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Old 11-02-2006, 07:09 AM   #1
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My loving MIL-what's next?

My MIL is 75 and FIL is 78. Both have lived a great laid-back life and have enjoyed traveling the world - visiting places we only dream about. My FIL has had throat cancer but has overcome his illness rather well.

I maybe very far OFF track here but- it's my MIL that concerns me. She repeat's conversations 2 or 3 times over. When we mention that she already told us that - she can't recall it. She has now gotten into the habit of starting a conversation by saying "I may have told you this before" and sure enough she has told us before!

As I said above - they love to travel and still do so today but my MIL has not enjoyed their last trips - one being a cruise through the Greek Isles.

MY question (s):
How do you tell if this is something such as Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia or just old age?
How do you know if this is something we need to deal with or just leave it as is?
How do we approach her (and FIL) with our concerns?

Any help would be appreciated!
PollyAnn

Last edited by PollyAnn; 11-02-2006 at 10:37 AM.

 
Old 11-02-2006, 01:42 PM   #2
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Hi PollyAnn

Quote:
MY question (s):
How do you tell if this is something such as Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia or just old age?
You can't tell if this is Alzheimers/Demenia unless she see's a trained doctor and get's a mini-mental exam done, and even THEN it's not clear. It will never be an exact diagnosis until an autopsy is done.

Quote:
How do you know if this is something we need to deal with or just leave it as is?
Well, that's up to everybody really. If your willing to admit their is a problem, then you need to learn as much as you can about the disease itself and stay here and learn coping skills. You need to get an Elder Lawyer ASAP, and you need to get your loved one PROTECTED. This isn't as easy as it sounds, because inevitably, there will be somebody around who thinks you have an ulterior motive and can make things difficult.

Quote:
How do we approach her (and FIL) with our concerns?
Approach them. There is no easy/simple way. Say "We have noticed X and Y, and we're concerned for you. We would like you to have a check up just to be sure"

And of course, there are MANY MANY things that mimic dementia .. Vitamin B12 deficiency, Stress(FIL's throat cancer?), Thyroid problems, underlying blood diseases .. you say they travel, well, she could have picked up something .. so the best bet is to get a full physical done at the earliest opportunity to rule out anything else before you mention the dreaded D word !!!

I have been the 'bad one' who took the road of getting the diagnosis with my MIL, and I've been the 'bad one' who apparently made it worse. It was NOT an easy road, believe me .. so please, please be careful and tread carefully for YOUR SAKE. Because you aren't the child of the parents, you can see things more clearly and not everybody will thankyou for that.

Cheers & Goodluck

 
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:23 PM   #3
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Thank you angel_bear,

You said it best:
Quote:
Because you aren't the child of the parents, you can see things more clearly and not everybody will thankyou for that.
Because she is not my 'mommy' - I care for her in other ways but never the less - I love her dearly.

Half my battle is dealing with the other siblings aside from my MIL & FIL.
They have a very close family bond and everyone is very well educated but when it comes to something like this - well, you know for yourself what happenes.

Thanks again! PollyAnn

 
Old 11-03-2006, 10:50 AM   #4
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

HI PollyAnn,
I hope what your seeing for all of your sakes is not the beginning of this horrible disease but I'd like to make a suggestion based on the fact that you are not the child yourself and maybe dont want to stir alot of waves that may
make all uncomfortable. Our mother had symptoms of AD long before we ever
recognised them as her children, actually my sister not being as close to my mom started seeing things alot sooner but to no avail with me who was in complete denial until my Dad passed away from cancer and then it was bombarded upon me. Here's my suggestion you could think about... Since the holidays are coming up video tape the family all together as normal making sure you get MIL on tape as much as possible without causing suspicion. Then later watch the tape alone and if you see signs of something tell your spouse and watch it together.
My sister and I recently were watching old videos of christmas get togethers as a family and we both almost passed out. These were up to five years before mom was diagnosed and in those tapes it shows her repeating the same questions over and over agian. " Who got me this present?" and "Who's gift is this?" (one of hers in front of her feet already opened). Also in one tape it shows her saying the prayer over the family meal and it blew us away when she obviously was stumbling and repeating!!!! Mostly it was because as her children it shows us just constantly answering her and
repeating the same thing to her over and over. Literally the whole family keeps on having a good time and doesnt recognise it. However the weirdest part of it was seeing how my Dad in the videos keeps looking at her and telling her the answers. Believe me as children sometimes we are the last to see it, think about it who wants to accept this in your mom???? anyway it's a suggestion and I hope it helps. It hurts to know that if we had seen it in differant eyes maybe we could have gotten help for her alot sooner. But our Dad covered for her a long time obviously he could not handle it but he did know it even then Im sure of that now. Lots of Luck, jess

 
Old 11-03-2006, 01:12 PM   #5
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Jess22 - thanks for the idea of videotaping.

Quote:
But our Dad covered for her a long time obviously he could not handle it but he did know it even then Iím sure of that now.
I have a feeling my FIL knows also but they have been together 60 years - it must be immensely hard on him to realize something is wrong. They truly believe in 'till death do we part' and think everything before that they can handle as a couple. I hear stories about how my FIL was no angel and my MIL always stood by his side - my FIL says he is so grateful for the life my MIL gave him and their family.

Thanks again! PollyAnn

 
Old 11-03-2006, 01:39 PM   #6
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PollyAnn
MY question (s):
How do you tell if this is something such as Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia or just old age?
How do you know if this is something we need to deal with or just leave it as is?
How do we approach her (and FIL) with our concerns?

Any help would be appreciated!
PollyAnn

I am certainly no expert on AD, but I have seen several people in the early stages. My husband and I own a restaurant and have several elderly patrons. The first indication that I notice is money. People in the early stages, and this included my FIL, could not figure out how much money to pay for their dinner. He would be holding a $5 bill and if the bill was $4.25 he would try to give you a $20 bill out of his billfold. Another indication is they don't know what to order. Many times they will say to just give them what they had the last time they were there.

My FIL's girlfriend was his enabler for a few years. If your MIL is having problems there is no doubt your FIL is aware of it. His girlfriend was instrumental in convincing him he needed to go into an assisted living nursing home and later into a lockdown unit. He trusted her completely and would do whatever she said. Perhaps your husband could approach his father privately about your concerns.

My FIL knew a story that involved his mother and my grandfather that happened years ago. Everytime we would get together he would tell me that story. I think I heard it at least 20 times in a two month period. Another sweet lady I knew would repeatedly ask the same question of you over and over.

Good luck to you. Your MIL definitely needs to be tested, but it sounds as if you are going to have to enlist the help of your FIL.

Jane

 
Old 11-07-2006, 07:16 AM   #7
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Thanks Jane,

I can't even tell if this something I should worry about at this point or just let be and see if it progresses further?

I know it is a delicate matter that needs to be addressed politely but why say anything if I'm not actually sure?

PollyAnn

 
Old 11-07-2006, 10:26 AM   #8
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PollyAnn
Thanks Jane,

I can't even tell if this something I should worry about at this point or just let be and see if it progresses further?

I know it is a delicate matter that needs to be addressed politely but why say anything if I'm not actually sure?

PollyAnn
Oh, I thought you were fairly certain there is something wrong. In my FIL's case, we were lucky he had a girlfriend who reported his ***arre behavior and persuaded him to be tested Later, she became a problem, but that is now resolved.

You probably are wise to back off for the time being and see if it progresses further. Has your husband noticed any difference in his mother? Ideally, he would be the one to approach his father and express his concern. I was extremely sensitive to my position in the family. Although, my husband and I have been married for more than 30 years I did not suggest any testing or any moves to a nursing home. My husband has three sisters and they also noticed his behavior, and were consulted. Luckily, they agreed he needed to be placed in a nursing home.

There could be other explanations for her behavior, too--new medications, etc. Is your husband an only child? Are there others who may have noticed something? I don't think you should be the one to push for anything in regard to your MIL unless everyone else is in total denial.

Jane

 
Old 11-07-2006, 01:48 PM   #9
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Hi Jane,

Quote:
Oh, I thought you were fairly certain there is something wrong
No, as I stated in my first post it is me that is mostly concerned. My husband thinks it's a normal age related issue's.

My husband has 2 brothers and 2 sisters and all think just let her grow old and enjoy whatever she has left in life. Maybe they know best or maybe they are in denial.

Is there such a thing as letting it (Alzheimer's Disease and/or Dementia) take it's course and take no action? The family would never consider a nursing home so if it should progress into the worst - then it will be home care.

PollyAnn

 
Old 11-07-2006, 03:21 PM   #10
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Yes, home care is a possibility, especially if several adults can take turns, or an aide can be hired for certain times of day. It is hard on the family, and not recommended if there are children in the house. It is too much for one caregiver. However, if the family can share the burden equally, it is a good and cost-saving method.

Hope it turns out NOT to be dementia!

Martha

 
Old 11-07-2006, 06:17 PM   #11
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Re: My loving MIL-what's next?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PollyAnn
Hi Jane,




Is there such a thing as letting it (Alzheimer's Disease and/or Dementia) take it's course and take no action? The family would never consider a nursing home so if it should progress into the worst - then it will be home care.

PollyAnn
We tried to keep out FIL from going to the nursing home as long as possible. A lot depends upon how the disease progresses. In his case, he became a wanderer, would call his girlfriend at all times of the night, get lost, urinate about anywhere and became a danger to himself. He needed to be watched 24/7 and we could not do it and run our business.

I have a feeling if your MIL does have some sort of dementia that your FIL will seek help from his children eventually if he can't cope. We stressed to my FIL's girlfriend that when it reached the point that she could not cope with him (she lived across the street from him) my husband would step in. It sounds as if you have a close family, which should make it easier. I do hope your MIL is just getting forgetful and is not an AD victim.

Jane

 
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