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Etiquette

Inviting Grandma with Alzheimer's?

Hi Knotties, I have a question about elderly family members. My grandmother (my dad's mom) has alzheimer's or dementia, possibly both. Sometimes she thinks I am my older sister when I visit, but when reminded, she sometimes knows me and even remembers my fiance a little bit. But sometimes she is just very stuck in the past and is mostly just stressed out about one thing or another.

There is also an increasing language barrier because she is Japanese, and while she has long forgotten most of the language, she is also having more and more trouble with communicating in English as well. She gets easily disoriented and has been living in a nursing home for the last two years, her husband having left her and my dad decades ago, and my family no longer able to care for her full-time.

I love her very much. But I just don't know if her attendance at our wedding ceremony or reception would be worth the confusion or stress it would cause her. I have my doubts that she would know who was getting married from moment to moment; she would be stressed out and almost certainly would not be able to enjoy herself.

My question is this: Should I still send her an invitation? Am I being heartless by considering NOT sending her one? Please help! Thanks~

Re: Inviting Grandma with Alzheimer's?

  • Hi Knotties, I have a question about elderly family members. My grandmother (my dad's mom) has alzheimer's or dementia, possibly both. Sometimes she thinks I am my older sister when I visit, but when reminded, she sometimes knows me and even remembers my fiance a little bit. But sometimes she is just very stuck in the past and is mostly just stressed out about one thing or another.

    There is also an increasing language barrier because she is Japanese, and while she has long forgotten most of the language, she is also having more and more trouble with communicating in English as well. She gets easily disoriented and has been living in a nursing home for the last two years, her husband having left her and my dad decades ago, and my family no longer able to care for her full-time.

    I love her very much. But I just don't know if her attendance at our wedding ceremony or reception would be worth the confusion or stress it would cause her. I have my doubts that she would know who was getting married from moment to moment; she would be stressed out and almost certainly would not be able to enjoy herself.

    My question is this: Should I still send her an invitation? Am I being heartless by considering NOT sending her one? Please help! Thanks~
    Can you (or your father) talk with the nursing home staff and see what they recommend? They’ll probably have a better sense of her day to day abilities and may have strategies for making it a more positive experience for both of you. 

    If you don’t invite her, would you regret it? Having her attend might take extra planning and arrangements, but if you don’t even invite her, how would you feel?
    All of this.   The staff at the nursing home is who I would ask.   They can advise how we'll she will do.  

    When my grandmother was aging and her dementia worsened by early evening it was time to bring her home.   He memory worsened the later it got and one cocktail also numbed her brain and fine motor skills.

    As the home if she can be out, who they recommend to go with her (will they provide a caregiver?  If so I would recommend that you invite the caregiver as a non-drinking guest) and then that person is in charge of her. 

    But before any of this is discussed with her discuss it with professionals who can verify what they recommend for her.

    When DH and I got married my grandmother had passed but his grandmother with early stages of dementia was invited.   She left her assisted living center and came with a caregiver who took her too and from the bathroom and who drove her to and from the event.   She was cognizant of most things at the time and it worked for us.   What works for one couple will not be what works for all though.
    short+sassyahoyweddingOurWildKingdom
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I think you owe her an invitation, yes. 

    It would be heartless to not invite her at all. But, on the plus side, having the conversations about her ability to attend imply that she is, indeed, invited. 

    ________________________________


    charlotte989875ahoyweddingOurWildKingdom
  • I agree with the other PPs that it is best to talk to the nursing home.  If they don't think or are "iffy" if it would be a positive experience for her, you would not be heartless to not send her an invite.  Especially if there is a decent chance she would just find the experience confusing and upsetting.

    If she is not able to attend, I really like @ShesSoCold's suggestion of possibly stopping by for a visit in the morning.  If she lives nearby and that logistically makes sense.  Perhaps another visit, once you all have your wedding photo album, to show her the pics.

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    charlotte989875ei34ahoyweddingOurWildKingdom
  • I think you owe her an invitation, yes. 

    It would be heartless to not invite her at all. But, on the plus side, having the conversations about her ability to attend imply that she is, indeed, invited. 

    I somewhat disagree with this.  

    I think a physical invitation should be sent IF the home agrees that this is a good idea. 

    It doesn't mean that the OP should not welcome grandma.   But if the home has concerns about grandma attending AND her overall cognition, mood, or handling an invitation to an event that she can't attend then I would not send the invitation if doing so does more harm than good. 
    ernursejahoyweddingnightnerd
  • downtondivadowntondiva member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited September 2018
    Definitely talk to the people at the nursing home, and perhaps any family members who are more involved in day-to-day care and decisions. If they think she can attend, it should be agreed upon well in advance who will look after her during the wedding and how any difficult logistics should be handled.

    If it's determined that it's not a good idea for her to attend, then comes the issue of sending/giving her an invitation. This should also be discussed with family/caregivers, even if it seems like a weird detail to talk about. We sent an invitation to my husband's grandmother even though it was understood that she was not physically well enough to attend the wedding. However, she was still alert enough at that point that my in-laws discussed it with her ahead of time and she understood that the invitation was really more of a memento and still appreciated getting it. In your case, if your grandmother will be confused by having the invitation or will get upset every time she's reminded that she can't attend, then you may want to think twice before sending it.
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    ILoveBeachMusicMyNameIsNotshort+sassy
  • Personally, I would say yes, as someone whose grandfather had Alzheimer's at my wedding and who attended subsequent grandchildren's weddings even as he worsened up until he died. I think he knew who I was at my wedding, but I know for a fact at some of my cousin's and sibling's weddings, he did not. I don't know how much he enjoyed himself, to be honest. I do know he didn't have the best time in large crowds and got confused easier when unfamiliar people were around. 

    I think only you and your family can make the decision whether she should come. His children decided he should go, in our situation, and one of them stuck with him the entire time. I think my parent and the other siblings believed he was family and, as such, it was important for him to be with family and involved in family events. 

    MesmrEwe
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2018
    Alzheimer's and dementia are horrible conditions, and I'm sorry you have a beloved relative dealing with that.

    I agree with the advice to talk with her caregivers at her nursing home to find out what they advise. Consider sending an invitation for your grandmother care of them, and allow them to share it with her as they deem appropriate. They shouldn't share confidential information about your grandmother with you, but they can help you determine whether, how and when to invite your grandmother.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    You aren't being selfish. It might not be in your grandmother's best interest to take her away from familiar surroundings to a strange, noisy place, with people she either doesn't know or doesn't remember. Take her out to a restaurant for lunch to see if she likes the change of space. It will give you a better idea of what grandmother might require for a longer outing.

    Our friends hired a wheelchair van, driver and paid their mother's favorite aid to bring Grandmother to their daughter's wedding. The daughter could not bear the thought of Grandmother not being there. The Grandmother begged to go home (nursing home) throughout the reception. I'm not sure why her son didn't send her along, but they kept her till the end. She was not happy.

    When my daughter's wedding came around, H and I made the decision not to bring his elderly mother to the wedding. She lives in a nursing home, has dementia, sleeps a lot, sundowns, is unpredictable, can't walk, can't hear and has difficulty eating. She would not have enjoyed the wedding. She did enjoy a visit with my daughter a few weeks after the wedding. Daughter brought her a fancy cupcake and a few photos she had printed for the wedding. 


                       
    short+sassyILoveBeachMusicahoywedding
  • The bottom line is that you have to invite her. Those who care for her can decide if she should attend. 
    thisismynickname2
  • Thanks for the update!  It's great to hear she had some improvement and could understand and be happy with the engagement news.
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    ei34MesmrEwe
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