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My MIL is only in her 60s- she's relatively young. But she has been showing a rapid degradation in her short and long term memory. Sometimes she remembers me, but other times she refers to me as "that strange woman" (I've been married to her son for over 10 years, and she never used to refer to me as that when her mind was clear). The last time my husband and I insisted on going with her to the doctor to help get her memory issues looked at/ diagnosed (she has type 2 diabetes and thyroid problems, so we tried to say that maybe it was those things, but she kept forgetting and then got suspicious and then accused us of trying to commit her and steal her stuff). Then she moved a state away (with the help of friends) and refused to speak to us. Finally, she just moved back and she's living in an Extended Stay hotel, but when my husband went to help her move back, it's obvious that her memory has degraded even more. She seems to think that her father only recently died (he died when my husband was 3), and she gets confused a lot.

Recently she called my husband upset and telling him that her doctor recommended that she "go into a home." I'm not sure what the doctor actually said since we were not there, but now she's trying to switch doctors.

I'm not sure what the legalities are, but if a doctor evaluates her and thinks she needs to be in assisted living, is there any way for us to push the issue and have her more fully evaluated so we can get her the assistance she needs to be safe?

We are at our wits end because we are young (20's) and don't own our own home and are raising our two young children and work full time to make ends meet. We would not be able to do any caregiving ourselves, and I am afraid what the memory loss will do to her personality.

My husband is an only child and my MIL is divorced, so she doesn't have a lot of other family who could help us either.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help us with our predicament?

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My husband with ALZ (Alzheimer's) is "only" 68, and not as far along as your MIL. Our daughter is only 22. I am trying to shield my daughter from the burdens of caregiving so that she can start her life. Being unable to work for 5 to 20 years taking care of her father is not in the cards as long as I am able to prevent it. I don't want her to end up in poverty, which would be the result.

You are too young and way too stretched thin to take in your MIL. It might be different if she trusted you, but she obviously doesn't. Do not try to pay for her care. You should, if you can and want to, provide her with extras, and make sure she is not being abused. For your own sanity, read this website to learn about dementia. Especially this: even though she is driving you crazy and saying awful things, It is the disease causing most of it. Arguing with her will not work, because she can no longer reason.

Can either of you get some Family Leave Act time to resolve her situation? Being able to take off a day when needed to get her to the doctor without endangering your job will be a big help. Explain to your boss that the job is very important to you, and that you will be so grateful for the (unpaid) time that you will be an even better employee. The missed pay won't be easy, but it will mean less interrupted work time overall.

I am so sorry this cloud is forming over your promising young life. You are not alone.
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Call the physician who evaluated her and enlist his help via his diagnosis in coordinating a family mtg and convincing MIL that she needs skilled care on a more full time basis.

Have discussions with mom regarding her legal documents in place. Make sure you have DPOA and review the stipulations in it. Understand MILs finances, property ownership, income sources, etc.

Have the dr provide a written prognosis and statement that MIL no longer has mental capacity to manage her affairs, without this documentation it is likely you will not be able to invoke her DPOA, or POA.

In the meantime, do some research and educate yourself. YouTube Teepa Snow videos are helpful in understanding the disease. Visit some local memory care facilities on your own at first without MIL and meet directors to understand their resident offerings, care available, financial needs, etc. Dont be she'll shocked. It can be expensive but there are benefits that you can sometimes tap into, VA, long term care insurance, etc.

Agree with above. This is a taxing, full time, physically and emotionally taxing disease that doesn't get better and can go on years and years especially since she is only 60...so don't take her into your home if there are any other options. It can break families at the worst and be the source of much strife at all levels at the least.

If you must take her in, have clear boundaries and account for outside care assistance at the outset, including housekeeping. Plan for about $20/hr from a reputable care agency.

Good luck.
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Oh wow, I sure feel sorry for your mother-in-law. It does look like she has early onset dementia/Alzheimer's, what a stinking shame. As someone who is 60 years old also, I can't imagine what that would look like. Part of the Alz. disease is paranoia which is why she accused you two of stealing from her. My mother-in-law who has Alz. would start to forget where she HID stuff, so she automatically thought the staff at her asst. living building were stealing from her. She would go so far as to even hide her bananas in her dresser drawer. So when I would go see her, it was like a treasure hunt to find all the things she said were stolen, which we did. And we'd find those black bananas too! It's time for your husband to talk to his mother one on one. If it were me, I'd sit her down and ask her if she's noticed that her memory has gotten worse. Or that things are just not 'right' anymore. I guess I was thinking that if she'll open that door just an inch, and admit that maybe her son has a point, then he can strike. By that I mean he needs to get her to agree to let him be POA and DPOA for her. Which means he'll have the legal right to take over her finances and health decisions when she can't. If on the other hand she no longer trusts her own son because of the Alz. then who does she trust still? Does she have siblings or other family that can intervene honestly for her? At your age and with little kids in the house, I'm not sure living with grandma who is starting to change is such a good idea, but she obviously will need asst/memory care in the future. It's imperative that someone else start going with her to the doctor and that she gets evaluated and on meds for this. The drugs won't stop the progression, but they can slow it down. That's why your husband and/or you need to become POA and DPOA soon. Sorry about what's happened to her, what a bummer. ♥
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