I need some real help. I am a full-time working mom of three children, 2 have special needs. My dear MIL moved in 4 weeks ago after hip surgery. Mom can no longer live safely on her own. We have a sitter here most days while we work, and things have been smoother than we thought they would be. BUT... I had a major temper tantrum this weekend over feeling underappreciated by my kids and my MIL--it was a big one! I demanded that hubby pack up his mother and take her back home (2 hours away).
Of course his mother is welcome to stay, but he is actually entertaining the idea of setting her up with services from home, coordinating relatives, doctor appts... from here. It can't work. She is too far gone.
Here's where my rage came from yesterday. I feel like while I am intimately involved in this drama, I am not allowed to make any of the decisions for her care. For two years I have had suggestions and ideas, but we always do it his way. That was fine (she's his mom) until now. If I am a caregiver, I want some say. His way of doing things is not working.
The main issue now is that she wants to go home. For two+ years we have talked with mom about moving in. She was never "ready." She still says that she isn't ready, but she's been here for a month now. I want hubby to bring some of her furniture, momentos... from home in order to make our home hers. BUT... mom doesn't want him to bring so much as a plant because she isn't "ready" for this move. I think that mom is beyond making decisions for herself. I think that items from home will help her warm up to being here. Hubby actually accused me of wanting to make decisions for her out of selfish reasons! HUH? I don't need old lady furniture!
I want to drop mom off at the senior center one or two days a week while we work so that she isn't SO bored. They have both visited and loved the center. YET, hubby says that if mom doesn't want to go, she should not have to go. I think that she is unable to make decisions for herself. She needs to get out, meet people, have a meaningful day... He says I am only thinking about myself! HMMM... taking her to the center is one more stop for ME on my way to work, how is that selfish?
Please help me. Our family is barely getting by. Thank you!
It is hard to hold you temper when you have been part of a family for umpteen years and then "they" think that you are not enuf of "their family" to help make decisions. Especially when you are involed in the care and the issues and the consequences of "their decisions!
I have been sort of in your place. Except it was not in my home, but it was also concerning my MIL. So, most of the time (she died about 5 years ago and this was during her illness), I try to keep my mouth shut.
But, you are in a totally different situation. It is your home and affects your children and your daily doings. So, IMO you should have at least 1/2 the say. And even more so, if it envolves you and your husbands money. If it is only involving your MILs $ and your husbands time, let him do what he wants for and with her.
But, if you are asked to help in any way, you need to have some say in making the decisions concerning your MIL.
Is your MIL under a drs. care for dementia or alzheimers? If so, perhaps he should get in on the "goings ons". I write or call my moms and dads drs. probably at least 1 - 2, every 3 mo. I am sure it will be more often as they get worse.
Does your husband have any siblings to help make the decisions. If yes, they should help in the care and the decisions.
Alzheimers and dementia patients should not make very many decisions (of importance), if they are past a certain level or stage of the illness.
Take care and write back, of the other wiser caregivers on this board do not write back tonight, I am sure they will in the am.
I moved in with my Mom when she began to show problems (see my many previous postings) .. it was in HER apartment and I had no say. Mom maintained that she did not need help at all, and resented any small changes that I made.
As is normal in Dementia, she got only worse and worse, irrational, difficult, and nerve trying. Mind you, I am her real daughter! Mom was my role model, my closest friend, my confidante. And I lost it, many a time. I did not feel appreciated, and one of my siblings kept criticizing me from afar, blaming me for Mom's forgetfulness, etc.
All I can say is that I held out for 5 years and then was a physical and mental wreck.
I can only warn you - don't do it. If your MIL wants to go home and still has a home to go to, let her go. Hire around the clock home health aides if needed, but do not take her permanently into your home. Your first priority has to be keeping yourself healthy and rational for your children and your husband. Let the rest of the family pitch in, she is their mother too (if there are other children). If it is impossible for her to live back at her home, I very highly recommend a nursing home. Assisted living may be too little for her, but if it works that could be the start and graduate to a NH later.
Taking care of an AD patient is a full time around the clock job, and exhausting. Don't get suckered into it. Your husband means well - but will he do all the extra work that having her there brings with it? Will he get a home health aide to stay with her at night so you can sleep? Or does he just think, 'there's nothing much to it, let Dear Wife take care of her." And on top of all that, to have NO SAY in HOW to do it? She ought to be in a daycare situation (senior center) 5 days a week!
Later she will need help with everything and I do mean everything - she will forget what toilet paper is for and will refuse to bathe. She will wander off and not find her way home. She may change radically and start to accuse you of stealing from her. Remember, Dementia is like a mental illness - the person can become violent, will become irrational, will accuse, lash out, be angry.
I strongly urge a placment other than your home. You cannot do it. If it were me and my marriage, taking in his mother would be a deal breaker. Temporarily, like for a broken hip, OK - but not forever, and no way with dementia. Sorry to be so harsh, but you have to make it very very clear to him now, before you are stuck with this job, which could take 5 or 10 YEARS, with an ever increasing burden on you. One of our members here lived with her MIL, and the lady, who used to be a loving grandma, HIT her children! Walked around half naked in front of kids. Hid piles of wet or stinky underwear in her closets.
Please, save yourself and your kids ... this is not a simple 'keep one eye on her' type of disease.
Last edited by Martha H; 02-21-2007 at 06:04 PM.
Now I know the name I should have had when I started here !! LOL
Honey, I was in a similar position, except my FIL asked me to move my husband (his son) and our 3 kids into their 2 bedroom Bed & Breakfast upstairs from him and his wife (my MIL) to nurse HIM as he was in end stage lung disease.
HE was a demanding man (loved him to pieces, but enough is enough at times) but his WIFE .. my beloved MIL went from a loving, warm, gentle woman to this demented screaming jealous banshee .....
which made nursing him somewhat difficult.
What also didn't help was the lack of assistance from family members .. direct family members I should say. Being accused of having a 'hidden agenda' and CAUSING the problems was just the tip of the ice-berg. Being cornered and screamed at was the final straw and we ended up RUNNING as fast as we could 1000km away AFTER I got them both placed in nursing homes and SAFE.
Make a stand, or back off - - and I mean back off. DO NOTHING. If your opinion isn't good enough then stop making them and take NO responsibility. Make sure they understand you will NOT babysit, you will NOT chauffeur, you will NOT be a part of their scheme. You also have kids to look after, and let me warn you, after involving my kids and having my son go off the rails (drugs & alcohol) and being suicidal for the last 12 months .. IT ISN'T WORTH IT.
If you choose to make a stand, then stick by your guns and don't budge a muscle. When I was confronted by my own husband I said quite clearly "FINE ... that's it .. no more, I'm packing" and he quickly backed down and became my best supporter.
This disease DOES destroy families .. don't let it happen to yours.
You poor Soul,
I agree with Martha Dont Do it! My mom has AD last stage now and I have taken a leave to take care of her for now. This is the second time she has lived with us and this time is much easier because of her stage but in the beginning it was hell. I was working full time, kids too around, and in the beginning they are so hard to cope with. My DH was then and is now very supportive of me and he treats my mom like his mom. He watches her two nights a week so I can get out ( his idea) and he never cares ( been married 29yrs.) but it is still very time consuming.
However he does not get involved in my decisions pertaining to her care etc. but I do value his opinion it is (our) home. If you cant agree or stick together in one mind it will surely be a disaster. I worry about moms care being too much for our marriage to take and we have been together 29 yrs and raised three boys. I know at times he feels left out etc. because our room is in the basement level of the house and I now have to sleep upstairs to assure mom does not get up in the night and fall etc. I have mom on a schedule and she goes to bed at 8;30 every night so Im usually free to be with DH and we can relax in our hot tub or catch a movie etc. while our 25 yr old son keeps an eye out for her. He is our lifesaver, and I have to play shuffleboard constantly to keep all areas covered. DH now sleeps in our den downstairs because he cant sleep in the bed without me. Reminding you, mom is now in last stage barely talks much anymore, sleeps many hours a day now, and is changing rapidly in her decline. If you read any of my posts she was in a NH for almost a year. To me the beginning was the hardest stage, now it is like taking care of an infant. Still it is difficult, I think your probably right about her not being able to make decisions but unless he agrees 100 fold your fighting a losing battle, my DH tried to get me to stop running mother back and forth with her dog in tow for one year before she moved in with us the first time and all I did was wear everyone out including my cooky mother because I couldnt accept what was happening and take things away like her independance. If he's not ready to accept it and she's just starting with this and he already thinks you might just want old lady furniture as you put it FORGET IT !!!! Your intentions are good but in the long run you'll despise MIL and DH, exhaust yourself, and take it out on your kids. Bail out now!!!!!!!!! If she wants to return home let her, let him arrange for her needs and stay out of it. Like Martha my mom and me were best buddies and she despised my interferance even when it was unavoidable for her safety. We had to get an ambulance to get her out of the street once and she's only 4ft 11 in. She was my mother and I wanted to put her on an ice berg and push her out to sea many times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks, Angel Bear. I did take a stand and hubby will allow me to have more say. I flat out told him that it was time to exercise his POA. He agreed that he might be in denial about how few decisions she can make now. It is hard for him to see his mother like this. Thank you for reminding me to stick to my guns.
Thank you all for your forthright reponses. I know what I am getting into at this stage of the game. Mental illness runs in my family. Two of my three children have a severe mental illness, and they are only 6 and 12 years old. It will be a while before MIL's dementia can top what I've been through with my children. My 12 year old also has severe learning disabilities, so again MIL fits right in. I am used to staying calm in the midst of chaos, and I am used to staying one step ahead of everyone. The Lord had mercy on me and blessed me with the gift of patience.
I have made no promises to anyone. I am a teacher and I LOVE my job. I have no intention of giving it up to be a caretaker. Hubby and BIL totally understand my position. No one is asking me to do anything. MIL is here because I want to help her while I can. I hesitate to have her placed in a NH at this time because she is only 78. She could live a long, long time. I would rather care for her now and save her money for later when we can no longer keep her. The idea of an 88 year old infant and no more money scares the hell out of me!
Thank you for being here. It sure helped to vent.
PS I have to ask... How is it that you all are doing or have done the very thing that you warn me to run from?
Last edited by seeingred; 02-21-2007 at 06:39 PM.
Reason: posted too soon
Well, in my case it was a case of inheritance I guess ..
My DH & 3 kids moved into my inlaws house to look after HIM (FIL). He had end stage lung disease. MIL was going a bit 'odd' but it had been put down to stress in looking after her husband. She didn't mind us being there, especially when I made her favourite meals (not FIL's !! LOL) she even gained weight (not a problem with my family ha ha). It was hard in so much as FIL asked more and more of ME. Not anybody else. It was as though we were on the same wave-length y'know? I instinctively KNEW exactly what he needed, and I guess in my case I made myself indespensable (sp?). Time drew on and MIL got worse, and more and more violent, and I asked for more help from family members who constantly PROMISED assistance but nothing was forthcoming. After a while, I stopped asking, until, in the last straw, i was accussed of not asking for help.
Anyway, when FIL was admitted to the nursing home (because it was just too hard at home anymore and wasn't working and he was spending more time in the hospital than at home), we sorta inherited MIL. After all, we were still living upstairs, and it was in theory, her house, so she sorta came with the package.
That package turned ugly and impossible, and when we finally got HER placed we ran, as fast as we could away from the entire ugly situation. Living with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no respite, constantly watching over your back, constantly hearing little noises that meant a fall, constantly keeping an ear out in case she decided to take the car out again, waking up with her leaning over me ... breaking my C7 vertebrae, not sleeping properly .. all led to me to breaking point.
that's my Readers' Digest version anyway ... be warned, most of us have bee there and done that and KNOW the outcome. THAT part of the effects of the disease DON'T change.
Last edited by angel_bear; 02-22-2007 at 12:44 PM.
Reason: Clarify some things, explain some things better.
Thank you for being here. It sure helped to vent.
PS I have to ask... How is it that you all are doing or have done the very thing that you warn me to run from?[/QUOTE]
That's easy - hindsight is better than foresight. Who knew? I thought I could cope with it.
I am a retired teacher and worked in a PreK for the whole 5 years I was with Mom. I always compared the 3 and 4 year olds with her. She was pretty much like a 90-plus year old toddler.
Yet, I had great success with the kids and not with her. She was my MOTHER - and instead of learning and getting more mature every day as kids do, she got only worse.
As for money - when a NH became necessary she used up her life's savings within 4 or 5 months, and is now on Medicaid. Looking back, I see that if we had placed her sooner, it would have made no difference - her money would still be gone, she would have been on Mediciaid earlier. Nothing was saved.
I'm glad you have patience, that is indeed a wonderful gift. You will need it.
Keep coming back here if you can, the people here have been a great help to me and I still come back often, even though Mom is now in other people's care (now 98 years old) ...
For me, My mom lived 30 miles away and I took care of things on visits twice a week. She lived in a small retirement community where everyone looked out for each other, so I think neighbors were doing more than I realized.
I worked from my home, so it didn't seem like such a big deal to have her here with me. All of my children are grown, we had an extra bedroom, how much trouble could she be? (I totally ignored other's warnings!) I could do this!
I have to say; I saw my mother on a regular basis, I knew her symptoms exactly, had no problem coping with her illness twice weekly........BUT, living with it 24 hours a day is a totally different ball game. You really can't understand it until you do it. I had no idea.
It's a slow, gradual descent, but the last 2 weeks before I moved Mom to a "group home," she refused to eat, (She said I was poisoning her) she would throw her medication at me. She would roam the house all night, sit in the bedroom and howl and scream. She would no longer shower or change clothes.
All because she wanted to go home, which was impossible because she no longer remembered to take medication or how to cook or when to eat or go to bed.
Instead of a caregiver, she saw me as the enemy (told all who would listen that we had kidnapped her and stole all her money)
My doctor started me on anti-depressants. And her last day here, she began to punch and hit me. That was the last straw for my hubby.
We found a "group home" several blocks from my house. And they took mom in immediately upon hearing our story. This home has 9 occupants (8 with AD). The owner is a registered nurse and has been wonderful to us and Mom.
I must admit, I felt like a total whimp because I couldn't handle it. But coming to these boards, and listening to all the ladies who had done it before me.....saved my sanity.
A year this month. Mom is about the same. I visit once a week. (More often than that leaves her raging again to go home.) They are still unable to get her to shower most days, but they work with her. She cries a lot and so do I.
But we're coping with it. I no longer take any medication for depression.
In some ways your right but in others not so right (notice here I didn't say wrong). You should have some say if your the caregiver, but most senior centers won't take AD patients because of the liability. AD patients have been known to walk away and get hit by cars others become violent and hit others etc. So the senior center is not a place to just drop her off for the day. I agree she needs to be around people her own age so maybe adult day care would be a wiser chioce. Either way you have to have a break. The Alzheimers Asso. in your state may help. In my state, Georgia, they will provide up to 5 days per week of adult day care!!!!!
Talk to your husband and try not to get mad. Getting mad puts an end to possitive conversation.