Dementia care: No weddings, no funerals


Have more questions and don't know where to turn?

Join our community and get access to monthly support calls, an online chat forum for questions, and even monthly 1:1 calls with Rachael! CLICK HERE for more information.


Today’s topic is all about weddings and funerals, and saying NO to them.

So I have a little rule called no weddings and no funerals. And before I get into explaining what that means, I want to clarify that this is typically for people past the early stages of dementia. I’m not talking about people who are in very, very early stages, who are aware of the year and the time, and who can recognize everyone. I’m not talking about them.

I’m talking about people in later stages. And the reason that I clarify that is that sometimes I post videos, and people on the internet go nuts, and they’re like, oh, well, my so and so. No, I’m talking about later-stage dementia. Anyway, I have this rule called no weddings and no funerals, which essentially means that if your loved one has dementia past a very early stage, taking them to a wedding or a funeral is probably a bad idea. Why don’t I recommend it? Well, a couple of reasons.

For people with dementia, crowds can be really overwhelming, so they might get overwhelmed really quickly. Also, it can be overwhelming for you. Either you’re trying to celebrate or you’re trying to grieve. And if you have to be making sure their level with dementia is okay and safe and calm the whole time, you’re not going to have the time to take care of yourself. So it’s important for both of you. I also want to emphasize that you’re really not doing them a favor. So if somebody with dementia had a loved one pass away, a lot of family members are tempted to say, well, we want to tell mom that her sister died, we want to bring her to the funeral. Why? A lot of people with dementia kind of live with at least one foot in another reality.

And so all of a sudden if we’re telling mom that her sister’s dead and we’re reminding her about this all the time, she’s either maybe not going to believe it or she’s going to have forgotten, or she’s not going to understand. And so taking her to the funeral can cause a lot of undo anxiety and a lot of confusion about what year it is and what, why, and what’s happening. And then kind of similarly, at a wedding, you bring somebody to a wedding who’s a little bit agitated or confused. Weddings are overwhelming, they’re long, there are a lot of people there, and there’s going to be a lot of confusion about who people are. That’s really not a great situation for somebody with dementia.

So this post is essentially giving you permission to not bring somebody with dementia to a wedding or a funeral. Don’t guilt trip yourself and say, oh my God, I have to bring them. It’s only respectful. Probably don’t do it.

Visit my Youtube channel for more tips on Dementia Care.

Liked it? Take a second to support Rachael Wonderlin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

You're not alone!

Get personal support from Rachael and connect with other Caregivers when you join our community.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

When you sign up, you’ll also get access to Rachael’s weekly newsletter so that you can get her top tips, links to new content as soon as it’s released, and special offers directly in your inbox! We’ll never sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

16 things poster
Shopping Cart

Have questions?

Book a Dementia Detective
call and talk to a DBD expert!