We recently found out from MIL that FIL is indeed having memory loss and hallucinations to boot. MIL has kept this from us for a decade. We started noticing it about 9 years ago (FIL has been acting weird and off), but DH was scared to do anything aside from opening a dialog with his mom last year, and that went no where really. She briefly said he had memory issues and that she talked to his doctor, but nothing else. They live a day's drive from us.
It's good MIL opened up to us. It probably took a lot of courage for her. The thing is she doesn't want us to inform other family members who are close by even though they have been very supportive to other aging family members.
In fact, she avoids her family now most of the time because she is afraid they will notice—and this is very sad as she had been so close with them before. She told us last year and this past time around that FIL's doctor blows her off (after having a normal MRI), but she won't let DH talk to the doctor either. I've sent her some links for help, but we feel they really need outside help—not to take away their independence—but to insure whatever is causing FIL's conditions (especially if they are actually dementia-related) are addressed ASAP so they have as many options as possible to keep their independence, and as a family we don't have to make the biggest decisions during the worst emergency.
To add to the chaos, MIL has had a recent semi-serious injury. She and FIL told us two different stories about how it happened. It impacts her mobility a lot so we are worried about how she got it—as well as her safety. She said it's very difficult to clean. She can't drive on her own until she heals (this will take weeks to months) so has FIL do it. She swears they are safe, because the hallucinations are not often and mostly he has short-term memory issues. We fear that it would only take one time to cause an accident.
We want to be kind, respectful and upfront with MIL, but we know we need to help them so they are safe, getting the assistance/medication/therapy need, and FIL's condition is not swept under the rug again for another year. I have so much love and respect for MIL taking on everything by herself and I cannot imagine how scared and even embarrassed she may feel (though I wish she didn't feel too embarrassed—it's not her fault or his), but their situation has the potential to impact us immensely. My husband is an only child, and we are taking care of a young child of our own. What should we do?