Dear Mary
Taking Mom Out

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Dear Mary,

Our 92 year mother is in her wheelchair all day long. She often sleeps in it during the day and has to be lifted into bed. She no longer walks. She sleeps most of the time, wears diapers and we hire a caregiver in her nursing home to help feed her.

My sister wants to bring my mother out for a family holiday dinner together. There is a three hour window when she does not have to be changed and will most likely be able to enjoy the family outing.

My son and husband will have to lift her into and out of the car and carry her wheelchair up the front stairs. I am worried that this will be alot of pressure and too much for my Mom to handle. Should we take her out or keep her in for our family event?

Donna

Hi Donna:

I hear many stories and situations about why families like to take their elders out for family events. I think that it often has to deal with guilt issues – guilt that the older person lives in a “home”. Sometimes people think that if the older person comes out for the day – there is less guilt.

My simple answer is NO – do not take her out. Family get-togethers are full of unrealistic expectations. Keep your Mother where she is. Family holidays are about being together. I appreciate that your sister is trying to create a traditional family get together, but there are so many reasons why her plan might not work. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

*What if your Mother is not feeling well on that day? Would she stay in the nursing home alone while others meet at your home? That would mean she would totally miss the big event?

*What if the 3 hour window to changing her diapers is wrong? Who is going to change her? What if there is an “accident” ? Who is going to clean that up?

*What if there is bad weather and it is hard to get her from the wheelchair to the car to inside your house?

*What if she sleeps the whole time at the event?

Why not bring the party to her? You can bring in food, music and enjoy the time with her in her nursing home. It will be so much less stress on everyone. Family gatherings are about creating wonderful memors. Make some great memories by creating a simple, easy to execute plan.

Mary

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Caregiving Matters

Mary is a daughter. She also Chairs our charity. Mary has also held Director roles on three other boards, most recently with The Palcare Network of York Region.

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