What can I do when my mother-in-law needs help but refuses it?

Asked by


My husband's mother has mid-stage dementia. a neurologist that first diagnosed it told my sister-in-law that with the type of dementia that she has, she will not know that anything is wrong with her. Well, this fact has come back to haunt us! She really is not aware. She THINKS that she is cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc. The reality is that the family is doing ALL of this for her.
Now, here's the biggest problem: my mother-in-law lives alone, in the condo that she and my father-in-law bought before he passed away. We have tried to bring in help for her - she threw an absolute fit in front of the nurse that had come to assess her, so that idea was tabled. Things continued to progress, so my husband and his sister tried to convince her to move into an assisted living apartment so that people would be around to at least help when needed. AGAIN, she threw an absolute fit and refused to even consider it!
My question is: has anyone else dealt with this kind of problem and been able to get the person to move or at least allow a homecare-giver to come in?? If so, what worked for you? Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated!

Answers 1 to 3 of 3
Take a look at this article on "Determining if Your Loved One Can Continue Living at Home." It might have some tips that will help you. Also, having an objective third party (i.e. a non-family member, such as doctor, care manager, etc.) speak to the elder often works wonders. Sometimes, people will heed the advice of a near stranger, over the same advice from a family member. Go figure!

https://www.agingcare.com/Featured-Stories/95665/Should-Your-Loved-One-Continue-Living-at-Home-.htm
We have tried the objective third party, to no avail. On two different occasions, separate appointments with her neurologist and her family physician, my mother-in-law was told by each doctor that she should no longer be living alone and that she should consider moving to a facility where she could get help AND have more interaction with people. On both occasions my mother-in-law informed her daughter, after the appointment was over, that she no longer "liked" that doctor and said that she would never go to that doctor again.

She no longer knows how to cook for herself, so we shop for her and see that she has sandwhiches and other food items that she can eat without any required preparation
We have the same problem, only my monther-in-law came to live with us because the hospital would not release her home after she became ill. She is now causing such disturbances that we have no choice but to send her home, before she wrecks our family. We have done the 3rd party intervention with the doctors even putting it in writing, but she will not accept a nurse, or go to an assisted living place and does not want to stay here - she won't try to make herself part of the family.
We have contacted meals-on-wheels and are going to arrange for food to be delivered a few times a week, and a company called VRI to have her medication monitored. It is an automatic monitored pill dispenser. The only thing we can't figure out how to monitor is the motrin. She gets frequent mirgranes (which she has had much less frequently since she's been here) and has 800 mg prescription strength motrin. We found out that she had been doubling up on them and think that's what landed her in the hospital, but aren't positive. We've been monitoring them while she's here, but need to know if anyone knows of a pill system that will only open every 6 hours, but not alarm her, so that if she doesn't take it, she doesn't have to.
We just don't know what else to do, as she's still somewhat competent and certain things and forgets other things.
If anyone has any other sugestions, we could surely use them.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support