Feel Like Crying

bettyd_z7_vaSeptember 9, 2009

My original post is still here on the first page. We just moved DH's Aunt is with us around June 10th and we are always stressed by her insisting she wants to go home and constantly accusing us of stealing her money.

When she called me in May crying because she needed help with her bills, we didn't have a clue how bad her finances were. She hadn't kept a checkbook register and it has taken us a couple of months of gathering bills and studying her statements from the bank to realize there are many more bills than money.

She wasn't here a full month before she started wanting her money. DH sat her down with a list showing her how much retirement and Soc Sec income she had and what bills we had paid and how many that were left that there wasn't money to pay.


She is somewhere in never-never land where she can't compute that we are taking care of her. It is EVERY WAKING MOMENT wanting to go home, wanting her money because we have TAKEN it.

Last night our son was going to watch her so we could get away and go have a real dinner with our Pastor and wife in peace. She started in before we could get out of the door and kept on until I finally said to DH that we HAD to go because we were going to be late. Of course we were so frustrated that we ended up yelling at each other driving down the road.

We wanted to try to keep her at least through Christmas and let her have a real one with presents to open and a stocking etc. But, I don't think we are going to make it.

I just don't know what to do.

Thanks for letting me vent.


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Your description of her being in never-neverland sounds very much like some real dementia issues here. If she does, in fact, have dementia, no amount of explaining will get through and stick. Along with things not "computing", you've also got paranoia, i.e., "You've taken my money." Paranoia can be a symptom of dementia. Has your aunt gotten a diagnosis? If so, some medications might be in order here. Anxiety-reducing meds might help her agitation a lot. Know that dementia, whether it is caused by Alzheimer's or multi-infarcts in the brain, is a progressive illness. Her present symptoms will change. No one can say just how, though. Medications most certainly can help the stages of this illness be more manageable, both for her and you.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 10:53AM
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Don't pretend you can manage something that you can't. What you've described is going to ruin your lives. You musn't continue this way.

Agree with briejean. And if none of that works, she needs to be somewhere else.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Thanks briejean and asolo,

She was already on meds for depression and anxiety. She was progressively getting worse. DH's oldest son and his wife had moved in with her to help take care of her and she slapped his wife in the face and told them to get out. She treated them and their children so badly that they moved out.

After we had moved her here and she started getting worse I called our family Dr that had seen her and said something had to give. He started her on Aricept daily and Sertraline HCL at bedtime.

I guess they have to build up in your system gradually because there has only been change for the worse so far. She has only been on them 2 weeks.

It helped me to just get on here and vent. Thanks for "listening" and making suggestions. I will let you know how things work out.

DH will probably need to have a hernia operation and if so, she will have to be put somewhere because I have nobody that can keep her and he is my 1st priority. He goes back to his surgeon next month about that.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 3:03PM
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I'm no medicine-man but even the most annoying of the psycho-actives should show positive change within ten days or so. I don't know about those you described. Suggest follow-up with Dr. and re-iterate your view that present situation utterly intolerable and cannot be sustained. Dr. may not have grasped the magnitude of your crisis. If there's reasonable hope via drugs, OK. If likely not, then prepare yourselves to do something else.

Dementia comes to everyone differently. And it can be quite variable and ever-changing. Interesting topic. However, for you, it all comes down to the prospect of hosting a monster in your home. If you can get things under control, certainly do that. But don't feel guilty if you can't. And don't beat yourself up if, the end, you simply have to get her out of there.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 3:49PM
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The others have given you good advice. I'll add my admonition to act immediately too. If she's accusing you of stealing, you have no idea who will eventually listen to her and possibly take her seriously. You are leaving yourselves wide open for charges of financial elder abuse. You need to get her doctor involved and get her out from under your direct care. This could turn into a hideous legal situation for you.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 5:12PM
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I agree with shambo. YOU do need to get another place for her to stay. Also, unless you have all the legal documents in place, you cannot do anything. Does she have children? Who is legally responsible for her as pay bills, etc. You are right. Your family comes first. Find a place for her and if your DH is her only legal relative go to a lawyer and straighten this out now. Later will be too late, especially if she is telling everyone you are stealing her money, even though she has none. Sorry I sound harsh, but I can only see too many problems unresolved. If she goes to a hospital, without the medical permissions forms on file, you or no one else will be permitted to make decisions.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 6:21PM
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When we first started talking to her about coming to live with us we explained to her that we had to have the legal papers signed BEFORE we would be allowed to handle her bills,medical decisions, etc. She agreed.

We went to our attorney and she satisfied his mind with the right answers to the questions of why she was there and what she was doing. So we do have legal general POA and medical POA papers signed by her and witnessed that the attorney had drawn up. According to the attorney, as long as we don't sign any papers saying that we will be responsible for her bills, we are ok to make the decisions and pay what can be paid out of her account.

I am not as detailed as I would like to be, but have tried to keep every receipt as well as write all of her DR appointments on a calendar that I will be keeping. Also have written on it when we had son or daughter sit with her while we had to handle other business and go places we knew she couldn't handle.

We also make a page every month listing her income and everything we paid or bought for her (RXs, personal hygiene, etc) out of her account.

We sit down with her and show her from the paper how much she gets, what we have paid, and every penny that is left if there IS a penny left. Dh goes over it again and again with her. 5 minutes later- we are stealing her money because she hadn't gotten her retirement check for 3 months.

All of her food and eating out we do comes out of our account ( she has no money left to help with these).

I've just about accepted that she has to be put in a nursing home, but DH hasn't yet. Also, how will it be paid for if her house is mortgaged to the hilt and she has all of these other bills that add up to more than she gets every month?

I will be making another appointment with the Dr today to see if he can up her dosage on the meds.

I feel like I need meds by now too!! I can also see the stress it has caused on DH and our 16 year old son on their faces.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions and just letting me get it out.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 8:15AM
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Must add this quip, given your last post.....

Don't make yourself nuts with frustration by continually trying to explain the situation to her. She doesn't understand it and she likely never will. If she does for a moment, she'll forget it all the next and start in again. You will certainly add incredibly to your own stress level if you retain such expectations.

Her inability to comprehend and/or remember isn't her fault. This is what dementia does to people. Her lack of comprehension isn't your problem. Her behavior is.

Behavioral issues at this time of life are very often decision-makers all by themselves. If via medication, things can become manageable for you, that would be a good thing. But if you find you can't deal with it I say again: Don't pretend you can. Don't allow family members to say you should or you must and if you can't you're some kind of bad person. If you do, this thing will gobble you up. You're the only ones that know what you're capable of. And your own husband and children must be priority #1. Don't allow anyone to put that at risk.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 1:15PM
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Meds for AZ have never been proven to help. They are using us for guinea pigs. They are very expensive and can cause severe ulcers. Been there done that.

My mother hit one of my sisters and blacked her eye. You have to understand where they are coming from. They have taken care of themselves forever and they do not know they have a problem. You will never be convince them that they do. My mom swore we were taking her house away from her, she actually put the house in our names to protect it in case this kind of thing happened years and years ago. My husband was a fighter in the care home, I felt very bad until I was told "he doesn't know what they are doing, he thinks they are messing with him down there". I didn't feel guilty after that.

You will ruin your life and health if you continue to take care of her. Your intentions are good, but the fact is your life/health and your family's are just as important as she is, if not more.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 4:15PM
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You may be setting unrealistic deadlines for yourself. Why are you so fixated on giving her a "real Christmas" when it's likely she not only won't enjoy and may possibly spoil it for everyone, but the chances are good that with dementia, she may not even remember it five minutes later?

80% of residents in nursing homes are there on state/federal aid. That's what Medicaid is, 50% Fed money and 50% state funds. You can't have more than $2K of assets to qualify for the program. It was designed for people like your relative.

Get your doctor involved and USE the resources available to you. You pay taxes and that's what they're for.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Good ideas there!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 1:35PM
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New poster here. I believe her doctor can get a social worker involved who can help you figure out placement, even with no/very little money. I used to visit my mom's friend whose kids were not involved, and it was only through her doctor that she was able to get services. Good luck, betty--I'll bet you won't realize how difficult your life is right now until you're able to find a better situation for your dh's aunt.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:03AM
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Betty, what did you decide.

I was a caregiver for my DH for 10 years while taking care of my three kids who were young when it started. He has MS. It sucked the life out of me. I didn't have any help at all until 2 years ago when I got an aide to bath and dress him. These people never showed up on time if at all and most didn't use soap. Finally got a new agency after almost 2 years and they were wonderful but by them I was going down in many ways. I placed him in a NH in June and it was the best decision that I ever made and sorry that I didn't do it sooner. My kids missed so much growing up because every thing was always centered around him and as he was in a wheel chair he and had no strength we were all house bound.

I have no guilt at all as I choose to live.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 12:17PM
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I applaude you for being able to do the right thing. I'm sure it was a hard choice. I certainly understand the "we were all house bound" thing. The smaller my MIL's world becomes, the smaller ours gets too. It's hard to make family members understand the stress it causes sometimes. I'm glad you choose to live your life.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 6:23PM
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