falldowngobumpNovember 18, 2008

How many of you have a loved one living in your home? My MIL lives with us now and we have had MANY changes in the last year. I was just wondering...

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Since both my Mom and MIL are gone, I cannot give you the answer. Personally, I could have lived with MIL, but not Mom--personality reasons.
I will not live with any of my kids, unless it is a true emergency. We have alot of very good places in our area for older people to live in.
If your MIL is a easy person to live with, under your rules etc and you have the freedom to live your lives etc
and she has no place else to go--that should be your decision. If she causes problems, has some money etc, she should live in an asst care home. She will be with people her own age, and events geared to her age and ability.
You indicated many changes. Good/bad???
I am 76 and really like my own space and yes I can drive--so far==so good.
Hope this helps

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 4:30PM
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I take care of my dad, gave up my place and moved back "home" to take care of him. Things are very different for me but the flip side is I know I am doing the right thing, even on those days when I feel like screaming!
It is not easy, no matter your home or theirs, the stress levels go up, the tempers need checked and the list goes on.........but if you love them then you know it is the right thing to do, you are in the right place in your life and where HE wants you to be.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for your honest answers, My FIL died last year and my MIL moved in with her son and me. They lived about an hour away and we had no idea how much my FIL took care of until she moved in with us. She cannot live alone. She cannot handle her medications or her money. She's been with us a little over a year and although she is physically healthy for 86, her forgetfullness, short term memory and just making reasonable judgement calls about things are really bad. I continued to work for almost a year but after several kitchen fires and when I found her in the kitchen trying to hack a can of soup open with a large butcher knife (she said she didn't know what a can opener was) We knew we had to make changes. We love her very much and really don't want to put her in a home. I'm a retired nurse and I could just kick myself for not seeing the signs of her dementia sooner. She is really good at hiding it. I quit my job 10 weeks ago to stay home. We (she) can't afford to hire someone to sit with her.
It seems like my whole life now revolves around how she is today. It seems like I spend a lot of time protecting her from hurting herself. Last night, for example, I put her to bed and stayed up a while to pick up the house. She thought I was in bed too because she got up, walked into the kitchen, got a chair, tried to step in it to get into her medications. (they are locked up WAY up in the cabinet) I turned the light on and she said she had forgotten to take her meds. If I hadn't stayed up to pick up she probably would have fallen. I guess I need to put the locked med box under my bed. I really hate to restrain her in the bed but I can't have her wandering around at night. Sometimes she seems so OK and then she'll ask me if her parents are still alive. They've been dead for over 20 years.
Some days are harder than others.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Fall Down, my mom is no longer living with us. But I understand what you're going through. She was in an assisted living community and was doing OK. They felt it was time for her to go into memory care and the transition did not go well. So we stupidly moved her in with us. Even though I spent several days a week visiting with her over at the AL, I had no idea how hard having her in our home would be. She was suffering from dementia too and complete incontinence. Suffice it to say, she eventually moved into another AL about a year ago and a few weeks ago she was transferred into their memory care unit. This time the transitions went well.

Your situation sounds difficult. Your MIL sounds like she needs constant supervision & oversight. I understand the finances involved with getting in home help. One of the reasons I moved my mom back into an AL was because the cost of in home help to assist me taking care of her was more than the monthly AL bill! But there are several companies out there that sell wonderful alerting devices, safety devices, caregiving aids, etc. I've given you a link below to one such company. Perhaps some of their products could help you with the oversight of your MIL. There are surveillance cameras you can set up to watch even if you're not in the same room. All kinds of great ideas.

Is your husband handy with tools? Is there a way to lock up your kitchen for the times when you're not using it? Maybe a install a door with locks. I'm sure you could come up with something to keep your MIL out of dangerous and/or private areas. That was one of the problems I had with my mom. She kept wanting to get in the kitchen to cook. But it was too dangerous to let her near the stove or the knives.

My mom has the same problem remembering her parents. In fact, that was one of the reasons she had to be moved recently to memory care. She kept leaving the AL to go across the street to supposedly visit her parents, but they both have been dead for over 40 years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dynamic Living Web Site

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 5:45PM
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I am so thankful that my Dad is in an Alz. Unit of a nursing home. My mom was actually his caregiver, but she's rather feeble (and not real nurturing). She just could not keep track of him; they lived in an independent living complex where they had their own apt. I knew that Dad was wandering at odd hours, he was wearing too many layers of clothes in the wrong season, and he would order things on the phone. Finally Mom could handle it no longer, so we placed them both in the nursing home near me, and things are much better. Not happier for Mom, but that will not ever be what she wants--she'll never be younger, stronger, or more active like she used to be.
It is so pleasant to visit my dad and know that all of his issues are taken care of. They love him cuz he's a sweet guy most of the time. When he's anxious, he's difficult to divert and settle down, but he is safe and can move furniture down the hall if he wants, or whatever.
Mom's the opposite, she still wants to call all the shots. She gets insistent and bossy; I don't envy those who deal with her. If she moved in with me, I would be in tears every night! She still wants to go outdoors and smoke a couple of times a day; that goes over like a lead balloon with the aids there.
You guys that are caregivers have my utmost respect and admiration!!! But I know it's exhausting and neverending and frustrating.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 10:09PM
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Connie Kru

I cared for my mil for the last 5 years of her life.
It was hard, but when all was said and done I am glad I did it.
One of the things that I did was install a monitor (video and sound).
I ran it though the night and I would hear her move and then I would wake and watch.
She used a walker, so I attached bells (only after she was in bed) so when she moved the walker they rang.
You can put them on her bedroom door, if she does not use a walker.
I also found money to pay for a helper, so I could go see a friend or what ever. This helped me not fee like I was missing life completely.
You also need to say to friends-Come to the house and visit with me PLEASE,PLEASE. Many friends think they are intruding, explain I need my friends right now, where are you???
And as for not seeing the dementia, well I think we all went through that stage. They are so good at covering.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Thank you all so much for your frank answers. I really felt so alone with all this--the frustration and the guilt for missing my "old " life so much. We have put bells on all the outside going doors and have started to pull the breaker on the stove at night. She has started sundowning and it sure seems to get worse at night. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 11:43AM
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Oh my! Thank you so much for the link to the dynamic living web site--so many helpful things there.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 4:22PM
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I like to call myself the "catalog queen" - I get tons of them, most of which are recycled. But several have been very useful, and there are a few you might find interesting, similar to the Dynamic Living site:

Dr. Leonard's:
Full of Life:
Gold Violin:

All three of these specialize in products to help seniors live independently or more comfortably.

My MIL has been living with us since November 2006. It is somewhat stressful for me - I have almost nothing in common with her - but she's a pleasant and sweet person so we both try our best to adjust to one another.

It has been very good that she came to live with us. We have been able to detect initial signs of senile dementia, which fortunately has been quite gradual. Her physical health is still good as well. Since I love to cook, I also know she eats much better with us. She has a tendency to load up on junk food or eat frozen meals by herself, since she dislikes cooking. No weight problem, but I don't care to have junk food in the house because my DH will eat it, and HE'S the one who doesn't need it, LOL!

Eventually she'll have to go into an assisted living or nursing home facility - I expect her to live to 100 if she doesn't hurt herself (has severe osteoporosis) but her mental acuity will have long faded before then.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Ginnier, your dad sounds like my dad. I have been told to divert him when he's on one subject but it's not so easy to do. Sure the persons running the home could do it cause they'd tell him what they call fib-lits (sp) but he knew they were lying and this upset him even more.
He is very kind,gentle and caring worrying about others when he should be just concerned about himself.
He has so many problems that no matter where he is he's going to run into a problem I guess. When he was very young early 20's he had a very bad sinus infection, he was put in the hospital and he said he cried for days from pain. The doctors did everything they knew to do but nothing was breaking up the infection so they finally called Washington DC to have a special medicine made that came out of New York. When they flew the medicine to the hospital and gave it to my dad the infection broke up and he said it oozed out of everything opening of his head. From then on dad was terrified of ever having a sinus infection again so he went to get lengths in making sure it didn't happen. Now he say's that air blowing on his head and neck starts stopping him up.
He had frost bite when he was young also and that has damaged his circulation so now his hands and feet stay cold and get cold easy. The other dad when I visited him he was lying in bed trying to get warm. It's not that the place is cold it's just him. He thinks the place is cold though cause he's cold.
When I went to leave it was heart breaking cause he cries now every time I leave. It is upsetting for both of us for him to be in a nursing home but we both know there's nothing else we can do. I can't take care of him due to my problems but the other day I wished and even thought of how I could pull it off to take him back home and care for him or if I could bring him to my home but after searching and thinking it through I know I'm in no shape to care for him and have to face the facts.
I think it's wonderful if your able to care for a parent but you really need to be able to give them the proper care that they need and someone like my dad with his many health problems he's best off in the hands of professionals, other wise we'd be running to the ER every time we turned around.
There is also a time to know when you can't do it yourself as badly as you may want to keep them home.

Even though my dad isn't living in my home, I still have lots of things I have to do in his care, plus caring for his homes and I've been telling the family I don't have a life anymore, it is all about caring for my dad right now.
I've tried to do somethings just to get a break and something comes up. The last time it was on a Sunday that I went out to see a cousin and got a call from the nursing home that dad was being taken to the hospital. He was ok but they kept him for a few days cause he has a new pacemaker. The doctor did change his medicine while he was there.
He's on my mind a lot wondering how he's doing when I'm not there. Much like when you wonder how your kids are doing when not in your sight.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 11:54AM
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Jkom, thanks for the links. As I said earlier, my mom is in a memory care wing right now, but she still needs helpful products every once in a while. And I've got dear friends who have the wife's parents living with them. So all these sources will be useful. Not to mention the fact that I somehow seem to be getting older myself...

I remember you from my days chatting on the Kitchen & Bathroom GardenWeb forums. Many discussions about counter surfaces. In fact, I recall asking you about your shower stall material when we were redoing our master bath.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 6:38PM
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Not yet but preparing. You should look into Social Services in your area or Dept. of Aging to see if your mother qualifies for any assistance to be placed in an adult day care center. My mom goes and it allows my sister (primary caregiver) to work. She get 4 hours of respite care that she can use however she wants. When she visits with me 2-1/2 months we send her every other day to the adult day care center since we have pay for it out of our pockets. the other days i work from home.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 12:46PM
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My mom came to live with us this past spring when I first started posting on this forum. She's a relatively healthy 82y.o. Japanese woman with whom I have never gotten along and have known all my 40+ years of life, along with my 60+ older 1/2 brother, that there was no way that she could ever live with either of us because she'd make us crazy. One of the difficult things was yanking her from San Diego, where there is a huge Japanese culture (grocery, restaurants, video, books, etc) to Saint Petersburg, FL, where there is literally NONE, although I've got a lead on a restaurant that reportedly was owned by an actual Japanese person a year ago.

My DH realized (long before I could see or acknowledge) that she could not live well on her own and is "losing it". She won't really cook on her own and would live on rice and vienna sausages, so she's gained weight living with us, a good thing. After a trip to urgent care followed by ER the next day, I managed to figure out on my own that she probably needed a medical advocate 10-20 years ago (language barrier, as well as general acceptance of that generation that the doctor is always right - never question). We are trying to manage her hypertension, but she really doesn't understand how, so medical is where I really have to take over and "mother" her.

This said, she can get around on her own, helps out cleaning around the house, dotes over the pets, rides her trike to the store to buy her lottery tix twice a week, etc. She doesn't have any issues with ADLs so she's not really a candidate for AL, IL is far too expensive, and it turns out there is no adult day care in the area, although I did get her a scholarship to our local YMCA where she just started participating in a balance class and hopefully find friends with the Active Older Adults/Silver Sneakers group. If she can handle riding the bus (no transfers), she should be able to go to the Y by herself when I'm too busy too driver her.

I am slowly mentally accepting the fact that it is like having a toddler in the house - answering the same questions over and over, putting up with tantrums, arguing about food, constant monitoring of health, meals, and meds, referee between her and my kids, etc. The tricky part is the emotional acceptance - I am often impatient and resentful of the time & effort that I use to care for her and arguing with her.

I found out last night that there's a label for me - "sandwich generation" - since I have a young teen and pre-teen at home as well. I fear that they are suffering as well because their mom is an emotional wreck, but getting better. I did join a weekly woman's sailing group so I have an outlet, although I missed last week because both my mom and my teen were feeling poorly that morning.

Anyway, I must get going on my day. She ate something bad yesterday (cruising the free samples at Costco) and I've got to make sure she's hydrating and doing okay (she's been in bed since yesterday afternoon and hasn't eaten a bite). Just got a new vacuum belt so can finally get after those dust bunnies....toilets to scrub...real estate course to finish...dishes to put away...I'm sure you know the routine. BE SURE you take some time for yourself. You will not have anything to give to others unless your "cup is full" ("sharpen your saw", etc). It's vacation time, so maybe try to find a neighborhood teenager who can sit with your MIL for a few hours so you can do something for yourself (no, NOT shopping or errands!) - walk on the beach (or park) or get a cup of tea and scone at a sidewalk cafe or lunch with an old friend - and charge up for the holiday!
Best of luck to you.
Lisa A.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 11:34AM
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I wish you the best of luck with your mother. I've been so lucky in the respect that My MIL and I have always been very close. I've been married to her son for 27 years now and she took me in as her daughter from the start. I can't imagine managing care with someone that I wasn't close with. When they require so much from you it really becomes so "personal".
When I was much younger and still lived at home with my parents, my dad's grandparents had to move in with us. It really took a toll on all of us so I can relate from a childs standpoint. Believe me,( my parents did their best) it was hard not having friends over because we made too much noise. It was very difficult for my parents because it seemed like they were having to make choices that were in the grandparents best interest and we All had to make sacrifices.
When my MIL first moved in, my daughter (who was 21, engaged and still at home with us) felt somewhat slighted because of the time I had to spend with My MIL. In fact when she got married, she opted for a courthouse wedding because it was just easier for all of us. ( talk about a guilt trip on my part) She is a wonderful daughter and married a great guy, neither one complained. (maybe I did something right raising her) She has really become my outlet and gets me out of the house to shop or go out to eat and is always willing to come sit with my MIL to give me a break. She also tells me that when I get old and feeble she will make sure I get in the best nursing home I can afford. (LOL I think?)
I wish you the best and hope you have a great holiday season. We sandwich generation have to stick together.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 12:32PM
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Falldown, I had to smile at the description of your daughter. Sounds like mine. Although we take care of our elderly loved ones, we're setting a good example for our own children. My mom lives in a memory care facility, but I visit her regularly, take her to the doctors, and check up on her care. And about once a week my daughter will go with me. The two of use have been visiting, shopping, discussing care, etc. regarding my mom for several years now. As a result, my daughter has learned a lot about caring for the elderly. So I have no worries that she will be able to take good care of both me and my husband when the time comes. I've told her I don't want her to take me in, but I know she'll help me make good decisions about where I live, medical care, and everything else as I get older. I feel very blessed & fortunate.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2008 at 2:35PM
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Maybe we both did a pretty good job with our girls. I agree that it's been a good example for our daughters. I have a step daughter that lives out of state and after the Thanks Giving holidays she e-mailed me to tell me how she admired us all. She said she would probably go nuts trying to deal with all of it. It's amazing what a person can deal with when you have to--and when you love them. I feel pretty blessed myself. Having a good support system makes all the difference. Lets face it, sometimes a pat on the back, a hug or a kind word goes a long way. I try to remember that when I am faced with something difficult with my MIL. A hug or a " I love you so much" does wonders for her too. I hope you have a great Christmas--I hope everyone on this site has a great Holiday season for that matter. This site has been a blessing for me. It's great to talk to people that I've never met but seem to have so much in common with.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 9:47AM
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Since I am new to this site, please excuse me, I know it
is hard sometimes to take care of another person, I take care
of my son who has a traumatic brain injury, he fell 40 feet to
concrete about 9 1/2 years ago. See if you can get MIL to agree
to stay in one part of the house, and not go in to another part. I got my son to agree not to cook or use any kind
of appliances in the kitchen. I know it may be hard but
this will be like a deal you make with them. Or try to
lcck up the kitchen or unplug things and take off knobs
on the stove and put them someplace where they can't be
May God bless you

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 2:05PM
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Hi and welcome! The suggestions about having her own space are really good ones. We have a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home and we have converted one whole end of the house to her "apartment" ( thats what she calls it) She has her own bedroom full of her belongings, her own bathroom that we have modified (rails and shower chair) and her own sitting (with her favorite chairs from her home) We got her a 52 inch flat screen for christmas cause her tv was really small. She brags to family about how nice her apartment is. The kitchen and great room is an open floor plan, blocking that part off isn't really an option.
We have talked at length with her about the stove and knives and medication. She is very much aware (sometimes) that she has a confusion problem and she gets frustrated. We still have to watch her very carefully because although she knows not to cook, she forgets and still tries. We have started pulling the breaker on the stove at night, put bells on the outgoing doors.
Making deals sometimes works, sometimes not. She was refusing to take a bath for weeks. I wasn't sure what to do so I bought some shower gel and soap in her favorite scent and I basically bribed her. She could use it if she got in the shower. It worked. She actually likes to shower cause it smells so good.
This is all new to me, and I try to take it a day and a problem at a time. Sometimes what works today won't tomorrow.
Good luck and God bless to you and your son. Believe me, I'm open to all suggestions!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 5:24PM
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Good morning! Sounds like you have your hands full! My Father lived with me until he passed away a couple years ago. He was not as confused as your Mother-in-Law sounds, but occasionally, he would wake up at night and think he had to "do" something. One time, he decided that "they" were picking him up to go bowling, and he had to get dressed right away! I got a monitor that is supposed to be for baby and hooked it do that I could turn it on and it would wake me up if he was trying to do stuff at 2am. It was a great help, because i didn't want him to fall.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:39AM
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