After a wonderful 26-year career in journalism, I was laid off in October. Just weeks later, my 82 yo mother-in-law moved in with us. I am now her primary caregiver. And it's hard. She is hard. Two of her sons refuse to even come visit her. She can be mean, so can I. I really need a support group of some kind, to get out of here once in a while. Husband is very supportive, but doesn't get it.

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I live between two small communities, and luckily there are several support groups. Some are for specific illnesses, Alzheimers and Parkinsons, and some are generic, like caregivers (anykind) or mental illness. My husband has Lewy Body Dementia, and there isn't one for that, but it is closer to Parkinson's than Alzheimers. So, the Parkinson's Caregiver Support Group has been very helpful. If you live in a community that doesn't have a support group, you might consider starting one. Many of the websites for different illness have resources for starting a support group. The Lewy Body website even has support group facilitator training.

Check with your local senior services agency. Getting out and having your own life is very important. Check with home health care provider for in home assistance. They will come out and do an evaluation and advise what type of services your MIL qualifies for....medicare takes care of all this. Her doctor can recommend a provider. You can also hire a companion for your MIL for a few hours each day or whatever you need. Some local churches and volunteer agencies also offer respite care free of charge.

We are here for you and you will find lots of support on this board.

Good luck and best wishes. I know how overwhelming it can be; however, help is available.

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