Caring for a newborn and my mother-in-law who has stage 5 Alzheimer’s. Any advice?

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My husband and I are caring for his mother with Alzheimer’s stage 5. Her hygiene is very poor now. She never washes her hands on her own anymore and cannot brush her teeth properly as well. We ask her to brush her teeth every morning but she doesn’t do it properly anymore. We had her teeth sorted out and cleaned by the dentist but the foul odour still remains. She is still physically strong and thinks there is nothing wrong with her. We try our best to allow her to do things on her own as much as possible to avoid the aggression that ends up with her saying, “I’m not stupid!” When we are out for a walk, she’ll pull the weeds she sees growing out of the pavement (very dirty as the dogs like to pee on them) or picks up rubbish on the street and put in her pocket (we try to stop her as much as we can but most of the time she’s already picked them up). She goes to daycare 3 or 4 times a week which gives us relief.


Anyway, my husband and I want to have a baby. I wonder how you think it’s gonna be for us to live with a newborn and an elderly with an advanced dementia. I’m concerned about the safety of our baby. Every time my mother in law sees a baby on a push chair, she gets really excited and starts touching the baby’s face with her dirty hands and talks to the baby’s face with a bad breath. I dont know what to do most of the time. I feel really bad for the baby we meet and just hope it didn’t get anything harmful from her. My MIL and the other people don’t understand when we try to pull her away from the baby.


Anyway I really want to have a baby but our living condition makes me really anxious. Is it even a good idea?

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Sorry but no, you should not attempt to care for MIL and a newborn - you and will need all your time and energy to recover from childbirth and deal with a baby. If you are ready to start a family then it is time to look for other options for MIL. Remember dementia ALWAYS gets worse.
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Reply to cwillie
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Hi, why does she have to live with you? Any chance she can go to a facility? Her disease will only progress. Who knows what she'll be like in a year from now.

Have you read any of the questions in the dementia/alz section on this site? The afflicted can really be nasty. 
( God bless them, they can't help it)
Especially with their feces. What if she becomes incontinent? 

Oh boy, you really have to put your life on hold to care for someone with this disease. A baby? Oh Lordy, no way! That would be a daily battle.

However, mil lived most of her life . Had and raised children. It really is your turn. I'd look into placement for her long before becoming preggers.

Good luck love, let us know what you decide. We'll be here for you either way 🤗
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Reply to Pepsee
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A baby combined with MIL as you described sounds like a disaster in the making. A newborn infant in and of itself is stressful and places new moms (and dads) at risk for postpartum depression. Adding your MIL to the mix will be like adopting a very large child who will never be potty trained, never learn to dress themselves or ever grow up. They will only regress. I would suggest placing your MIL in assisted living that accommodates those with dementia (some places call it memory care) before you even think of having a baby. That way you can see to the needs of yourselves and the baby, knowing that MIL is cared for and plan for visits when it's convenient and feasible for you and your family.
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Reply to CantDance
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How old are you and husband?
Reread your own post. You can’t keep neighbors babies safe from her. She picks up garbage and it’s too late to stop her. It really isn’t safe for her or a baby. She will stop the actions she exhibits now but others will follow that will most likely not blend with a baby in the home.
Your pregnancy may or may not go well. So many what ifs in this scenario. I understand the desire on your part but it doesn’t sound realistic as you describe it.
Someone, if not everyone, will be neglected. At least one will be worn to a nub. 
Not hard to guess which one that will be.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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My mother is in stage 5 also. We never knew she had Alzheimer’s dementia until she started sundowning, spitting and hitting myself and father .

You need to look for an assisted living that is licensed, not for profit, and will help you file for Medicaid when money runs out .

It is difficult to place them out of house but soon her behavior will change making it very difficult to handle . I had agencies come in prior to her moving to AL. At the time , she would have good days and then be aggressive firing the people helping her. We thought “oh it’s just mom, acting angry again”. Looking back she has had this for years and only now has become abusive and aggressive to her main care givers while being a sweet old lady to others.

The change will happen quickly so you should tour facilities now , the baby needs to be safe as well as keeping you and your husband mentally safe as it will take a toll on you when the agitation and anger arises.

Good luck! It really suxxx making these decisions but you have to protect all.
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Reply to LeeEps
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LeeEps: "The change will happen quickly so you should tour facilities now , the baby needs to be safe as well as keeping you and your husband mentally safe as it will take a toll on you when the agitation and anger arises."

This. Do not underestimate the TREMENDOUS toll it will take on your family if you have MIL in your home while caring for a newborn.
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Reply to CTTN55
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JoJo, do you already have a baby? The title of your post says you are caring for a newborn. I’m a little confused. Not to sound harsh, but it sounds to me like you don’t really have a good handle on caring for your MIL. You seem to have no control over what she does or doesn’t do, like the handling garbage thing and wiping her dirty, germy hands all over someone’s infant. People with dementia can suffer a whole encyclopedia of behaviors. Combativeness and Jealousy are among them. It sounds like you’ve already had a baby or have  decided to get pregnant. What will you do if you happen to have a baby who has the colic? My son had colic and he screamed, a high-pitched, loud wail for four months after birth. MIL could try to make the baby be quiet, if you understand what I’m saying. And, since she basically does what she wants and is physically strong, how will you stop her?

I believe you need to make a choice. MIL or a baby. Are you in the USA? Apply for Medicaid. You can not afford the daycare and she needs 24/7 supervision anyway. Everyone of us who has placed a loved one in a facility has gone through feelings of guilt. But 99% of us realize it was the right thing to do.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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I am sorry but I agree with all that has been offered to you by those that have answered. Please don't do it for the baby's sake. I don't think it can be done without someone being neglected, and this is not a challenge. Naive comes to mind.
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Reply to Lostinthemix
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Hello. Thank you all for your concern and advice.

@pepsee MIL is divorced and husband is an only child so we have all the caregiving responsibilities. In our desire to give her the best care possible, we take mum to the best facility in the area 12hrs a day, 3or 4 days a week. However it is not a cheap place. MIL has some assets and savings and disability benefits but we reckon it will run out in 3-5years if she stays there full time or 4-5 years in a cheaper place and then the financial burden will be on us after that. If we can’t pay for it she might have to go in the cheapest place which my husband doesn’t really want to happen to his mum which I understand. And she is really physically strong and only 68. She can go out for a 2-hour walk without rest. She has obvious cognitive decline I think on a monthly basis but her medications are keeping her generally stable. We think she is going to last longer than 6 years. So really we are trying to work together as much as we can to keep her at home and save the funds for later when she becomes really ill (bed ridden).

Also she is already quite bad with her feces right now which also has a lot to do with my anxiety with a very vulnerable newborn.

@97yroldmum I’m turning 30 and my husband is 8 years older. It will be both our first time to have a baby if we have one.

I have not mentioned though that my husband and I are web developers. We work 8 hours a day but we work from home. I think if we have a baby, it’s most likely him who’s gonna get burnt out because I’ll end up focusing on the baby and he’ll have to continue working and taking care of his mum at the same time and then help me with the baby as well probably and the house chores.

Anyway, thank you again for everyone’s concern and advice. I really appreciate them and it’s a a big relief knowing that I can easily get input from people here who already have an experience on what we are currently going through.

I have shown all your answers to my husband as well so we can ponder about them together. We agreed that MIL will have to go to the day centre 12hrs a day 7 days a week for the first few months of the baby’s life while we’re trying to figure out how to take care of the baby. Also we will look for more possible options for MIL’s care and exhaust the resources from the community (something we are not really good at right now as we work with people from overseas and not very much involved in our community but we will do our best). We’ll line up facilities where mum can go while considering the prices, etc. My husband has been stressing out as well that we have to take one step at a time and overcome obstacles together which I completely understand. First, try to have a baby (don’t want to postpone anymore because we are already on our 30s and who knows how long we have to try) and if the baby comes then we’ll see how we can handle it together. If we think we are still gonna get burnt out despite MIL being in day centre everyday or if she is declining faster than we expect, then we’ll move MIL to a facility that we have lined up as ok quality and money wise.

Needless to say, newborn’s safety is first priority. I will not at all endanger or risk my baby to a possible health problem even if it means MIL can’t touch the baby at all (if it becomes impossible to get her cleaned like a normal person before touching the baby). I guess my conscience will have to learn to accept that by protecting my newborn, I might offend MIL at the same time.

I’ve never known her before she got ill but from what I gather, she was a very lovely lady. I know she will understand our dilemmas right now if she wasn’t sick.
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Reply to JojoMze
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JoJo
You and your husband might want to see a certified elder attorney to help you set MIL up for Medicaid for when her funds run out. This way if her illness escalates you’ll be better able to take action without a long wait.
Good luck on starting your family. Come back and let us know how things are going.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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