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Should You Bring Your Dementia Mom Home For Holidays?

My dementia Mom is living in an assisted living situation right now and it breaks my heart not to bring her home for holidays like Christmas, Mothers Day and Birthdays. Here are some things to consider when thinking about including your loved one in events.

Should You Bring Your Dementia Mom Home For Holidays?

Should You Bring Your Dementia Mom Home?

I have been thinking and thinking about whether we should take Mom (actually my Mother In Law) out of her care home to bring her to my house for Christmas.

I was devastated to think about her there alone when we were gathering for family birthdays and even for Thanksgiving last month.

This got me thinking about whether we should bring her home for Christmas and here are some things I am considering that you might want to think about too as a dementia or Alzheimer caregiver.

Is It Safe?

My very first line of defense for myself was something that I learned in classes when we were going to adopt our kids from foster care.

During the MONTHS of training that we took, one phrase the professionals said kept coming up time and time again… is it a safety issue?

Following that training we are mandatory reporters of children facing unsafe conditions (I even helped one little boy get out of a drug infested hotel and back with his dad, testifying in court about what I saw!)

When I think about Mom and safety, here are a few things that are in our situation:

  • She falls a fair amount and did fall one time during a family function even before she got bad
  • She fell a few weeks ago at the care home and had to be lifted by two people
  • We have 3 dogs, 1 cat, one toddler, two teens and 6 adults coming for Christmas (if no one drags an extra along)
  • She can't get in out and out of cars without a lot of help because of weakness in her legs

So looking at those metrics with a “safety” eye, it is NOT safe to bring a frail, elderly woman here.

Will She Remember

My husband brought this one up and it was a “duh” moment for me… she will not remember coming… sigh.

Let's put on our practical hat and set our heart down for one moment.

While I would love for Mom to come and be here for the holidays, she will not remember a bit of coming, which makes me super sad for her and us.

As it will cause a huge amount of stress for me, my husband and everyone around her which WE WILL remember, I have to put this one down as a no too.

Will It Be “Fun” For Her?

Last but not least, I have to think about what is best for Mom.

She is in a safe and quiet place where there is maximum order. Her meals come at the same time every day. The aides are more a fixture in her daily life than we are now (we go multiple times a week to see her, but this is just a fact at this point).

It is loud and noisy at our house… our two year old grandbaby randomly screams NO, the dogs are barking and running around, someone is always spilling something, it is just crazy.

If you have been a dementia caregiver for any amount of time, you will know that that having order and stability is the most important thing to keeping your loved one content as she can be.

I remember taking her to the doctor early in the process and having her lose so much memory, as well as being stressed and asking questions about it over and over again.

If just she and I going in a car to place that she was familiar with and was quiet was harmful to her then, I KNOW that coming here will not be a good experience for her now.

Bringing Your Mom Home For The Holidays Wrapup

I am so sorry you are reading this, because it means you are in the same place that I am in right now.

I want Mom here for my own selfish reasons and having to choose to leave her at the care home is hard both mentally and emotionally.

But maybe these questions I have asked have shown you that you might want to bring your Mom home to get some more pictures of her with her loved ones.

Maybe your Mom has more memory left and will be able to remember that she was included and that will make her happy.

Either way, I KNOW you will what is best for her and don't you dare take that to mean that you don't love her or want her to be with you!



Wednesday 4th of January 2023

Tara, this is the first time I noticed you have dementia caregiver posts. I am caregiver for my dad who has Alzheimer’s. In scrolling through, most of your posts are things I have dealt with with my dad, who also has very serious heart problems, and GERD/swallowing problems, has had a stroke and broken neck. Falls and all the rest are regular occurrences.

We finally convinced him to move out of his 3 level house, where he lived alone and wouldn’t keep a regular housekeeper, or let them actually clean, 1 1/2 years ago. (To him now, we “sold his house out from under him”, even though all the money is in his bank account.)

We were able to get him into a private apartment with Assisted Living help. He hasn’t let others help him, he doesn’t “want or need it”. He’s been an abusive, controlling and manipulative man all his life, so that makes it harder, since he’s never been reasonable or let anyone know what’s going on.

Just before Thanksgiving, after several falls within a few days and greatly increased mental decline he was in the hospital for a week over Thanksgiving. They would only release him to nursing home. Thankfully, at the last minute a bed opened at the facility his apartment had been at. (Or it would have been 40 miles away.)

He didn’t take it as badly as when the place had tried to get him to move over there 6 months ago, due to his (denied) need, but also he doesn’t get that this is his new permanent home.

We did bring him to my house for Christmas dinner (a couple hours) with my family (27 of my kids and grands), but it was quite difficult, since he’s in a wheelchair full time now. (Thankful for big strong sons and sons in law that could carry him up my steps in the wheelchair, as well as transfer him in and out of my car.) We knew this would be the last holiday he could spend with us, even if he does make it to the next one, it’s doubtful we’ll attempt it again. He had to go to ER again New Years Eve (that wasn’t where I’d planned to ring in my new year.) 😀

Thankfully he did have POAs written into his will years ago, but now I’m having to do the work of enacting them, without him really knowing. He can’t do, but doesn’t want anyone else doing and “controlling his life.” He doesn’t cooperate with therapies, because he “knows more than they do” and they’re “just trying to boss him around.” He was driving up until about 4 months ago. He told my sister we’ll get his keys when we pry them out if his cold dead hands. And yelled at the neurologist after Thanksgiving for assuming he didn’t drive. (Thankfully the wheelchair and nursing home have made it impossible for him to try to leave and drive now. (And I have the keys.)

I agree, caregiver PTSD is real. Thankfully, I learned to heal from CPTSD through my divorce, and can put all those healing tools to work with my dad’s issues now. To set boundaries, take care of my own health/self-care, — and to create, as a stress reducer!

Godspeed on your journey, in dealing with this. I’m glad you have a close, loving relationship with your mom in law.

It is fine if you don’t want to publish this and just read it for yourself.