Christmas Dilemma

As we approach Christmas, I always wonder how to deal with honoring my mom. Mom has become almost impossible to transfer in and out of the car. Her bones, muscles and skin are fragile and hurt when we try to get her out of her wheelchair.

The past four years mom has spent Christmas at my house. Even though her communication diminished it was great having her energy in the kitchen with me. We would put on Christmas music and I would wheel her in while I was cooking and ask her what I should do to spice things up? Almost always the answer was, “add more salt.” Sometimes I would give her a bite of something and she would stick her tongue out after swallowing or make a face like I just fed her mud.

As mom’s dementia has progressed she has become more anxious being out of her home. As dark approaches, she goes from quiet to irritable as the famous Sundowners manifests. She becomes scared and nervous.

Christmas has always been a huge event in our family and one to share with loved ones. But this year, I have to sit back and wonder if my desire to have mom at my home is more my comfort than hers. She is after all not comfortable traveling in a car, not comfortable in my house and not comfortable after dark. My emotions vacillate between being a good son and a selfish one.

There is no clear choice. Which often happens when making decisions about this terrible disease.

It makes Christmas a little less joyous this year.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    As I read your post I have remembered last Christmas with my mom. She lived with me so it wasn't the same as your situation.
    I do remember all the same in regards to mom not wanting things to change around her. Repeating over and over again the same question or comment.
    I do treasure this one time and it happen out of the ordinary just for me because for so many reasons I needed to hear it. It was last summer and I had just cut up some fresh Mango in a bowl and gave her some. She looked up at me and said "Cookie you take such good care of me". I will never forget and even now I'm glad she remembered to tell me that.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Your comment about being a good son vs selfish son got me to thinking… Perhaps we don't have to choose a label, but rather remember that the purpose of the situation is to SHARE/GIVE the "feelings" of comfort, caring, and love to those we have challenges communicating with. I believe they recieve and know that we love them very much when we are sincere. Our lesson is in the giving, making us better for the next. Thank you for sharing, it helps me to be better as well…

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Its difficult. My parents bring such negative energy to our lives that we dread the holidays. Having to spend time with my manipulative parents is a trail for me but drives my wife crazy. I (and our children) would much rather spend these fun times with our friends rather than my parents.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 6, 2010 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    My family is the same way…Christmas is huge with us. We always did our best, every year, to go home for Christmas and all be together. Even though it can be stressful at times with that many people & kids, it's still wonderful and tradition.

    My Alzheimer's Grandmother recently moved in with us and in her mind, because she is in our house, she thinks it is Christmas. So she is going around, where ever we go, telling everyone Merry Christmas. (It's March now) lol

    We are looking at moving her into Aegis of Kent. We are starting with day-stay to work her in slowly.

    God bless you & your Mom.

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