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I told grandma with dementia that she can't make the dinner for fam reunion. AITA?

I told grandma with dementia that she can't make the dinner for fam reunion. AITA?


When this woman is worried about her grandma, she asks Reddit:

'AITA for telling my grandma with dementia that she should no longer make the dinner at our family reunion?'

My (20M) grandma (78F) was diagnosed with dementia last April. She’s been mostly coherent, though she occasionally struggles with tasks. Our family usually has two large family reunions each year (one on Christmas, one in March since we have a bunch of birthdays around that time), and my grandma did most of the cooking, and was very good at it.

She'd make a pineapple honey-glazed ham as the main course, and pumpkin bars and apple pie as dessert; eating her food always was a highlight of our family reunions. Despite her dementia, last Christmas, the family trusted her with making the dinner as usual. It didn’t go well.

The ham was overcooked, having little of the honey glaze. She completely forgot about the pumpkin bars in the oven, and they were burnt and inedible. The apple pie was merely poorly sliced apples just dumped into store-bought pie crust (normally homemade), with no sugar/seasonings. Needless to say there was quite little edible food that Christmas.

With our annual family reunion around the bend, the family decided someone should tell Grandma that she should no longer make the dinner. We knew this could be a hard conversation, since this is something very important to Grandma. My grandpa (80M) is a very gentle man and didn't have the heart to. My parents told me I should be the one to tell her, and that I instead do the cooking.

I didn't see an issue, since the family sees me as a pretty good home cook, and I've always been close with my grandma. So, when my grandma FaceTimed a few days ago, remarking on how she was looking forward to the dinner, I politely told her that she should not do the cooking. I didn't mention her dementia, instead saying that since she's done it for decades now, she should give the reins to another family member, so she can spend more time with her family.

She wasn't happy to hear this, and didn't budge. I tried to meet her in the middle, offering to help her with the cooking, or treating her to a restaurant meal of her choice, but she still insisted on making dinner. She’s very particular about the way things are done when she cooks and doesn’t want help in the kitchen. Since she still was adamant, I had to inform her that the food last Christmas wasn’t made properly, which she denied. Not wanting to argue with my grandma, I left it alone.

I've thought about the situation now and I worry I made my grandma hurt, even if she may not remember the exchange. My grandpa texted, that I made my grandma upset, and that I should apologize if I said anything mean. I’d never intend to upset Grandma or anyone suffering from dementia. Though, it seems clear she’s no longer capable of cooking the dinner, and someone needed to tell her.

I worry that if she still doesn't budge, some of the family won't show up (knowing that there will be very little edible food), and worse, my grandma may injure herself in the kitchen. Though I do feel somewhat guilty for telling her directly that she shouldn't cook. Am I the asshole here?

Let's find out.

ozbecs writes:

Soft YTA, it sounds like you flubbed it. You could have done it together and made sure everything went smoothly - instead you pushed her out and made her feel incompetent.

Apologize to your grandma for making her feel unappreciated and help her to make this last ‘grandma cooked’ meal a success. Edited to add these other folks are right, your family are a bunch of assholes for making a 20 year old kid tell grandma that her efforts are no longer appreciated. Goddam.

fireandping writes:

NTA - that’s a tough position they put you in. It sounds like this may be one of the things she’s holding on to in order to feel normal. If she’s going to make dinner this year she needs to have help in the kitchen, make that clear. But then ask her what tasks you or others could do and let her decide those. Like cutting apples or timer manager. I don’t know, it’s tough.

fihaqeub writes:

NAH, except maybe your grandpa. Your grandma may know that she can’t cook the way she used to, and is struggling to accept her new limitations. It’s an extremely difficult time for her, and she is likely in denial. Your family should not have left it to you alone to talk to her about this.

Ideally it should have been her husband. He was so worried about hurting her that he made you do it without thinking about how she might take the news better coming from him, and make an already upsetting situation marginally better.

He threw both of you under the bus. I think your idea of cooking together is a nice one, and hopefully she will come around to it with time. I don’t think you did anything wrong.

Looks like the jury's out on this one. Is OP TA for bringing this up?

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