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Planning Christmas Day

Lulubelle74

Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
22
Hi

We are starting to think about how this day will go and I thought I'd ask on here for any advice people can give. My Dad lives in a supported-living flat 10 min drive away. We will have him with us for all of Christmas Day but I'm a bit stressed wondering how it's going to go. He was here two yrs ago and it was a bit challenging but he hadn't been diagnosed then. Last year he'd broken his hip so we were backwards and forward to hospital visiting him. I've assumed that the whole day will be planned around him making sure we have the food and snacks he likes, he chooses the film to watch etc. But I will be somewhat nervous as you never know what will confuse him or make him angry. It's also the anniversary of my Mum's death and I've recently been made redundant. Dad frequently goes on about needing to find a new wife/woman to look after him, which isn't easy to listen to (he's 89).

Hopefully it will go smoothly but any suggestions gratefully accepted. I can't be the only person who watches all the adverts of big, happy families on TV with a somewhat wry glance.
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,685
Hi

We are starting to think about how this day will go and I thought I'd ask on here for any advice people can give. My Dad lives in a supported-living flat 10 min drive away. We will have him with us for all of Christmas Day but I'm a bit stressed wondering how it's going to go. He was here two yrs ago and it was a bit challenging but he hadn't been diagnosed then. Last year he'd broken his hip so we were backwards and forward to hospital visiting him. I've assumed that the whole day will be planned around him making sure we have the food and snacks he likes, he chooses the film to watch etc. But I will be somewhat nervous as you never know what will confuse him or make him angry. It's also the anniversary of my Mum's death and I've recently been made redundant. Dad frequently goes on about needing to find a new wife/woman to look after him, which isn't easy to listen to (he's 89).

Hopefully it will go smoothly but any suggestions gratefully accepted. I can't be the only person who watches all the adverts of big, happy families on TV with a somewhat wry glance.
oh I’d love to have one of those advert Christmas days!
Pity you can’t purchase those! maybe an alternative advert .... oh no maybe not - adult diapers not really acceptable topic !


I have Mum up to stay - no carers 4 times a day to help out

eek! I really don’t know what to suggest- but I’m stocking up on booze for me!
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,604
cornwall
Hi

We are starting to think about how this day will go and I thought I'd ask on here for any advice people can give. My Dad lives in a supported-living flat 10 min drive away. We will have him with us for all of Christmas Day but I'm a bit stressed wondering how it's going to go. He was here two yrs ago and it was a bit challenging but he hadn't been diagnosed then. Last year he'd broken his hip so we were backwards and forward to hospital visiting him. I've assumed that the whole day will be planned around him making sure we have the food and snacks he likes, he chooses the film to watch etc. But I will be somewhat nervous as you never know what will confuse him or make him angry. It's also the anniversary of my Mum's death and I've recently been made redundant. Dad frequently goes on about needing to find a new wife/woman to look after him, which isn't easy to listen to (he's 89).

Hopefully it will go smoothly but any suggestions gratefully accepted. I can't be the only person who watches all the adverts of big, happy families on TV with a somewhat wry glance.
Dad will be in his own home having carers 4 X a day. I have no transport.
Dad could have spent Christmas at the care home( he is coming back on Monday from the home) but he was adamant about coming home.

Dad is never happy at Christmas (or any other time). He can be argumentative the best of times.
My home could not accommodate him as he needs equipment and a wheelchair.
So it is best he stays home .I will see him Christmas Eve.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,240
Does your dad often visit you, will he remember your house? You're obviously preparing things as well as you can but it is quite difficult to anticipate how things will go. Who else will be there to cushion things?
I think @DesperateofDevon has the right idea stocking up with booze! :D
My mother is in a CH and she'll be staying there on Christmas Day, I'll visit on Christmas Eve. Last year she didn't know it was Christmas so it won't mean anything to her.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,267
Try to keep as close as possible to his normal routine.

Bod
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,503
Has your dad said what he would like to do? Last year my mum had booked herself into my brother's for Christmas by August. When it came to it she just couldn't cope with being in a different place, lots of different people and the general mayhem of a family Christmas. There were several times when she had a total meltdown and was crying and upset with us for abusing her (we weren't), and even when she was OK she couldn't engage with what was going on. She said she enjoyed it but the rest of us were worn out. Maybe if there are fewer of you, no dogs or children it might be OK, but you might find no matter what you lay on that you think he'd like he'll still be unhappy.
Is there anything going on in his sheltered housing?
 

Lulubelle74

Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
22
Does your dad often visit you, will he remember your house? You're obviously preparing things as well as you can but it is quite difficult to anticipate how things will go. Who else will be there to cushion things?
I think @DesperateofDevon has the right idea stocking up with booze! :D
My mother is in a CH and she'll be staying there on Christmas Day, I'll visit on Christmas Eve. Last year she didn't know it was Christmas so it won't mean anything to her.
Hi

Good points to raise, thanks! He hasn't been here much in the last year but was a regular visitor so he'll probably remember it. I'm an only child so it's come here to stay in the supported-living and he's clearly stated he'd rather come here. My kids are now somehow 22 and 18 (it's flown by) and I have a lazy cat so it will be a quiet environment. I think as long as we do food and drink he likes (which will be no problem) and put on an old film he will be OK. The only issue might be him wondering where his wife/my Mum has got to.

Sadly we won't be drinking much as I'd like to keep a clear head, plus we need to drive to collect him/drop him off.
 

Lulubelle74

Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
22
oh I’d love to have one of those advert Christmas days!
Pity you can’t purchase those! maybe an alternative advert .... oh no maybe not - adult diapers not really acceptable topic !


I have Mum up to stay - no carers 4 times a day to help out

eek! I really don’t know what to suggest- but I’m stocking up on booze for me!
I think we'd all like to purchase 'the perfect day'. I am trying to focus on the fact that lots of familiies have difficult times at Christmas due to various reasons so we won't exactly be alone.
 

Champers

Registered User
Jan 3, 2019
229
This is a very good question - the same one that has been troubling me and my husband. As both his mother and mine are in a CH less that 10 minutes away, he thinks we should have them both with us on Christmas Day.

At the risk of sounding harsh and uncaring, I’m very resistant to this. My mother still hasn’t settled completely in the CH, has anosognosia and still thinks she is going home “tomorrow” I think to move her from the CH - even for a day - will further add to her confusion. Plus, I’m actually concerned that I’d spend the whole day either endlessly fielding questions about going home or stopping her possibly heading off somewhere.

MIL’s dementia isn’t quite as bad but she is much more physically impaired. Our house is totally inappropriate for a wheelchair, even if we borrowed some ramps, the layout wouldn’t work. To be honest, I don’t think either of them will get much out of it for all the organisation and preparation it will take. Plus, despite the fact she wears pads, MIL is very insistent that she’s taken to the toilet. Our cloakroom is a standard size with very limited turning room for someone disabled.

Neither of them seem to be that aware of time/date and although the Christmas decorations are already up in the CH, they keep asking why they are!

Am I being totally selfish? We fully intend visiting them on Christmas morning anyway but it’s the old guilt thing. My husband reckons we can host as it’s only one day. My point is; it is only one day, so why are we making such a big deal out of it?
 

Lorna44

Registered User
Jul 16, 2016
196
Surrey
I personally wouldn't take them to your house, my mum had Parkinson's and would have never have made it up our stairs and the dementia confused her that she felt safe at the home and she no longer recognised my home or her own.....
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,503
I'm with you @Champers. Even if we were at home I can't see what mum would get out of Christmas at our place, whereas in the home there will be lots going on. As it is we'll be at my mother in laws, and last time we took mum there we had to leave early as she was so unhappy.
Mum hasn't really sussed it is nearly Christmas, she points out decorations, but hasn't asked what is happening at Christmas. This time last year it was the topic of every conversation.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,604
cornwall
This is a very good question - the same one that has been troubling me and my husband. As both his mother and mine are in a CH less that 10 minutes away, he thinks we should have them both with us on Christmas Day.

At the risk of sounding harsh and uncaring, I’m very resistant to this. My mother still hasn’t settled completely in the CH, has anosognosia and still thinks she is going home “tomorrow” I think to move her from the CH - even for a day - will further add to her confusion. Plus, I’m actually concerned that I’d spend the whole day either endlessly fielding questions about going home or stopping her possibly heading off somewhere.

MIL’s dementia isn’t quite as bad but she is much more physically impaired. Our house is totally inappropriate for a wheelchair, even if we borrowed some ramps, the layout wouldn’t work. To be honest, I don’t think either of them will get much out of it for all the organisation and preparation it will take. Plus, despite the fact she wears pads, MIL is very insistent that she’s taken to the toilet. Our cloakroom is a standard size with very limited turning room for someone disabled.

Neither of them seem to be that aware of time/date and although the Christmas decorations are already up in the CH, they keep asking why they are!

Am I being totally selfish? We fully intend visiting them on Christmas morning anyway but it’s the old guilt thing. My husband reckons we can host as it’s only one day. My point is; it is only one day, so why are we making such a big deal out of it?
No you're not being selfish.I'm not seeing dad that day either.Dad wouldn't get much out of it as he always went away to Cyprus. I'm fed up with all the cooking etc.
Why not maybe have lunch at the CH if you want to spend some time with them..If it was me I would pop in for an hour after lunch and then go back home..But everyone is different.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,816
Chester
My mum is in sheltered extra care, and the first year we brought her back here from just after breakfast until mid evening, she was absolutely shattered and had stayed here far too long.

The next year and all years since we have brought her round about 10.30ish for full present unwrapping and then taken her back after a long drawn out dinner (my family eat a lot and need a break to have space for puddings - they also exercise a lot so burn it all off).

Last year she was more confused about the present unwrapping but ok.

This year she has gone downhill quite a bit, and at the moment the plan is to have her here after stockings have been unwrapped (kids are now 14 and 18 but stockings are still on the agenda) but for main presents - I personally think she just needs to do presents to and from her. We plan to have the dinner more cooked rather than leaver her after present unwrapping to cook food so we eat st after present unwrapping.

I personally think the whole meal will be too much for her but we'll have to see. Maybe OH will cave in and skip starters (a complete unnecessary when he eats 3 plates of dinner IMHO anyway).

Previous years have been fine and in fact a nice time with her sort of able to join in and be part of it but I am absolutely dreading it, she had no comprehension of what was going on when she came round for dau's 18th in April (we did try to dissuade dau, and it was a disaster to the point that except for xmas dau doesn't want to see her and finds it all too difficult).

@Champers having followed all your posts and heroic efforts, I really think visiting them in the CH is the best option for all of you. My OH finds it hard to see how things are compared to me, and doesn't fully comprehend the slow slide downwards (he thinks his own mother is far more able than she is but that isn't my problem).
 

leslyz

Registered User
Oct 24, 2015
278
Hi

We are starting to think about how this day will go and I thought I'd ask on here for any advice people can give. My Dad lives in a supported-living flat 10 min drive away. We will have him with us for all of Christmas Day but I'm a bit stressed wondering how it's going to go. He was here two yrs ago and it was a bit challenging but he hadn't been diagnosed then. Last year he'd broken his hip so we were backwards and forward to hospital visiting him. I've assumed that the whole day will be planned around him making sure we have the food and snacks he likes, he chooses the film to watch etc. But I will be somewhat nervous as you never know what will confuse him or make him angry. It's also the anniversary of my Mum's death and I've recently been made redundant. Dad frequently goes on about needing to find a new wife/woman to look after him, which isn't easy to listen to (he's 89).

Hopefully it will go smoothly but any suggestions gratefully accepted. I can't be the only person who watches all the adverts of big, happy families on TV with a somewhat wry glance.
Oh @Lulubelle74 isn't it a pain this whole pressure of Xmas and like u say the adverts of perfect family xmases. Who has these??? Anyone??? There's been some great advice on here already I think keeping to the routine as much as poss is prob the key though there's no right answer, but if you are going to be stressed throughout and fielding those difficult questions maybe he's best where he is keeping to his familiar routine and you visit on another day. I'm also unsure what to do, mum is in a CH but lives a long way off and I have the option of seeing her and then spending Xmas day evening on my own at mums house which feels weird enough even when I go up at weekends. This would also mean travelling up on xmas eve and coping with the usual train hassles. I am questioning if I can allow myself not to go at Xmas in the knowledge that she will be safe and looked after and won't really know it's Xmas anyway. I find it difficult thinking of her having moments of insight and wondering why I'm not there. All particularly difficult at Xmas. Good luck and let us know what u decide.
 

Champers

Registered User
Jan 3, 2019
229
Thank you all. I truly appreciate your replies and having made me feel a bit more empowered! Having spent last Christmas Eve in tears because I so wanted everything to be right and everyone to be happy then my mother announced she wasn’t hungry and MIL grumbled because she wanted her dinner right now, I don’t fancy a rematch!

@jugglingmum, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s quite possible my husband doesn’t quite see or want to acknowledge how disabled both the mothers are. That’s probably why he still insists on trying to explain and rationalise with the pair of them!

This will be the first Christmas that I don’t have to stress, worry or plan for either of them and I was already feeling a very guilty relief, so when OH suggested it, I felt really ashamed. The trouble is; he always tries to be so fair and considerate and do the right thing so he meant well.
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,685
I think we'd all like to purchase 'the perfect day'. I am trying to focus on the fact that lots of familiies have difficult times at Christmas due to various reasons so we won't exactly be alone.
No your right! we can see on the forum who’s having a time of it ... wouldn’t be suprised if I crack by Christmas Eve!
 

DesperateofDevon

Registered User
Jul 7, 2019
2,685
Does your dad often visit you, will he remember your house? You're obviously preparing things as well as you can but it is quite difficult to anticipate how things will go. Who else will be there to cushion things?
I think @DesperateofDevon has the right idea stocking up with booze! :D
My mother is in a CH and she'll be staying there on Christmas Day, I'll visit on Christmas Eve. Last year she didn't know it was Christmas so it won't mean anything to her.
Oh yes I’ve got porridge with clotted cream & Baileys ( Lidl fake!) for brekkie!
Prosecco & cold cuts @ lunch
& the full monty for evening as Daughter at local restaurant!
It’s the only way I will cope!!
 

Lulubelle74

Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
22
This is a very good question - the same one that has been troubling me and my husband. As both his mother and mine are in a CH less that 10 minutes away, he thinks we should have them both with us on Christmas Day.

At the risk of sounding harsh and uncaring, I’m very resistant to this. My mother still hasn’t settled completely in the CH, has anosognosia and still thinks she is going home “tomorrow” I think to move her from the CH - even for a day - will further add to her confusion. Plus, I’m actually concerned that I’d spend the whole day either endlessly fielding questions about going home or stopping her possibly heading off somewhere.

MIL’s dementia isn’t quite as bad but she is much more physically impaired. Our house is totally inappropriate for a wheelchair, even if we borrowed some ramps, the layout wouldn’t work. To be honest, I don’t think either of them will get much out of it for all the organisation and preparation it will take. Plus, despite the fact she wears pads, MIL is very insistent that she’s taken to the toilet. Our cloakroom is a standard size with very limited turning room for someone disabled.

Neither of them seem to be that aware of time/date and although the Christmas decorations are already up in the CH, they keep asking why they are!

Am I being totally selfish? We fully intend visiting them on Christmas morning anyway but it’s the old guilt thing. My husband reckons we can host as it’s only one day. My point is; it is only one day, so why are we making such a big deal out of it?
I think you are right to just want to visit them as it sounds like a lot of physical and mental issues with them staying with you for the day. My Dad isn't that bad, still in the early stages but getting more confused as the months go by. He can get to our toilet just about OK and as it's a modern house it's all flat with a downstairs toilet. I think if you visited for a while during the morning that would be fine. Dad may not be up to visiting next year and last year he was in hospital so I think we are right to put ourselves this year. But clearly everyone needs to assess their own situation.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
653
Just to add my ha'penny worth....
Mummy has been in a CH for about three years now. The first year, she came home to have christmas dinner with us. It worked, but was stressful for all. I decided then that, sadly, I wouldn't do it again. I don't think she really enjoyed it, however much we wanted her too.
This year, I will visit her christmas eve and probably boxing day (one day is very like another to her) and the home have a lot of entertainment. She hasn't left the home for so long now that even longer visits to her wear her out.
I tend to take presents in gradually, and try to bear in mind that some of the other residents don't get visitors with presents at christmas so keep it pretty low key.

For me, the festive period is about trying to split myself a number of ways so that my Dad isn't on his own, my partner doesn't feel he never sees me and I visit my Mum at some point. Joy to the world indeed.....
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,240
@Helly68 that has reminded me, it was my mother's first Christmas in a CH last year, and I asked one of the senior carers what to do about presents. She suggested I give my mother one or two presents when I was there on Xmas Eve, and then leave the others in her wardrobe so that the carer doing her personal care the next morning could open them in her room. So that's what I did. I found that the concept of present-opening had completely deserted her, so I had to open them, and she seemed a bit baffled. None of it really meant anything to her. I give her clothes and toiletries - so, things which are useful - and a cuddly toy to add to her collection (she must have at least 30 now).

I also take in a gift for the staff - I think I took in a bag of chocolates last year.