Without contacting me about it in advance, my niece has recently sent an email to everyone in her immediate (nuclear) family that she would like to have a family reunion that includes my mother, who lives in our home. My niece lives several hours away, so the "reunion" essentially will involve my having the reunion here, because my mother only rarely leaves the home and mostly leaves in order to receive medical treatment.
My niece has not seen her grandmother in about two years, and my mother is now fully into stage 5 of alzheimer's.
I suppose the question I really should be asking is how do I tell my extended family that my mother is no longer really interested in them? I actually have asked this question, in a way, before.
My mother has taken to telling rambling stories about her past, putting things together that did not happen in the way she "remembers" them, and mixing whole decades of information up to the extent that it is difficult for me (who was, in a sense, the "family historian" among us) to decipher what she is saying. Though I live with her and usually can figure out where she is in her thinking, even I have difficulty sometimes.
I don't think my mother, if she had her complete senses, would want to be seen in this way by her grandchildren and great grandchildren. No one would want to be seen this way, if they had a choice.
As her primary caregiver (though we now have assistance in the home on a nearly daily basis), I have to deal with the fallout from visits from my sisters and their families. The fallout is sometimes mild (needing to stay in bed for two days) and sometimes severe (delusions and disorientation for a week or so).
If there is a large family gathering here, it will exhaust my mother, and the fallout (the events that will occur in succeeding days) is quite unpredictable, but it will mean more careful supervision of my mother's health (blood pressure taking, vigil while she sleeps, etc.) than would normally occur.
I feel it's too late for a "family reunion" to have any meaning for my mother, and I guess, to preserve her dignity and the good memories of her that her grandchildren and great grands might have, I think such events are best left undone, so the next generations can remember my mother as the vibrant, ebullient, vivacious woman my mother once was.
I should add that my mother herself this evening said she was not up to such an event when I floated it past her and my husband.
How do I tell the family that it might be past the time to have such things that would involve their parent, grandparent, great grandparent? She doesn't care about them and their stories about their lives. Her needs and her life are what matter to her. She led a long, good life, was a giving mother and grandmother, and she is tired now and wants it all to be about her now. My family doesn't seem to get it. And I feel in the middle of it all, as her primary caregiver.
Any suggestions as to how to deal with this?