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Celebrating a holiday with the entire family
Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 8:53 AM
Joined: 1/12/2018
Posts: 8

My Mom has brought my Dad home and out of the MC he was staying in since the beginning of this year. There were a few minor incidences at the MC, and I don't blame her for bringing him home. She has an at home nurse some in for 5 hours per day. And even though it's much harder on her she feels like she doesn't have a choice.

With Easter coming up I was wondering what everyone does for celebrating the holidays.  I know my Dad will not like a huge group of people he doesn't recognize coming into his home. But my Mom loves when we are all together. I have 3 siblings who are local and we all have children. There would be 12-15 people over. My parents live in a small ranch house and it can get quite crowded. The bonus is if it's a nice day they have a nice (but small) closed in porch and the kids could go outside. I just don't want my Dad to become agitated. He isn't speaking in complete sentences anymore and is incontinent. If he has an accident he will get mad and embarrassed.

Any advice to make the day it best it can be would be appreciated.

Greg G
Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 10:15 AM
Joined: 2/8/2017
Posts: 889

Hey momto3boys,

Depending on how far along dad is, you are correct.  The whole klan at one time may be too much for him.  Maybe spread out the visits through out the day?  Or different days.  Holidays do not happen on the days they are on the calendar for our family anymore.  

Especially in a small place where there is not room for dad to be away from all the ruckus.  Another option is for someone to take dad out for a ride for a while.  That way mom can enjoy the "full house" and all the craziness that goes with it.  But these types of days are pretty much past for dad's inclusion.  

Our last "family celebration" was for mom's and my son's birthday, 12 days apart.  Private room at restaurant she has been to 100's of times.  Just 7 of us total, all adults.  It was just too much for her.  For the past 1.5 years, all "celebrations" occur at her MC.  With either the entire place (today is Easter but only my wife is going because of prior commitments) or a collection of me, wife, son and daughter.   It kind of takes the "thrill" out of many "holidays" on the calendar.

Good luck and best wishes, Greg

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 10:40 AM
Joined: 7/12/2017
Posts: 1223

Can you do a picnic, so dad can sit and the energy is not all up in his space.  And then people can take turns sitting with dad so mom has a break.  And everyone else should plan and let mom enjoy
Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 1:27 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 16900

You can pretty much count on the agitation. It is probably time for someone else to have the family gatherings.

If the gathering is at your mother's please be certain that there is a quiet room that your father can retreat to and if that does not work then they can all go home.

Oh, I hope no one is expecting your mother to cook.

King Boo
Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 2:49 PM
Joined: 1/9/2012
Posts: 2977

You have to modify the plan.

 Is Dad capable of a very short period of hub bub?  If so - provided it is sunny, have the families come over in staggered intervals over half an hour, each spending a few minutes saying hello.  Then, they all move outside where you have activities set up for the kids, clearing the way for the next family to say hi.

If Dad is holding up, he watches an Easter Egg hunt from the porch.

Then, the rest of the Easter celebration moves somewhere else - someone else's house, or a restaurant, and you hire an aide/nurse for Mom to be able to come.  Yeah, she may object, but if she's a caregiver she needs the break and the memories; your Dad does not any longer.

Or, Dad can have a respite for the day or overnight at an area facility, or an adult day center if they run on holidays.


IMHO, what is going to work far, far better is to tell each family they should each plan a short visit to your Dad,  spread well over the 2 weeks before and after Easter.  Leave the Easter theme behind, sometimes they are aware of things enough to be distressed.  It's just a nice visit, separate for each family.   Send Mom out on personal time during this, she needs to get out.  

Pick someone else's house to host and plan for Easter.  Mom may give lip service for wanting to host but do a kind thing and take this "should" off her plate.  Time for new traditions.   

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 3:40 PM
Joined: 9/7/2017
Posts: 788

Why not have the celebration at someone else's house - and someone, or shifts, take turns staying with dad?  Your mom can enjoy a fun family celebration.  And dad won't be left alone.  And you guys can pitch in to help your mom. 

At some point things will need to shift and everyone can't have everything they want anymore.  Families shift and change over time - having the celebration somewhere else will be fine, and everyone will happier. 

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 6:27 PM
Joined: 7/1/2017
Posts: 79

Hi momto3boys,

You've gotten great advice here and I know it is hard to hear but it is the truth.  Holidays and family gatherings are completely different because they have to be.  I used to be the one who hosted things and that has gone away, I just can't do it anymore and my mother hasn't been able to tolerate it for years now. 

I can tell you whenever a holiday comes up I have my siblings come at different times over a few day period.  They don't like that as much but what are you going to do?  Things change.

Good luck and kudos to you for planning ahead.

Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2019 7:15 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 1517

Sadly, this is one of the things we caregivers give up when caring for our LO at home.

Having the traditional multigenerational family Easter celebration and a calm PWD in the same place is not possible. Dad can't change, so the rest of you have to. 

Many caregivers just give up and stop celebrating entirely. But you could tweak it. The siblings could spread the visits out over several days, each bringing and staying for a lunch that would provide a few leftovers to for the next day. You could hire a caregiver and celebrate the holiday on a different day as a whole family. One of you could stay with dad while the rest take mom out for an Egg Hunt or Brunch with her grandchildren. 

Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2019 8:08 AM
Joined: 3/21/2019
Posts: 21

We no longer plan family gatherings at Mom's. Her traditional Christmas Eve open house is done. She just can't handle all that goes with so many in the house even when family does all the "work". Currently she can handle a period of time with everyone around so we gather elsewhere usually my brothers since he has more room and she doesn't have to be in the middle of the hub-bub. That worked well for her 90th b-day. When she has had enough someone takes her home. She is always anxious but does seem to enjoy for a while. 

We don't gather anymore at Easter. Mom is spending Easter day with my sister. Church and dinner, probably sleep some in recliner. They'll take her home when she's had enough. 

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