Hubby doesn't believe his mom has dementia.

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Hello all, I'm looking for some kind of emotional support, I guess. My husbands mom moved in with us about a year ago. Inside, I was screaming NO NO NO, but I went against my intuition and half heartedly agreed to let her move in. Also, I was 9 months pregnant & went into labor the weekend she moved in w us. I had a feeling, before she moved in, that she was mentally declining & that she wouldn't be able to move out because she would be less & less able to take care of herself. Now, a year later, she displays ALL of the signs associated with dementia, but my husband insists that she doesn't have dementia and won't listen to my pleas to accept that she has dementia. She hasn't been to the doctor, mainly because she used to be addicted to pain pills and we don't want her having access to asking for pain pills. She doesn't brush her hair anymore; doesn't speak the right words; chokes on a daily basis (trouble swallowing); can't smell food cooking in the kitchen; has a hard time deciphering what people are saying to her (confused all the time); can't remember in short term and is starting to lose long term memory; doesn't know how to do housework (but she was a real pro at cleaning a few years back); shuffles when she walks & LOTS of depression. Im going crazy. I have a one year old and I need help from my husband, but he uses all his energy arguing with his mom about how come she doesn't know how to do stuff anymore. When I bring up dementia, he says she is just in the grip of fear & uses her "good days" to justify why she is fine. I am at my wits end. :( anyone have any words of encouragement or been through so much denial? I just need to communicate with people who listen to me.....I'm pretty miserable being stuck in the middle of all this.... :( thanks in advance for any words of support....

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Get a POA if you don;t have it, and have the forms at the Dr filled out that they can talk to you, The HIPPA form has a place for this as do almost all intake forms at Dr offices. Then you can go in with them, and they can talk to you. I always go in with MOm and Dad.
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For Pete's sake, get her to a doctor! She could have had a stroke (many of the symptoms you cite could be a stroke) or she could have normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), which is where there's too much spinal fluid that stays in her brain. That also presents as dementia. Both of those things are treatable (maybe not getting her back to 100%, but certainly better than where she is now). But you'll only know if YOU GET HER TO A DOCTOR. I can't imagine how you've avoided that for so long.

Let your husband know there are other things than dementia that may be going on - heck, she could even have untreated diabetes. But you'll only know after an extensive physical workup. Good luck and keep us posted!!
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I would suggest seeing the doctor, the issue could be beginning Parkinson's especially given the motor issues and history of depression. I would call the doctor ahead with your concerns so they are aware of the addiction issues.
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Joyful, have faith that you'll get her into a really good neuro - my husband has an amazingly wonderful one and she's making this PD journey so much better for us. Maybe approach it not so much from the angle of "she has dementia" but "something is clearly wrong and she needs a doctor to help her"....dementia just freaks people. like the word cancer.

It's really hard to wrap your head around your parent losing themselves...he's just having trouble with this, but he'll get there. I still remember the day I saw my dad pick up a pen to draw, and not be able to. You gradually accept this, but it still stinks.
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Thank you all so much for the words of advice...it really means a lot to me. I think I may have gotten through to my husband and he is slowly starting to realize the reality of our situation. I've gently suggested taking her to get a doctors opinion on his mom's decline, but I know it's going to take a well-timed suggestion to actually get him on board with seeing a doctor. I'm not so trusting of doctors,either, so I understand his resistance to it....but I ultimately thing that if he could hear an official diagnosis from maybe a couple of different doctors maybe he will be more accepting of his moms mental decline. The other day we came home from running errands and once again she was doing housework that we asked he not to do. We want to be able to guide her through housework while we are home, but she keeps trying to sneak I housework while we are gone....and my husband was a little bit more open to my insistence that she has a form of dementia. I'm going to chip away at the situation, and find the right moment to effectively put my foot down. I've been thinking a lot about the suggestions that I take control, that I'm the mother of this house & I do make important decisions whether anyone else likes it or not. Thank you all for taking the time to help me out. I feel a lot less alone than I did before I decided to join this website. :)
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Joyful, you really need to get your MIL to the doctor. Some of her symptoms sound like she could have Parkinson's, particularly the loss of smell and shuffling gate. Parkinson's does not always present initially with tremors and is often accompanied with dementia. You would want to know because it can be treated. So talk to hubby about going to the doctor. If you let the doctor know she is a former addict, he/she won't prescribe addicting medicines.
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Being that I'm taking care of baby & home, I have little time to comment right now...but I really really appreciate all of your responses. I suppose I just needed a little support to strengthen my backbone...I will definitely take all your advice to heart & find the will to put my foot down. Thank you all so much :)
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Denial - oh boy do I know that one. I had to put my foot down with my own mother, and just take action like it or not. She was no longer able to make safe decisions for herself, was filthy, near immobile, and was a big old mess of Dementia & lots of other problems. Standing around waiting for somebody else to fix it accomplishes nothing. None of her sisters helped and they lived minutes away. I was 1800 miles away. Mom was mean, angry, dirty, and a shut in. But I stepped in. I didn't give choices. I said what was going to happen, and it happened. It was astonishing to me how many people were glad. Nobody knew how to help her, they were afraid of her, and quite frankly were glad when she was gone and out of sight. The people I expected a fight from just got completely out of the way. My guardian angel must have been putting in overtime or something.

You can make a good plan based on the info in this site. Ask lots of questions.
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Somebody else posted something very much like this a few weeks ago - but the baby wasn't born yet. Was that you dear?

Joyful, honey, I say this as an old married lady with two teenagers and a truckload of family drama behind me including both my mother and mother in law living with us for different periods of time.... You have GOT to take charge of this.

Nothing is going to change until you make it happen. This is your job now as the active mother on duty in the family.

Maybe your husband is blind to the problem because he's punishing her in a way.
He needs to work on his issues or they are going to slop over into his parenting and your marriage. But, if he won't, you need a plan B. For a brief time when the babies were little, my husband also didn't believe I knew anything and all information had to come from "experts". I cured him of that with a very plain and simple to understand conversation where I clarified exactly who knows best for our babies, and where he was welcome to put any other ideas. After I straightened him out, it was never a problem again.

I'm not there, and we don't know each other, but please know that you have every right to put your foot down and demand this woman be put in care.

Hades would freeze over and Beelzebub would turn blue before I'd let a dementia patient within 20 feet of my new baby. Living with - that's a non starter. Nope. No way, too bad.

The doctor can help you out in different ways here. He can write orders for help to come into the house for mom, relieving you. He can sit your husband down and have a man to man talk with him about where mom needs to be and what it's doing to you. Your husband needs to rise to the occasion here, and do what needs to be done.

If I were in your shoes, I would have had a very ugly, very snotty and tear filled nervous break down before now.

If you really, really, really want this to get better you need to take action.

1. Get the doctor involved ASAP. Let him be the one to explain to your husband.
2. Establish your boundaries as the Mother. The Mother. Find your inner mother bear. She's there. Don't wait for an emergency or accident.
3. Get help into the house. MIL's medicare insurance will pay. This is not your expense.

Keep checking back in and let us know how it's going.
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You need to find a geriatric neurologist who does workup for dementia. You need to make him or her as ware of the pain pill addiction before she is seen. Fax a letter to the office outlining all of your concerns.
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