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Hi all. I am wondering how to handle this and am sure some of you face the same issue. My husband has refused to spend another holiday with my Mom, whose Alzheimer's has caused her to accuse him of stealing from her, to yell at him, and other unpleasant things. She is in Assisted Living and I am the only family member in the state, and the only one who visits her. She is very functional in many ways but her memory is so poor she will probably not be very aware of whether the holiday has come and gone. We accepted a neighbor's invitation for Thanksgiving, and we are going out of town by ourselves for a few days at Christmas. Mom has mentioned the holidays and Christmas shopping, but I can't figure out how to have any kind of event with just her and myself that wouldn't make it painfully clear that my husband is not there and that there is no festive dinner or party. Asking my husband to have a "second Christmas" in January with her would be like a bait-and-switch for him; he is a quiet person who is really looking forward to a holiday with no drama this year. What do I do? Whatever I do, I realize that she will likely have forgotten the holiday season entirely within a couple of weeks. But I want to avoid pain in the moment for her and so when she brings it up, I just say, oh, it's weeks away!

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You are overthinking this. Your husband has other plans, and cannot make it, that is the answer.

Take her out for a nice lunch or if that is not doable, bring a lunch in.

Her pain in the moment is just that for a moment.

Your husband is your priority he deserves a drama free Holiday Season.
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Reply to MeDolly
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Continue the plans you have.
Have a nice lunch with mom. Either take her out if it is still safe to do so (and you want to take her out)
Make a day of it if you wish. Start with some shopping and a nice lunch.
Many people with dementia though do not do well with crowds and lots of noise and lights so keep that in mind.
If she asks about your husband, and she probably won't just tell her he had previous plans (you don't have to say anything more than that) If she starts in on you about him (if she does that) just ignore it or cut your day short.
I would not even mention that you will be going away for Christmas.
See her when you get back.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Another vote for having an alternate holiday with her. My MIL is in a LTC facility close to my home. We've tried going to visit her on actual holidays but now my kids have demands on their time for the holidays, it just adds to the stress so we plan a holiday in advance or aferwards -- whatever works in our schedule. She is just as happy to see people whenever they come. Even people without this challenge celebrate a week ahead or after. Be flexible!
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Reply to Geaton777
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I would honor my husband, who will remember his hurt feelings longer then a couple days.

Alzheimers and dementia are no excuse to subject someone to abuse. That's what she does and he doesn't deserve it.

I get her brain is broken and she can't help herself but, she isn't the only one that matters.

Find out what the AL has planned and see if you can work it into your schedule with the plans you and your husband have. If not, the AL will make sure she has holidays.

Send a wreath and go have a drama free holiday, you will find it is the most addicting thing you will ever do. Speaking from a position of knowledge, 20+ years of drama free holidays and love each one.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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The facility will have Holiday meals there. Usually a few days before the actual holiday. You can join her then. Take her gifts with you. She will have no idea if its the real holiday or not. I agree about taking her shopping and lunch. She probably will not want to stay out long. She may go into a store, by one thing and be ready to go.

It comes down to, its you who want to continue giving her the holiday. She will have no idea if its the 25th of December or not. Say nothing about being invited out. If she asks about TG just say you have chosen not to have it this year. If she mentions Christmas, again have chosen not to have anything big this year. Not sure of your age but could say just getting too old. Me, I have lasagna Xmas day.

Your first priority is to your husband. He is entitled to a nice quiet holiday with his wife. Life is short so enjoy every moment you can have with each other. Mom is OK.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Isthisrealyreal Nov 19, 2022
I enjoyed these meals with my loved ones, it gives you a chance to mingle with the people caring for and living with your loved ones.

Hugs and thank yous were greatly appreciated by all.
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This is my first year cut off from my parents. They live, 10 minutes away, with my youngest sister, who never left their home, 14 years younger, and two sisters in between. Our caregiving sister has never wanted anyone, our parents expectations as well, BUT herself for the job. Will not allow hands on help cause mom is not comfortable. With anyone else. She’s going on year four, of mom being immobile and incontinent, both are overweight, and refusing hands on help.

I reread a piece of advice on here, maybe, that was asking about how to handle the holidays, and a very wise person answered that Thanksgiving and Christmas are just like any other day, for our elders whose memories are truly gone. If your mom will not truly know for sure, just skip over the holidays!!! Do not bring it up, distract her from the subject, however you can.

Honor your husband’s wishes, and have a special time to yourselves, knowing your mom is being taken care of, safe. My husband has gone through eight years, of my parent’s poor health, listening to me, and helping me thru it all. Helping everyone in my family, with stuff like property maintenance for cabin, moving them out of huge split level home, etc.. He knows my families dysfunction. But HE comes FIRST, not my parents. We got 42 years together, his family is a mess too, mom with Alzheimer’s, eight adopted siblings that do not communicate.

So we are each other’s sanity, and we were NOT in control of any decisions made by our siblings and our parents, so this holiday season, my boundary is that unless my caregiving sister can say one nice thing to me, answer my text/emails, I will continue to say nothing to her, personally. She knows what she did, said, and that it’s time to give me some of the grace she’s enjoyed. I ignored bad treatment, for too long, and it was not wise.

I am still making sure they feel my love, and care, am dropping a care package of food they love, a Hallmark flower card, telling them I am grateful for them, on their front porch. I’m bending for my sis, again, reaching out, and just saying the treat bag is on porch, love you all. If no answer, no call, (she must do it for them), then I will relax, breathe, and know I’m trying. This is what she asked us to do, exactly, I hope she will reach out to me. After this, I’m drifting away, and feel that is her wish, too.

I reread all my posts on here last night, sad, depressed, hopeless, and want you to know how much I appreciate your wisdom, most everyone tbh, sharing what hurts so much, trying to help others, like AA, the first hand that reached out, to me decades ago. I’m going to focus on my family, husband, kids, dog, and be ok. The holidays stopped being a “thing” long ago, but at least we saw each other at their home, simple visit, no meal or fuss. No more. Things changed, I’m adapting, good luck to you! Please do not feel guilty, cause it doesn’t help, but it’s hard to get off our back, I know from trying.
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Reply to Odaat59
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Odaat59 Nov 22, 2022
P.S. I should add that my parents memories are NOT gone. The dementia is present, but poor health care is still the biggest problem. That’s why it hurts so much. They are losing themselves, but still know who I am. Take care, and I apologize if this was too much me. This season feels heavy, but always hopeful. I’m so sorry for all the caregivers who would welcome help, and have none.
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I agree with Grandma. Husband gets the holiday he wants. He should not be subjected to accusations. If mom can handle it take her out shopping. On a separate day take her for lunch and presents. I learned you can't pack too much in with an elder. This way she has two outing to look forward to.
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Reply to lkdrymom
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Great ideas posted below.

Do something with your mom -- just the two of you. And if she starts badmouthing your H, then leave.
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Reply to CTTN55
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Holidays create all types of confusion such as; who are you going to spend it with, how long, and where . Since your husband is not comfortable with visiting your mother because of her ongoing accusations and being yelled at, I wouldn't try to include him in anymore visits. It doesn't matter if you visit before or after the holidays. Try to get some quality time in with your husband and focus on your marriage.

Facilities will host festive gatherings for their residents that are quite enjoyable for them. There will be food, sweets, and maybe services depending upon the facility. Your mother will be fine.

Don't let the guilt and worry get to you. I know it is hard during this time of the year for many. Just do the best you can. Whatever you do, don't tire yourself out and get adequate rest.

(((Hugs))) from Scampie
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Reply to Scampie1
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Celebrate early by bringing her gift and a brunch. Tomorrow I am making Mom quiche, fruit, scrapple and a mimosa. My husband and I bring it over and I feed my Mom, we will watch the parade in tv and then we will have a quiet dinner together. In your case let your husband have a quiet morning alone.

it is hard to balance the holidays without guilt snd also to allow ourselves to have family time alone. I hope you take time for you and your husband. She will be in good hands.
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Reply to Grandmaofeight
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