How can I get my mother-in-law to care about herself, her hygiene and her living conditions more?
This woman raised 3 kids, was always neat and clean and orderly. She was a teacher for 25+ years teaching gifted kids. She has been widowed for 15 years or so and helped raise her grandkids in Chicago until we brought her back to CA 2 years ago. She is currently on 100mg of Zoloft for depression, having had it raised from 20mg to 40mg to 75mg and then 100mg. I believe she also has seasonal affective disorder to some degree. She has not been officially diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimers, but she often displays the behaviors of it or atleast early onset. At times she is very attentive to her hygiene, taking showers regularly, changing her clothes every day; and her room, keeping it clean, orderly, picked up and her bed made. She also is often attentive to her bathroom, keeping it clean and picked up. Other times however, she takes a lot of short cuts, ignoring disorder, ignoring soiling on bedding and bathrugs, not doing her laundry for weeks, wearing dirty clothing, not brushing her hair, etc. She sometimes offers to help with things, but more often than not would rather sit all day and do nothing. It is almost like sometimes her "switch" has been turned on and sometimes it is "off". Everything is completely "off" from mid-fall (late Oct) through until mid-spring (April). During this time she is non talkative, will sit for hours motionless, staring at the television, non participative, will sit in her robe all day if I let her, does not take a shower for weeks if I let her, does not eat unless I make her, etc. Sometimes she gets snitty with me when I ask her if she hs taken her pills, ask her to drink more of her water, get dressed, take a shower, etc. We have had long conversations about me caring for her and because I do love her and care about her, a little cooperation would go a long way, etc. She will often wait for someone to wait on her hand and foot, otherwise she goes without. I help clean her up after potty messes, she is also incontinent during the night, so I help her with that, as well as clipping and filing her finger nails, clipping her toenails, help her fix her hair, etc. She does get her hair done once a week, so that gets her out. We have a wonderful senior center here and she has been there a few times, but now she has not wanted to go for about a year. I just want her to care about herself, her hygiene and her living conditions. Am I asking for the impossible?