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I would love to have answers to many questions... the first is my 96 year old Mother in law moved in with us from GA. and we are in SC. We don't know her medical history for the last couple of years but do know her GA doctor put her on aricept. She has seen a doctor once since being here only to get her established. He only took her off of a blood pressure pill. She takes really only about 3 pills a day and that includes aricept...she ask what day it is over and over each day but seems to understand completely what is going on. First question...why does she say her thoughts out loud....she is very hard of hearing and seems to know the right time to do this...when my husband goes out of the room and it is just her and I she will start raising hell a lot of the time..she doesn't want to be here...she wants to go back home....to GA...and on and on...then when my husband comes back in she stops like she never said a word.... When we are riding and she is in the backseat of the car she is constantly talking outloud and thinks we cant hear her. She doesn't want to bathe or wash her hair or change her pajamas. She has been weeks in the same pajamas and no bath or shower...she says she doesn't do anything to get dirty and she doesn't need to. She was driving to the stores and taking care of herself in GA until my husband went and got her in February because he thought she had covid...turns out she didn't. He told her a few nights ago...you know your hair should be washed 2 or 3 times a week...she says really???? Then says....that's not going to happen...this is truly driving me nuts...I am trying not to let it get the best of me and trying to ignore it because I have been sick for over a year and recently had surgery since she has been here. But I am not doing a good job of it...any advice would be appreciated....

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You should have the now doctor request her health records from former doctor. You also need, why she is the early stages, get her to assign DH POA. Its a great tool and will give you the ability to place her eventually.

I assume you didn't think this was going to be permanent. At 96 with any signs of Dementia she cannot be on her own. I would record her when you are alone with her. Then you and DH go somewhere out of earshot of MIL. Play the recording for him and say "this is some of the things your Mom says when you are not around". Tell him having her there is taking a toll on you. You understand she is 96 and there seems to be some Dementia, but you just can't be her caretaker. You also realize she can't go back to GA. Can she afford an AL? It would be a nice alternative. She would have other residents to talk to and activities. Then he could see her when he wants and you can have your time alone together.

Also, you can leave the room too when she gets started. If you want to go out together, see if there is someone who will sit with her. She is now living in a strange place and you and husband are the only ones she knows. And the Dementia does not help.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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"If she has mild dementia where she knows what is going on how long will it be before my husband sees he needs to put her somewhere. I know it sounds bad but I didn't sign up for this. "

Who is doing the caregiving for her? Your H or you? If you are doing a lot of it, then your H isn't going to see that he needs to put her somewhere.

Do you work? Does your H? If you both work, who is with her during the day?

What is her financial situation? Can she afford a facility? If not, is she Medicaid-eligible?
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Reply to CTTN55
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Shirley, first about washing, your expectations may be a bit high. I wash my long-ish hair every week or 10 days, which is enough. My balance was never good, and since an eye operation I don’t feel safe with my eyes closed while I shampoo my hair. I moved a plastic chair in from the garden and sit down while I do the hair wash (our shower chair is somewhere else at present). It was a relief to feel so safe, when I got that organised.

It might be useful to find a way of recording all the things that MIL says to you but not to DH. He needs to hear it go on and on and on, before the issue will really sink in. Does MIL smell? Does DH get close enough to smell it? It’s quite possible that he doesn’t see, hear or smell the things that will make him take this seriously.

You are 48, and quite simply you don’t want to live with MIL. It could easily go on for another 5 years or more. Perhaps sending her back to GA isn’t realistic, even if that’s what she wants – though if she was coping OK before, perhaps it is an option. However there is no reason why she has to stay with you, particularly if your own health isn’t great. MIL’s care needs are only going to increase. Start talking with DH about a time limit for her to move out, and the options for where she can go. You didn’t sign up for this!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Have you considered looking at facilities for her?
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I think she is just being difficult to deal with. She stayed in GA most of her life asd was handling everything well. My husband went and got her because he thought she had covid but she didn't. She thinks she should go everywhere with us. I am honestly sick of even looking at her. She is this huge actress and knows how to say what she thinks you want to hear. She will go for months without washing or changing clothes. I really don't want to be around her it feels like I am on eggshells in my own home. If she has mild dementia where she knows what is going on how long will it be before my husband sees he needs to put her somewhere. I know it sounds bad but I didn't sign up for this. We leave for a couple of hours and she is calling wanting to know when we are going to be back. I love my husband of 6 years very much but i am almost to the point of leaving. I am miserable.
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Reply to Shirley1113
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If your MIL's doctor put her on Aricept, that means he/she believes that she has dementia, as that is one of the dementia medications. It's meant to slow down the progression of the mental decline, but not proven to work long term. And being that she has dementia, you know that her brain is now broken, and things will only continue to get worse.
Are you and your husband prepared to continue to care for her ever changing needs? If not it may be time to be looking into a facility near you, where she can be placed.
And as far as showering and such, like Grandma1954 said, make sure you have all the safety precautions in place in her bathroom, so she feels safe when in there. You may also have to help her with her shower. You can also buy extra large body wipes, that can be used for the in-between days of her showering, along with the waterless shampoo caps to wash her hair with. They work quite well actually, unless she has really long hair.
You are now in a position where decisions will have to made regarding your MIL's care. There are no easy answers, but always keep in mind that you must do whatever is in the best interest of your MIL, and her safety. I wish the best in getting things figured out.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Sounds to me like she is voicing to you what her son does not want to hear. That she wants to go back home.
When your husband leaves the room will she talk to you about other things?
Talking in the back of the car...well, if she lived alone talking to yourself is common (please do not tell me it isn't😉) so I understand her talking to herself while riding in the car...are you talking to her or are you talking to your husband or on your phone? Involve her, engage her.
As far as getting her to shower or take a bath. Is the shower safe? Is she afraid of slipping and falling? Is the shower safe? Does she have to climb over the edge of a tub to get into the shower?
Does she know what to do? There is a lot involved taking a shower. Turning the water on, adjusting the temp, getting undressed, getting wet, getting your cloth wet, soaping up, getting your hair wet, getting the shampoo......With dementia this can be a very complicated task. You can get a shower aide to come in 2 times a week and shower her or give her a bath.
This situation does not get better, easier it gets harder, more complicated, more involved. Are you both ready to take this on 24/7/365?
How is she doing in the bathroom? Is she toileting by herself? Is she cleaning herself properly? Are you or your husband monitoring her?
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Reply to Grandma1954
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