SharonL Asked January 2012

We have had an in-law move in with my Mom. She gives us her consent but doesn't remember. How do we handle her anger and resentment?

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My Mom has lived alone for 21 years since my Dad passed. She has early stages of dementia and her neurologist has indicated that not now, but soon, she should consider moving in with someone of having someone live with her. She has her own home and we would like to keep her there. She is very independent and doesn't believe that she needs any assistance. Right now my brother and sister-in-law manage the meds because Mom gets confused about the day and was over medicating herself. I live about 1.5 hours away. My sister-in-law's Aunt just happened to need a place to stay and we have known her for more than 25 years. My brother and I approached Mom about having her move in. We were honest about her needing a place to stay but also that she could help with meds or anything else needed. Mom was a little resistant initially and doesn't remember any issues with medication. My brother and I both confirmed that there were issues and she agreed to allow her to move in. Mom was concerned about having to "take care" of her new roommate. This is not an issue as she has her own car and her family lives close by.

My problem is Mom calls me everyday and wants to know if we orchestrated this plan to have someone move in without her consent. I try to assure her that we did not orchestrate a plan that we definitely consulted her and allowed her to make the decision, but she is convinced that we did. She also feels like her new roommate is a house guest and that she must cook and prepare meals for her. She has even asked if she is going to stay forever. I can feel Mom's frustration and anger. This is new ground for all of us who know and love Mom. I want her to be comfortable and happy. And I want to understand the world from her perspective and provide her with all that she needs to be healthy and happy. We don't know where this disease is leading us, but we want to do right by Mom. Mom is a retired teacher and my Dad was retired military. So, insurance coverage is not an issue. But no matter what we do, if she doesn't understand we are doing it because we love her and want the best for her, it leaves us feeling sad. I wish I could understand how her mind is processing things and communicate with her on that level. Please advise us.

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NancyH Jan 2012
Oh my gosh!! This is like a repeat of what we went through with my mother-in-law when she started losing her memory due to dementia. I had to repeat & explain EVERYTHING to her at first because she could not remember ever saying or agreeing to what I was saying. I even thought of recording our conversations at first because she just DID NOT believe me!! Looking back at it now it's funny, but it sure wasn't funny then. One thing that I learned is, until the information becomes 'old news' she won't remember it. That may mean you'll have to repeat and go over the whole story a hundred times at first before she'll start to accept it as fact. The other thing for me was, my m-i-l started trusting me and what I said. That also went for the family that were hands on at the time, so once she crossed that hurdle, she stopped arguing (much). Ask your mom if she trusts the family and that they only want what is best for HER. Gotta get her to the point of actually believing that you're not trying to railroad her into something that she doesn't want, but that you're doing these things out of love for her. It'll take awhile, but hopefully she'll get there.
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