Post # 1
My grandmother has alzheimer’s, and it’s pretty advanced. She can manage maybe a word here and there, but for the most part she doesn’t talk. She can’t distinguish food from non-food (my mom has caught her trying to eat a plate). She needs assistance with going to the bathroom, and can’t be left alone. She lives with my mom and stepdad in a different state. (Also living with them is my stepdad’s mother who is in her 90s and, while very alert mentally, is very frail physically.) My aunt used to watch my grandmother, but she has checked out in recent months and doesn’t respond to any calls or emails from the family. There isn’t anyone available and willing to watch my grandmother while my mom and stepdad travel to attend my wedding, so they are bringing her with them. I’ve offered to hire a nurse to watch my grandmother while they are doing wedding stuff, but they are very against non-family caring for her. I don’t know what else to do. I grew up living with my mom and stepdad, so my stepdad is actually the one walking me down the aisle. My mom, of course, will be in the wedding, too. I’m not worried about her being disruptive. My grandmother tends to be pretty quiet and reserved, even when she’s confused and upset. I’m more concerned that it will be a very stressful time for my grandmother between the travel and the wedding itself. I’m also definitely concerned that she might break or ruin something. We’re getting married in a historic venue with lots of antiques, and my grandmother has recently taken to pottying in decorative vases or random boxes if left unattended for too long. If my parents are trying to truly watch her themselves while juggling wedding stuff, there’s a good chance they’ll leave her alone for a few minutes, which opens to the door to a lot of potential mishaps.
I thought about asking one of my cousins to watch her, at least during the ceremony, but none of them from that side of the family are coming. I’m considering asking one of my cousins on the other side of my family to watch her, but I’m not really close to any of them. I can’t ask a friend because the only friends coming are in the bridal party (big family for both myself and Fiance so no friends invited outside wedding party). I’m leaning toward hiring a nurse anyway and just having there lingering around as backup.
I know I can’t control what they decide to do. My question is, is there anything that I CAN do to help minimize the potential for problems?
Post # 2
I am so so sorry you’re dealing with this. I completely understand. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s as well, and we recently had to place her in a memory care unit, due to the…pottying in trash cans and getting lost outside in the woods and sleeping for days without eating, etc. I totally understand what you’re going through. It was a huge struggle, 8 years long, of us trying to convince my mom to let someone other than herselve care for her. It’s so heartbreaking and sad, but at the end of the day, what I kept telling my mom is that, she doesn’t actually have the skill set to care for someone in this condition. Once it gets past a certain point, medical training really is necessary to make sure my grandmother is as healthy, nourished, and safe as possible. My mom also has cared for my severely autistic and epileptic sister since she was born. So my mom feels like she can handle anything, but realistically it’ too much, too stressful. My grandma was my hero growing up, so it’s really hard for me to not have her at my wedding. But it would be a HUGE strain on her for her to come. It would be too exhausting, and I worry that her even traveling to the wedding and being there until late (even without drinking, dancing, etc) would injure her frail body. I really highly recommend an overnight care nurse, or a daytime nurse or something. Is there a nurse like that who is a friend, or a friend of a friend? So it’s not some total random person? I really think it’s best for your grandmother to be comfortable, and it sounds like going to the wedding would be really hard on her body and mind. And keeping tabs on your grandmother and making sure she eats and doesn’t damage anything would be a strain on your mom, and ultimately she wouldn’t have the best time she could be having at your wedding.
I don’t know if any of this is helpful. Probably not, as I have no answer. It just sounds like your mom needs to let a medical professional take over, just for one night. But you can’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do.
Hopefully nothing I’ve said sounds callous or uncaring. It’s just such a hard situation. My mom likes to be super idealistic (“I would never abandon my mother! She’s a person too! She’s in there!”) but the realistic side of things is that going to events like this is strenuous enough for older people, let alone someone so ill, and paying for broken antiques on top of wedding costs is not realistic for someone’s budget.
That’s all I got. Sorry I couldn’t be more help 🙁 I totally get what you’re going through, and I wish you the most beautiful, non-stressful wedding day possible!
Post # 3
Could you hire a nurse to come to the wedding to help watch her while your mom and stepdad are busy? That way they aren’t completely leaving her with non-family but they still are able to enjoy the day?
Is there no one else coming on your mom’s side of the family that could help? Aunts, Unlces, older nieces or nephews?
ETA: I meant to say I do think figuring out a way for your grandmother to stay home would probably be best for your grandma as well as you/your mom and stepdad, but my answer was assuming that wasn’t an option. Hope things work out okay!
Post # 4
It’s really up to your parents. Hiring a nurse to watch her at the wedding could allow you to relax a bit. At least she’d have someone to help feed her and take her to the bathroom if your parents are busy mingling.
Post # 5
I agree with the previous posters who suggested hiring a nurse for the wedding. So your parents will be there, but it gives them the flexibility to enjoy the wedding too.
Post # 6
I like the idea of hiring a nurse for the wedding. She could make sure grandma stays safe. It could allow your mom to not have to watch her every second of the day.
Post # 7
I second the idea of hiring a nurse or personal care assistant to be near to her within your parent’s sight. If you are near a community college you might be able to hire a student who is nearing graduation, or another source may be a local nursing home/residential care center.
It sounds as though you are looking for someone to monitor her behavior and giver her help with self care, so you most likely won’t need a registered nurse. Perhaps also see if a local residential care setting offers “respite care” for someone like grandma.
You should be blessed for your thoughtfulness and kindness.
Post # 8
Have your parents discussed traveling with her doctor? Because Alzheimer and dementia patients do very poorly without a consistent schedule and with unfamiliar surroundings and that level of disruption could have longer-lasting consequences to her health then just the couple days for the wedding. It will likely negatively affect her for weeks after. Every doctor and nurse I know strongly advise against travel for late stage Alzheimer’s. Any of the travel tips you read about are intended for early-stage Alzheimer’s patients, not late stage. Please please please talk your parents into consulting with her doctor first and foremost. In her advanced stage she likely should not be traveling at all unless absolutely medically necessary (i.e. traveling to an out state hospital for specialized care, not for a wedding just cause she can’t be left alone).
I guess I can’t really offer any other advice, but I guarantee hiring an in-home nurse for a weekend will be a lot less disruptive to her health than travel will. This has nothing to do with your wedding and everything to do with her health.
Post # 9
I would hire a nurse at the wedding. I don’t know if you have any friends/acquaintances who are in nursing, maybe more specifically geriatric care, that they might know someone. Invite the nurse to attend the wedding and help your parents as needed.
My grandpa is gone now but when he was at this stage, he was easiest to handle when he had a lot of familiarity around him. The same blanket as normal, the same nurse, the same food and an environment he was familiar with. Is there a possibility of giving your grandma as much familiarity as possible so it’s easier on her?
Also maybe check with them if there is anything that you could have at the venue that will make it easier for them to care for her during the reception? I know an elevated toilet seat can be a huge help etc.
Post # 10
I think hiring a nurse for the wedding will give you a lot of peace of mind. That way your grandma won’t be left all alone with a non-family member (which presumably is the situation your mum objects to) but your mum will have a lot more freedom to concentrate on your wedding.
Post # 11
I’m pretty sure travel is really bad news for advanced alzheimer patients. Your parents should talk to her doctor about this.
Post # 12
With how advanced her alzheimers is, I would be concerned about the trip being very disruptive and confusing for her. Your mom sounds like a very dedicated caregiver, but I would encourage her to seek out respite care for your grandma in their town so that she and her husband can go to your wedding while keeping her safe too.
Caregiver stress is a real thing. I would not want them to get burned out in the long run, and inadequate care in an unusual situation can lead to bad things for grandma too. They need to talk to her doc about how this is all going to work in the short term and long term.
PS What is going to happen to your stepdad’s mom while they are traveling? It sounds like she might not be totally safe to be home alone either.
Post # 13
- Wedding: Malibou Lake Mountain Club
im so sorry to hear. My Nana has Alzheimer’s as well and what we all did at my wedding then at my sister’s wedding (parents, uncles, cousins, sisters, Grandpa) was switch off and be with her. She was always with someone and it helped loads. If this isnt possible, i agree with a Nurse if possible.