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MIL has been with us for 10 years. Always smiling and "happy", she doesn't ask for anything but gets me to do it for her i.e., "I'll take my shower now and then you can set my hair..." "I think I'll get myself some cold water...." (and she won't move but must have the water.( I saw myself in The Help movie....

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Blou theres cleaning and theres decluttering every week there are plenty of other homes to be cleaned with no dementia and hygiene clutter issues! i tell you i would rather work in a nice normal enviroment it is a shock for a young lady to come in and see what mum is up to but i trust her and thats important she wont run off with family jewels!!!!
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Hey Kazzaa, If the "cleaning" lady had nothing to clean, she wouldn't have a job. If she gets mad because she has something to clean--WHAT??? Why in the world would that upset her? As long as you shell out the dough, I am quite sure she is happy to clean the rooms again. Heck, I'll do it w/ a big ole smile on my face if YOU PAID ME! If you pay me more, I'll do it while I sing you a song (of your choice, of course). If you pay me a lot more than that, I'll clean,sing, & jump through some hoops of fire for you....and so on..... AS LONG AS I DON"T HAVE TO CLEAN FOR FREE AT HOME! Making $$$ is top priority and HATE cleaning up after people who refuse to pick up after themselves at home. My brother told me years ago, that "an invisible room mate" is the best kind of person to share your living space with. The invisible room mate is any other person besides you that you cannot tell was ever in a room he or she left. My rule ( & my wish for others) is: You walk into a room. Before leaving that room, you put every thing either back like it was exactly or make it look better than it was. Example: I have to use the bathroom to rinse my mop out with the pail in the tub. Water may drip on the floor--no matter! I'm mopping the floor in here anyway--just because! I clean up the pail & make sure the tub is nice as clean as before, wipe any splashes from the mirror, pick up the mop & pail before exiting, and give it a good once over. Yes, I like what I see. Then, I leave.I insist that everyone should leave a room in the same condition they found it. It's common courtesy, isn't it? blou
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Movin up thats funny! My brother rang tonight and asked where mum was? I said she is doing her "yoga" then going for a jog!!
Yes after been on here ive had to harden up with mum and get her doing things just small things that i know she can do like making a pot of tea or getting her own water.
Funny ill run around all day for her then when she asks me if i want tea as im not making any moves to do it she will give a big sigh like making a small pot and one cup is so much easier for her than 2 cups??
at first i was like a headless chicken afraid to let her do anything as i didnt really know what this illness could do and was terrified shed do something dangerous then after joining here i realised that i was been a bit paranoid and get her moving her ass now as its not good to let them just sit all day and do nothing although it is great peace for us when they are not causing a mess somewhere.
Two weeks ago myself and the cleaner cleared and cleaned the 2 spare rooms upstairs now they are cluttered again and guess what i am afraid to tell the cleaner as she gets so mad as she just cant understand it! Ive locked the doors with keys and shes kicked off saying its her house but constantly cleaning up is so draining i just cant keep doing this and sometimes i have a feeling the cleaning lady may give up and not come back!
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Well, I have heard of places where elderly ladies can be found excellent accommodation, excellent care and a built-in social life… oh yes! ALF, that's it. Off she goes.
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You're right that she isn't going to change. It makes it all the more difficult to deal with her since I now realize that she never did feel about me the way I thought of her - as another mother.
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You cannot change a 90 yo. You can only change how and when you deal with her.
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It certainly seems that one has to set up ground rules early. I am working very hard not to be turned into the entertainment committee. My mother complains that I am boring which is good. If she is not interested in anything, that is not my problem. The world is full of interesting things.
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Thanks to all of you for your helpful replies. During the past year, I have been standing my ground more often and letting her wait on herself. It has not made me popular and this past VT winter, often at -30 degrees and cooped up together, was difficult for all of us. MIL is highly social and wants company - often inventing things for me to do so I'm with her - but it leaves me with no life and doesn't really satisfy her need to socialize.
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Well, at least she's nice about being passive/aggressive. Isn't that what they call that? The "nice" way of getting you to do things for her for free is another way of using you at her convenience--not even yours. When you say "no" you have to mean it. You don't owe anybody an explanation. You can explain all you want. But, it puts you on the defensive, where you certainly don't need to be. You can refuse one way service that imposes on you. I would direct her to the salon. Let her have her own hairdresser that she chooses. That way she won't neglect herself and blame you. If you act like you keep forgetting, she will continue to rely on you & I think it would lead to other problems. Try being direct. You both have lives of your own. Lots of older folks get a kick out of getting "free stuff". Doesn't even matter what. I gave my Dad a pink razor from the gym one day. I said, "Look what I got for free & am giving to you"! He smiles real big. My son who's 13 chides, "Grandpa doesn't want that! It's pink! Pink is for girls"! "I don't care if it IS pink"! Dad says, "I'll take it"! They learn that certain people will do things for them because of their age. Then, they just expect it. It's nice once in a while. But, if it takes away the elderly person's independence too soon, it causes more dependence on you. Oh yeah, Dad even uses religion and tries to guilt me into doing something. If a person has money they just don't want to spend because they'd rather keep it and then want you to do it 'cause that's what the Lord would want a "good daughter" to do....."and whatever you do to the least of my brothers...blah, blah, ...." NONSENSE! I am a good daughter/person & you are too! Whatever MIL needs, you can certainly "hook her up" with the right person for the job. I'm sure. Just make sure that you point out that YOU are NOT that person. (You can say you don't get it right & like the way someone--anyone else does it better). This could be a turning point for you. I wish you the best of luck! blou
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I'm referring to my mom, not your mom-in-law. But maybe mom-in-law could do with fresh air and exercise too. Down with Ativan, up with natural light.
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I'd probably suggest she try a few knee raises and leg swings while she's at the sink getting the water. So good for the circulation, you know. She won't do it, of course, but then she's happy to just get the water. If she wants me as a caregiver,then maybe she does have dementia. Fresh air and exercise, that's what she needs.
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The suggestions are all excellent. My mother also tries to get me to do things like bring her a glass of water. What works for me is to tell her that I want her to stay as active as possible, so she needs to do whatever she can for herself. It's a nice way to say no without being mean... and it's true.
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If I could edit or delete my post, I would, after reading Jeanne's and CM's suggestions. Good points. Time to refocus priorities.
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Prompted by Jeanne's answer, I paused to read your profile, VTS, and I'm glad I did. Here's the nub: she may not want outside help, but you need it.

Look, it's great that she's sunshine and smiles, it's great that she's 90 and active, I'm all in favour of encouraging her to stay as independent and busy as possible - that's wonderful. But the fact remains that she is 90, she is going to need help with things like dressing her hair nicely and all the rest of it, so *somebody* does have to be around to do those things.

Only, not you. Not after the battering you've had over the last - let's say 4-5 years, because before you had treatment you must have been ill.

So, approach the subject of change with her again: put all options on the table, from extra help at home to maybe a move to a nice, nearby centre for her. But this time, it's not about her health and wellbeing, and it's nothing to do with her not being a nice person (I expect she is, I expect she's mostly a poppet) - it's about what YOU need. And that's not for her to say.

Oh, and who is the "us" that she's been living with for ten years, by the way? Is there by any chance a Son of MIL, i.e. your husband, who ought to be getting his handsome self up off the couch and helping you with this difficult conversation?
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Maybe when MIL moved in and you were in your 50s and healthy, having her as a "guest" seemed appropriate. Your profile indicates that you now have health issues of your own, and of course you are ten years older. Time to resign as the "hostess" to a "guest" and take on the role of housemate to a family member. For a while this may seem more trouble than it is worth because it will involve some uncomfortable moments.

Be firm with yourself. Be patient with your MIL. Let her do for herself what she can do for herself. Maybe even let her help you a bit. "While you are up, would you bring me a cup of coffee?"
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You can always sweetly counter with statements that you have other plans. When she's ready for her shower, say something like, "Gee, I was just about to start cooking dinner. I'll let you know when I can take a break."

As for the water, a comment such as "I'm glad to see you're able to get water for yourself. It's really encouraging to see you doing so much for yourself."

And I agree with Blannie's and A & A's comments. You have to reverse what's become tradition. Giving MIL credit, she may have come to rely on the relationship of her announcements and your responses, so it's time to change that dynamic.
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Just quit stepping in and doing it. Like A&A says, say, "That doesn't work for me." If she wants water and is physically capable of getting it, just wait her out. You've trained her well to ask for you to do things, knowing she'll get what she wants. Now you have to un-train her. It will be harder, because you're changing a 10 year old habit. But be consistent and start small with not doing for her just because it's expected.
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Speak up.. " Now's not a good time for me to set your hair".. If you want, I'll make you an appt. @ the hair salon on Wednesday"..
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