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Christmas

(17 Posts)
CMOTDibbler Tue 25-Nov-14 18:36:22

I finally decided with dh what we are doing about my parents this year, and I'm sure its the best all round, but yet I still feel some guilt. Anyone else trying to decide for the best?

We're combing both sets of parents (who live nowhere near each other) into one day of driving on Boxing day, as mine can't cope with having us in the house for more than a few hours, and we don't want to be at PIL for more than a few hours (they like the whole family round for the whole day, but as ds is 8, and next nearest in age is 18 it doesn't work now).

I doubt my brother, who will be with his ILs for a week, 20 mins from my parents will feel any guilt though, and may pop in for 15 minutes one day. Sigh.

holeinmyheart Wed 26-Nov-14 12:39:05

AW, The easiest thing is for you to give up feeling guilty. You are going to run around like a scalded cat all Boxing Day, you are going to stress yourself out, probably not enjoy it much either, so why should you feel guilty ?
You can't please everyone and if any body complains.... Well that is their problem isn't it? You are doing your best.
Even after all your efforts maybe no-one will be happy. If you stayed in your own cosy home at least that would mean 50% of you would be happy.
I would listen to what my DH says. They seem to suffer less guilt. In fact my DH would hardly notice if Christmas disappeared. Without Input from women, it probably would.
Go with your heart and DONT feel guilty.

whataboutbob Wed 26-Nov-14 13:40:18

CMOT- Hope your parents and ILs all enjoy being combed on Boxing day!
(boom boom).
I hope it works out and seems the best given the circumstances.
I have decided to go to Dad's on Christmas eve and stay till boxing day. DH does not want to come and I do not blame him one bit. So he'll have Christmas with the boys and will come and pick me up on boxing day.
Really not looking forward to this one bit and wonder what kind of sleep I'll get there (I don't actually know if Dad is up half the night, bro is very cagey with bad news because he's scared Dad will have to go to a care home). But basically the thought of bro alone with Dad on Christmas day was just too sad. He was relieved when i told him.
I don't like Christmas (there, I've said it). Seems like one big stress fest to me, with a massive icing of out of control commercialisation. Also, mum died on a 16th of december and was buried on the 22nd so really I am just very relieved come January.

CMOTDibbler Wed 26-Nov-14 18:56:32

Bob, that sounds like it was a really hard decision to make, but hopefully at least your brother will enjoy your company.
Maybe try some wax earplugs to take the noise out of your dads wanderings?

Holeinmyheart - my dad was pitifully grateful that we are seeing them, and MIL will throw her toys out of the basket! But since all the ILs (2xBIL, 1xSIL, PIL and 5 DNs) pushed off to the pub for two hours last year leaving me and ds sat in their house, I feel no guilt about them.
Its just the thought of dad sat there on christmas day, coaching mum through eating her meal on his own that tugs at me sad

whataboutbob Wed 26-Nov-14 19:25:11

Too right CMOT don't feel guilty re ILs. You are putting everyone else before yourself. Maybe the guilt is only vis a vis DH anyway? DH asked his Ps if he could go to theirs with the boys and they said no!

whataboutbob Wed 26-Nov-14 19:26:10

PS I am a big fan of earplugs, that is a good idea. Nothing to stop him shuffling around the living room though, that's where i'll be sleeping.

twentyten Wed 26-Nov-14 22:05:59

That sounds so tough. Think about what will be a treat for you too. So very hard.

holeinmyheart Thu 27-Nov-14 06:16:49

We all have to grit our teeth and do something for others. You are a kind person CMOT, soft hearted like me. Luckily I had lots of children so we didn't have a tradition of going to the PIL or my parents for Christmas but on occasion we have hosted everyone. This year all my children and partners and GC are coming here because of the size of my house.
When my DM died my DF either came to us or my sister or brother. Often my DS went abroad at Christmas as her GC were there. My DF was toxic and he made our Christmas's as miserable as he could. He is dead now and we are just going to visit the PIL briefly before Christmas.
However, it doesn't last long and I am determined to enjoy it. It is great to just have my own immediate family etc at home. It will be chaos but they are such ' fun' and young people are so full of life. One of my DIL has already asked that we all do something daft. I am determined to look on the bright side and enjoy myself. That is all you can do really. Xxx

Needmoresleep Thu 27-Nov-14 10:31:08

CMOT. Don't waste energy on feeling guilty.

Increasingly I am finding that less is more. My mother can manage about an hour. Ideally in a cafe with lots of people, especially dogs and children, walking past. Anything more, and she starts to flag or need to use the toilet.

The same will go for children. A shorter visit to their Grandparents will allow them to be made a fuss of, and for everyone to catch up. Otherwise time will drag, they will get bored, and you will be on edge. They will be the last to remember the grandparents. Indeed I had a great day yesterday with my cousin piecing together snippets of memory about our grandparents and extended family, with new appreciation of the very different world they came from. So keep it short, and do get the in-laws talking about their own childhoods. We as children often have relatively little curiosity about our parents, until it is effectively too late. Plus it should make the time pass quicker.

(One silver lining about my mums dementia is that she now talks about some extraordinary things, which I have never previously realised.)

PingPongBat Thu 27-Nov-14 21:20:11

We've got PILs coming for about 5 days (argh) and will be spending some time in the morning at my parents house for mince pies & bubbly, with possibly another visit on Boxing Day, depends on what my middle brother is doing (he's divorced and spends Christmas Day with his ex & their 3 boys).

I'd wanted mum & dad to come to us like they did last year, but mum says she can't come as she needs to be able to lie down a lot, and can't climb stairs, so as there are no downstairs bedrooms she's ruled out coming here. Mum told me a few weeks ago that we should go to the PILs (200 miles away) and leave them here, that they would be fine on their own (traditionally we've spent one Christmas here, one at PILs, while my parents had the day with my eldest brother, but he's abroad now so no longer practical). I was appalled and told them absolutely no way, this could be her last Christmas and I'm going to make bloody sure she and dad see as much of us as possible.

CMOT please try not to feel guilty. It sounds like you are doing your very best to keep everyone happy, and your own family has to be top of your list. Why is it the men never seem to feel any guilt about this sort of thing...

freddiethegreat Sun 21-Dec-14 23:40:21

I am sitting waiting for news of my grandmother from the hospital. Following a car accident & broken wrist/mild concussion earlier this week, she has now fallen this evening and is at the hospital with my mother and aunt. So she is clearly not fit to spend her Christmas in her own home as she wanted, with Christmas Day at the convent where she volunteers. Quite how that will pan out is going to be an interesting convo tomorrow. My mother was due to come here (300 miles away), I don't think my DS (SEN - not ASC, but think that kind of thing) will cope with heading up there at short notice. Grandmother is welcome to come here, but clearly unfit to travel. Aunt is due to go to my cousin & his family in the Baltics. I guess either my mother or my aunt is going to have to forgo seeing their children/grandchildren over Cmas. I see family fireworks on the horizon . . .

Needmoresleep Mon 22-Dec-14 09:05:00

Poor Freddie.

This was us a couple of years ago. Fall, broken hip, hospital discharge on Christmas eve with two days notice. Our solution was expensive respite care in a posh nursing home, to give time till a better solution could be found. In my mum's case it was a long awaited crisis and a chance to get her out of her home, where she was not longer coping, but on its own it worked well. My mum had the nursing care she needed, good food when she needed building up, time for recovery, plus lots of jolly celebrations. It was very much like a posh hotel. Indeed there was another lady there for 10 days as a Christmas treat paid for by a relative, as a break from coping on her own in sheltered housing. If there is rainy day money, this might be a solution and help speed up her recovery. If she is not feeling well she might find a version of family Christmas stressful anyway. You or other relatives or her friends can visit after the big day.

I am lucky. My mother never was particularly interested in seeing family on Christmas day. Instead she will make the most of whatever is available at the Church and at her sheltered housing, and we will go down over New Year. That way she gets the most from the festive season.

Theas18 Wed 24-Dec-14 23:56:00

Gosh. Lots of us having a difficult time this xmas.

I'm so very torn as to what I could/should/ realistically am able to do.

Mum is in hospital 90 mins drive east of here, she went off her legs and was admitted, dad is in respite (that goodness they had a bed where he's been before) .

Normally my parents have a time with us before xmas and we spend time with in laws 25th on.

So tomorrow the kids and dH are off to in laws. I shall go to see mum ( torn about seeing dad, he'll be miserable and it might delay settling in) and then down in laws to meet up if mums stable. All this in a hired car as DH car died this week, properly.

Then who knows? Back to mum Saturday I dunno.

I have time off work next week. This has happened almost every time ive been off work since easter. Not mums fault. She can't stay well for more than 6 weeks.

CMOTDibbler Sat 27-Dec-14 09:15:18

How did it all go Theas?

I've been thinking of everyone on the elderly parents board this week - all those jolly TV images of happy families and delightful grannies is hard to see.

It worked out OK for us - I redressed my dads leg, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, then we went out for lunch. Mum was really very vague as to who we might be, and for the first time, she was just really blank iykwim.

Getting to the ILs at 3 meant at least they had all been to the pub, and some of the cousins needed to leave at 6.30, so it was mercifully short.

Theas18 Sat 27-Dec-14 10:20:58

CMOT. Xmas day was really quite ok. Had a bit if xmas at home the off to see mum and an exciting drive through central London ( had enough motorway by then and it must gave been less busy than usual!) to in laws Dinner was saved for me too.

Foolishly went out to friends last night and had a nice time incl booze, to be woken at 1.40 by the home telling me dad had a fall and I needed to meet him at A&E. They clearly thought I was callous as I said I couldn't do that.not sure what it would have changed anyways. He isn't hurt but is being treated for a respiratory infection ...

Spoke to mum. I'm going to stay here and try to enjoy my london theatre xmas treat and go back tomorrow. Fingers and toes all crossed!

whataboutbob Sat 27-Dec-14 16:24:30

I agree CMOT the relentless commercial christmas propaganda does not help. But then you have to remember that even without dependent elderly parents, not everyone has a great time. Dad seemed pleased to see me, did not have much concept of Christmas, wanted to do his usual stuff (walk into town, try and get into other people's homes and cars, keep running the bath and get in, often only half undressed). And his home! I think it is beyond salvaging, or rather will one day need to be entirely gutted. Everything in it is broken, or irredeemably dirty, or completely out of date and now useless. I spent about 4 hours with the sugar soap gun scrubbing down a decade of grime on doors and walls. Scraped s..t off the toilet wall, etc. Bro looked mildly pleased but really doesn't care about squalor, it's sad. It seems my parents just simply did not teach him any life skills. But maybe his mental illness has just negated whatever work they did with him.
One nice thing we managed to do is go to choral evensong at Dad's local cathedral on Christmas day. It was beautiful. i let a cathedral official know in advance that Dad has dementia and so they were understanding and helpful when Dad walked off half way through and needed some assistance on the stairs.
I feel Dad is getting closer to the point of needing residential care. Maybe 2015 will be the year.

PingPongBat Wed 31-Dec-14 15:32:11

We managed to get Mum here for an hour and a half on Xmas day, we weren’t sure if she was going to make it until about an hour beforehand. She’d hurt her back again a few days earlier & is now practically confined to bed, like she was in the summer. On top of that her immune system is very weak, so with colds everywhere in our house we thought it wasn’t going to happen. The idea of my parents being on their own on Xmas day was hard for me to accept, I was so relieved & pleased they came. She looked so tired and thin though. Dad cried when I dropped them home after lunch (relief as much as anything else, I think) & Mum was asleep within minutes.

In contrast we couldn’t wait to see the PILs leave – they’d been here for a week which is just far too long. FIL is just one of the most annoying people on the planet, so I spent much of the week hiding in the kitchen & our bedroom. DCs had a good time I think, although DS(15) has been in his room for 2 days looking glum & doesn't appear to be eating anything apart from cereal & bagels hmm

Pleased to hear your Xmas was OK Theas. CMOT and bob you seem to have spent a lot of Xmas day cleaning – I hope you both had some more relaxing, enjoyable moments too!

Happy New Year to everyone smile wine

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