smgermain Asked January 2011

My Father-in-Law is stealing and breaking things. When asked about these things, he says he does not know anything about them. How should this be handled?

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Jam Jan 2011
You are very welcome. You might try approaching fil like we did...just explain that you know everything is fine right now, but if something should happen and they aren't able to speak for themselves then you would be able to get help for them. And you would only use POA when absolutely necessary....we told mil that if she fell or whatever and couldn't speak for herself then we would be able to care for her. She was fine with it. Good luck and take care...........
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smgermain Jan 2011
Thanks Jam for all you good advice. I am going to try what you said and just cook his food and take it to him and maybe he will get use to it. You are right he wants us to think that nothing is wrong with him and wants to remain independant. I am not sure if he will sign a POA but I have to tackle it anyway. My husband is reluctant to do anything because he wants to believe his Dad is fine. When he hears that fire alarm however he knows all is not right. Thanks again, I really appreciate your help.
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Jam Jan 2011
If he has designated your husband to make medical decisions, then that is a POA...but it needs to be on paper and signed. I think now you can download one online, have it signed by fil and husband and notorized. And then your husband can speak with his doctor and get the information. When we did mil's my husband is POA, if he is unable or unwilling, then it falls to me. I take care of her and since we both are in the medical profession we have no problems dealing with doctors, hospitals, etc. The banks were a little more difficult but now we are on all of her accounts so again no problem.
As for the meals I know it's hard....when we moved mil into her house, which is attached to our house, we had Meals on Wheels started....well that lasted one day, she did nothing but gripe so we cancelled. Her appetite is not good unless we feed her. She was eating a lot of Banquet frozen dinners, but has stopped that in the last couple of weeks. Tonight hubby and I had dinner with an old friend, and brought her back real Italian ravioli........she is chowing down as I write....lol. Would fil be happy if you fix the meal and bring it to him? It sounds as if he doesn't want to lose the independence of being able to cook for himself. That loss is hard for them to deal with and something that is not easily accepted. Unfortunately it doesn't get any easier......Keep in contact and good luck...I know how much of a handful they can be.
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smgermain Jan 2011
My husband does not have POA. Both names are on the his bank account but nothing more. I am sure he has designated my husband to make medical decisions for him if he cannot. I am not sure if that would allow my husband to speak to his doctor. If I disable the range, he will just go out and get another one. We tried that already. He thinks the microwave is some kind of computer monster and won't go near it. When he has used my glass top stove it took me forever to get the scratches off the glass. The best food answer is for him to get the delivered meals for the elderly or have his meals with my husband and I. We have approached him with both options and he has rejected them both. If the fire alarm continues to go off I may have to tell him a little lie, that every time the fire alarm goes off the fire department is notified and for every false alarm we are charged $200.00. I can tell he fire department calls everytime the alarm goes off and if it is a false alarm they charge us. He will not know the difference because he has set the burglar off by mistake and the police did come and they did charge us for a false alarm.
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Jam Jan 2011
Does your husband have POA? If not, the doctor cannot discuss anything concerning fil with you or your husband. It is illegal for him to do that. At this point I would render the range temporarily unusable before an actual fire starts...such as leaving a towel or pot holder on a hot burner. When my husband and I had mil house built, we had a microwave/convection oven installed and an electric cook top. She just cannot comprehend how to work the convection, has stopped using the cook top and microwaves everything. Works for her by still giving her the freedom to fix food herself. If she should decide to use the cook top again, I will just unplug it...she will never figure it out.
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smgermain Jan 2011
Thanks for you advice. You are right about the special food which I will do right away. The one thing that is worrying to us is that he leaves the buffet range on when he is cooking, he goes to another room and forgets about it. The smoke alarm is consistenly going off, thank God for that smoke alarm. After it goes off he says he does not know why it went off even though the kitchen is full of smoke. We have to make sure he has no reason to cook anything before we got out or leave for an extended period of time. He goes to the doctor all the time but his doctor has not contacted us and I am not sure they would. That is why I think my husband needs to go and see his doctor.
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Jam Jan 2011
Sounds like fil is suffering some type of dementia/alzheimers. With Alzheimer's the person has no short term memory, but the stories they can tell from years ago! Quite fascinating to listen to. Has he seen his doctor for a diagnosis? That would be the first place to start. It's good that he is eating and is getting exercise....as they age and start to slow down the appetite will also slow down...and I have noticed they tend to develop a sweet tooth. The doctor may determine that fil needs an antidepressant which may make his behavior improve....remember they get depressed because their loved ones and peers have gone on and they feel like they are alone....they get frustrated because they are not able to do the things they enjoyed before.....simple tasks become almost impossible without help. Keep a supply of "special food" that your fil likes and that he knows where to find it when he wants it. Unfortunately you may still have to hide your husbands favorites......it just becomes part of the routine. My best wishes for you......................
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smgermain Jan 2011
Has you mother-in-law been diagnosed with dementia? Does she eat a lot? My father-in-law eats all the time, from morning to night. He does not gain weight because he walks everyday, all over the community. If I want to keep something for my husband's enjoyment, like cake, I have to hide it, because it will be gone in a short period of time.
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NancyH Jan 2011
I've noticed with my mother-in-law that when she's talking now about 'dad' she's not referring anymore to her husband, she's actually talk about her own father. She talks more about her upbringing then she ever did before. The worse her memory is getting, the farther back in time she's going. weird.
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smgermain Jan 2011
Sometimes I think he has dementia because he does not remember some things. I am just not sure. Most of the time he is living in the past. He is consistely telling us how things are run in Cuba, but what he is talking about happened 50 years ago, not today. My husband reminds him of this and he says he knows it was 50 years ago. He is always talking about what his mother and father did and what he did in school.
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