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When a child doesn't want to visit a grandparent


Miss Peregrine
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I would honor that. I would give anything to not have the memories of my dad in his final weeks of dementia. It has been very, very hard to overlay those memories with others.

 

My dad did not know me or my children at least six months before he died. And I think he faked it for longer. I did make the kids go and see him in the nursing home and I am not sure that I would do it again.

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We all are happy that our children continued to visit their grandmother even during final of her many years with Alzheimer's. This was real life. Illness and death are realities. The experiences made a deep impression on our children, each of whom often, and voluntarily, would speak of their firm intent to care for DH and me in our old age.

 

What always will bother me is my father's refusal to visit his wife during her last two years. I believe that he was wrong. This is a man who loved her intensely and cherished their marriage which lasted for over seventy years.

 

DH, DD and I were with my mother when she died, holding my hand and looking straight into my eyes. I am grateful to have this memory.

 

OP, your daughter is an adult so all you can do is to encourage her, but can't force a visit. People develop their responses to dementia, illness, and death by individual timetable.

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At 19, the kid is an adult and I wouldn't even try to force her to visit.  But I would make sure she knows what's going on because as time goes on she might change her mind. For instance, hearing about a visit that was pretty good might make her change her mind about visiting.  

 

Our younger two are facing that with dh's mother who is suddenly having a ton of hallucinations due to dementia.  It's really hard for them to visit but they also know how stressed this situation is making me and dh. So sometimes they do visit- other times they don't.  What kind of helps ours is that they know this isn't grandma, it's the disease.  Just like when she fought cancer and it was hard to visit and see her without hair or totally sick from chemo, it was the disease. They're learning to look past that, but it's really, really hard. 

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I would encourage the 19 year old to go. One day she may regret not going.

Dementia is cruel to everyone involved. It is difficult and heartbreaking. I empathize with why she does not want to go but dementia is also part of life and at 19 she is old enough to be putting the needs of others ahead of her own.

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My Grandma died yesterday.  However she was really lost to us about two years ago, when she lost herself.  She was a shell of the woman she once was and would have hated to see what she had become.  I had an opportunity to see her about a year ago (she's in NE, and we were PCSing cross country).  I declined. My cousin had come back to NE with his girlfriend and wanted to introduce her.  He regretted that decision.  He kept thinking of that shell of a woman trying to eat jello with her fingers who didn't know him.  The sadness of that blotted out a lot of the happy memories. 

 

I was extrememly close to my grandmother.  I do not regret my decision at all.  

 

And if Grandma really has sever dementia, will seeing this grandchild really make her happy? Will she know it her grandchild, or is just the idea of a visitor that makes her happy at this point? Will she even know if family comes that they are family? Will she know that this one adult, old enough to make her own decisions, is missing from the family? If she really has sever dementia, I truely doubt that.  

 

 

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This is such a personal question.  I visited my grandmother during her last days battling cancer, and I saw a helpless woman who didn't know her own name.  It is definitely one of my worst memories.  On the other hand, I know that my visit provided valuable respite for my parents and my grandfather.  I was 25 (I think) at the time.

 

My husband's grandmother passed away this summer.  We didn't have an opportunity to visit during the early days of her diagnosis, and by the time we could travel, she was no longer aware of her surroundings.  He made the decision not to visit, not wanting to remember her that way.  We just took Labor Day weekend to spend with his grandfather.

 

I'm not sure there is a wrong decision.   :grouphug: to you and your daughter as you navigate this time.

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My grandmother died suddenly last year. We were not expecting it at all. I had not seen her in a while, due to a lot of circumstances. I am told that she had the beginning signs of dementia. On the one hand, I'm sorry I didn't get to see her one more time. On the other hand, the grandmother I remember was the strong, feisty, healthy woman she was for most of my life, and I believe the woman she would want to be remembered as. So it's definitely a mixed blessing. I don't think the grandmother in your case will know if your DD visits or not, and I think only your daughter can know how she (your DD) feels. I completely understand her concerns, and I completely understand that we put our feelings aside for family. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer in this case. If your daughter is generally a helpful, compassionate, giving young woman, then I think it's okay for this to be a time when she lets others visit Grandma, and I think it's totally okay for you to ask her to take one for the team, so to speak. But I think you should not insist on it or make her feel badly if she chooses not to. I think you should leave it up to her since we all experience loss and grief differently.

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My Grandma died yesterday.  However she was really lost to us about two years ago, when she lost herself.  She was a shell of the woman she once was and would have hated to see what she had become.  I had an opportunity to see her about a year ago (she's in NE, and we were PCSing cross country).  I declined. My cousin had come back to NE with his girlfriend and wanted to introduce her.  He regretted that decision.  He kept thinking of that shell of a woman trying to eat jello with her fingers who didn't know him.  The sadness of that blotted out a lot of the happy memories. 

 

I was extrememly close to my grandmother.  I do not regret my decision at all.  

 

And if Grandma really has sever dementia, will seeing this grandchild really make her happy? Will she know it her grandchild, or is just the idea of a visitor that makes her happy at this point? Will she even know if family comes that they are family? Will she know that this one adult, old enough to make her own decisions, is missing from the family? If she really has sever dementia, I truely doubt that.  

 

Sorry for your loss.

 

Bill

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I agree with Bill and Orthodox6 probably because that is how I was raised. It is what we do as a family. And there is so much to be learned. I've also lost not only grandparents but both my parents. It wasn't always easy or pleasant, but I've no regrets that I continued to visit. My cousin just lost her dh due to complications from Alzheimers. I would feel worse for not having visited, but that is me.

 

In the end, she gets to make her own choice, but I would help her to see the other side. This is life, the good and the bad.

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Regarding whether or not a person with dementia actually knows who is visiting. . .

 

I can reply only as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. Hence this is not an argument. Only my understanding of how the world works.

 

We believe that each human being has an eternal soul that has its own processes for understanding which are distinct from those belonging to the body. The body can break down from illness but the soul remains unimpaired. Consequently, my mother knew exactly what was going on around her even though her physical abilities could not respond as before.

 

Six weeks before her death, on two separate days, my mother unexpectedly and miraculously had a clear, unambiguous return of her mental faculties and speech abilities. Just out of the blue. An unforgettable gift even though each incident lasted only about an hour. Several people witnessed this.

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Regarding whether or not a person with dementia actually knows who is visiting. . .

 

I can reply only as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. Hence this is not an argument. Only my understanding of how the world works.

 

We believe that each human being has an eternal soul that has its own processes for understanding which are distinct from those belonging to the body. The body can break down from illness but the soul remains unimpaired. Consequently, my mother knew exactly what was going on around her even though her physical abilities could not respond as before.

 

Six weeks before her death, on two separate days, my mother unexpectedly and miraculously had a clear, unambiguous return of her mental faculties and speech abilities. Just out of the blue. An unforgettable gift even though each incident lasted only about an hour. Several people witnessed this.

I had a somewhat similar experience. During my grandmother's later years my father became her primary caregiver. She suffered from dementia, and there were times when she'd go for days without sleep. Wanting to get up, then go to bed, then to the bathroom, then to bed, then up again. For hours upon end. Often confused. My father was a saint. Honestly a model of devotion that I will never forget.

 

One night I got a call in the middle of the night from my dad asking me to come. I didn't know just how badly things had turned (as I saw them often). He was near collapse. I just wished he had called sooner. So for the next few days and nights I stayed at my Grandmother's side while my dad recuperated. My Grandmother was agitated and up and down all night long. And it It broke my heart when she asked me, "who is that man?" (speaking of my dad).

 

But at some point in what seemed like an endless blur of days she had a moment of total clarity. She told me she was ready, and that she was at peace, that she had lived a good life, and that she loved us all very much. She was as clear as could be.

 

The clarity didn't last and soon after she was hospitalized and the situation was grave. The doctors encouraged my dad not to engage in extreme measures. He wanted to hear nothing of it. But I was able to hold him and share what my grandmother had told me. Letting her go was not a decision he could make. He need me and my brother and our wives. I felt very blessed to me holding my grandmother hand when she passed. Meant the world to me. Hoped that when my father passed I'd be holding his hand then too. He had my brother holding one hand and me the other. For that I'll be forever grateful.

 

Bill

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I believe it is right to take care of your kin, especially any who have taken care of you (parents, grandparents.) A visit makes part of the day pleasant and happy for the person with the Alzheimers. My grandmother did not know me for many years. I remember taking one of our sons to see her when he was a baby. She saw him and exclaimed with such joy, "It's a BABY!" Then she interacted with my dad for a while and again saw our son and again, there was the joy and she exclaimed again, "It's a BABY!" and smiled. It is actually a beautiful memory. 

 

It is about giving love, not making memories. "No act of love is ever wasted." I read that somewhere. I agree. 

 

It might help your dd if you coach her as to how to interact in a meaningful way or even give her a particular task. I used to have our teenaged sons take their guitars and play for my aunt who had dementia. She loved it. The music was so soothing to her. 

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Not all people with dementia are happy to see you.  Some of them get, for lack of a better word, mean.  They are very unpleasant to be around and can scare children.  My grandmother is one of these.  She was a very vivacious, outgoing woman who knew her own mind when I was growing up.  She only completed the eighth grade, but was very smart and quick witted.  Now she is not that person.  She is mean, and cruel at times.  I love her dearly, but I do not want to visit her or force my children to do so.  It was a pretty scary experience for them a year ago when we did visit her.  I tried to prepare them ahead of time, but I don't think anything can fully prepare you for some situations.

 

I know it would make my father happy if I would visit his mom, but it is too hard on me emotionally at this point in my life.  I am not trying to be a bad family member, but I am dealing with life situations that are very emotionally draining and adding in one more might push me over the edge.

 

Everyone should have the right to choose what they want to do in these situations.  I don't think it is a good idea to try to guilt or force someone.

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Will the grandmother know her if she visited? This is what would make the decision for me.

I'd have other questions.

 

Like, will the girl's mother know her daugher was there (or not there) to provide support? Hell of a thing to see ones parent battle dementia. It is not only the grandmother to think of here.

 

Will the girl know that she is not there for either her mother of her grandmother? Quite a thing to grapple with when the immaturity of youth wears off.

 

Bill

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I do agree with Bill. I think that 19 is old enough to live to regret it later. If you had said 9, I would say don't push it because at that age it an be very traumatic. That said, she's an adult so the only thing you can do is just gently encourage and leave it up to her.

 

Sigh...I love my young adult kids, but I have to say I think the continued parenting of them is just so different and so much trickier. They still need our guidance but yowza's it is not easy to find a way to give it without overstepping.

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Perhaps the main point of the visit to someone that won't know/remember isn't that it is so much for them as it is for the one visiting. I'm sure my grandmother or cousin's dh didn't know who I was or remember, but those visits were good for me even though not happy or pleasant. For me it's part of being human, extending that human touch and connection, whether they're cognizant or not. No matter how depressing the visit was, there was that part of me that knew it was worthwhile. Those last visits haven't clouded my happy memories of the person; they're all part of the story, the good and the bad.

 

If someone is angry, mad, or violent that could certainly change things. None of the people I knew with dementia were angry/violent, or at least they weren't when I happened to visit.

 

I would never attempt to force anyone to visit. People are different.

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My Grandma died yesterday. However she was really lost to us about two years ago, when she lost herself. She was a shell of the woman she once was and would have hated to see what she had become. I had an opportunity to see her about a year ago (she's in NE, and we were PCSing cross country). I declined. My cousin had come back to NE with his girlfriend and wanted to introduce her. He regretted that decision. He kept thinking of that shell of a woman trying to eat jello with her fingers who didn't know him. The sadness of that blotted out a lot of the happy memories.

 

I was extrememly close to my grandmother. I do not regret my decision at all.

 

And if Grandma really has sever dementia, will seeing this grandchild really make her happy? Will she know it her grandchild, or is just the idea of a visitor that makes her happy at this point? Will she even know if family comes that they are family? Will she know that this one adult, old enough to make her own decisions, is missing from the family? If she really has sever dementia, I truely doubt that.

I'm so sorry. :(

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

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because the grandparent has severe dementia/Parkinsons and child doesn't want this to be their last memories of grandma, what do you do? 😢

 

So hard but I told her that it will make grandma happy, even if for only a day. She doesn't want those memories of her grandma.

 

ETA: dd is 19

I'm so sorry to hear about the dementia and Parkinson's. :(

 

Do you think she will regret it later if she doesn't go? Speaking for myself, I generally regret the things I didn't do, far more than I regret the things I did do. If it were me, I would go because I would be worried that Grandma would realize I hadn't visited her and it would hurt her feelings (even though from a rational standpoint, I would know that she would probably have no idea.)

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I had a somewhat similar experience. During my grandmother's later years my father became her primary caregiver. She suffered from dementia, and there were times when she'd go for days without sleep. Wanting to get up, then go to bed, then to the bathroom, then to bed, then up again. For hours upon end. Often confused. My father was a saint. Honestly a model of devotion that I will never forget.

 

One night I got a call in the middle of the night from my dad asking me to come. I didn't know just how badly things had turned (as I saw them often). He was near collapse. I just wished he had called sooner. So for the next few days and nights I stayed at my Grandmother's side while my dad recuperated. My Grandmother was agitated and up and down all night long. And it It broke my heart when she asked me, "who is that man?" (speaking of my dad).

 

But at some point in what seemed like an endless blur of days she had a moment of total clarity. She told me she was ready, and that she was at peace, that she had lived a good life, and that she loved us all very much. She was as clear as could be.

 

The clarity didn't last and soon after she was hospitalized and the situation was grave. The doctors encouraged my dad not to engage in extreme measures. He wanted to hear nothing of it. But I was able to hold him and share what my grandmother had told me. Letting her go was not a decision he could make. He need me and my brother and our wives. I felt very blessed to me holding my grandmother hand when she passed. Meant the world to me. Hoped that when my father passed I'd be holding his hand then too. He had my brother holding one hand and me the other. For that I'll be forever grateful.

 

Bill

 

Beautiful, Bill.

Just beautiful.

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I am in the "you visit family" camp. No one should be without visitors in their old age. If family doesn't visit, who will? 

Frankly, I will probably end up with dementia. It is not something I enjoy thinking about, but with my family history it seems pretty much inevitable. I sincerely hope my children (and grandchildren, if there are any) visit me. Will it be an easy thing? No. It's not. I know from personal experience that it's not.

I also know that one of my grandma's was completely "with it" until just weeks before she passed. When it became clear that the end was near, I attempted to visit one last time. As luck would have it, by the time I was able to make a visit (she lived in a different state), it ended up being for her funeral. 

My sister was able to visit one last time while she didn't really recognize anyone. 

 

Both my sister and I struggle with this. She struggles because that's a hard last memory to have. I am glad that I don't have memories of her that way. But, oh, to have seen her one last time. 

When push comes to shove, I wish I could have gotten there in time. 

 

This firmly cements me in the "visiting family is just what you do" side of things. OP, your dd is old enough to make her own decisions. But I would definitely be making my opinion known.  

 

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You honor the fact that your child is an adult who has the right to make her own choices and decisions. As far as the "you visit family" mentality - one would assume in this case that the 19yo is not the only family member she has and that other family members visit.

 

How much of an issue do you want to make of this? Is it worth potentially pushing your dd away?

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I'd have other questions.

 

Like, will the girl's mother know her daugher was there (or not there) to provide support? Hell of a thing to see ones parent battle dementia. It is not only the grandmother to think of here.

 

Will the girl know that she is not there for either her mother of her grandmother? Quite a thing to grapple with when the immaturity of youth wears off.

 

Bill

 

Yes, you're right; there are other considerations.  But for me, the main one is the grandmother's mental state and how that will affect the granddaughter.

 

The last time I saw my father before he died, he was in a mental hospital;  he didn't know me or my sister;  he only talked to us superficially and begged us to help him escape before the medical staff killed him.

 

I would not have handled this situation well at age 19.  

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I so appreciate all the responses. Some are very personal and I thank you. 

 

 

We visited today. DD did not go as she had to work. This dd does not cry, ever., and she cried today telling me how she doesn't want to remember her this way. I was not trying to guilt trip her, but Dh was. It's his mom.

 

You go as a family and support the loved one in need. That is a life lesson that ought to be taught and well understood. She should go.

 

Bill

This is what I am leaning toward. I don't want to go, either. It's uncomfortable and sad. But I do because I am supporting my husband.

 

Will the grandmother know her if she visited?  This is what would make the decision for me.

 

You know, it's hit and miss. Today she only recognized and acknowledged my husband and youngest son. She looked right through the rest of us. She even said ds7's name. 

I'm so sorry to hear about the dementia and Parkinson's. :(

Do you think she will regret it later if she doesn't go? Speaking for myself, I generally regret the things I didn't do, far more than I regret the things I did do. If it were me, I would go because I would be worried that Grandma would realize I hadn't visited her and it would hurt her feelings (even though from a rational standpoint, I would know that she would probably have no idea.)

That is so true about regret. I am going to share that with her.

 

So sad and scary. My husband has this on both sides of his family :(

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I would honor that. I would give anything to not have the memories of my dad in his final weeks of dementia. It has been very, very hard to overlay those memories with others.

 

My dad did not know me or my children at least six months before he died. And I think he faked it for longer. I did make the kids go and see him in the nursing home and I am not sure that I would do it again.

I remember my grandma taking me to visit my great-grandma, who had had a stroke. She was not verbal. She just sat and stared and my grandma always made me kiss her good-bye. it was terrifying to me as a young child.

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My Grandma died yesterday.  However she was really lost to us about two years ago, when she lost herself.  She was a shell of the woman she once was and would have hated to see what she had become.  I had an opportunity to see her about a year ago (she's in NE, and we were PCSing cross country).  I declined. My cousin had come back to NE with his girlfriend and wanted to introduce her.  He regretted that decision.  He kept thinking of that shell of a woman trying to eat jello with her fingers who didn't know him.  The sadness of that blotted out a lot of the happy memories. 

 

I was extrememly close to my grandmother.  I do not regret my decision at all.  

 

And if Grandma really has sever dementia, will seeing this grandchild really make her happy? Will she know it her grandchild, or is just the idea of a visitor that makes her happy at this point? Will she even know if family comes that they are family? Will she know that this one adult, old enough to make her own decisions, is missing from the family? If she really has sever dementia, I truely doubt that.  

I'm so sorry. :(

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