Is anyone out there caring for an in-law who is mean and nasty - and always was?

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Why are so many alzheimer's patients as nice as pie to other family and visitors.......... but cruel and stubborn to family caregiver?
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How do you maintain some control in your own home when Alzheimers has taken over?
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Thanks guys!! Your responses have brightened my whole weekend :) It's a relief to "spill my guts" and that's one of the things that is so hard about being a widow. My husband and I shared everything. I knew that he would have my back. But now I feel tentative about expressing myself to others as.... I doubt they want to hear it and I don't have the confidence I once had with my husband at my side. We were very, very happy and I am still grieving - not sure that awful feeling every goes away. But some of the heaviest parts of the grieving process are coming back and I think it's all brought on by caretaking. My MIL's behavior has made me question myself (confidence again) so I must find a way to get back on track and regain some control over her behavior.
I will start a post pertaining to that subject.
And again..................thanks to all !!!!!
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Dear Maria - Now I understand. Thank you so much for posting and clarifying your situation. It is truly difficult to assist in helping with a problem without knowing the full ramifications. Your in laws did not cooperate in the early stages and now they have made a snarl of your life and your livelihood, which you are trying to deal with by just giving everything the time that the bureaucracy needs. OMGosh, what a complete mess for you. But FIL has passed on, which lighten your load a bit. In a way, too bad it wasn't MIL, who seems like the objectionable one. But it looks as if she may be crossing over soon. Will this get you out from under your financial burden because of their refusal to act to the logical benefit of you and your husband? I hope so for your sake. You have had to pay a huge and pitiful price. Hopefully you can say to yourself, there's a light at the end of a tunnel, and it's not the beam I've been on coming train. I send you best wishes and all the energy you need to get through the remaining end times and wish for you the comfort and peace you need to get your life back on track.
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Marialake~My husband died in 1995 (age 40). My in-laws had no family or friends for myriad reasons. Father in law died in 2001. MIL has dementia and now cancer (92 years old). She is my children's grandmother. She gave birth and raised my soul mate. Don't judge thinking that it is either masochistic or magnanimous to bring in-laws into our homes. It is something that some of us have to do.

Suggestion: 1) I have joined a support group (mine is for grief but there are others for children of parents who have dementia) 2) Hospice has been brought in and have been SO supportive (God bless them) 3) I called my doctor and am taking anti-depressants 4) I do a lot of self-talk reminding myself that her anger has made her life difficult but I am not going to allow it to make my life hard 5) ultimately it is all about love...you have to love yourself and do what is right for you but if that means you feel compelled to take care of your in-laws then do exactly what you are doing...reaching out. Good luck my dear. Hang in there. Sending lots of positive, healing energy.
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Ah, Marialake, you want some tips for caregiving someone with dementia? Thanks for clarifying. That is not clear from your question. You seem to know exactly what your reasons are for caring for this often disagreeable old lady, so I hope it helps to remind yourself of those reasons when she is at her most aggravating.

Whether they were always disagreeable or not, persons with dementia present some real challenges to the caregiver. And people in mourning do too. So you have a double whammy on your hands.

Could you start a new post, and mention specifically the kinds of behaviors that are most troubling? No doubt someone here -- probably many someones -- will have dealt with similar behaviors and can give you specific advice or ideas.
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Just curious, HAPILARK, how old was your mother went she went to the adult family home? My mom lives with me.....has for two years....but is moving to assisted living in the next few months. I agree, I do believe we all deserve our own life and I look forward to getting mine back on track. I know it will be hard moving mom out but this is a move that must happen for her (more socialization for mom at AL) and for me (I'm just not cut out to be full time caregiver much longer and I'm not ashamed to admit it). For those of you who do it full time for relatives who need 24/7 care I applaud you....I really mean that.....but knowing my mom's current personality and how she will continue to progress both mentally and physically I know changes must be made. That and I have a teenager facing major surgery early next year......and this is my #1 priority. I need to be there for my child before, during and after surgery (and weeks of recovery).

Sorry if I sound like a broken record to those of you who have read my other posts..........It just feels good to let it out every now and then......I feel like I have a child in college (I do), a child in high school (I do), and a child in elementary school (my mom)...... :p
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Thank you all for taking time to respond. I so appreciate it.
I should clarify that my FIL died 4 weeks ago - a huge, welcome relief for me. Enough said.
However, these days my MIL has completely lost her ability to filter out bad behavior. Yes, she was always very stubborn and nasty but her behavior was tolerable and there was a nice side that sometimes showed.
Since my FIL died, she has been double barreled mean to me and to my dear friend who occasionally stops by to sit with her while I get out of here. So her venom is reserved for me and my friend. MIL is nice as pie to her only living son (my BIL) and nice to everyone else. They have no idea.
Her son appreciates that she stays with me but rarely stays with her so I can get out. He is always "in a hurry" ............just stopped by to see his mother.

My reason for taking care of MIL is threefold. As I've stated before, my husband would be appalled but also grateful. That is big reason number one.
Reason number two has to do with unfinished property line issues (her house is adjacent to our business). So the five year look back would hurt my business. Why wasn't this taken care of before? My MIL and FIL are very stubborn and my FIL believed he would never die. They refused any and all logical conversation. Also, while my husband and I were trying to reason with them, my husband and I were in the midst of our own huge cancer battle.
reason number 3 for keeping her here is .......she is rapidly declining so I expect her time here to be bearable. I spoke to hospice who will be sending a nurse to do an assessment next week. My fear is that MIL will act "normal" for those few minutes. How are they able to do that?!!!!!
Anyway, that's my explanation and I am motivated to keep MIL here to the end.

I was hoping for some advice from you guys. I've read that it's worthless to argue with an Alzheimers patient................so how do I draw certain boundaries in my house? Or am I expecting too much?
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Ha! I'm sitting right across from satan at the moment. So there must be alot of them. I thought she worked alone. She has no friends and no family left wants to deal with her. She hates EVERYONE!! We went for blood work and her comments OUT LOUD would blister paint..fat people.. stupid people.. slow people...etc etc. Her neighbors run and hide. oh yes BITES the hand that feeds her. She smacked her sister yesterday cause her sister was patiently trying to explain something to her that she had screwed up. Luckily I have addicted her to candy crush so there's that bit of silence. I was debating buying the infinity lives for $90 cause... seriously.. I need it. She is too irritated with life to work anything electronic like computers. Calling her satan helps SO MUCH. I text my friends all day and tell them satan's hilarious antics. She is staying for a month. BECAUSE these types of people will push and push and push your buttons til you do anything for relief. As demented as this one is she has made it her life goal to screw with me. She will fire anyone I get in to help her. She is learning the very very very hard way that she will have to clean up any messes she made. She screwed with her surgeon so bad that they took her drivers' license away. She messes with the washer, dryer, dishwasher, keeps opening the dishwasher while its running and says Oh this piece of junk is BROKEN cause look at all this water! or shuts off the washer while it's running and complains ALL OF YOUR THINGS ARE BROKEN and JUNK HOW CAN YOU LIVE LIKE THIS. She thinks I am just plain scum. She was tested for neuro things, mild dementia was all. She was BORN like this though. She sticks her finger in my face ALOT, she also BURPS in my face all the time when she can get near me. THIS ONE will never live with me. She was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and OCD personality disorder and tester said probably narcisstic PD ,she thought that the tester thought she was hot and hitting on her and was flirting so bad..sigh. It was gross to see. Diagnoses don't help much, maybe a few moments of pity then she burps in your face and opens your mail. HAHAHA Touche satan. I try and think of other things while she is talking/ordering me around. I don't even do what she says so maybe passive aggressive helps. She is always mad at me. Wants furniture moved around. So i'm constantly telling her no. Spent the morning looking for dirty silverware in my drawers. Did find a half used sugar packet in there so she was glowing with the accomplishment, FOUND IT satan. Had to put it up really close to my face so I could see it!! Gasp!! Good thing satan's on the job then. She has no hobbies, doesn't read, is very very type A hyper. Is always hearing sounds as in WHAT WAS THAT??? So I usually answer the grim reaper coming for you. So, HUMOR works here just for my own sanity. Also my wise neighbor taught me this fun trick to count 10 injustices. It really works I don't know why though. So say she says something nasty like your so fat because..I count that as NUMBER 1 (in my head) Then we spend the morning like that. Cause the next dig... is NUMBER 2. and the BRILLIANT thing is that you just ignore those first 10, No response, pretend you didnt even hear it. I'm usually silent but also after she gets a count I give her a thing to do like Oh I think you dropped a blueberry on the floor. Let her go searching for it for a while. So, once you get to number 10 you get to SAY something, even though it's about as helpful as shooting yourself in the foot. I try and say something funny like oh did someone piss rude in your coffee this morning? Probably not the best of plans but works pretty ok for me so far. I also have focused on counting how long it takes to get to the sets of 10. Concluded that she is WAY bitchier in the afternoons and first thing in the morning. She glues to TV in the evenings. She loves shows about crazy people like hoarders, so maybe she bonds there. She LOVES to say oh my GOD LOOK AT THAT CRAZY PERSON...hahahahahahahahahaha. So like right now she keeps hearing the dryer buzzer go off, it isn't but she's up every 5 min and is trying to get me in on this fun game. Cause WHY AM I SO LAZY COME HERE AND LOOK AT THIS DRYER. So do I count EACH TIME as one? OR is this whole dryer thing ONE? She has had an LVAD implanted for GODSAKES WHY?? so she really is dependent on others. and NO retirement community on the PLANET will take an LVAD person. She's too good for assisted at the moment. I'd personally like to drop her off at the surgeon's house....but that's another story.
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My mom got very nasty. I think as she was nearing the end of life there were two things going on.

One was she was frightened about what was happening to her. Ultimately she was getting older and would die. The other thing is that she was losing the ability to control her environment, so it was one way for her to try to get what she wanted.

It often stung me. It also stunned me that she would be nastiest with me... the person who was there to help her the most. Strangers in shops, in the hospital, at the library ... all thought she was just lovely. Except the occasional waitress who didn't bring her food fast enough. She let the waitress know when she was not pleased.

All I could do was gather my calm and sit down and talk to her. I'd ask her if she realized what she had done. I would ask her if she liked what she did or was she disappointed in herself. I'd ask why she thought she might be doing it. She got thoughtful and tried to recognize what she was doing. Some times she would try to be better, but she never really got a grip.

She was still much, much nicer to my siblings who only visited her rarely and still snipped at me ... until the very last week she was alive.

The Sandy Storm was approaching and that week we had a lovely time together. She was mostly nice ... we made dinner together, I gave her a manicure and bought her favorite pizza. She was afraid I would leave her, but I assured her I would not leave.

Then one morning she didn't wake up and although I was far from perfect, I was and always will be glad that I did the best I could by her.

Wishing you well. I'm confident you will find the best path for you!
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