How do you have an in-law live with you and keep your sanity?

mom2emall

Is anyone in a situation where they have an in-law living with them?

My father-in-law died years ago and my mother-in-law is on the verge of not being able to live alone anymore. Her health is deteriorating...not to the extent of needing someone to help her do everything...but enough that we worry about her living alone. Especially because she lives so far from us all.

My husband has made comments a lot about her moving in with us. Even she has made jokes about us having a mother-in-law suite in our home. More and more lately she has been leaning on us to go to her home to help her do things and having us run errands for her and take her to dr. appts. My dh says he thinks within the next year we are going to need to let her move in with us.

I love my mil. The problem is she is just bossy at times.

*When we are there she feeds the kids till they are overstuffed and then she insists they eat more. We have told her they are full and she ignores it.

*She hates medication and scoffs whenever my ss needs to take his asthma meds. She tried not giving him his meds when he stayed there before and insisted on natural remedies. I then got a call late at night to come there ASAP because she was worried! (This was all after I told her no to him sleeping over there because his asthma was acting up and she insisted on taking him home with her anyways and he cried and begged)

*She used to babysit for us in our home on occasion and would tell me how I should do this or that differently. She would do our breakfast dishes that we left in the sink on our way to work/school.

*She is very religious and attends church daily and prays frequently throughout the day. She is always on us to go to church and put the kids in Sunday school, etc. If she lives with us I feel like it will be shoved down our throats.

She stayed with us for a week before because our work schedules were off for a week and we needed a sitter for the kids. During that time I was so uncomfortable! She stood over me as I did everything from homework with the kids, to cooking dinner, to cleaning. I almost felt guilty sitting down at night to watch tv after the kids went to bed.

I know that when my dh was growing up my mil worked full-time and still kept an immaculate home and always had homemade meals on the table. She was amazing.

I feel like I can not live up to her expectations and that her living with us is going to make me miserable and exhausted! When I talk to my dh about this he points out all the wonderful things she has done for him in his lifetime and how much she has been there for us and the kids. I totally agree and know that at some point she will need to live with us. I just do not know how to cope with it and mentally prepare myself!!

HELP!!!

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stargazzer

Just tell your husband you can't care for her because of your work. I can guarantee you will be doing most of the work and will be on the receiving end of her bossiness. And it's not just her its happens in most cases. Unless she is a very agreeable person she will wreck your home life.

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mom2emall

I only work part-time and my mother-in-law does not need lots of care. So that will not fly with my dh. In his family the kids have always taken care of the parents. His whole family immigrated here just after my dh was born. So they are definately old-world.

There is never a question of a nursing home or anything like that. My dh is the baby of the family and a total mommys boy so I think it is just understood that he will be taking mommy in when she gets to that point.

His only other sibling is very self absorbed and will be useless I am sure when it comes to this stuff. That is why his mom always leans on us when she needs something.

So I need advice on how I am going to cope with her living with me because I don't have any other options.

But star I completely agree with what you said!

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cearbhaill (zone 6b Eastern Kentucky)

I have had my MIL with me for just short of two years now. It is extraordinarily difficult, and mine is 88, disabled, and hardly ever leaves her room. I can't imagine doing it if she was able to move around the home and comment on every facet of how we live.
And I don't have children living at home or a "real" job.

All I can suggest is that you don't do it if you have misgivings, because your imagination is nothing close to the 24/7 reality of it all. It would be far, far easier to never let her in in the first place than it would be to get her out once she is there. Believe me on this.

And if you are considering it, a frank and open discussion needs to take place between the three of you before you take such a huge step. And don't hold back and try to be nice- tell her exactly what your misgivings are and how you expect it to be. Be very clear with "You may not harass us about church. You may not disagree with our child raising decisions." and so on.

Insist that your husband be on the same page with you in regard to all the house/children rules- a united front is the only option here. You and he will be together long after she is gone and the relationship between the two of you trumps her relationship with him. This is difficult for the men because they are used to obeying Mom and doing what she wants. You have to make sure he has the strength to take a stand with her and stick with it. Otherwise, no dice.

Think long and hard about this- your husband will likely be very little actual help. Mine is a saint and yet he is not here during work hours so everything falls on me, and no matter what I do it isn't right. I can't put him in the middle of every little "chicken noodle or chicken and stars" squabble, his siblings are out of sight out of mind, and so I am dealing with it.

I have read that a wife caretaking a MIL is the most difficult care giving situation for all parties involved, and I believe it. Two strong willed women in the same house can be difficult if one won't give in, and that one can't be you.

Good luck to you.

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stargazzer

she won't always be as she is now and after she moves you will never be able to move her out. I took care of my husband for 5 years with Alzheimer's, I started having vascular problems in the brain and two doctors said if I didn't stop the stress I would die, then who would take care of him. After I put him in a care home, my sis started shifting Mom's care to me. I put my foot down and said I couldn't do it, I was stressed and I figured my life is just as important as my husband and mom's. I guess that is selfish, but I have made my peace with it and will have no regrets.

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shambo

Everyone else has given you good advice. Moving her in with you seems like such a simple solution until... reality kicks in. Could she get an apartment nearby where she wouldn't be actually living with you but be close enough for you to monitor? Would she qualify for senior housing? You might want to talk to an elder care attorney just to understand the financial & legal implications of bringing her into your home. It could affect what help Medicaid will provide too.

One thing's for sure, if she does move in, you've got to rearrange your home, maybe even remodel parts of it, so she will have her own suite. If you give her the run of the house, she'll take it and assume she's co-equal to you.

As Star said, she won't stay the way she is now. Her health and mental ability may decline and taking care of her may put a horrible strain on you physically and emotionally. The real problem when you're a woman dealing with an in-law is that even though it's your husband's parent, you're the one doing all the work and bearing the burden.

You really need to discuss this openly and honestly with your husband. I know it's hard, but it needs to be done. Good luck!

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falldowngobump

Wow, I hardly know where to start with this. I don't know a lot, but I guess this is a subject I'm almost an expert in and still feel lost most of the time. My MIL moved in with us about 2 years ago after the death of my FAL. It was difficult sharing my house with another woman. We are very lucky in the respect that we were very close and had a great relationship before all this happened, but it was still difficult.
We had no idea before the move how dependent she had become on my FAL--he did most everything for her.
I think the hardest thing at first for me was the fact that although we were close, we really had different ideas about the most basic things (housekeeping), throw in the fact that she had difficulty doing the most basic things--well it about drove me crazy. I spent a lot of time biting my tongue and quietly cleaning up disasters (after working a 10 hour day) She tried to cook (set fire to the kitchen and burned up my new cookware and kitchen rugs), she tried to do laundry (shrunk most of my good sweaters and sorted NOTHING--good stuff with lintly towels and used hot and high heat on everything, sometimes she would forget the soap and have to redo a load 3 times and I finally hid the bleach, well you can imagine). She tried to do dishes (would forget and leave the water on and overflow the sink, or leave out the dish soap). Then there was the constant rearranging of my stuff. She has her own rooms (bedroom, bathroom and sitting-TV room) but she would remove pictures from my walls and replace them with hers, take the pillows from my couch (the ones that came with the couch) and replace them with wild colored worn out pillows from her old house. She said it looked better than what I had. I LIKED what I had. In a period of a year I went from one blood pressure pill to two and my Dr. was telling me to drink a glass of wine before bedtime to mellow me out. There is a million other things if I wanted to get picky, but for me those were the biggies.
Several months ago we realized she could no longer be left alone and I quit my job to care for her. Her memory, health and mobility have really declined and we feared she would cause herself harm. Now the biggest thing for me is my inability to go when I need to. The smallest thing has to take great planning to get someone to sit with her so I can even go to the dentist or anything else. I have certainly put her first--we all have because she can no longer handle the simplest things.
Thats the bad stuff...Now for the good...
She is sweet, funny and believe it or not we still manage to have a good time together. I don't regret taking her into my home, she is a blessing to me,I love her dearly. I've had to rethink a lot of things, and certainly shift gears. I try to deal with things calmly and with love because thats how she's always treated me. I no longer think in terms of what I can do but what would be good for "us" to do together. She often tells me I'm superwoman and thinks there is nothing I can't do, she rarely complains or fusses and always has a smile or hug for me. She has declined, but inside there is the same woman I've loved and admired for years.
I still go crazy but I have a great support system so I can get a break from the "madness". Somedays I have to take a deep breath and just deal with it. Some days are easier than others, learn to embrace the good ones.
I didn't mean to write a book here. If I had to do it over again, I would. My advice is to talk with your husband (all your family--you will need them) because this a huge undertaking and it will take over all your lives.
I really wish you lots of luck with all this. God bless.
One more thing, it's not failure on your part if this isn't something you can take on. You certainly won't be doing either one of you any favors. Sometimes the best care you can give someone is to place them with people who can provide them that care. Don't ever feel guilty if its whats best for them and your family.

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mom2emall

Thanks so much for sharing all your experiences. I felt so awful even saying that I have doubts about her eventually moving in with us.

I know my husband feels strongly about taking care of his mother when she needs it and I want to be supportive. But then reality sets in and I realize that I will be the one providing most of the care and I will be the one uncomfortable in my own home. If she critiques him he does not take it to heart like I do.

I do want her to live with us instead of in a home. I just have to get all my feelings out I guess. Thanks so much to all of you!

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falldowngobump

I'm glad we could help and for goodness sake don't ever feel quilty about voicing doubts about this. This site is great because I can come here and feel that I'm not alone in all this (especially when that overwhelmed insanity creeps in). Take to heart when everyone here says that you will be the primary care giver. 99.9% will fall on you with your husband and the rest of them as sort of "backup"
My MIL is also very religious and for months she and I attended the church of her chosing. For a good while I honestly resented it. I felt like she was taking over everything including how I worship..then I felt really awful for feeling that way. Her mobility has gotten so bad the last few months that we have been TV churching it. It would just wear her out to try to get her ready and there on time that she would fall asleep as soon as we sat down. Honestly, she seems more content to have found some good "preachin" on television. She has also become incontinent and she feared having an accident. It all sort of works out somehow.
Please check in with all of us and let us know how it's going. We all are sort of in the same crazy boat here and we really do care how things work out.
Good Luck!

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pfllh

If she pretty much cares for herself and gets around OK, why have her live with you? Are there apartments for the elderly where they are still independent but can get assistance? I don't mean assisted living where it's this teeny tiny room where no room for anything.Some towns have such complexes where it is an actual apartment with separate rooms and the person has their own personal belongings. The assistance can be transportation, medicine or whatever they offer. Some have a nurse on duty 24/7.
She would have people her age to make friends with and do things. She'd have transportation for wherever she needed to go. She would have help taking meds if she needed reminded. BUT, she'd still be independent.
Perhaps this might be an option your husband could live with and you could keep your sanity.
Lynn

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c9pilot

Don't be sure that you can.
I'm going on nearly a year with my 83y.o. mom living with us and I'm not coping very well. It's a very gradual thing and the situation hasn't really worsened, but it's just wearing on me, the negativity, subtle criticisms, her "needing me" taking priority at every moment. I need a serious break but there's nowhere for her to go.
My DH is making me go see a counselor in the next week or two and I need it before I have a breakdown. I just don't know how much of it is my hormones, but my mental state has definitely taken a turn for the worse in the past few weeks.
Good luck to you.

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Connie Kru

Hi Everyone,
I took care of my mil for 5 plus years. She was 89 when she came and almost 95 when she passed.
I know the stress, believe me there was alot, especially in the beginning, but when all was over, I am so glad I did stay with it. Now having said that-The thing that helped me the most was giving myself permission to get some help in.
I got someone to come and stay with her when hubby and I had something really important to go to and I also got someone to come in the last 3 years just so I could stand in the middle of the road and scream (if I couldn't find anything else to do). This helped me more than you can ever imagine. For me this was 2 or 3 afternoons a week for about 4 hours each time.
Take care of the caregiver or you can't give care for any length of time
Connie

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stargazzer

I took care of my husband for 4 years and started having stress related vascular problems in the brain. Two doctors told me to rid myself of my stress or I would die, then who would look after my husband. One of them told me "your life is just as important as his". I put him in a care home and most of the problems went away. 60% of the care takers died before the patient. I would not make that kind of sacrifice for an in law.

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ladycas

I have both in laws. And we have no life. Dont do it unless you are ready to give up your own existance. I believe I am here so I know not to do this to my children. We are in our mid 50's. Lost all friends and aquaintances,and I personally no longer have the energy to do anything. My mother in law MUST have all the attention, making herself ill if she doesnt. She is thank god now recovered from COlon cancer. We were there for all the chemo which was not as bad as we thought,or she thought. The Dr is thrilled, she has 2 therapist coming n 3 times a week and we have found a federally funded program through The Agency for the Aged program here in Florida to come in for 4 hours a day(since we have 2 seniors, 2 hours each) Look into this for your MIL to have assistance in her own home. We both work, and the minute we walk into the house,its hell. I dont want to come home anymore.Trust me, I would do this for my parents, my mother passed on last year,and my Dad is still healthy. My parents are not selfish or mean. My MIL is MEAN and Selfish. Has always been. I wish someone in the family wouldve had the guts and taken me asside and tell me, hey we arent doing it because we cannot handle the meaness she dishes out. Run, do not walk away from this. I know I sound mean,but if you dont have to do this, if there is anyother alternative, seek it all out.

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stargazzer

I don't think you sound a bit mean, just being realistic. I feel my life is just as important as any family member's.

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jakkom

We are fortunate in that my MIL is not only a very sweet woman, but she also sold her very valuable house to move in with us, so (even after the decline in the stock market) she has sufficient funds to live comfortably into an advanced old age, even if she has to go into senior housing.

But as sweet and accommodating as she is, it is still difficult. She can't see, can't hear, and was trained to be totally helpless/incompetent by both her husbands. An albatross around one's neck is still an albatross, even if it gives you a kiss afterwards, LOL.

She is showing slow but definite signs of dementia (not Alzheimer's, there are 27 different kinds of dementia). I've had to set hard limits and repeat them constantly because she forgets - no buying food because she has no concept of nutrition, no kitchen clean-up because her idea of cleaning countertops is to smear the same dirty sponge over all 30' of surface before rinsing it with water (no soap), etc. etc.

She is mobile, and able to see to her own laundry and takes care of her own bedroom, so we're fortunate.

When my DH retires next year, we are already planning to investigate various nursing and senior facilities around the area to see what might work for her if she becomes bed-ridden. We both see that if she needs full-time care, it is best provided by professionals and not us.

When other respondents to your discussion thread have said it is important for you to have a heart-to-heart talk with your spouse, I cannot emphasize enough HOW IMPORTANT this is. And it will not be just one talk, but an ongoing discussion. There are serious legal and financial issues, in addition to the emotional ones, about bringing an elderly person into your lives. These must be faced honestly, or those issues can potentially create toxic ripples that affect succeeding generations.

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sandfarmerfl

Hello All,

I found your forum while researching how to live with my MIL. She was in NYC and we moved her here to FL to live. Like one of the other posters, she is financially capable to sustain herself so she paid for the addition to our home that is essentially a small 2 bedroom 1080 sf home added on to ours, but joined through a door which will be beneficial when she ages.

I know this is selfish but I have to admit that it is one of those hard lessons that our children will appreciate when we age to the point of needing cared for. I grew up in the country in Texas and my wife is the child of Irish immigrants. My stepfather was a Mexican immigrant and he took care of his parents. Basically I am the son-in-law that learned to respect and care for my elders.

She is also OCD with cleaning, and we have a small 13 acre farm with 3 big dogs, Great Dane included, and our kids are typical muddy country kids. There will be mud/sand in the house. My wife is an RN and I am a recently retired Marine that still works for the DoD and well, I am ok with dirt on the floor and a good mopping once a week, not every day.

So, the talk was inevitable, the one I agree with everyone on that you must have, set ground rules or at least some guidelines of do's and don'ts.

I have found that honestly, she has good intentions, but I also know the road to hades is paved with good intentions, as others here have noted.

We started out with, "well you can do this and this, but not this." It has morphed to, Mom, you MUST do this. I was hesitant at almost commanding her to do it (it was water the garden and feed the chickens, in case anyone was wondering what the mean Marine said ;)).

I feel terrible telling her to do it, but she would be in misery because she can't do things her way, the way she has done her whole life.

The kids are the ones I notice react the most. They have told me they HATE when "grandma" does something they are not used to but they love the junk food, go figure.

I will update anyone as things progress, but the bottom line, we are trying to take care of her as I was raised, as "old country" as possible, despite me being a mutt from Texas :0, I know it is how I want my children to take care of us, but I will not require them to do so, as that would be forcing a way of life on them and we are very strong believers on letting them make their own decisions.

The only thing you take to your grave is your conscience.

Thank everyone for letting me find this link.

On a lighter note, I am into my second year of figuring out what grows in this darn sand organically.

Cheers.

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jakkom

SandFarmerFL, thanks for contributing to this old but still valuable link. I don't know what happened to the OP, and wish they could come back and update us. I contributed on 5/12/09 and here's an update:

Even in the best of circumstances (as I said above, she is a very sweet person), living with an in-law can be stressful...and when they have dementia -- yowza! First she became negative - "no, I don't want to" was her answer to social activities unless we went with her. Then she became anxious - "When are you coming back from your trip (we're retired)? Can you come back earlier, I don't want to stay with my goddaughter any longer (which hurt her goddaughter's feelings very much, especially when MIL had only arrived 3 days prior)."

We struggle with her decline which has become more noticeable by 2011. We are helped by "T", a close friend who works as a personal asst. but specializes in helping seniors. She and MIL have bonded well and enjoy being together. T is our personal acupressurist and always gives us a full update via email (so we have a consistent observation record between her and us); MIL is starting to have more "off" days than "on" days.

Her doctor, an excellent geriatrician, put her on anti-depressants in late 2012. Mild dose, but made a big difference. Still, the anxiety continued.

Then she developed loss of appetite. It was a fight to get her to eat. She fainted once from low blood sugar. Unfortunately, her reaction to "not feeling right" was to not eat anything, creating a potentially dangerous cycle. No matter what portion you gave her, she cut it in half and "saved the rest for later". Aaarrrggggh!

Realized she comes from an era and country where education is only free up to the sixth grade. She never went any further than that, and has absolutely no idea about nutrition. What she knows comes from TV commercials. She honestly believes if she doesn't eat her 1/2 cup of Cheerios in the morning, she will have a heart attack.

DH and I start investigating seniorcare facilities, without MIL along. All are different, but 8 have Memory Care units and are within 15 min. of our home. We winnow down to 2, making multiple visits. We select one; setting up multiple visits with MIL so she can become visually familiar with the facility and people.

In Nov 2013 we move her to the facility. It is non-profit/non-denominational, but has a heavily Catholic percentage of residents. She's happy she can go to Mass every day. The staff is excellent (one of the top 3 facilities in the state); even the food is good. She's assigned a table with three other residents, and discovers she's the "young one" at age 86! One of her tablemates is over 100 and has lived in her studio apt over thirty yrs.

The mild level of activities (movies, bingo, escorted shopping) is perfect for MIL. She loves the security of an alarm bracelet she can press for assistance, and someone to help her shower so she doesn't need to be afraid of falling. There's a hairdresser on-site; no more schleps 30 miles to get her hair cut by her old stylist. She's made friends with all the staff on her floor and in the dining room, and they love her (she remembers their names, and always thanks them for doing anything for her). No more problems getting her to eat.

The facility takes care of all her medications (yes, that was a hassle for us too). She had an attack of gout; we took her to the doctor and wow, he called in the prescription to the facility and the next day the on-site medtech was handing her the newly added pill. Easy-peasy.

In short, this has worked out exactly as we hoped it would. MIL desperately needed the socialization and easy-to-understand routines the facility offers. Her unit has a beautiful hillside view -- she can in fact see our neighborhood from her windows. This was her choice; all units have either Bay views or hill views. She has nice new furniture, the housekeeping and laundry are all done for her, her favorite pictures and photos are on the walls.

The dementia has continued, but is still at the milder end of "moderate". It is wonderful to see her so much happier. Her satisfaction with life has improved tremendously. We take her out at least once a week and to all medical appointments, and attend the facility's special events with her. When she eventually requires full care, we'll have the choice of moving her to a special wing or letting her remain in her unit with the highest level personal care (same price for either). So far, a happy ending on both sides!

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Pattiwatti

My answer is simple, if you want your marriage to remain intact, then find another avenue for the mil.

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emma

My nephew told me he was going to take care of his parents and his wife's parents when the time came. I said, "you" take care of the parents, but it will be your wife who actually does it because you work, right? He grudgingly admitted she would be taking care of them.

That will never work, his wife does not even like my sister. If my husband tried that our marriage would end abruptly. I may not have felt that way before I took care of my husband. When I was younger I just thought it would be letting them live with you.

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Wendy Dixon

I'm so curious. How did it go? What did you decide? I've been married just a year and now since my inlaws are splitting up, my disabled MIL is coming to live with us. She doesn't have money to live anywhere else and my husband is her only child. It makes me so sad. I was excited about having kids, but not anymore. Just don't think I can handle the stress of taking care of his mom and a baby.

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maifleur01

If she does not have enough money there are senior housing that is Section 8. Amount paid in rent depends on income. Some of the places are nice others are not. She may be eligible for subsidies of various types. Save your marriage and sanity by exploring them. In the small towns around here they have senior complexes that only poor seniors can live in.

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sunnyca_gw

Looks like original poster hasn't come back. Hope not bogged down or divorced or ill. Always nice to see how things are coming along. Wendy Dixon if you are newlywed & want to have kids you are young & your MIL may not be of retirement age. Why isn't she getting support from her ex. how disabled is she? She may qualify for a program with the state, county or fed. gov't. She got no divorce settlement, did they have any assets, cars, farm, business,house, she should be getting something from him. Has she ever worked? Did she have a lawyer for the divorce? Very unfair for a newly married woman to end up being a caregiver. Of course there are illnesses that are expensive & family has to take on the responsibility ,such as ALS or MS etc. If it's that kind of thing you should still look into help that may be available. Hope things work out for you!

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Donna Hardey

It looks like there hasn't been much talk here for awhile, but I'll take my chances in seeing if I can get some good advice or at least be able to share my problem with someone. My husband and I have been together for 39 years. He came into my life when our kids were young, so now they are raised, and have their own families. Our family is not very close, since we live in several states. I admit it was rough at times, but my dh and I are at a good place now, having found a nice place to retire in the country and a good ways away from where we were living. I retired early because of health reasons, and my dh is just starting his retirement. Before his father died, his parents moved to be closer to us. That was about 39 years ago. We had been watching over his parents, taking them on vacations with us, and generally including them in our family activities. Since his father died 20 years ago, we have gradually gotten to the point of including his mother in everything we do. She has lived by herself in a mobile home park until recently. A couple of months ago she fell and broke her arm. Because we are so far away from her in our new home, we brought her to the new home so I could get her medical help while my dh continued to work. My problem is that my dh wants to move her in with us. She now has dementia and doesn't remember from one minute to the other what has been said or done. She accuses me of doing or saying things that I havent, and doesn't do what her doctors tell her to do. She gets mad at me, telling my dh things and calling me a liar when I remind her of what the doctors tell her. My husband is trying to wind up his projects at work and is already very stressed out because of that. I'm sorry that this has turned into a novel, but I am so frustrated and beside myself. She absolutely refuses to go to a health care facility, too. Help!

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maifleur01

You state that you brought her to the new home but then your dh wants her to move in with you. Confused??? Hope you have power of attorney. I would be mean and have her stay with you when your husband has time off. Tell him that he can take care of her then check yourself into a hotel nearby for the weekend but. Do not tell him where or you might find him joining you.

If your husband does not believe what the doctors say HE must go to the doctors with her. If he thinks he can not take time off for this what will he do if she lives with you. Your giving 24 hour care is stressful.

Do not worry about what she tells him unless he agrees with her. If he agrees with her consider that it may be time for you to move out.

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4Heidesign

Donna, it’s been a couple months since your posting so you may not need this advice now, but I’ll say my thoughts just in case. Firstly, I would discuss your concerns with your husband, get his full cooperation, and have him explain to MIL that she can live with you only under certain conditions. First and foremost, that she would have regular appointments with a qualified geriatric practitioner. That you should administer and monitor any pharmaceutical requirements that are prescribed to help with her condition, and that if she doesn’t take her meds she isn’t welcome to stay. You didn’t state the age of MIL, or comment any further on her general physical health, other than dementia and the broken arm. Does she still drive, or does she need someone else to transport her? More advice or tips for caregiving would be forthcoming if you could update a bit more on the current situation.

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CA Kate z9

VERY good advice!

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sunnyca_gw

Sandfarmer & others, I laughed about "rules laid down" that person with dementia have to follow. You are dealing with DEAD brain cells, not a 4 yr old. Letting grandma feed the chickens could really get interesting, grandma might start thinking the feed is HER lunch, she might do all kinds of harm with a water hose, drown the chickens, flood the garden or water tiny bit at hottest part of day. 1 day grandma might be able to do it, next day she might wonder whose place she's standing at & wander off looking for house she lived in when she was 12. GF told hubby to sit down at front of store while she shopped. She checked on him couple of times & he was still there but when she checked out he was gone, she saw fire dept & crowd & guys at service dept said they were treating a guy that collapsed. She found out it was her hubby, he survived that hot day, but was in homes & hospital & died short time later. He'd never wandered away before but there is always that 1st time you leave to run down to store to get milk that they can wander off & get hit by a car. When you take on caring for person with dementia you are caregiver 24/7 & if you are in very cold area you need locks they can't get open or they might freeze to death going outside in winter, they might turn up the heat as high as it will go, swimming pool might just look like a path & once in water they can drown. They are not trainable, brain cells are gone, sure when you 1st have them, they may be pretty good but any illness, UTI or just few months can quickly change that, so you can't plan on mom taking care of her room & laundry & peeling potatoes, next week she may not be able to figure out who these strange people are & whose house she is in & just wants to go home. It easily can be lot more work than caring for an infant as diapers, bathing, changing bedding daily drains you, plus you have to cook clean & do usual around house so it's taking on about an extra 18 hr job & then the stress level & lack of sleep. About 2nd time they wander off you can be held for elder abuse so that is another thing you need to think about, does the person fall a lot, if they decide to tell nurse, dr. you did it, you will get social worker at your dr. Because I questioned medicine they gave my dad in hospital after his stroke, gave him tremor in good arm & he was like zombie, had been talking eating & walking with help of walker day before. Calcium channel blocker had side effect of causing tremor listed in the unusual side effects, so we insisted he not get any more. So dad was questioned, mom & me & since we all agreed that it made him worse & extended his hospital stay ,they got off our case. So it's not person for a short visit, it may be 10 yrs. My folks were in 90's & pretty easy to care for & I did it for 4 yrs but had taken them to dr. appts & fixed freezer meals for several yrs before that. Took me close to a year to feel like my life was my own after they were gone. If at all possible check on computer to see how the nursing homes are rated, out here they are 1-5 stars & they don't always stay 4 stars or 5 stars.

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jakkom

>> have him explain to MIL that she can live with you only under certain conditions.>>

Have to agree with sunnyca. Dementia is a progressive disease and there is no cure, no going back to "normal". The person afflicted is going to have good days and bad days. As I mentioned above, as the decline progresses, the bad days start to outnumber the good ones.

All the good intentions in the world mean nothing when someone has dementia. They don't WANT to do stupid or mean things, but they do. They live in the moment, and cannot remember context any longer.

It is a terrible mistake to over-estimate one's capacity for caregiving. You short-change them and yourself. It is an exhausting, draining, 24/7 drudge. It can be expensive and harm your own retirement security.

I salute anyone who has done it. You have done something 90% of us cannot do as selflessly, and done it with grace.

I don't have the temperament for it. Neither does my DH. We both lost our tempers far too often with MIL, even though we realized how pointless it was. Gritting our teeth and not screaming was the best we could manage, and both of us already suffer from hypertension, LOL.

We were fortunate she had sufficient funds for a wonderful care facility with great staff. She was happier, we were relieved, and it was a win-win all the way around. But most Americans just don't have such options available. Eldercare is extremely expensive, and government programs are always scrambling for money.

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sunnyca_gw

Jakkom, I want to mention that if you lose your temper with dementia patient it can turn ugly very fast, They are already "losing it" & they kind of know it or are fighting it & for caregiver to lose their temper, men especially will get very mean & angry, 1 I knew of kicked his caregivers & tried to hit them because they pushed, pulled or talked angry loud words to him, that they do seem to know instinctively , once mistreated they often become angry people. Even if they are usually gentle they can explode if they are in pain & someone else says are you in pain. I had told man at nursing home that I had asked for pain pill for him, then someone else came over & asked if he had pain & he shoved them & said, I already said I have pain (had surgery on his head & imagine pain was pretty bad) Even with dementia I think he felt like other person was treating him like a baby & he didn't like it. Also remember there are good & bad days & even tho brain cells are dead they may remember their son that day or know it's their spouse, that part of brain is long term memory so maybe that is why, might just be confused but doesn't die like shorter term memory. Never ask them do you want egg salad sandwich or soup. Just give them food, they can't make a decision & they don't know what to do. Even asking if they want an "ice cream" they might not have the slightest idea what that is. Bring it & offer it, if they don't want it put it back in freezer. Saves a lot of arguments & confusion.

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Deb DeWees

New to the group/forum & omg, I've read most all the comments......Thank you, Thank You !!! My MIL just moved in w/ us....home is plenty big enough for us, but now it's really crowded. She is very Independent, single mom to 2 boys, always done things her way, lived alone for over 50 yrs....see where I'm going with this?........Well, think I figured out a few mins ago......."she doesn't play well w/ others" LOL......I explained to her, she could have the guest bdrm, the top living room & we all share the 1 Full bath......now, it's progressed to the top deck, totally rearranged, some of my front porch, had to stop her other day from "messin' with" my downstairs patio, as that's the only place we can put OUR stuff now........I could go on & on about ALL the changes we've (mainly ME) have had to make, but my husband tells me I'm selfish.....Well, this is NOT her house, it is OUR home & we are sharing, not co-equal's (as one comment mentioned, thanks for that word :) Pls let me stay in this forum to read, watch & vent.......I soooo need this rt now, it's only been almost 2 wks & I'm ready to move out !!!

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Deb DeWees

btw, just bookmarked this in my 'HEALTH" folder..........lol


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maifleur01

Hang in there. Suggestion for you is to try to have her rearrange his stuff. He may find that it is time for her to go. Insist on knowing what her income is. Sounds like she has just moved in because she is alone rather than for health problems. With her income and any medical history start looking at alternative places for her to live. Unless she has unlimited money I would suggest crossing continuing care places off the list immediately. An independent living complex where there is monthly rent rather than an large upfront fee is less restrictive if she does not like the place. Put it to her that with all of her arranging she will be bored when she finishes if your husband does not put his foot down.

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CA Kate z9

One thought occurred to me for you to 'think' about: Is her re-arranging making things easier - or even safer - for her to get around? I know that now I'm "older' I have had to make changes to my home for safety-sake; not so professionally arranged anymore but safer for me to move around. Perhaps your MIL is simply rearranging for these reasons, something the younger you might not see/understand. Yah, it would have been nice if she had asked/discussed before making changes, but then.... she's not use to having to ask. My mother would get angry because I didn't just 'know' what she wanted/needed and then would do things herself all in a huff. :-\

It's only been two weeks of a long settling-in period. Have you tried sitting down with her and asking what she needs and saying what you need and figuring out how to accomplish that?

I wish you luck... and a good spirit.

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jakkom

>>I want to mention that if you lose your temper with dementia patient it can turn ugly very fast,>>

There are from 50 to 70 different types of dementia, just FYI. It is true sometimes you will see personality changes. But it is not a given. Each case is a little different.

The reason we decided to make the change to an AL facility for my MIL was that it's much better to make changes EARLIER than LATER. The greater the degree of dementia, the harder it is to cope with changes. Routine is very comforting for dementia sufferers so getting them into a safe environment where routine is practiced, can be very helpful.

I strongly recommend for those who have broadband and are potential caregivers, to check the website of the John Hopkins University to see when their next MOOC course is, on caregivers and dementia patients. Although aimed at professionals, it is free and they welcome any family caregivers. The presentations and the example photos they use in the course are very clear and informative.

I have been collecting eldercare articles for years from all kinds of sources on the web, including WSJournal and NYTimes, but the JHU MOOC course was an eye-opener. I cannot recommend it enough. It was the single best source of information and preparedness I've discovered.

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maifleur01

It may be easier in the long run for a person with dementia to be placed in a AL facility but not for the early stage ones. I visited several before I was told because of my husband's weight and other health conditions it was not a viable option. Each one had patients that were only in the beginning stages. There was nothing for them to do other than sit in their chairs and watch the other patients. Based only on what I have seen early to mid stage might be better off in an assisted living facility. Depending on how quickly patients advance they may be able to they can be in those stages for 10 years or more. Being in AL facility may ease the transition but not all dementia patients are ready for one.

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4thumbs

My mother-in-law lived with us for seven years. It was tough. I would highly recommend finding elderly housing for her. Congregate housing would be ideal, as each person has a small efficiency apartment but meals are available in the main dining room.

Retirement is difficult. One day you're a capable person with responsibility, and the next you're not needed any longer. So what you have to do is give your MIL some specific responsibility that will make her feel useful and important again and also find some areas where you can let go and let her retain a bit of control.

She also needs to socialize with her peers so visit her local senior center to see what volunteer positions are available or have her take some classes like computers for example. Older folks do well with iPads as they're easy to use.

I could go on forever, but I think the main issue is simply one of control at the moment.

Good luck!

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Melissa Stewart

My mother-in-law AND father-in-law are both about to move into my home. I am beyond terrified. My husband and I just relocated due to a promotion on his end and found our DREAM home! Now I feel as though that dream is being shattered. Both my MIL and FIL are in their late 50's, my MIL is unable to work due to many illnesses, and my FIL cannot work because he spends every minute of every day taking care of her. They were unable to pay for their home any longer, so now they will be moving in with us, and I can honestly say I am dreading it. I love both of them very much and get along fantastically with my FIL. My MIL has always been a very difficult person to get along with, she's just not nice. My main concerns are privacy and the fights I can already see coming. I loved the idea of sitting down and laying out 'ground rules' before they move in. Unfortunately, I know my MIL will not be listen, we have already had issues with her going into OUR bedroom and going through out things. Literally digging through our dresser and medicine cabinets when she came to visit. She is highly opinionated, wants to cover her house with my things, already making comments about the room she will be needing. UGH!! I am beyond frustrated. Moving to a new town and not working (I was previously an accountant) is hard enough. My husband and I are in our early 30's and not at all prepared to have anyone living with us. I am extremely frustrated because I genuinely feel no one listens to my concerns, and I am now going to be stuck at home with both of them. ALL THE TIME!!

I am honestly terrified this situation is going to ruin my marriage. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

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biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

Melissa, can you afford to pay for an apartment for them, or help make up the difference between what housing costs and what they can afford?

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maifleur01

Look around for Section 8 Senior Housing for them. What many do not understand about housing for seniors and others that need assistance with affordable housingis that in many areas that is what most seniors if they can not afford assisted or independent places use. Look for the HUD sign near or on the building sign. All ranges of income use this type of facilities and income is taken into consideration. In almost every small town in this area there is at least one facility of this type that is considered senior housing.

First remind your husband that his mother had gotten into the bedroom and ask what he is going to do to prevent his mother from going through his things. Perhaps throwing some of his things out.

Second find a job of some type to get you out of the house after they move in. Consider it a mental health for yourself job.


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4thumbs

It won't work. So please contact the senior center in her area and speak with an outreach worker who can help. There are many options such as elderly housing, congregate housing and home care to assist her to remain independent.

By the sound of it, you will be at each other's throats and you will compromise your health due to the immense stress of this situation.

How do I know?
Been there, done that.

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jglow

4thumbs You've got that right! All I can say is DON'T DO IT! The original post was from 2009 and it is now 2018. I just wonder IF she heeded the advice, or is kicking herself for not listening. Let me tell you my position; My MIL came to live with us in 1996 because we "thought" that she couldn't take care of herself and due to her having a minor stroke 16 years earlier, she acted as if "she didn't remember", "couldn't remember", "doesn't know", "can't do". Well like I said, she "ACTED" as if she couldn't! Well guess what? It is now 2018! 22 years later and that woman is STILL very much alive and kicking, BUT continues to ACT like she can't do anything! I DO EVERYTHING! I have never had so much disgust and contempt for anyone in my life. I cannot stand the sight, sound, or stinky smell of that woman. She is a lazy as they come! She has stunk up this house to where I have no interest to even treat it like my home. My husband has fallen victim of her acts and does everything she wants him to do. Then, he puts it on me to do. I have so much anger and I don't have the same love for my husband anymore because of this. It sickens me that he does for her, OR makes me do for her, what she CAN DO for herself. My heart is dead. DEAD. I thought we would be living our golden years together, but no, we are living our senior golden years with HIS smelly mother! If I could leave, I would, but what could I do now at my age? I'll probably die before she does. She'll be happy about that so she can have her son ALL to herself. She is just sick! Sorry for my rant. It felt good to say it all though!

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Deb DeWees

I joined this site for help......very good ideas & comments, I hafta say this now.....my MIL moved in & bad-etc etc , OK, I thought I could handle it, we were on very good terms........until the Move......after 6 mos & an attempted suicide (on my part) I just could not handle it anymore !!! She went to her sis-n-law's for about 6 wks, bought a house, then came bk here to say she was moving out !! yay, right? NO, all things got blamed on me not being able to "handle" her...WTF?? My children blamed ME for not helping more, my husband blamed me for Not helping his mother more, etc etc.....Can you see where this story is going? It has been a mind-blowing experience, to say the least. I am still depressed, but not so much anymore that she is gone out of "our" house. I gave rooms to her, out of respect, & then she wanted more & more......I said "ENOUGH" ... I have been called Selfish & Disresprectful & etc !!! I do not think that by "sharing my home" & asking for simple things, is Mean. I too thought this woman needed help, but after she moved in, I was totally wrong......I was not in the mode to "care--clean the toilet seat--" everyday......For anyone reading this, I can only hope it helps you to make the "decision" about elderly care in Your Own Home. BTW, he drives 3 hrs (one way) every holiday to "help" his Mother, Good !!!, but she has lots of family where she lives that can also & are willing to help her <3 She is using him, since his brother gave up on this a long time ago. I am the most loving person, but I'm tired of being used. Just hope my experience can help someone else. Hugs !!!

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Jakkom Katsu

This is the first time in a while I've had a chance to read through the more recent posts. I have to say my heart goes out to Melissa Stewart, who never did post again, sadly.

My first impulse was to suggest putting a lock on the bedroom door!

BTW, maifleur01's post of August 28, 2016 wasn't very clear to me. I think what she was saying was that AL facilities might be helpful to early/moderate dementia patients, but not all of them are willing to be moved there.

This is very true. My MIL did not want to move. However, we did not give her a choice. She had lived with us for 7 yrs and it was stressing my DH's (her only child) health.

The facility we found for her is a world away from the "just sitting in chairs" places. It is a 5-acre secure campus, complete with its own senior center and as mentioned before, a full schedule of activities every day.

The regular routines and voluntary activities helped very much in slowing down the progression of her dementia. Her anxiety lessened, and she no longer needed the anti-depressants or BP bills either.

She was the ideal candidate for a facility because she was very social but personally awkward at making friends (she felt it was being "pushy" and unladylike to be the instigator). The casual, regular social interactions enabled her to finally make new friends.

This non-profit facility is the third-ranked of its type in the state. It has the lowest staff turnover percentage and one of the highest staff-to-resident ratios.

The downside is, you need $$$ for this. Without exception we found the better quality full-care facilities did not take Medicaid patients. IF you passed the interview, had a signed evaluation of your mental/physical health from your doctor, and could claim sufficient financial assets for at least 5 yrs of rental expense, you could be accepted as a resident.

In such case, as a current resident if you needed care in the future and ran out of funds, the facility can CHOOSE to apply for Medicaid on your behalf so you may continue to be a resident. Most non-profits will do this.

Many for-profits, which unfortunately comprise the bulk of the industry and who are rapidly buying up existing non-profits when possible, do NOT do this. No funds = no residency.

Always be sure, if you are looking for a facility for an elderly family member, that you make several visits, research their rankings (both federal and state inspections), and ask as many questions about "what if?" as you can.

Just FYI, an article last week in the WS Journal on "We're running out of caregivers" said the average cost of a home health aide, full time (8 hr day) is now $49,000/yr. Remember if the aide is hired directly, you are also responsible for Social Security and other taxes, as an employer.


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maifleur01

I was saying the exact opposite of this. Think of the mental horror of someone with mild dementia being with other patients that are more advanced seeing what their future might hold. "I think what she was saying was that AL facilities might be helpful to early/moderate dementia patients, but not all of them are willing to be moved there."

This is after visiting several memory care and other type of facilities for my husband. Perhaps it is because wives tend to keep husbands home longer but here for every one facility that is mixed or men only there are ten for women. Now that my husband is in a regular NH I have not been looking but at that time there was only one men only facility that was accepting patients in this area and it is 75 miles away in Cameron, Missouri a small country town.

I find your statement that the facility could CHOSE to apply to Medicaid interesting. In this state, Missouri, the person that has a POA or Guardian/Conservatorship is the person that makes the application. Homes do assist as they must complete some of the paperwork but that is all that they can do. The only way a facility could do this is if the responsible party signed over that right to the facility.

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Jakkom Katsu

Thanks maifleur, that's clearer to me. Out here in CA there are many facilities to choose from, so at most CCRCs only the most severely afflicted dementia patients are in the Memory Wards. Others, like my MIL who was judged mild- to moderate-level, are placed in the AL residences with everyone else.

One pays extra for any needed assistance, above the rental cost.

In many cases residents may never have had a POA, or no longer have any family. It wasn't at all unusual for WWII generation elderly. My MIL would have had nothing more than a Living Will if we hadn't made sure to get all her legal docs updated, LOL.

If a resident does not have sufficient funds for Skilled Nursing care, the facility is allowed to bill Medi-Cal (our state's name for Medicaid) for the remainder, regardless of who the POA is, IF the agent or resident has not already applied for Medi-Cal.

Hope that clarifies it!

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maifleur01

Memory Units does not matter what level the patient is at until as I stated they qualified for NH care. Are you calling AL units Alzheimers Units or Assisted Living facilities where each level of care is charged at increasing levels. There are both types in this area.

Here if there is not POA or guardian the person is declared a Ward of the Court and in this county then County Administrator does the applications. Normally the inability to do 5 activities of daily living is enough to send a person to a NH which Medicaid will pay for. The day my husband's guardianship was approved there were several people before his case that were declared Wards. Some did need vast amounts of help but others such as a woman that was sent to my husband's NH only had surgery of some type and the doctors did not want her to return home and there was no family in the immediate area. One of the bad things with guardianships is that if one is granted the person no longer has control of their life. This woman might have been able to return home but every thing she had owned was gone.

I find it is good to talk about the differences between areas as to how they handle things as they could help someone that is needing information but does not know how to ask. It is much easier now to research the information by simply typing in a question, hit enter, then look for state specific information but many people are not aware of the process.

I understand about the lack of family. I have some first cousins somewhere but beyond that if someone would have to step in and take care of me it would be a step or a niece on my husband's side. Having thought about it since my husband became ill to save problems I would rather become a Ward of the Court.

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