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!
A little stretch of the truth about hubby not feeling up to joining you..and he insisting you go it alone with her. Not exactly a full blown lie. Enjoy whatever you can with her before you can't
Don't give the matter too much thought; just plan to spend some time with mom on holidays, and then let the rest of the mind chatter go. She will get over it, one way or another, as long as YOU are there.
My loved one knew what day it was, and the staff was so scarce that day, he had a sandwich, saying "No one cared".
Even though one of the "events" in the week before was a Thanksgiving for the residents.
I have no advice for you.
Christmas, you can invite other family members to visit her, they can stay at you home or at a nice hotel nearby.
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.
Despite expectations, there is no Law requiring that families gather for Holiday dinners or parties. You can make more appropriate arrangements as circumstances dictate.
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
My sisters have been feuding the last couple of years and both made plans to be out of town for thanksgiving. There won’t be any local family gathering where my mom can be included. I feel bad for her about that. Whatever bond of family amongst my sisters and me and my parents is now gone. It is a shame.
And I sunk to a new depth of selfishness. I decided to spend Thanksgiving with my childhood friend and her family, I did not want my husband to have a crappy Thanksgiving and frankly sitting here in this house on any given day is depressing and it gets magnified for holidays. I’m not happy with myself but I acknowledge I did not want to spend the day with here with her and so I’m not.
I told her that when dad gets back from rehab I will make Thanksgiving dinner for the four of us. That was my way of dealing with my guilt. I am thankful for the caregivers who will be here tomorrow.
Call Mom on the actual days to wish her a nice day & remind about your different-day special visit. (She may/may not remember but you will feel better you called).
I'm flipping this into reverse. If your Husband wanted you to spend time with his Mother, yet (due to Alz behaviours) this caused you much stress. What would you wish your husband to do?
Go see his Mom alone & give you the gift of a drama free holiday? (I would).
If you give this gift to your husband, Mom may be offended? Is that your worry?
Fear. Obligation. Guilt. Is the family "FOG" influencing you?
(I catch myself being wrapped in this more often than I would like 😕. I picture a greyish gloom descending. But recognising it is helps me)
Whether Mom is upset or not in the future is out of your control. Let it go. Enjoy your own special days. Bring the joy for the different-day special days.
I understand that you would probably like his support but wouldn’t it be better to spare both of them the upset of these visits? It’s as unpleasant to think and accuse someone of harming you as it is to be accused, it can’t be good for your mom to get all worked up like that.
* A person with dementia may accuse an/other/s of stealing. THIS IS NOT UNUSUAL. This is part of the cognitive decline / changes in the brain. She can't help it - although being on the receiving end isn't pleasant and at times, intolerable.
* I do not understand your concern about spending quality time with you and your mom, w/o your husband there. A simple "he's busy with work" is enough.
* I would clarify or learn the difference of (1) she is functional and (2) forgetting, blaming others, i.e., stealing. I've had some clients who appear 'very functional.' In fact, if people that didn't know her engaged in conversation, they wouldn't necessarily know (it requires a few interactions to get it/see the pattern).
- I've watched these interactions, somewhat in disbelief. or at the very least, amused and fascinated.
- Be careful not to confuse functional with an ability to go out on her own; i.e., if she gets in a cab, she could have the cab driver (or Uber, etc.) drive her 25-50 miles away . . . and / or start up a conversation going out for coffee or breakfast ... and someone sees how she is and takes advantage of her.
- I wonder / hope there are ... procedures in place to keep her safe while giving her the room / flexibility to do what she can.
* If you want more of a festive environment, invite some of the residents (2-3-4) or even rent a room at the facility and offer a 'group party.'
- There will be several, if not many, residents there w/o family and they will appreciate an invite as much as your mom may (hopefully) enjoy a festive event with some of her neighbors.
- Go to the $1.25 store and get party hats, a tablecloth, etc. If nothing else, decorate her room.
THEN . . . take your lovely quiet husband out for a celebration. You both deserve this quality time together. I (hurt) / feel for him.
Being in this field, I have been through the ringer and back. It is the changing brain that responds, along with fear. It can be overwhelming, even working in this field. Some people with dementia, or in the beginning stages, KNOW their brain isn't working right or how it used to . . . now that I think of it, mine doesn't either (!) (71).
Gena / Touch Matters
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.
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.
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.
Hugs and thank yous were greatly appreciated by all.
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.
Do something with your mom -- just the two of you. And if she starts badmouthing your H, then leave.
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.