Living With MIL

cindymouseJuly 3, 2005

Hi All,

I'm new to this forum, maybe it can provide me some insight..DH and I have lived with now 80 yr old MIL for 8 yrs. There have been MANY difficulties, health problems, manipulations, etc. She has a host of problems now, including early dementia, vascular disease, osteoporosis, aortic aneurysm, near deafness,on and on.

When we first moved in together our youngest DD was 14. I truly thought I would lose my mind. Even though MIL is basically a nice person, there have been innumerable times that she blamed me for ridiculous things. (translation-she was hurt that her other 2 sons don't pay much attention-so I was a safe target).

Now it's to the point that I'm more like the mother figure. Mentally,and physically she seems more like 90+ much of the time. DH is a great son and a great husband, otherwise we couldn't do this.

I can't even begin to tell the litany of things that have happened...but thanks for letting me vent. Guess we will do what's necessary.

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Your message sounds VERY familiar. It appears to me, as my husband's caregiver (early(?) Alzheimer's) that they return to the toddler stage of childhood. His movements are awkward, even with familiar tasks and his fine motor skills have been lost. His interpretation of my comments is that they are sarcastic. I can't show ANY kind of displeasure in my expressions either as that is the same interpretation. So I act cheerful and happy--could try out for Hollywood--LOL. Just wish they could come up with a solution--Namenda and Aricept medications kind of stall the disease, but definitely DO NOT reverse it. Annieil

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 2:58PM
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Hello, Cindymouse. It's been a while since I've visited this board: we placed my Mother in a nursing home, having lived with us for 12 years. Her dementia, combined with her hearing loss, combined with my needing to help her toilet herself (at all hours of the day, hence losing sleep) made it necessary to finally make that most painful decision. It was likely one of the worst moments of my life, when she awoke that morning...having spent her last night in her own bed. I can still cry if I allow myself. However, it's been about 2 months, and she's very happy where she is, she says her 'nurses' spoil her, she loves the food, plays games, loves the huge bath tub ;-), and altho' she believes she's in a hospital, she's finding much comfort there. AND, a doctor is at the nursing home every afternoon, and on call!

I'm not saying it's time to make that decision for your MIL, but don't discount it. Knowing what I know now, I wish we had done it sooner (tho' she wouldn't likely have agreed), when she could participate more, and have nice visits with other residents. Although my dear hubby always said he's care for her if I went out (in fact he tried to shoost me out for my mental and physical breaks), I just couldn't feature her wanting him to tidy her up in the washroom etc. Our lives were at a stand-still....we were home-bound. At least I was. And I wanted our remaining years, however many God would grant us, to be spend doing some of the things we wanted to do together in our retirement. I know Mom would have wanted that for us, too.

Dementia is a strange animal. One day our loved ones seem just fine, the next day they can barely manage a spoon! But they do regress: for example, my Mom believes our kids are in school (they're 30, and 26!). Some days I'm her sister. Her emotions run the gammut, too...from tears, to sheer joy. Some days she knows she's "not too well", other days each minute is new to her, and the same questions are asked. It can be difficult. One thing I learned: don't try to correct them. If it's windy outside, then it is. If her Mother (mine is 91!) visited yesterday, then she did.
My best advice is: smile and nod. And don't let their telling you how to run your life/kids/dinners/laundry/gardening etc get to you personally. It becomes as much part of the disease as forgetfulness.

Read as much as you can about Alzeimers; my Mother stalled her condition for many years taking Aricept, but when it finally had no affect on her, her Alz came in one big rush instead of gradually thru the years. I'm happy to have had more 'reasonable' years with her on that medication, even tho' the last 6 months took her from us.

You have a life, too, with your husband, your family...I'm sure you're a good daughter-in-law, and you'll do what's right for all of you. But there MAY come a time when some sacrifices are just too much...and you and your DH must weigh your options.

I would also suggest you and/or your DH have Power of Attorney for her health decisions (and that you know what she wants) and for her financial ones. These will be most important in the future.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 8:46PM
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You'll receive some good advice here.

Was glad to hear the positive things about your Mother & how you've been able to make the transition smoothly. I recall when that was such a difficult decision for you.

We haven't had our Mothers with us in our home, but we did have to decide where the best place was for each. And then, also, my Father. He made that decision at 89yrs to move close by & just in time as he's failing quickly.

Tis a difficult time for me now, but have a wonderful DH & brother for support. And, this forum to lean on now.

Thanks, Sharlee

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 3:37PM
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