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My father-in-law has dementia. He and my mother-in-law were extremely active and quite sociable for 35 years within their community, church, neighborhood and with their respective family members. Ever so slowly, as with most other individuals with dementia, his signs and symptoms got worse. At first he was forgetful of little things such as where he put his keys or remembering what day of the week it was. Then he started to withdraw from events or scheduled activities saying that he wasn't feeling very well. (We later realized it was too difficult for him to recall people's names and keep up with conversation and he was embarrassed) Fast forward a year or so and now that Mom and Dad don't go out any longer everyone stops by - at all times of the day and night. People mean well and they simply want to stay in touch but they don't recognize that any added stimulation such as laughter or excessive talking, a lot of movement, too many people in a room makes him feel agitated. He becomes withdrawn and fidgets with his hands while keeping a pleasant smile on his face or when people stay too long he sits in his chair and fall into a deep sleep. No one seems to notice these reactions and often times what ends up happening is that visitors ignore him altogether and continue to visit with Mom or with one another. (She's fine mentally and physically though the endless stream of people coming and going tires her out) What can I do? I am at home with them helping out 24/7 but I'm fairly new to the family and I don't want to offend anyone by speaking up and it would sadden me if people stopped coming by. Any suggestions or wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

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Oh, no. I would cultivate these people. Times will get harder and you'll need the help. Make friends, allies and helpers while you can. Make sure they understand that you appreciate every visit just as much as the in laws do. A short visit from the could give you the opportunity to take a relaxing bath, a walk around the block, or even dinner out.
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Do you have a CaringBridge account? They are free and easy to set up. Add everyone you can think of and make frequent updates regarding FIL's condition, MIL's energy level -- anything people will want to know. They can also post comments, which you can read to FIL and MIL when they are alert.

Have one post that says:
We love to have visitors! Sometimes Dad is not very alert during visits, but be assured that on one level he is pleased that people remember him and care. To ensure the most pleasant visits, please follow these guildlines:

1) The best time to visit is -----. That is when FIL is usually most alert.
2) Limit visits to more than half an hour. FIL and MIL tire easily, and often more than one visitor comes during the day.
3) If you call before coming we can tell you if FIL is sleeping or otherwise not available and suggest a better time.
4) FIL also loves getting cards and notes in the mail.

And any other guidelines you can think of. Of course not everyone will go to Caring Bridge. Perhaps you can send a copy of this to the church, in a thank you card for their visits and prayers. Get the word out to as many people as you can.

These visitors are treating the situation as if FIL were in a nursing home or other care facility. There it is OK to drop in on the spur of the moment, not to call first, to stay as long as they like, or until the nurse says FIL has to rest now. And you really can't blame them for that assumption. You need to gently teach them that private homes don't work that way.

Maybe your husband should take the lead on this so it is not perceived as coming from an outsiders.
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Chances are they have had an open door policy for many years. You are correct in thinking a daughter in law should not attempt to change this.
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