Post # 1
Hello all! I’m getting married this summer and am having major issues!
the wedding is in a beautiful location about 3-3.5 hours from where my family lives. My gransoms is 90 years old. I basically grew up with her. She has dementia and some mobility issues but when choosing a wedding location my parents said they’d be able to drive her to my location. My fiancé didn’t want to get married in the big city close to where she lives. Based on that, we planned for our wedding in our current venue. Now, my mom is saying my grandma isnt going to the wedding because “she can’t make the trip”, her arthritis is too bad to sit in the car that long, she doesn’t want to be away from home, etc. But then she also sometimes divulges that it’d be a lot of work for her and she wants to enjoy my wedding too. I get it that it’d be more work for my mom, but also feel like she’s blowing the excuses as to why my grandma can’t come out of proportion so she can get out of bringing her. It’d really hurtful that either my grandma doesn’t want to come or my mom doesn’t want to bring her. On top of it I’m feeling resentful my fiancé didn’t want to get married closer. I’m just upset overall. Felt the need to vent. Anyone else have important family members miss their wedding due to location? How did you deal?
Post # 2
Can you hire a nurse for the day(s) so your mom can enjoy your wedding?
Post # 3
Being away from home can be a huge deal for people with dementia! I am sure your grandmother would desperately love to be at your wedding. But I never would have taken my grandfather on a 3 hour road trip to an unfamiliar place, he would have not done well and it would have been VERY stressful for him. Just the atmosphere of the wedding and all the people would have overwhelmed him. Healthy grandpa would have loved to be there but he wasn’t healthy and that’s no ones fault.
A nurse would alleviate the burden of your mother taking care of her but a stranger taking care of her in a strange place after a strange drive with lots of people… It can be very traumatic for them to leave what they are familiar with.
It’s possible when you started planning she was at a better place but her dementia has gotten worse and she is no longer up for events like your wedding. My Great grandma was to advanced in age to attend my sisters wedding so the entire bridal party stopped by her house, she was so excited and happy to be included even if she couldn’t attend, she sadly passed the next day.
Facetime your Grandma at the wedding and have a special day where you go to her and show her the wedding video and bring her cake!
Post # 4
thank you for the thoughtful response. It’s true that she has dementia. It’s still mild-moderate at this point and I honestly think she has untreated depression, but yes she’s pretty reclusive at this point. And I feel like my mom is making it a bigger deal than it should be but perhaps I’m just being selfish. Bummer either way she won’t be there!
Post # 5
I am so sorry! It really is sad and disappointing. I’d just think of ways you can include her in other things. Have someone Facetime her the ceremony. Or take her to your wedding dress fitting, cake tasting ect. Ask her about her wedding, share all your wedding pictures with her.
Post # 6
3 hour car trip is a really long time for someone that old with dementia and arthritis. She may want to come and your mother may not want to deal, but 3 hours isn’t as small of a stressor as you think it is. I think you should understand she shouldn’t be put through that and do something else to include her
Post # 7
You’re the one not making a big enough deal of her condition. This is not an issue of your mom making it too big of a deal or feeling inconvenienced.
Travel can be extremely stressful and upsetting to patients with dementia. It can take them weeks to recover. Likewise being around unfamiliar people in unfamiliar settings and disrupting their routine can result in weeks of upset afterwards. Are you going to be the one taking care of grandma for the three to four weeks after your wedding?
And that doesn’t even factor in what over 7 hours in a car will be like for someone with arthritis. It will likely be a very uncomfortable and miserable trip for her and will likely require frequent stops and be well over 3.5 hours to make that one-way journey. She will likely experience a significant amount of increased pain and stiffness limiting her mobility even further for weeks afterwards as a result of such a long car ride.
I realize that it is disappointing for you and it is hard to grasp and accept just how limiting and debilitating these health conditions can be, especially if your grandmother was always vibrant and healthy previously and may seem relatively fine at home and other places where it feels safe and familiar. And the way that perhaps your mother framed it makes it sounds like it’s more about her own convenience, but it really is most likely the healthiest thing for your grandmother. A trip like that and a large-scale event like that can actually be very detrimental to your grandmother’s health causing anxiety, increased confusion, and difficulty settling back into her routine and negatively affect her for several weeks afterwards. Your grandma certainly could be depressed but isolation is very common in moderate stage dementia because interacting with people and being in unfamiliar situations they can no longer process in the same way they used to becomes overwhelming and causes them great anxiety.
I highly recommend that you do more reading up on dementia and the effects of travel and disrupting their routine, even for patients with moderate dementia rather than end-stage. Perhaps even speaking with your grandmother’s health professionals to get a better idea.
Post # 8
Health issues aside, a wedding is a long day and she is 90 years old so even without the trip it could be too much. I’m sure she’d love to see you getting married but her well-being comes first. I’m sure some people will disagree with me but have you thought of having a very small second ceremony somewhere near her house with just her and your closest family members? One of my friends has close relatives living abroad so they did a second ceremony and tiny reception there because they couldn’t come to the main event.
Post # 9
Three hours is a long trip for someone who is 90 years old. My grandma couldn’t have made a trip that far at that age. It would be very tiring for her which could lead to medical problems.
Post # 10
just want to point out that sometimes with dementia it may seem that it is still in the mild to moderate category but usually it seems like that because in everyday life a routine has been established enough for a person suffering to be able to still piece together then next step. When you take someone out of that routine or place of familiarity it can all go down hill pretty fast and the dementia might not seem so moderate and mild.
My point is that it’s OK to feel disappointment of not having someone you love dearly be at a day you always imagined them to be at but your mum probably knows more so than you what your grandma’s symptoms are as I assume she is probably the closest thing to being your grandmother’s primary care giver. She probably knows that your grandmother may not cope with being out of her routine and environment and that would also impact your day and hers as the mother of the bride. I’m sure as the mother of the bride, your mum wants to be mentally and emotionally present for you and probably knows that with your grandmother present she will likely not be able to be part of your day in the way she wants.
A PP mentioned hiring a nurse for your grandmother but that I think will still cause issues for your grandmother and may unwittingly cause her distress of an unfamiliar person plus an unfamiliar environment. I think kindest thing to do for your grandmother and mother is to graciously accept their request of not having grandmother attend. If she was in her full health and faculties she would be there in person without question as she loves you. She has a valid reason for not attending and I’m certain that if she could attend she’d be there with bells on. Be sad but remember that your mum and your grandmother both love you and want your day to be a joyful one without the worry of having to potentially deal with an added stressful situation.
Post # 11
“On top of it I’m feeling resentful my fiancé didn’t want to get married closer.”
But you also agreed to it. I feel as though this should have been fairly predictable despite what your parents told you about the possibility of bringing her. That was unrealistic, and let’s face it, it always made her attendance a lot less likely. Destination weddings can be a burden for any guest let alone a ninety year old with these sort of issues.
Post # 12
It’d really hurtful that either my grandma doesn’t want to come or my mom doesn’t want to bring her.”
It’s probably really hurtful to your grandmother that you’d plan your wedding so far away when you know she has so many limitations that will make it hard for her to attend.
Post # 13
I understand your disappointment. I can also see how that would be a very difficult trip for her and it’s quite likely she’s being more vocal and honest with your mother about how difficult it would be than she is with you. Try to plan something special closer to her just before the wedding, have someone take some pictures, perhaps ask her for something borrowed or old or blue that you can incorporate into your day.
Post # 14
while I am sure you are right about the grandmother’s condition, in defense of OP, her parents initially told her that they could bring the grandmother to the wedding. Later, after the venue was chosen, they told her no. That would be a frustrating situation for me also, as I might have made a different choice if they had clearly said she couldn’t make the trip from the get go.
Post # 15
My grandmother is 88 and does not have dementia but that trip would have been much too long for her.
OP after the wedding is take your grandma out to have her hair and nails done (or if she lives at an inpatient facility hire someone to come to you), then dress up with your husband in your wedding clothes and take some pictures with her.