General Etiquette > Family and Children

Invite Grandma or not? Update pg 6

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B/G:  My DS and DIL were married in July, 2012.  Due to the swiftness of the marriage (DS is in the Air Force), very few family/friends were able to attend.  DS and DIL are moving to the West coast for his assignment in April.  DIL's parents, DH and I are planning a reception/going away party for DS and DIL in Hometown before they depart for his duty assignment.  All family and most friends are being invited.

Problem:  I am in charge of getting all addresses for "our" side of the family.  I had to call several people to get their address as we usually communicate by phone, so word of the event has gotten around the family.  FIL called DH last night and demanded that we not invite Grandma Betsy (his mother, DH's grandmother). 

The problem?  Grandma is in a full care nursing home (she was just moved there from assisted living).  She has incontinence issues and episodes of confusion.  This means that one of her children (out of four) will be responsible for her at the party, and FIL is livid that whomever takes on that duty won't be able to enjoy themselves due to Grandma's need for nearly full-time care.

I am torn about this.  I want DH's aunt and uncles to come and have a good time, but I don't want to not invite Grandma.  What is my and DH's responsibility here as hosts?  I thought of hiring a nurse/companion for Grandma, but this will not go over well since her own children will be there.  (The quote from FIL was, "That would be stupid.")

I think my responsibility is to invite Grandma and let the chips fall where they may.  DH thinks we shouldn't invite Grandma and tell the family not to tell her about the party.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Your party, your decision. I'd look in to hiring the nurse/companion for Grandma, if you decide to invite her. Who cares if FIL thinks it's stupid?
Not knowing background, I find it really sad that he'd be livid about his mother coming to a reception for her great-grandson.

Why on earth would hiring someone be stupid?  That's what we did for my grandfather at my grandmother's funeral.  Plenty of family was there, but we hired one of the nursing assistants from his nursing home.  Was worth EVERY PENNY, and no one thought twice about it.  Or if they did, no one ever said anything to us.

I'd also ask your son.  The party is in honor of him - does HE want his great-grandma there?

I would not invite her, it sounds to me like she probably would not even be aware of the party hence no hurt feelings would be involved.  A total care patient with incontinence issues is not a good thing situation to have at a party!

Perhaps some of the family could go visit her in the nursing home instead.

Ouch. FIL sounds like a pill, preemptively speaking for a number of other people and claiming there's no possible way they could have a good time while looking after their mother. This may be true, or it may be that one of the four would be perfectly happy to help out, and he's just assuming they won't. Very rude.

That being said, if Grandma needs full-time care at the party, I think you need to make sure someone is there to take care of her, before you consider inviting her. You can ask around the family as long as you don't pressure anyone; or you can hire the nurse/companion--who cares if FIL thinks it's stupid? It's not his party or his money. If none of her kids want to take on that role for the party, then they have no standing to say the hired nurse "won't go over well."

I will say, though, in my family, this is the point at which we generally stop inviting elderly relatives to parties--full-time nursing home care with confusion and serious needs. In my experience the person doesn't really have a good time--either they are out of it and don't remember/understand what's happening, or if they're still with-it, they're just worried about transportation and other issues the whole time.

Could you not invite Grandma to the party, but then later bring a little of the party to her, with DH, DIL, and a small number of other relatives going to see her at the nursing home?


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