to walk with a walker.

Strike two.

My dad was frequently incontinent of bowel. While your mom has mobility issues and her trips to the ladies room would take 20 minutes, I had the same issue only with incontinence. It would take me extra time to get things cleaned up plus making sure my car was not ruined.

Strike three.

As much as I wanted to do this for my dad I just couldn't. I know how badly he wanted to get down south but it just was not feasible. He didn't see it that way but he couldn't see things from my side. Caregiving is so hard when we're in our own homes with our own routines and surrounded by things that are familiar. Take the caregiving on the road and everything is totally out of our control.

Do I think you should take your mom on a trip? No. You answered your own question in what you wrote. She wants to walk on the beach but you said she can barely walk around the house. Walking on the beach is a nice thought but not logical. She wants to see her sister but she and her sister hardly speak. It sounds like your mom is trying to recapture something she once had and doesn't realize that it's not there anymore.

When I was 14 I wanted to go see Ozzy Osbourne in concert. I'd have to ride in the back of a pick up truck as there were no seats in the truck that were available. I'd be in the bed of the truck by myself while the truck flew down the highway at 60 mph. Oh, and I had the flu. My parents, of course, said no. I begged and begged, I couldn't understand why they would say no! It seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

Just because something sounds perfectly reasonable to one person doesn't mean that it is perfectly reasonable and caregivers often have to put their foot down.

If it's all about the sister call the sister up and see if she can meet you two halfway for a nice, long lunch.
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