Setting up a family meeting, do we tell my MIL about the family meeting with her?

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MIL, 93 years old, lives alone with with an aid that comes in 1 a week for two hours to help with light house keeping. She has breat cancer, high blood pressure, and only takes her meds occasionaly. She walks with a shuffle, with the aid of a cain, and climbs 1 flight of stairs at least 3 times a day. She doesn't take showers but take a sponge bath, we don't think she is washing landry and at the last Dr visit the Dr suggested assisted living. This is a very stubbern woman. We believe she has dememtia, has trouble paying bills, left the stove on with an emplty pan on the burner.

My husband is the only child and he doesn't want her mad at him, so we have set up a family meeting to take place this Saturday, to talk about her living arrangment the way it is and what she needs to do. The question has come up do we tell her that we are all coming over to visit or do we just show up? One cousin thing we need to let her know that we are coming to talk to her about her living situation. I'm torn between telling her and not telling her.

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Your family is doing the right thing. You know her best. It would be nice to let her know you all want to visit, but don't let her know why ahead of time. However,if she will get suspicious and not let you all in, you may be better off surprising her. I'm afraid this is one situation where each individual is so unique that one approach doesn't work for all.
Good luck. This will be hard but it's the right thing to do.
Well. the other shoe dropped. My husband was the 1st to arrive at my MIL to help with the packing up of her things for the big move today and she didn't remember anything about her signing the rent agreement, or putting money down on the apt. When my husband reminded her about yesterday now the story was she was changing her mind. I knew that yesterday was to good to be true. This is the woman who said breast cancer is not serious. She has a tumor the size of a lemon on her breast, has left the stove on, is very unstable on her feet, takes sponge bathes and I can't tell you the last time she did landry.

I got there and said she had put a deposit on the apt and sign the rentral agreement and that the family was coming over to help with the move. She said she changed her mind and that maybe now was not the right time to move. Well the family showed up and we talked a little bit and then she was all on board. She asked us to just packet things up. She told us that she was excited to move and that she was ready for the new adventure. We moved her in, hung up pictures and she was saying that her heart was at peace and that having her belongs there made all the difference. My husband was saying that he wished he had the video camera so that we could capture these moment because we know that in the morning it would be different. Well, it didn't event take until the morning. We had dinner with my Mom, who also lives at the same retirement center. And then by the time dinner was over and my husband walked her back to her apt, she was ready to go back to her condo. That maybe she was making a mistake. She said that she didn't know that she would be spending the night. She then started to bring up the list of 5 items that she thought the 1st care taker took. And after she listed the items. We told her that we found all the items that in fact one of the items she listed, she was wearing at that moment. We talked with her for about an hour. During that time we told her that she was not going home, she would be spending the night and that family was coming back in the morning to visit with her. She again asked if we were taking her home. Again we said no. We asked if she wanted one of us to spend the nigh with her and she said no. We said OK but also advised her that we would be back 1st thing in the morning as we are concerned about her waking up in a strange place. But she instisted that she would be fine. Now we are concerned that this might not be the right place for her, maybe she needs more of a memory care unit. But we will just have to wait to see what tomorrow brings. I do have to say that one of the cousin said they really had their eyes opened to what has been happening and the difficultes that we have been having. It is time for a glass of wine. NancyH, I told my husband that maybe we need to clean out the condo and get is on the market because she wants to go back home now.
Does your MIL have a friend or neighbor she sees regularly? My husband is only child and a neighbor who always checked on his mother and visited daily, helped us when we had to talk to his mother about this topic. She could support what we were talking about as she was concerned for her safety and well being. My MIL too, was very stubborn and independent.

One thing to keep in mind and this was in our situation anyway, my MIL was very outgoing, and enjoyed people in and out of her home; however, we noticed that as dementia set in, she was getting overwhelmed when more than two people were in her house talking to her. She would become full of anxiety and defensive.

It's anxiety caused by the disease. Just something to consider. There are different approaches for every family. In our case, we would visit unannounced, as she would either forget we were coming or was suspicious.

Hope all works out for you.
My husband let his Mom know that we were all coming over this morning. He let her know that the cousins had expressed a concern for her and that we thought it would be good to have them over. But before we met with his Mom, we all met at a coffee shop to discuss how to approach the subject of her moving to assisted living. Well, we all decided that it might be best to say that it would be better if she were closer to where we live and they would be closer. At first we thought that she was going to say no, but that was not the case. She said that she thought that might not be a bad idea and that she would do would ever. We let the family know that we had been looking into the same place that my Mom lives and so we asked my MIL if she would be willing to go and take a tour. She said OK, so off we went. We looked at several apts. And in the end we put a deposit down on an apt and tomorrow we move her in. I think for tonight both my husband I can breath. But we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We will have to wait to see what tomorrow brings. But tonight we can rest a bit easier knowing that when we left her at her condo this afternoon, she was OK with what was about to happen. She did surprise us all. I hope there are no surprises tomorrow.
dilyn: My heart goes out to you and your family. Here's the best thing; you got her moved and out of the condo. Here's a good thing; the family and even your husband and yourself realize she's worse off mentally than you may have originally thought. The bad news is you may be correct that she will require a memory center placement.

I applaud you for all the steps you and your husband took to get her moved. Good luck and keep us posted. Hugs.
I am an only child and can understand your situation some. My mother's neurologist wanted her to go to an assisted living several years ago but she refused. She never told me about the riders on the long term insurance that she had paid for that would have paid 80% of home health care and home builder care. She and my step-dad preferred to pay an unlicensed person to help them who ended up stealing money from them. My mother did not go until a doctor sent her to a nursing home for rehab after a stroke, but then she fell and broke her hip and just gave up after that. It might help to have someone from social services to do an evaluation of your MIL's living situation and make sure you tell them what you have observed. Who has durable and medical POA? Has your MIL been evaluated for dementia for it sounds like she is not competent anymore business wise and home care wise. The more third party people she can hear telling her it is not safe for her to live the way she is the better. Making her angry or not what she needs is for her adult son to do what is best for making her safe and making sure that she is cared for without throwing anyone or anything under the bus. I wish you well.
Thank you for the reply. MIL doesn't like Dr and so no we have not had her evaluated. I would like to, but it is all we can do to get her to the Med oncolgist. She would never consent to having an evaluation to confirm what we think. I would like to have someone from social services come it, but my husband is not for it at this time.

3pinkroses, I am sorry to say, she doesn't have any friend that she sees regularly. She would rather is in her condo and look out the window, at the passing world, "in the dark". My MIL becomes defensive when we talk about what she needs to take care of herself and she just keeps saying "I will know when the time comes, and I don't need a plan".

My husband is going to let her know either Friday or early Saturday morning that we are coming over for coffee and goodies. But I'm sure she is going to suspect something is going on. Good thing he has a key. We are all going to meet at a coffee place before we head to his Mom's to try and come up some type of plan to talk to her.

I will post an up date. Again thank you for the replies.

Good Luck with your family meeting. I know this can be a stressful situation but if you are prepared things can go well and everyone can be happy...including your Mother in Law.

Here is an article to help your family meeting run smoothly.

Family Meetings: How to Have Peace and Avoid Arguments

Good Luck and let us know how it goes!

Karie H.
JaneB thank you for your reply. The family is going to meet a couple of hours before we head on over to my MIL. My husband and I have already been in contact with an Assisted Living faciltiy and in fact it is the one my Mom is at and my MIL has been there. My MIL has told the family that she think the place this place is very nice. We have also discussed the option of requiring the home aid to come daily to help with med managment, unpluging the stove, having the aid do the landry and a few other things my MIL is not doing. We know that she is not taking showers but at this time we are not going to push this issue. And any thing she agrees to, I want in writing, as she doesn't remember things. But then her come back will be "I have the right to change my mind". We hear this all of the time.

As far as having a social worker or some one else come in, my husband, I don't think, would be in favor of that. I would and I think the MoCA test would be a good eye openner. While many others take the test to prove that they are OK, I can just hear my MIL "No way, I'm just fine" but I could be wrong.

Thank you very much about "keep breathing". This one I need to write down and take with me. And the one about being grounded. I need to remember both of these when talking with my own Mom, who has dementia but is so much easier to work with. My Mom has her days, where I just want to walk away and not come back but they aren't many.

Again thanks for all of your suggestion. Saturday is just one day away.
Good luck with the meeting-it does not sound like at this point that she is able to make the decision-getting her into a safe envirnment is what needs to be done and your husband may just have to let her get mad at him-she will get over it in time and she probably knows this is what is best for her all around.

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