Caring for mother-in-law with Vascular Dementia.

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I am currently caring for my mother in law 88 years old with. Vascular dementia and getting progressively worse. Seems I've been chosen to do so when I became unemployed then disabled 4 yrs ago. Since then have 3 surgeries two major. I am pretty sure I'm heading for caregiver burnout, have major health problems under doctors care. No one (his sisters) seem to care only that I'm here to care for MIL 24/7. One SIL doesn't even work! They come maybe twice or so a month to sit with my MIL and occasionally bath her. I do ALL the physical work. I've almost left my husband twice because of the strain. My husband helps when he gets home but hates to ask for help. They all have terrible communication problems. Last argu ment my husband and I had was bad. Because of the fact my youngest daughter lives her with her baby and husband and me not working I feel obligated. He's holding that over my head with them living here. But my health and nerves are deteriorating and with my sanity. My MIL is getting more and more difficult to deal with my husband will not put her in a facility, nor her insurance doesn't pay for in home healthcare. My husband said if I do not want to watch my mother in law then he would have to hire someone but hecan only offer room and board, so where does that leave my daughter and grandchild?.

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First, let's address the money thing. Whatever resources your MIL has should be being used for her care. Does she get SS or a pension or any monthly income? That can be used to provide in-home help, for example, somene to bathe her. Does she have any assets, like stocks or bonds or property? Again, that should be used to provide care for her. If she has no resources, she should be eligible for Medicaid, and that along with other state or county programs can provide some in-home care. So start by looking into what she is eligible for. If you have a caseworker for your own disability, start there. If not, contact Social Services in your county and ask for an assessment for your MIL.Your options are not as limited as you and your husband seem to think.

Your MIL is getting worse. That is what dementia does, unfortunately. If you are having trouble with her care now, it is not going to get easier. No matter how much your husband does not want to put her in a facility the time may come when it is not possible to care for her at home -- certainly not without some outside help. This is another good reason to start exploring now what the options are, so you can have something in place as things get harder.

Regarding your daughter, her husband, and their baby. Are the adults working? Are they contributing financially to the household? Are they helping with things like laundry, housecleaning, yard work, household maintenenace? I take it there are reasons why they need a little help while they are getting on their feet. Can either of them help with the care of your MIL? Or at least relieve you and your husband of other household responsibilities to ease the burden? If they are living in the house it is reasonable to expect some contributions from them. Really, that should be true with or without the addition of MIL to the mix.

But the issues surrounding the young folks are separate from the care of MIL. You have health issues and you cannot continue to care for MIL alone. You need help. That would be true no matter where your daughter lived. Try to separate the two issues. Your husband and you need to focus on how to provide the very best care for his mother in a way that is realistic and loving to you as well.

Start with exploring your options for help. Get a social worker involved. Go from there.
Yes my MILs doctor has suggested, nurses everyone but my husband has this notion that they will take her money and I agree 100% she receives widows pension she's never worked. Does not have any assets. And I know for a fact she is going to get much worse I work with her doctor closely regarding everything that concerns my MIL.
And yes the young ones do pay rent and do help me but they to can only do so much with regards to her care. They do watch her so we can get errands done etc., but as far as physically I do everything. I've been told by her doctor and other healthcare professionals that my husband and sisters are in denial. They tell other relatives, friends etc., that my mother in law is just fine. But there not with her 24/7 to see how she really is. When I tell my husband and sisters of some of the nasty and bizzare things my MIL does its like they don't hear it. But yes I will have to do more investigating on my own. Thank You.
Denial can be a useful coping mechanism, but I'm glad someone in that household is trying to cope with the reality, not the wishful thinking. I am sorry it has to be you and how hard this it. Move forward with investigating your options, as you have to. Try not to be too hard on your husband and other relatives who can't face this. Just don't be bullied and don't stand for that "your daughter lives here" nonsense. That has nothing to do with the real issues.

Good luck, and may you continue to find the strength needed to do what needs to be done.
Thank you so much for your input. I am so glad I found this website. Believe me I never complain. I just find it difficult to see a family (aside from my husband) who doesn't want to participate in ther mothers health and well being. I know for myself and my daughters would move heaven and earth for me and my mother. That's another thing that bothers me, I've been neglecting my own family because of me having to care for my MIL. My husband doesn't seem to understand that.
Again Thank You....
Your husband seems to want to hold onto hold is mother was instead of facing how she is now with you as a protective shield from him having to see the reality for how things are. I would seriously consider going to visit some relative or friend over a weekend and let him take care of her for two days 24/7 for your own health sounds like it is about to break even further. She's his mom and he really should be taking more responsibility than he is instead of what sounds to me as using you to run basically a nursing home on your own at home. Does he or someone have durable and/or medical POA? Has her doctor ever told him directly how bad off his mother is and what kind of care she really needs, plus how unfair it is to expect you to do it all? Maybe, just maybe, your husband and his sisters would listen to an objective third party like a doctor and I would make sure that your mom's doctor knows about your health problems too. Just recognizing someone is in disbelief is not enough when the caregiver is drowning. Also, did his mother ever make him promise to never put her in a nursing home? Just what kind of relationship does he have with her? If he does not recognize that you have been neglecting your own family to care for his mom, that in itself should tell you something. Is he afraid of his mother? In my opinion, a typical husband would miss his wife's full presence at home with the rest of the family and would appreciate the sacrifices being made and would stand up for his wife to find some way to relieve the burden. I guess he expects you to take care of him one day if taking care of his mother does not kill you first. There is more here than just money or even your daughter being there with her child. There is something not right in this triangulated relationship between you, your husband and his mother. You just might need to see a therapist yourself to figure out what to do. I wish you well.
At this point my MIL can barely speak her cognitive abilities are Very bad. She's like a 3 year old. And yes my husbands family I'm sorry are messed up buy my MIL from what I've heard. But your right along with everyone elevate I've spoke to. Her doctor wants and needs to get all of them together so she can explain the situation. The doctor is so frustrated with this family she almost dropped my MIL as her patient because of the stupidity of these people not to mention there denial. And she does know what condition I'm in.
I need help...or confirmation...my mother in law had a stroke lost whole left side (this was her dominant side) my husband has taken over the role of caretaker and now has moved her in my home where I run my family day home business and have an 11 yr old. She also has vasular dementia and has history of heart attacks. She has had rages (alot) and cusses me out to no end and brings up (what I believe) are suppressed feelings towards me and says and sees things that aren't there, such as my son out late at night in the street w/o clothes...she swears he came in her room the other morning with a dozen ears of corn...She has my husband catering to her and never says no to anything her heart desires. he forgets about his family. She has become somewhat independent but he refuses to let her try by herself, she can now walk w/ a cane. but she rants and cusses to the point of screaming and wanting to call the cops and screams at my husband and calls us both every name in the book. He forgives her but I truly am hurt and don't want her in the house any longer it has been a long time she has some deep anger issues that are now coming out and I am being torn, as my husband is so involved w/ her and anything she wants, it's not jealously I'm feeling it's a hurt and lonely feeling. What do I do? I am having a talk w/ him this evening, I don't want to give him altamatems, but I don't want his mother in my home anymore either. any ideas?


I need help...or confirmation...my mother in law had a stroke lost whole left side (this was her dominant side) my husband has taken over the role of caretaker and now has moved her in my home where I run my family day home business and have an 11 yr old. She also has vasular dementia and has history of heart attacks. She has had rages (alot) and cusses me out to no end and brings up (what I believe) are suppressed feelings towards me and says and sees things that aren't there, such as my son out late at night in the street w/o clothes...she swears he came in her room the other morning with a dozen ears of corn...She has my husband catering to her and never says no to anything her heart desires. he forgets about his family. She has become somewhat independent but he refuses to let her try by herself, she can now walk w/ a cane. but she rants and cusses to the point of screaming and wanting to call the cops and screams at my husband and calls us both every name in the book. He forgives her but I truly am hurt and don't want her in the house any longer it has been a long time she has some deep anger issues that are now coming out and I am being torn, as my husband is so involved w/ her and anything she wants, it's not jealously I'm feeling it's a hurt and lonely feeling. What do I do? I am having a talk w/ him this evening, I don't want to give him altamatems, but I don't want his mother in my home anymore either. any ideas?


First, is he her only child or favorite son? I ask that partly because I am one.

Second, he is putting her first instead of you which shows there is some emotional enmeshment between the two for his behavior sounds codependent.

Third, I would have that heart to heart talk you two need to have this evening, but at this point I'd avoid ultimatums.

Fourth, has she been evaluated by the doctor lately and does he go with her on these appointments so that he can hear from the doctor exactly what is going on and what your MIL needs in terms of care at this point?

Fifth, he does appear to be in denial about how bad off she is and that her dementia is only going to get worse.

Six, if your husband does not respond well after tonight, then I'd wait a few days to have another talk and this time lay out how this is threatening your marriage and family life which means you want the two of you to see a therapist together to get some advice from an objective third party as to how to handle it. Try to present it in such a way that it does not sound like you're wanting to drag him into see a therapist to straighten him out (although you are), but that ya'll as a couple need some help with this situation.

I wish you well with this mess.
Thank you for all these well wishes..and ideas. As for number 1 he is her middle child...there is a daughter (oldest) in Fla. doesn't get along too long w/ her mom. (she helps to give us a break every couple mos.) for a wk. younger brother about 4 hrs. away which had her for a few wks after stroke and she raged on his wife and that was it, he wanted her out and was not feeding her (she is a meat and potato person) he was veg. and she lost 40 lbs. while there and was very detrimental to her brain and recovery from stroke, so my husband took her back...moved into her townhouse w/ her for 3 mos. and that got sold, so they are back here w/ me until he can build something on the lot in the back of our house for her (which is 3 to 4 mos) I don't think I can wait that long. Husband and I had a talk, but the outcome is very hard to tell, he does research for 14 yrs on Alzheimers,..he has a website Commonsense approaches to alzheimers. and he analyzes and (hate to say it) but enjoys the challenge of his mother and mentions he is torn between her and me. I ask him what happens when she rages again (the last one lasted 3 days) she cusses and hits and bites and the things she says are very hurtful. He keeps telling me consider the source, I'm sorry the source is a lady w/ vascular dementia that's only gonna get worse and stroke victim. She is in a bedroom w/ all her things he moved my stuff out of my living room to a small room so she could have all her belongings in the living room and now she rages and accuses me of stealing. What do you mean by number 2? enmeshment? There were no ultimatums tonight. He does go w/ her to PT and doctors appts. he is very knowledgeable about health, brain etc. but this makes it harder I believe...cause he has the excuse of "this is what is happening in her brain...'''' lalalalala" I could care less at this point, I know it's hurtful what she says and prior I did everything for her. We got along great. She became very argumentative prior to stroke w/ everyone wanting everyone to cater to her needs and do it her way and everyone owed her. As for him being in denial about her getting worse. I'm not sure, I reiterate that she will only get worse, I feel like she is a grenade in my house w/ the pin pulled, waiting for the explosion. I am seeing only blue, gray and black and feeling very low and often wonder why I feel like I do. But thanks for posting your thoughts and giving me something more to think about.

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