Severe burnout. Are we horrible if we keep in touch with her caregivers, so we know what's going on, but just stay away for a while?

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I am trying to be short and vague. Hubby's mother lives nearby in an assisted living facility. None of her other kids live in our state, it's hubby, me and our adult kids. She has had issues for the 30 years I've known her, but it's gotten so much worse. First of all, she was always in a fog. I saw an old picture of her and noticed even back then, her eyes just look dead. She's had delusions before, but it always seemed either to be the result of her abusing prescription drugs or she just wants attention. When my mother was dying, MIL was all, "Me, me, look at meeee!" Ditto for when her husband died. The first words out of her mouth when she found out her husband had died were, "What am I going to do now?" She is horrid. So, now she is in assisted living and they control her medicine so she's not abusing. She has had a UTI for a couple of weeks, at least, and the antibiotics don't seem to be helping. I don't know if the UTI has caused her current "episode" or if it's something else but she is hallucinating and exhibiting symptoms of extreme paranoia. She's made threats towards people she thinks are going to hurt her.


She will probably be "Baker Acted" soon and I am trying not to think about what will happen if she can't go back to her facility, I told my husband many years ago I would not live in a house with her.


Hubby is at the end of his rope. Now, he's concerned he could get fired because he is taking off so much time to deal with her. I haven't told him, but he's sounding like her, just not as bad. My other big fear is that she's turning him into her and then I'll have 2 of them.


He's early 50s, she's over 80. A few minutes ago, he wandered out of our bedroom. Did you have a nice nap? I don't know. Do you want to watch some TV? I don't know. Then he went back into our room.


He needs a break, I know he needs a break, she is toxic and is poisoning him to death. By extension, she is poisoning our family.


Any advice or help or sympathy or anything? Are we horrible if we keep in touch with her caregivers, so we know what's going on, but just stay away for a while? He has been going to see her at least 3 times a week and I think that's too many but he didn't ask me.

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If she is in assisted living what 'involvement' does your husband actually have to do? That is the whole point of assisted living, they take the pressure off the family. He doesn't have to run there for every little thing. They take her to doctor appointments and provide meals and clean her apartment. He does need to take a break from her.
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Yup, he needs to develop firm boundaries. Stop missing work to deal with her. A therapist may be able to help him if he will go. Once a week is plenty and many do not visit that often. He needs to relax, and the more you remind him will not help either.
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Trying to answer everyone's questions. She has been there about a year and a half. She's been mean and cranky but not delusional until this past month. I don't think she'd hire a caregiver, she's convinced she'll run out of money even though she has plenty. She doesn't like the doctor at the facility so she says she doesn't have a doctor. She'll have to see him, probably tomorrow. I don't know if there are any social workers there, I've never heard them mentioned.

Hubby is on the road, right now, driving to a close family member's funeral, so no rest for him. It's a close family member as in closely related, the family member had issues with alcohol and alienated pretty much everyone in the family. He's actually missing out on a scheduled doctor's appointment. At the very least, I'm going to see if he can talk to a minister friend.

And, totally off-topic, but I think a lot of people here might be able to relate. I chose my user name because I treated my parents well, but oh, my other siblings were OH SO WONDERFUL, according to our parents, and I was just bad.  One actually stole a good bit of $$$, one was very good to them near the end but caused problems when they were healthy. I know this is not the message of the Biblical parable, but I always felt sorry for the brother of the Prodigal Son, the one who stayed home and did what he was supposed to and nobody killed a fatted calf for him! So, I'm the Prodigal's Sister but that was too many characters. :)
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I feel your pain. I, too had the MIL who was mean, hostile, and even spat on me, called me names, but always managed to look pure and innocent at church! It's been 40 years of misery! By the time my MIL went to an AL facility, she was 94, and I was more than ready to join her as a patient there! She continued to call my husband, but we contacted the AL facility, and said, "No phone calls fom her, EVER during working hours, and limit any calls to one call per weekend." We eventually slowed our visits to about once per month. (and that was still too many times!). She was awful. That being said, please promise me, you and your husband will form some healthy boundaries about her, and stop being her whipping boy!

Advice? Love yourselves. The Bible says to honor your parents, but nowhere does it say to be their doormat. Respect yourselves. You have earned the right to be loved.
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When she calls and says she's in trouble, he should call the staff. That's what they are there for.

She's going to need time, and maybe a stay in a psychiatric facility for medication adjustment to get acclimated. Once she is in a care facility, taking off from work should NOT be the norm.
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ProdigalSister,

I'd step back from the situation and let my husband deal with his mother. His priority should be keeping his job unless you can live without his salary. It's really tough to find a job if you're over 50, even if you're a great worker with extensive experience.

My brother is alcoholic and sister alcoholic, drug user, lies, cheats, and anyone who gets to know her learns to avoid her. I was the stable, helpful, productive child all of my life, but mummy dearest is suspicious and paranoid of me.

Twice I rescued her medically. The first time I found her a good doctor to do her cancer surgery right away, then took care of her in my home for a month. The second time I took care of her after a bad fall so she didn't have to go into a nursing home--she couldn't drive or take her right arm out of sling for three months.

Neither brother nor sister called, visited or wrote after either episode.
She won't admit she needed help either time or appreciate what I did.

My siblings are her angels. Next time she needs help she can go into a nursing home. I'll be demonized for not helping her but I no longer care.

So I know what you mean about being Prodigal. Please take care of yourself.
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You have several issues going on at once which makes things much more difficult

Your husband sounds stressed to the point of a breakdown - does he have a regular doctor - would he go see him or her ?
Will he have a few days off over the thanksgiving weekend to rest?

UTIs are extremely difficult to manage - they cause severe agitation and upset in the elderly which can become a downward spiral

Although there may be an expectation that the facility should be able to attend to MILs care that really isn't going to happen

I've seen many folks fall ill at mom's facility and it goes unnoticed until it's clear they need to be hospitalized

Is there a social worker at MILs facility that can help you map out some options for her care ?

Does the dr think she needs a different course of antibiotics ? Or does she need to be on an Iv if she's becoming dehydrated

Assisted living staff may not be able to handle her at this point if she needs help with bathing

Sorry all of this overwhelming and no one wants to see the situation end up deteriorating for your family including Mil

You can only take one step at a time but it helps to have some guidance from those who help lay out options so you can make a plan
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ProdigalSister, just an idea, depending on your Mother-in-law's budget, could she hire a private caregiver to be there a few hours per day? The caregiver could give her all the attention, guide her to the activities, take her to doctor appointments, etc.

My Dad had a caregiver when he lived at home, and he was lucky enough to be able to bring her to senior living. This gave him a routine. Thus when he woke up in the morning, there was her smiling face, and she got Dad ready for the day, and kept him busy during her shift. He just loved all the attention :)
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Thanks. For awhile, she was in a new state all alone, so he wanted to visit. I mentioned that maybe she'd get out of her room and meet people if we'd stop visiting and maybe he could go once a week, the kids & I could go once a week or something like that. Now, she calls him, "I'm in trouble, I need you to come up here." Hopefully I can convince him to take a step back.
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Be careful you do not want to nag about it. You need to back off too. That would not help the situation at all.
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