I'm totally burnt out and need help!

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My 90 year old mother-in-law has mild dementia in a manipulative and controlling way. She was moved from her townhome to a lovely assisted living facility in April after several hospitalizations from a fall and misc. medical issues. Her townhome neighbors were becoming resentful and mentioned assisted living to us on numerous occasions She of course imagined they didn't mind helping her which is contrary to the vibes we got. She has always "called the shots" and wants to be in charge even though she couldn't fight her way out of a wet paper bag. I single handed found the assisted living facility, moved her in, packed up her townhome, pacelled out the contents, hired realtors, sold the home and manged all the business that comes with the transactions of this magnitude. I pay all her bills and take care of all her business and hold Power of Attorney. My husband and her only child has Parkinsons and I am of course with loyalty and love his primary care giver. (I quit a job I loved in June this year to manage all this business and care for my husband). Back to the MIL, she has fought me the whole way on everything.
1. " the help are not even nurses" (she is a retired RN)
2. Why can't I give my own drugs (she tried this and over and under medicated herself for years)
3. Begs for frying pans (nursing home told us she should not use a stove under any circumstances and recently turned the oven on 500 degrees to warm up her apartment) - we had stove/oven unplugged.
4. Lies contanstantly
5. Refuses her biweekly bath and will allow a hair wash maybe once a month.
6. Refuses to eat in the resident dining facility and has trays delivered at an added expense
7. Stays in her night gown all day in a darkened apartment
8. Refuses participation in any and all activities
9. Demands I take her to get her hair done to her old hair dresser 15 miles away (I refuse)
10. Complains about the pastor at the facility. (he does a wonderful job and is a delightful person)
11. Demands we take her to church and continuously badgers us about attending church ourselves
12. Won't get out of bed so they can change her sheets (apartment actually stinks)
13. Refuses to wear her hearing aids even though she is close to deaf - tells us to talk louder. When we do she accuses us of yelling at her.
14. Makes constant remarks that we never come and see her. (once every 7-10 days is all I can handle)
15. Hoardes her mail and fights with us every week to go through the heaps just to pull the bills out so i can pay them.
I could go on and on. Whatever you do it is never enough. The wierd thing is she comes across all sweet and Christian like when in fact she makes manipulative, mean statements under her breath.
I can't take it anymore. My husband is at a loss on how to handle her and is not physically or mentally able to do so. Obviously, it's all falling to me and I am becoming so resentfull I can't be around her.
Please help me before I lose it and really tell her off.


She's depressed. The dark room and no enjoyment of anything, no initiative, is classic.

Take her to her hairdresser, and then for a medical eval. She could possibly benefit from antidepressant medication. You could possibly benefit from knowing how badly her thinking skills are affected, in terms of possibly needing guardianship, or just realizing that she is being antisocial and maladaptive because her judgment and memory have gone so far downhill.

The way things are is a vicious circle spiraling downhill, and her next stop if things do not change is a nursing home. Any chance her pastor or priest would come visit and pray with her a little?
Did I mention she did not want to sell her townhome since he her mind she is absolutely able to take care of herself and her business.
16. Constantly asks me what I did with her stuff, implying I took it. (all of her good furniture and precious items were moved to her apartment) - I cleaned out and lost a dumpster full + 14 large garbage bags and numerous donations to charities.
Another screwy idea here...maybe the hearing aids don't work right and that's why she won't wear them. (I've participated in a couple of threads on here just about that issue alone!) Or maybe they are fine and she just does not want to bother. Either way, there's your entre' for a medical visit that would also. Include the rest of a good comprehensive geriatric evaluation.
Yeah. You have done and are doing a yeoman's job here. And MIL is sadly lost in a lot of wishful thinking...she's fighting her sense of loss, which may be profound, and the inevitabilities of aging as much as she is fighting you. I bet hubby appreciates your efforts even if she never will.
She is on anti-depressants and has been this way for years. She has had many evaluations and denies she is depressed and does nothing to help herself. Prefers to wallow in self pity and spend her time fretting. I apologize if I sound harsh. She has sucked the life out of me.
Hearing aids are in great working order. She told me they did not work and just a month ago I took her and the hearing aids to the audiologist. Bit of tweakin and they are working just great.
It is so hard to take her out since she moves at less than a snails pace and is unsteady on her feet. Has a walker but prefers her cane, when and only when she prefers it. Other times wants the walker, particularly if I have to manhandle it into the car and people will see her using it which could garner sympathy.
I must say she did lose her daughter to breast cancer 17 years ago which was very difficult for her particularly since they did not get along very well.
lindek, I hear you, gf. I don't think there is anything that you can do beyond what you've done. Except for the bathing, your MIL sounds so much like my mother that I just had to nod at everything you said. And I know you were probably thinking "that won't work" to suggestions as you read them. You were most likely right, because you know your MIL. If she is like my mother, she is determined to be contrary. It is so difficult to help a contrary person, because they go against anything that you suggest. Nothing you can do or say will be right.

My own mother is contrary to the point that she contradicts anything I say. It has gotten to be her conversation style. It gets exasperating and we have very little conversation because of it. She sits in her pajamas all day in a fairly dark room watching TV. She doesn't see very well, so I don't think the light makes much difference. She doesn't do well with things like hearing aids, so I don't push her to try them. I thought about the Lyric brand that she wouldn't have to fiddle with after they were in place, but she said no.

My mother also wants to attend church every Sunday, though she doesn't like the preacher and can't remember a word that was said. She is forever pushing me to get more involved with the church.

With me I decided what I can do is take "good enough" care of her. It won't be good enough in her mind, because she thinks I should be able to compensate for all the things she has lost. I have come to some peace about not doing more and not feeling guilty about the things she has lost. I cannot replace those things. When I first came here 4 years ago, I wanted to try to fix things. It wore me out emotionally. Now I know I can't fix most things, so I do what I can. I am learning more to let her deal with her own contrariness. If I didn't we would be battling back and forth all day. I don't owe her that.

Don't you love that we can come here to vent? Some things are not fixable, but it certainly feels better to talk to people about them.
Oh my gosh I so appreciate the opportunity to vent. JessieBelle I like what you say about taking "good enough care". I will keep that thought in mind knowing I can never do things just the way she wants. We had a terrible day yesterday and I vented and cried most of last evening and on and off today. I asked her to please cooperate when I picked her up for Christmas dinner and she immediately took an attitude. I admit I did raise my voice after she was being dramatic and told her I had a HELL YEAR and to please cooperate. I apologized as I drove her to our home and she stated, "well, I will accept your apology because I was taught to do that", always snarky! My best friends who are nurses and have checked on her when I am out of town can't stand her and both agree she is toxic in a sweet, sickening way. I really think I need counseling and may never get over her overbearing ways. The scales been tipped. This pent up anger has been years in the making. I feel bad for even saying all this. I just can't hold it in any longer.
I know what you mean. Church just teaches a lot of people how to hide their horns in public.

(Disclaimer: this was in no way meant as a statement against churches or religion. :)
Lindek, I hope venting on here and getting both good answers and answers like e about doing stuff you have already done has helped you feel in your heart, as well as just put your mind at ease, that you really have left no stone unturned, and your compassion fatigue has a very real basis!

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