“You’re not taking your mother home for Christmas!” a friend exclaimed. “She’ll be lonely at the nursing home.”
Once Mother began residing in a nursing home, I never took her out nor brought her to my home.
“How terrible!” you might say.
However, Mother made the nursing home her world. She created a home, in her mind, that was her former home or sometimes her girlhood home. She had been through upheavals when I moved her from her home in another state to mine, then shuttled her to daycare at a nursing home. Because of my work, she sometimes stayed with my neighbor. All of this was confusing to her.
When she resided permanently in the nursing home, she seemed to settle in and create her own world. I was fortunate because she never talked about leaving, neither to me nor to the staff.
So why should I move her to my home for holidays? It would only confuse her, I realized. Instead we visited her, attended parties and dinners with her at the home. She seemed to think we’d taken her out to dinner at a nice restaurant when we all ate at a private table in the holiday feted dining room.
Not everyone adapt as well as Mother did. However, I was advised that if I allowed her to adjust and to develop her own patterns, she would do so, and we could set new traditions for the holidays. I look back upon these occasions with fond memories and have photos of our holidays together at the nursing home.
Give this some thought if you feel guilt ridden to bundle your Alzheimer’s patient up and take him/her to what you think are pleasurable occasions for them. Perhaps you should think in terms of the “new norm” of the Alzheimer’s world instead.