My mother-in-law is 83 and making my 89-year-old father-in-law batty. We can all see it coming: the repeating of the stories, the buying cheese (and apples and meat and whatever) every time she goes to the store because she forgot she bought them last time but forgetting the things that she does need, and the asking "What do you want for dinner?" three or four times before making whatever it is she wants to make. She is losing it.

Her best friend, when I called about something else, said that she would be on board for sitting down with her and my father-in-law and confronting her that she needs to go to a doctor to at least be evaulated and get a baseline test done. (This woman friend is normally a "hands-off-mind-my-own-business" lady. So I was shocked.) My husband says his mom is going to do what she's going to do and that she will totally ignore all of us until she forgets where she is one day when she's out driving. And then he says she will continue to ignore us. I feel that he is dodging the issue. But I also feel that confronting her will not do us any good either. But I really feel bad for my FIL.

My MIL says that he is making her take "stupid pills" because he thinks she is stupid. (He has managed to get her to take a few herbal supplements which won't do a thing, in my opinion.) I have no place in this discussion in a lot of ways because I am the daughter-in-law, but I also see that it will be my job down the road to deal with this woman as I work part time while my husband works full time plus overtime. So thanks for letting me vent. But, seriously, if all of us (her husband, her friends, the only son, the grown grandkids and another set of their friends) were to sit down with her, will it just be a painful waste of time? My FIL is going to put my husband on the bank accounts, but he's been putting it off.

Find Care & Housing
This will have to fall on FIL. Can he make an 'annual' appointment with the doctor for both of them to see the doctor together? At that time, if they plan it right, ask the doctor to schedule on that day the 'testing'. It all has to be done covertly because if your MIL is like my father, once she finds out she's being tested for dementia, she will stop going to the clinic and the ER, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. When my father was diagnosed with enlarged prostate, he completely stopped going to the clinic - not even for his high blood pressure. He was like this all the way till his death.

Everyone else is in denial - MIL, FIL, hubby, etc... But that's normal. I did the same - hiding my head under the sand - for years. When I finally realized the situation, it was years into caregiving and realizing that this could go on for years and years. Mom lasted 20 years after her diagnosis. You're correct to start looking into the situation now before it's too late.

With FIL and the bank account, don't approach it as a doomsday solution. Because if he's in denial, by actually doing the bank account is admitting there's a problem. Make it something Positive. One day, you might not be able to go to the bank and hubby can do it for you. Oh, online banking is great. Hubby can set it up so that he keep an eye and make sure bills are being paid. Here's the bank statement, see what's happening with your money in the bank... etc... Make the joint bank account as something positive and not as an admission that one day his health would be so bad, that your hubby would take over. This is only because it sounds like they're in denial. If FIL was not in denial, he would have already done the joint bank account.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to bookluvr

I like the best friend thing. Maybe she will listen to her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29

You can't reason with dementia, if you have a sit down chat with anyone it should be with FIL. Sitting together trying to figure out what to do is not going to get you anywhere unless you have some options to choose from - start by educating yourself about MCI and dementia
then look into what kind of resources may be available for them in your area (try the department on aging), if you want to be thorough you could cost out some agencies and assisted living places.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to cwillie

even if you had a family discussion and she listened and agreed. depending how long she can retain what she agreed to. minute she could say "I never said that"

do they have any legal papers done with an attorney, like a will, POA or trustee?
is the FIL still pretty good as far as his memory?

also if she is still driving, that can be big trouble sorry :(
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to wally003
Maryjann Aug 9, 2018
That's why I would really like to see her get to the doctor. She seems to be only in the earlier stages and seems to be progressing slowly. She repeats stories and forgets the "minor" things, but did remember my son was going to be in the area with his new girlfriend, and she was able to plan around that and be (sort of) ready for them. I have this dream that she would go to a doctor and he would be able to give her something that would help her to lose maybe a little less of her functioning that she might otherwise. But HOW to get her to the doctor. Apparently my FIL has talked to the doctor.... but there's not much she can do until my MIL presents for testing. My MIL figures as long as she can still make it to choir and play bridge, that she's great
Get a geriatric case manager to do an evaluation. Assess, make a plan and go forward.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to PMA6479

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter