Follow
Share

I would love some perspective on something I have been dealing with lately. I am 29 years old and my fiance 33. I've been with my fiance for 4 years and we just got engaged last September. Everything was going great until Thanks giving when we went to visit his mom and grandma out of state. We arrived and the house was in complete disarray and they weren't living in the best conditions. His grandma is in her mid 80s and has Alzheimer's so it is understandable, but his mother - who just turned 60 - seemed to not care about the state that the house had gotten in. It was a very weird visit and after the holiday we went home. Lots of things have happened since and grandma now lives in a care facility since they deemed his mother not capable of taking care of her. The doctors also say that his mom has the early stages of dementia. My fiance is trying to handle everything from afar (since his sister refuses to help). He calls 10 times a day, makes his mom's and grandma's appointments, pays all their bills, and puts himself in an emotional and physical bad place. Everything has become primarily about taking care of his mother - who, honestly, wasn't there for him as a child.

It has taken a toll on us as well. I was excited to marry this man and now all talk of the wedding has ceased - everything is about his mom. And when we do talk about our life together, he brings up how he wants to move her in with us or move out there and live with her. This is something I am not ok with and I feel selfish for not wanting to dedicate my life to this woman. I'm only 29 and I already feel like I have to give up everything and my whole future.

As I said I try to be there for my fiance because I know he is going through so much but it's hard to keep a smile on my face when he never wants to talk about a wedding but keeps bringing up how she may need to live with us. He's a very emotionally triggered person anyway but now it has become worse. And any time I don't say the right thing - that I'm thrilled to have an ex addict woman with dementia live with me - he accuses me of not caring, of wanting his mom to just die, and of being selfish. All of his anger and resentment comes out on me and he treats her like a princess - even now regressing and referring to her as "mommy."

I am so entirely freaked out at what to do. I don't feel like a person anymore. I feel like from the moment we got engaged my life has been sold and now I am enslaved to care for a woman that has consistantly made bad choices and expected people to clean up after them - and here my fiance goes again cleaning up after her. I know that's a mean thing to think of someone who has been told she has dementia - but it feels that this has become more of a ploy and a manipulation that I'm not sure my fiance sees.

Please give me some perspective - I need some major help!

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Tsk. Might find helpful, I meant to say. Sorry.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It IS scary, for all of you. I think it's a good idea to postpone the wedding, not just because there's his mother to deal with but also because you will both need recovery time once she's settled. If you get cynical or sceptical remarks about it, ignore them. It's a postponement, not a cancellation, and if people want to make something of it let them mind their own business.

I think your fiancé needs time, and education. Teepa Snow's presentations are excellent, matter-of-fact but not depressing, you can find them online. Then there are films around the subject, such as "Away From Her," and numerous good documentaries. Johns Hopkins is currently running an open access course about Living With Dementia, which couldn't be worse timed for me but there it IS, which you mind find helpful. Don't bombard him (or yourself) with all this stuff, just make it available. You both need to know what might be coming.

Unresolved issues… You don't say!!! Yes, one or two, possibly… :)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Countrymouse- thank you so much for that. I think you're the first person who said that it would not be a good idea to take her into the home. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say- but as I said when I say these things I become the enemy and the selfish one. I know that it will be the end of our mariage if he refuses to see that we can't give her the care she needs. I also read that it is easier for elderly to adapt to a facility early on as opposed to later when things have gotten so bad- but how to make my fiancé understand this I have no idea.
I really worry about his strong need for her approval and acceptance. I was reading in a book about taking care of your elderly parents that often children go through this if they have unresolved issues. It makes me feel better that were not alone- I just worry that he'll never see what I think is obvious.
We decided to postpone the wedding until fall 2016. I feel better with more time. It's all just very scary right now.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Speaking of perspective, your fiancé found out the truth of what was going on in November, yes? And so here we are, three months later. Given the magnitude of the problem, and the scale of what it means for his mother's future, that's not that long for him to have come to terms with it.

That's not to say that this hasn't dropped a massive brick into the middle of what should have been a happy and exciting time for you both. There you are, newly engaged and looking forward to making plans for your marriage, and instead he's preoccupied and upset about his mother.

When were you planning to marry? Might it be a good idea to suspend everything until he's had a chance to think through his mother's options? The less pressure he's under, the more likely it is that he'll make sensible decisions for her.

Between you, me and the forum - i.e. no need to say this to him so bluntly - the idea of taking a woman of 60 with early onset dementia into your home is a complete non-starter. Not unless you wanted to get divorced double quick, anyway. It's out of the question. It would be a living hell for you both, and from his mother's point of view wholly inadequate. You are simply not going to be able to provide the expertise, experience and manpower that she will need. Besides that, continuity of care is vital to her ongoing welfare; which means that it would be an equally bad idea for you to take her in, and then ship her out when the going gets too hard. The sooner she is in long-term care the better her chances of sustained quality of life.

But your poor fiancé has all this and more still to learn, and meanwhile from the sound of it what he wants is the impossible dream: his mother's happiness, love and approval. Poor lad. He has a long way to go.

Your choices are: a) help him deal with this, and delay marriage until it's securely under control; or b) - I'm not recommending b. It's kind of obvious.

But don't take his current turmoil as an indication of what his whole personality is like underneath. This is serious trauma he's going through, and God willing he and you will come out of it stronger.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

girly629, I was also 33 when my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I went thru all the emotions, grief, shock, sadness. All while my sister and I were trying to figure out what needed to be done to help care for our folks. It's a whirlwind time, you're in a tailspin, everyone's super sensitive. And sadly, if you're not careful, things get said that people otherwise wouldn't say. Initially, this is your priority because it's so huge. There's no thought of things like maintaining healthy boundaries because you're in total reactive mode. Then, you start wrapping your head around it, you get things in order (POA, medical paperwork), you figure out care plan for now. And you start getting back into your own life, except now there's a new normal. This is when you start thinking more logically, looking at options.

It appears it's only been about a month since her diagnosis so it's so fresh for him. My suggestion to you would be to catch your breath and remember that while this is an intense time, it's a temporary phase. His head is not is wedding plans at the moment (I could kid that neither of my soninlaws were much into the wedding plans except for the dinner and cake tastings) so perhaps you could pick up the wedding plan discussion at a later time. Don't take it personally - it isn't that the wedding doesn't matter to him, or that he doesn't care about how important it is to you. It's just that right now, he's can't focus on something else.
It'll work out for you two.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you for your response. In terms of her "bad choices" in the past - there are many and I don't know the whole story but drug addiction, disappearing for month from her children, and being selfish were some of the ones I have heard. She never has had a job and is entirely dependent financially on grandma's pension (which will run out when grandma passes) and has always had to live off others. We found out that in caring for grandma, she wasn't paying the bills and getting grandma the proper care. And technically - since the mom has nothing - the grandma owns the house so I'm not sure what will happen to it after she passes.

As far as ploy and manipulation, the reason I think this is because of the way she has acted in the past and when we went to the doctor they said medically nothing was wrong with her blood work or CAT scan...but somehow it's still dementia? How can it if the CAT scan shows normal brain function? That's why they said early stages...which, with her past, feels more like ploy.

My fiance is a wonderful man - I worry about his health most of all because he is the type to run himself into the ground to support his family. I find this very commendable, but I also recognize the need for healthy boundaries which I don't think he is keeping at the moment.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Oh my gosh, your fiance's poor Mom probably had major Caregiver burnout, caregiving someone with Alzheimer's is exhausting work, sometimes one barely gets a couple of hours sleep.... that is why their house was such a mess as Mom didn't have the energy to clean. I assume his Mom is still living at the house?

There is no need for her son to call her 10 times a day, I know he is worried, but once or twice a day is plenty. It's going to take time for her to recoup her energy after caring for her own mother. She is emotionally drained, too.

Ok, his Mom had made some bad choices in the past, what are the current *bad choices*? What is it that still needs cleaning up?

Take some time to learn about dementia because it sounds like you are confusing the disease with normal ploy and manipulation. Go to the blue bar at the top of the page and click on ELDER CARE, then click on *Alzheimer's and Dementia*, then you can see what his mother had to go through taking care of her own mother, and now what she is going through having dementia.

Your fiance sounds wonderful and caring, not many guys are like that. That means if some day you need care, he will be there for you. As for having his Mom live with you, he does have another choice, see if his Mom can be accepted for Medicaid and find a really nice assistant living facility where his Mom can make new friends [she probably didn't have any friends while caring for her own Mom], dine with others in a central dining room, go on outings, etc. Does his Mom own the house or rent? If she owns, then the house would need to be sold to help pay for her care.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.