i am glad that you are going to let fil and siblings make the decision about bringing grandma to the reception and that you will be accepting of the decision that they make. It is so easy to just say hire a nurse, hire a caregiver, but unless you have a loved one in the nursing home that you are responsible for and interact with on a regular basis you probably don't realize that that doesn't always work like you would think it would.
Also, you (as in you and dh) may not be able to take grandma out of the facility. It would probably have to be cleared with the person who has poa. And I would assume that is fil or one of the other siblings.
You have given several key pieces of info in your posts:
You have not seen grandma in over 16 months.
She is in a full care nursing home.
She is in a wheelchair full time.
She needs help with the restroom.
She suffers from incontinence.
She gets confused.
She tires easily and lasts about 2 hours, then needs a nap.
You are planning a large party of around 250 persons.
You and dh are the hosts, ds and dil are the guests of honor. so you will be busy with party details and not have much time to interact with grandma anyway.
These are all indicators to me that it might be best to not bring grandma to the reception, even with a caretaker.
She only lasts 2 hours, yet you are going to spend almost one of then getting her in a car and riding to the event and then out of the car. This will be tiring enough in itself. What type of vehicle will grandma be traveling in? will it be easy to get her in and out? Will there be room to transport the wheelchair? She may also be worn our for several days after the event.
Will one of you be able to give her any medication that she needs to take, assuming there is no care giver there. what will you do if she refuses to take it?
She can help herself for the most part in the restroom. Most toilets in nursing homes have the bars right alongside the toilet seat; most venue handicap stalls do not have them this close. So someone will have to assist her on and off or be in the stall with her to lock the wheelchair and steady it for her.
What if she has an accident? Is there one restroom that would be out of commission during the time someone cleans her up or is there a handicap stall that is big enough to allow someone to assist her? Will she be allowed to keep her dignity if this happens? How would you handle the dirty/wet clothes?
What if she will have nothing to do with the caretaker, if you hire one? What if she only wants FIL to help her at the party or uncle? Will they feel comfortable helping her with bathroom duties or cleaning her up?
What if she becomes confused as to where she is or who people are? Will the amount of people who are there upset her? Will she become disoriented, scream, get mean? Will she become stubborn or hard to handle? Do you want this to be the memory of grandma that the party guests have?
What if she wants to go home shortly after she arrives? Is aunt willing to turn right around and take her back, missing out on the celebration?
While I understand your immediate family wanting her there as you have not seen her for a long time, remember that she is not the same grandma that you remember last seeing. Her life situation has changed. She has a new home, a new routine. For many elderly persons, taking them out of that routine, out of the familiar surroundings, away from familiar people can be very traumatic for them.
It is hard for us to realize someone that we love so much and have not seen for a long time has gotten older and cannot do the things we remember them being able to do. Sometimes we need to look past our desires and wants and do what is best for the elderly person. It is hard for us to realize that someone, due to age, medical issues, or disabilities, just can't attend the functions/activities anymore. it isn't fun for them like we think it would be. In fact it can be very stressful for them. And, if people really want to see them, they can make a short visit to the care center.
And, for those wondering, I am dealing with my mother who is in the nursing home and has been for 3 years. (And have also dealt with a fil and aunts/uncles in care centers.) At the beginning we could take my mom out and did up to a year ago. Now it would be way too traumatic for her to go out. She has not done well on the few trips to the doctor that she has taken the last few months, even staying in her wheelchair with a cna with her and me meeting her at the doctor offices. However, she loves to have people come and visit her in the care center and have a cup of coffee with her. she can show her guests off to her friends and will talk about it to the care center workers and fellow residents for days after. We take her pictures of events and share them with her. She loves seeing them and hearing about it. So, i speak from experience with her and seeing others in the care center on a fairly regular basis.