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Christmas with mil with dementia - wwyd?

(13 Posts)
CocktailQueen Mon 23-Sep-13 20:59:59

My mil has recently been diagnosed w Alzheimer's. She lives alone with my dh visiting every week and ringing every day. We are 2 hrs away. She recently came to us for the weekend and stayed overnight - disaster. She was v confused, couldn't remember where the bathroom was, or the light, didn't get changed at night time, wandered around. Now we are trying to think about Xmas - what to do, when to see her, how to make it ok for the kids too. If it is going to be too hard for her to be here overnight, should we try it again or not? Her house is not big enough for us to go there for Xmas. Help, please. We want to do the right thing and the best thing for her but also for us to enjoy Xmas as well.

bonzo77 Mon 23-Sep-13 21:01:40

Nightmare situation. Which will get worse. Can you stay in a hotel near her?

How hard for you all sad

I'm going to say something that sounds selfish and will probably get me flamed.

Stay home and have your Christmas Day without her. Go round to see her and 'take Christmas with you' on Boxing Day, maybe book into a hotel nearby for the night. It sounds as if she will be none the wiser as to which day Christmas actually is.

I wouldn't bring her to yours any more. She is confused enough and needs to be surrounded with familiarity and routine as far as possible.

There have been many threads about situations like yours, and a book/ethos called Contented Dementia crops up often.


Needmoresleep Mon 23-Sep-13 22:40:25

No flaming. We all struggle to do the right thing.

She probably works best if there is routine and consistency. So her place not yours. I agree with married. Make a good excuse - one she can accept, about why you cant go down on Christmas day itself and then find a b&b or whatever and stay overnight sometime during the following week. Both she and you are likely to enjoy more being in familiar surroundings.

pudcat Tue 24-Sep-13 07:34:53

I agree, your mil needs continuity and familiar surroundings. I would treat Christmas Day as a normal day for her. Ring her as normal and visit as normal. Try to enjoy Christmas Day for your children, and then visit on your normal day. Your mil is not going to know any different. So please do not feel guilty that you cannot include her on the day.

CocktailQueen Tue 24-Sep-13 08:54:36

The problem is, she has nobody else- no other family who will visit, no local friends. And I feel guilty whatever we do.

pudcat Tue 24-Sep-13 09:04:02

Guilt is a horrible feeling isn't it. I still fell guilty that I cannot look after my Mum. I tried but I had to let her go into a care home 7 years ago, and now a Nursing home. Guilt does not go away, but it lessens somewhat. I cry when I get back in the car every time I visit my Mum. I still thin you would be best to stick to your routine for phoning and visiting. If you change it and make a big thing out of Christmas for her then she will be even more confused and agitated. She will not understand what is happening and maybe will become frightened.

sydlexic Tue 24-Sep-13 09:15:55

Could you collect her in the morning and take her home in the evening. My MIL has Alzheimer's and I know I could not celebrate Christmas if she was left on her own.

If she does stay then guide her to her room, leave her nightie on the bed, leave bathroom door open so she knows where it is.

My Mum has Alzheimers and my Dad has inoperable terminal oral cancer. In March he was given no more than a few weeks. They are both staying alive to look after each other - which makes me feel heartbroken and, at the same time, very proud of their spirit and love for each other.

They always come to us for Christmas dinner. BUT when Dad was recently in hospital Mum stayed at mine and was exactly like you describe your Mum. After that night she said she was staying at home and she was 100% better.

Mum & Dad have carers twice a day. I think I am going to take 'Christmas' down to them but I am lucky in the fact that they only live about a 15 minute drive away.

My whole life, at the moment, is filled with guilt and despair and not knowing how to make their situation better.

I am with others, on this thread, I think you should take Christmas to her on Boxing Day. I do, however, realise how hard things are for all of you at the moment and how you feel you cant do right for doing wrong xxx

PostBellumBugsy Tue 24-Sep-13 09:28:03

Another vote for taking Christmas to her on either Xmas Eve or Boxing Day. Staying at yours would only make her worse, as the change in surroundings will confuse.

CocktailQueen Tue 24-Sep-13 14:00:25

Thanks all. As I said, she's 2 hours away so taking her to us for the day would mean 8 hours in the car. Not ideal!!!!

CocktailQueen Tue 24-Sep-13 14:00:49

Shabba -I'm so sorry. Lots of hugs to you. Sounds like a horrendous situation. xx

CMOTDibbler Wed 25-Sep-13 21:56:53

Last year, we took christmas to my parents. We had everything pre prepared and drove down (hour and a half) to them, cooked it, ate, spent an hour or so more) and went home. It was a lot of time in the car, but I couldn't think of dad not having a nice meal (nothing fancy though as mum would spit anything unfamiliar).

No way would my mum cope with coming to us. If it was just her, and she wasn't aware of what day it was, I wouldn't go tbh

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