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I am the full time caregiver for my 85 yr old mother-in-law. I am 55 and have left my job to provide her care. She has the on set of dementia and is recovering from a very bad UTI. She was never a pleasant or nice person so this is especially difficult. My question is: how do I deal with a person that may have dementia, definitely does have memory loss, but remains as rude and thoughtless as she ever was? I am 55 and my husband and I have completely changed our lives to accommodate her. She has fewer episodes of dementia since I have started caring for her, but she is not capable of caring for herself at all. During episodes, her personality is completely different; she is actually pleasant and sweet. As her mind has seemingly been improving, her normal toxic personality is seen more. I do not know how to deal with this. Sometimes I feel hurt, sometimes I am frustrated, and sometimes I feel guilty. How do I cope with this?

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Thank you for your replies. In her current state, there's no other alternative. We already tried and she is not at a point where she will qualify for NH. I have cared for elderly in our family before, but cancer situations not dementia. I understand that this is a progressive disease, but she has gone from an almost childlike state to being herself except for brief periods of confusion and memory loss that is not consistent. This is what I don't understand and am having difficulty with. Is this common among people with this condition? Also, her PCP has her on a dementia medication but we are still waiting for an evaluation from a neurologist.
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I think you probably went into this not really understanding the huge effect it was going to have on your life. I am sorry to say it...but this is going to get worse. Dementia does not improve as they get older.

Talk to hubby now about moving her into a NH. You are fast approaching the time when you cannot give her the care she needs at all..and you are sacrificing your own health and life.

Talk this through with hubby. Calmly, just a fact based discussion.
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I echo BarbBrooklyn's concerns. Why did you decide to be the caregiver for MIL? 
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What was the discussion between you and your husband about caring for his mother? Do you understand the trajectory that dementia takes? Are you up for 10 years or more of this? Do you understand how to research your options for moving her elsewhere to get professional care?

Who is managing her care? Is she on any meds for depression/anxiety/agitation, which often accompany dementia? If she is not, you may find it useful to have her seen by a geriatric psychiatrist.
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Dementia is not an episode. It is a progressive disease and will get much worse. It will only become more difficult to care for her. Find another living arrangement for her and go back to work. This is going to have a significant impact on your own retirement.
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