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Elderly in Care Home on Christmas Day - WWYD

(54 Posts)
LizzieMacQueen Wed 09-Dec-15 08:15:11

I'm looking for a bit of advice from you who may have grandparents in care homes.

My DH mother has dementia but not at a level that she's oblivious to Christmas however she is unable to stay over with us because of incontinence and other issues.

Having her with us on Christmas Day involves her being collected/returned approx 50 miles away. Including settling in/picking up and time in the car, the total time out of our day is around 5 hours. I think this is too much time out as well as meaning no alcohol with lunch. She flat out refuses to use a taxi.

As an alternative I was going to suggest DH take the children to visit her on Christmas morning but how long a visit would be enough do you think?
What I'm trying to weigh up is what is the least worst option.

Kids are 16, 14 and 12.

DH says he is happy to not drink, he doesn't mind the drive. It's just me, I don't want to be the only one drinking and then be left tending the fire and loading the dishwasher when he takes her home.


KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Wed 09-Dec-15 08:21:18

Why can't you load the dishwasher alone?

I think you should have her for Christmas.


LizzieMacQueen Wed 09-Dec-15 08:27:10

Oh I can with the children but it's just having the drive back hanging over us.

I did think to offer to do the drive back myself. I can then open the champagne at night.

kelda Wed 09-Dec-15 08:27:31

If she is not used to visiting you, then it might not be such a good idea - it could be more distressing and tiring for her, especially with a long car journey. That does depend on her level of dementia.

Ultimately I think it is your dh's decision. If he does decide to visit her rather then have her at your house, then it should be for as long as possible. It is very important that families are together at Christmas and elderly relatives are not forgotten.

ggirl Wed 09-Dec-15 08:31:10

Has she and is she able to make the decision where she wants to be at xmas. I know some elderly with dementia don't cope well with change but she may want to come and stay?

Crack open the booze after you've taken her back I think ..if she wants to come.

rainysunnyday Wed 09-Dec-15 08:35:27

I sense it's quite important to your husband to have her there. I think that means a bit more than the issue of you feeling comfortable drinking. The kids could help you with the dishwasher if need be.

LizzieMacQueen Wed 09-Dec-15 08:35:28

I think they'll visit for an hour or so on the day and I would need to check timings with the Care Home. Santa visits in the morning, there are carols planned and I suppose they'll eat quite early.

But yes, I agree Kelda, it is DH's choice but I imagine he'll choose to have her with us as he says he doesn't mind the drive, won't miss the drink, and it allows the children to stay home.

jazzandh Wed 09-Dec-15 08:39:57

Driving Christmas Evening is always lovely - no-one else about. I always used to volunteer.....

Ripeningapples Wed 09-Dec-15 08:43:02

I'm surprised you have to ask. How many of her best years did she dedicate to her own children? And now one of their spouses would rather she was all alone at Christmas for the sake if having a drinking partner and being left to do the washing up. Surely you can have a drink together on Boxing Day and the day after - after all neither you nor your DH are old or incontinent.

You have her this year and give her a jolly nice time showing also your own children how people should be respected and cared for. It might be a helpful skill for them to have when you can't help but pee your pants or remember if it's lunchtime.

Next year you book a cottage near the care home and have her on boxing day as well
. That makes life easier for all concerned.

potap123 Wed 09-Dec-15 08:43:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marmaladegranny Wed 09-Dec-15 08:45:23

I've had both my DM and DH in Care Homes at Christmas at different times. Neither of them could have coped with the change of location of coming home for Christmas lunch. With DM the plan I found worked best was me taking the children to visit mid morning and staying until residents were settled in the dining room for their lunch. Quick dash home and Christmas 'lunch' accompanied by fizz 3 - 4pm.
With DH we tried going after lunch but found that the care home's Christmas Day pattern had changed from DM's days (they lived in same care home but several years apart) and it was an awful visit and so sad his last Christmas is not a happy memory.
Talk to the care home and be guided by them- they know their Christmas timetable and also how those with dementia cope with the changes.

JeffreysMummyIsCross Wed 09-Dec-15 08:46:47

Is it really such a hardship to load the dishwasher and tend the fire? This wouldn't even feature on my list of considerations.

But I agree with what ggirl says. The last time we brought my MIL to ours when she was at a similar stage with dementia she got quite agitated about wanting to go back to the home pretty much as soon as she got to our house.

slicedfinger Wed 09-Dec-15 08:47:17

The Christmas we busted my DM out of hospital for the day is one of my nicest memories of a horrible time. She wasn't an easy or even nice person to be around, but as PP said, living the decent thing is important for the whole family.

SheSparkles Wed 09-Dec-15 08:53:40

Speaking as one whose mother died of Alzheimer's, it may be that the best option for your MIL (she's the one who's most important in this, not your dh), would be for dh and the children to visit her.
A 100 mile round trip is a huge undertaking for someone with mum's last visit to our house (5 mins from nursing home) was when it took me an hour to get her into the car-she couldn't comprehend what she needed to do to get into the car.
My mum had continence issues too, how is dh going to deal with that. My mum absolutely resisted us dealing with her toileting, but was very happy for the home staff to deal with it....does dh want his children to witness granny being upset in your home if this were the case with MIL?
It's very hard, but your MIL is going to have a more peaceful and settled day in her home, where staff are on hand to deal with all the horrible parts of caring for MIL, whilst dh and the children can have the hugs and nice parts of the time they spend with her.
Feel free to PM me-I know how difficult it is

LizzieMacQueen Wed 09-Dec-15 09:01:36

Thanks for all the varying replies. I will take the time to read them all.

Absolutely she is the important one and I'm coming to the conclusion that I will drive her home. I don't drink usually but do look forward to some bubbles on Christmas Day. I will just delay that until the evening.

I will also speak to the manager in her home in case she recommends that the visit is inadvisable.

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Wed 09-Dec-15 09:06:13

If your DH is happy to not drink, and says he doesn't mind driving, why are you coming to the conclusion that you will drive her home?

How much hard work is tending the fire and loading the dishwasher?

Are you determined to be a bit of a martyr about it all, whichever way it pans out?

LizzieMacQueen Wed 09-Dec-15 09:15:16

Okay sorry shouldn't have mentioned the dishwasher - it's not really about the dishwasher or the fire.

I was saying I'd drive her just so he doesn't have both legs to do.

You might be right about me being a martyr..... I just don't know what to do.

liquidrevolution Wed 09-Dec-15 10:03:50

I used to work Christmas day in a care home. The residents all had to go to bed after the main lunch due to the large amount of food and alcohol. Apart from one lady who used to invite everyone back to her room for a party grin.

I think a morning visit is appropriate and actually may be good for a dementia patient as being taken out when there is a lot going on can be quite confusing for them.

Stillunexpected Wed 09-Dec-15 10:12:37

I think before you make any plans you really need to speak to the care home. Have you established that your DH's mother is capable of making this journey? It's not clear if she has done it in the past but even so, if her dementia is advancing, it could be incredibly distressing for her to be forced out on a trip if she doesn't understand what is going on. I think that has to be the over-riding factor in deciding what to do.

kelda Wed 09-Dec-15 10:13:41

Your dh shouldn't do anything out of guilt. It really might not be appropriate for her to have two long journeys. It should be what's best for her, and a morning visit seems like a good compromise.

jelliebelly Wed 09-Dec-15 10:22:56

Speak to the care home and see what their plans are and whether they think she is up to the journey. Most care homes make s real fuss about Christmas so she might not want to miss out . No surprise dh thinks she ought to come home but he needs to think of the practicalities.

Wolpertinger Wed 09-Dec-15 10:24:51

Things I think you need to consider are:

How well does she cope with change? Will she actually just find the Christmas visit exhausting and stressful - if it's not clear, is there time for a trial run?

How much does she appreciate visitors? Does she still recognize all of you/just DH/none of you?

What is the home planning for Christmas? - They will likely have their own dinner, carols etc plus ability for people to go back to their rooms if it all gets too much. Your MIL won't have that facility at your house - plus how much personal care/mobility help does she need? Will she let you do it or will she only let the carers?

What you decide should be based on what is right for her given her condition right now - not memories of how she was a few years ago or guilt about not doing enough. The right answer may be Christmas morning visit or visit on another day (or more than one visit) around Christmas.

maryann1975 Wed 09-Dec-15 20:55:27

We are doing exactly this for my grandparents. Collecting my nan with dementia from the care home, collecting grandad from their home and driving 70 miles to my parents home for lunch/a few hours. Then taking them back. It's the only place we can take hem too so we can all be together (can't go to their house as to many issues with her not wanting to leave it at the end of the day).
We don't know how many more christmas's we have left with my GPs, I would hate to think their last christmas was without us. (I also know that christmas in the care home would be lovely, but to my nan, even now, the most important thing to her, is her family and us all being together).

maryann1975 Wed 09-Dec-15 20:58:50

I also think it's really sad that you are even thinking about alcohol and having a drink with your lunch while deciding if you should bring an elderly family member into your home on Christmas Day. I'm guessing she gave up an awful lot to raise her children back in the day.
I would hate to think my future grandchildren put a bottle of champagne before spending Christmas day with me. That is so sad.

dementedma Wed 09-Dec-15 21:05:14

First year that dad is in a care home. Bringing him out will cause him huge stress and upset as once he's out, he doesn't want to go back. Plus he is incontinent and will be very confused by the change in surroundings. I don't know how to do it. I think I will visit on Christmas Eve in the afternoon and not go on Christmas Day. ( back story- mum and dad have been separated for years so I never usually saw him on Christmas day anyway)

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