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Don't know what to do...

Posted by Kat1760 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 21, 11 at 15:32

Hi everyone...
I just joined here because I need some advice. My mother in law has always been a selfish, controlling, and dependent person. She made her husband do EVERYTHING for her (including answering and talking to people who called for her)and cooking etc. I hate to say it, but she ran him to an early grave as he was very ill, and she was still making him do everything. Two years ago, he passed away. After he died, I started helping her because she didn't know how to do anything...and I mean anything! Slowly, I noticed that she was treating me exactly as she did her husband. She was perfectly fine, at that time, yet claimed she "didn't know how to make a sandwich"....instead of arguing, I started making her lunch for her....shortly after, she fell and broke her hip. She was diagnosed with mild dementia. My life right now is not my own....everything revolves around her. From the moment I get up till I close my eyes at night I am serving her. My "husband" does NOTHING. He pushes it off on me. He is very sick, but he could help a little, but doesn't. I can't even talk to him because he doesn't want to hear it. I am not exaggerating when I say that I do everything but wipe her behind. She will not talk to anyone on the phone, and makes me talk to them for her. When we go to the doctor, she makes me talk to him, and does not want to know anything....she tells the doctor "tell HER"....she doesn't even know what medicine she takes. I have to get up every morning and get her medicine ready just like her husband did. Now these things are not from dementia, this was going on before that when she was healthy! She doesn't drive, and she refuses to do anything for herself. Lately she is getting some nasty habits...sleeping in her clothes "I'm not dirty!"....refuses to put the tiny squares of toilet paper she rips up and covered in feces in the portable toilet overnight. I found walmart bags full of feces covered tiny squares of paper next to her bed. She thinks the people on TV can see her and won't let anyone turn on the TV until she "wakes up"....there is no reasoning with her....she does not understand anything and she doesn't want to. She just wants to sit in that recliner and get everyone else to do it for her.There is no reason why she can't make herself a sandwich every now and then. But she'll sit in that chair and go hungry until someone finally makes it for her. She won't even scoop ice cream out for herself! She will come and wake me up to put icecream in a bowl for her when she can't sleep. I'm sorry I'm rambling, but there is just so much. I am FRIED and I don't know how much longer I can take it. Oh...and she has a sister who won't help, that's all the family she has besides her son. She has NO friends...because of how she is. As long as I have known her (16 years) I have only seen company come to her house maybe 3 or 4 times, and that was her brother (now deceased) I can't live in isolation like this any longer....I don't know what to do...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Don't know what to do...

Kat, your situation is serious. You will wear yourself out completely and be of no help to anyone if it continues. Your mother-in-law may have always been a hand full, but her current behavior seems like the dementia is full-blown. The cleanliness & toileting issues are very typical of those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's. The real problem is that nothing can be done regarding these behaviors. They will not get better.

You need to seriously consider moving her out of your home. Investigate other living arrangements for her -- skilled nursing, assisted living, etc. Contact your area's agency on aging and get some ideas about what you can do.

I'm sure other will chime in with some good advice.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

You are not alone!! My mom is 89 & recently can't stand any noise. She watches Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Dancing with the Stars & X Factor also Antiques Road Show with no sound. Also Extreme Home Makeover & always sits & says she doesn't know what is the problem-why they need a new home. She watches news by reading the running strip at bottom. She says voices(including those around her are driving her crazy) So I can understand how you feel. My dad had a stroke almost 1 1/2 yrs ago & he is so much easier to take care of. He needs help in shower, shaving & dressing but likes to eat & enjoys food & would like to watch some TV, she hid some expensive headphones I had brought for her & I think he would love to listen to these shows & old Lawrence Welk shows.I have to be on his right side walking him with walker or he wants to fall over to right. He is on oxygen at night. That's a breeze! I also fix food & bring it over so they can just warm it up. Mom has new problems often & is very jealous of attention dad gets. She can get several new ailments in an hour. I think most of it is old age. We did get lady in 4 hrs a day. If at all possible try to get someone to come in maybe mon & fri mornings to give you some kind of break. I was handling the whole load from Sept.2010 to April 2011.I told them I was going to crack- up. Not a single day off, you just can't do it. Lady we have comes in 5 mornings a week does a little light housekeeping-dusts once week & vaccums & the few dishes otherwise washes dad's face & shaves him & showers him couple of times a week, does couple loads of clothes.Walks him daily which is so important to us so he can be up out of bed.She comes at 8-12 often gets there early & sometimes leaves late as takes a bus. She is fast & good with them & massages mom's swollen leg & gives her attention too which she loves. It gives me time to cook at my home, sleep in if I'm beat or run to store or do other small chores. You need some alone time. Sounds like MIL is slightly mentally unbalanced- saving used toilet paper is not normal. You need to get out & meet with a friend & have lunch or just sit & talk. I have a couple of good email friends & craft club I go to so I can feel slightly normal. Hang in there! Good Luck!


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RE: Don't know what to do...

".....I don't know what to do...."

Of course you do. You need to get your MiL out of your house.

From your description, nobody could handle this. You've been noble, kind, and caring and blah, blah, blah but the race is run. You're entitled to your sanity....or such sanity as you can maintain living with the husband you described.

I'm going to disagree with sunnyca about bringing people in from time-to-time so that you can get away -- because then you'll be dreading returning to your own home when your "break" is over. Don't do that. She's always been a brat. Now that she's failing, she's become a bigger brat. Can't live with that nonsense. And it's going to get worse. Get her out of your home however you can. Let your husband visit her somewhere else if he wants to. If she doesn't have money, turn her over to the state.

Her dementia is more than "mild".


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RE: Don't know what to do...

First things first. You must start NOW trying to find a suitable place to move her too. If she doesn't have the income to pay, then start the process for getting her on medicaid.

By the time that everything is in order, you will be able to place her on a waiting list at that home. Then, a chance may come, and you can get her moved. Don't worry about packing or things like that, just get her in the front door. Take her clothes, etc. later. Talk to the people at the home, they have handled situations like this before.

In other words, don't wait until you can't function any more. You MUST take care of yourself first.

Some patients with dementia, seem to revert to what they were as children. I'm betting she was a spoiled brat. Mommy did everything for her and now she's looking for you to do the same.


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what to do...

You are right Asolo, I don't live with my folks & would go nuts if I did! I wouldn't want to come home either if I was the PO. The smell alone would do me in! Talked to GF & she told me of 3 cases where relatives started smearing feces, hiding dirty diapers under bed etc. & that was exactly when relatives moved them into a nursing home. She said 1 man would be strapped into his wheelchair (in the nursing home)& he simply got up & walked with it attached to his behind! So they are hard to deal with when they start messing with feces. Lots of bad germs there also & everyone can get major infections including poster & hubby as MIL will be touching everything with dirty hands. Not in my house & shouldn't be in her's. Poster may have to threaten to leave if hubby is so insensitive that he doesn't care about his wife's well being.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Here are the "big five" among items that typically cause family/care-givers to move the cared-for person out of the home and into a nursing facility away from the home.......

1) Person can no longer rise or walk or their own.

2) Person cannot control bowel or bladder or manage their own personal hygiene.

3) Person engages in dangerous behaviors if not watched/monitored constantly and/or cannot or will not sleep.

4) Person's behavior becomes consistently obnoxious.

5) Available care-giver incapable of providing level of care required.

How much or little any particular personal care-giver can handle is different in every circumstance. Younger people are typically capable of more than older people. Women are typically capable of more than men. Issues of money, room, and family dynamics are different in every case.

From what this OP has written, I think it's time. I'm a family guy. I think relatives do owe a debt of respect and consideration to aging family members. However, we do not owe them our own otherwise-productive lives, our family integrity, or our sanity. There are times when painful decisions must be taken. I think this is one.


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what to do...

Well said, Asolo! I'm going to print it out for when we need it! Thanks!


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RE: Don't know what to do...

I want to thank everyone for your replies. Sorry it took so long for me to get back, but well....you know LOL! All of you have said what I already knew....I just needed someone else to confirm. I've had it physically and mentally. I'll update later. Thank you so much for the advice, because I didn't know if I was being selfish wanting to move her or what...sometimes I am too soft hearted for my own good. I will deal with the "husband" next! I appreciate you all!


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Thanks for coming back....we don't get enough of that.

Good luck to you. Know it's tough situation.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Hi everyone....I have some questions if anyone can help. Things are getting worse by the day it seems. I was getting her bills together for her, and when it came time for her to sign the checks, she asked me what her name is and how to spell it. I told her and she still only put her initials on the check. I, nor her son have access to the checking account, so she is in total "control " of her checking account. Someone has to pay her expenses etc, but she will not let anyone take over! As I said in my original post, she does not know anything about ANYTHING...does not even know how much money she has, how to write a check...nothing. She wants everyone to do everything for her, YET still be in charge. What do I do. She will never give in and let me have control of the checking account. This is how bad it is. She thinks the money in her account is not hers, and she is borrowing and must pay it back.It is just crazy.....I'm about to lose my mind. How do you go about doing all this. I am sitting here crying my eyes out. Where do I start? To even bring it up is impossible because she won't hear it of it. Arguing with (excuse me but it's true) a crazy person. I'll check back in the morning....sigh.....love, Kat


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Talk to a lawyer. you might have to go through the courts for conservancy, which will cost a lot. Do not wait, talk to an attorney who specialized in this. Call Monday morning.

You desperately need professional guidance, which we can't provide. But know that you have our support.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Sushi is absolutely correct. There is no point in trying to reason with her; she is too far gone. You MUST seek legal counsel. You should not use your limited funds to finance her care. And you should not try to do anything that might be considered legally suspect. You must protect your assets and yourselves from any accusations of wrongdoing. That's why you need the advise of an attorney. Spending money now for legal counsel is better than facing all kinds of future problems.

This is a serious situation. Please don't put off contacting legal counsel. And please don't think you can handle this situation by yourself or based on the "advice" of friends. You really need the help of an attorney, someone who knows the law.

And, as sushipup said, you have our support and concern.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Thank you....I will do that. Sorry if I sounded like a whiner LOL! I know I need a lawyer...I guess I just needed to unload. It's just so frustrating to even talk to her. I don't mean to sound cold hearted, I really didn't mind helping her....but to go out of my way to be good to her, only to be berated is getting old. I really appreciate the advice. Another thing I'm dealing with is her dog LOL! She has a little Yorkie who I am worried about...it got very sick last week, and I had to take her to the vet for stomach problems. We couldn't figure out what kept making the dog sick. Yesterday I found out that she has been feeding her dog CHOCOLATE BARS! LOL! Her sister had brought her some candy, and that is what she was feeding her dog. I told her that chocolate is toxic for dogs , and she said "Well she likes it, so you don't know ANYTHING and she can eat what she wants!" So now I am going to have to protect the dog from her too I guess *rolls eyes*....


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Unfortunately, common as nails. Agree with sushipup....find a lawyer....get the power you need.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Hi everyone. I just wanted to follow up and let you know that she passed away on Saturday. Now I feel bad saying all that about her....and having a little guilt at feeling "relieved" ....just many mixed feelings, I'm sure you know what I mean. uggggh...I know....I shouldn't feel that way because I did the best I could for her. It was sudden...she had a rupture of a blood vessel in her brain, then more complications. Anyway, I wanted to thank all of you who responded in such a caring manner. I appreciate all of you!


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Kat, thanks for the follow-up, we were all concerned for you. And please accept my condolences. The loss of a family member is difficult, no matter how difficult the person was. Yeah, mixed feelings. We have those same feelings when someone very beloved dies after having a long and difficult last few years.

You did an admirable job, so you can hold your head high. At least the dog's diet will improve a lot.

Take care of yourself first and foremost. It's almost like you are coming out of a long illness and are totally exhausted mentally and physically. Give yourself permission and time to heal.

And yes, you did a wonderful job.

Hugs,

Helene


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Kat, Helene has said it all very well. Don't feel badly about the things you said in your posts. You were in the midst of a stressful situation. Your MIL's death does not automatically undo the difficulties you dealt with during the last several months of her life. Be assured that you are not alone feeling both grief and relief when a loved one finally dies.

You took care of her, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. As Helene mentioned, you are probably exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally. It will take time for you to recover, so give yourself that time.

Thanks for getting back to us. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Sue


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RE: Don't know what to do...

As unpleasant as this was, just remember that she could have gone on for many years getting worse.

Sometimes, Mother Nature seems to know best and shortens the time for her children. Perhaps, it's time to give a prayer of Thanksgiving that she had a quick death instead of a long painful one.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

So sorry for what you are going through and for what you went through. Don't feel guilty.

My husband was not difficult to live with, but he had AZ and was in a care home. He was a fighter when they started taking off his clothes, he didn't know what they were doing. His death was a relief for all the family and for him. He would not have wanted to live that way, as a matter of fact he tried to kill himself when he was diagnosed.


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RE: Don't know what to do...

Kat, I add my condolences to the others tho I'm nearly 6 months after-the-fact. I so hope you are feeling much better, have rested, and been able to regain some of your life. Continue to claim some "me time" so you can get back on a more even keel. It is not selfish to say no, and it's not selfish to go to lunch with a friend, read a book, hide in the office to play on the computer, whatever it is that lets you escape & re-charge. We all need those times.


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