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My 91 year old mother-in-law came to live with us a few months ago. She had been living in another state with her daughter for about half a year, but had not been well taken care of. She has 2 other children (one is retired professional person and the other a physician) who live in other states and who want nothing to do with her either physically or monetarily. She requires oxygen and has has some ailments, (COPD, emphysema, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, depression, GERD, hyperlipidemia) and her short term memory is just about completely gone and I also suspect that there is some beginning dementia. She cannot be left alone because she would attempt to do things that she cannot do by herself and that would be unsafe (bathing, cooking, walking around unsupervised, taking her meds, etc...) She is a good natured pleasant person, but she is very needy. I find myself getting very irritated by her and although I don't show it to her, I end up taking it out on my husband and son and am feeling stressed out. We bring her breakfast and lunch in her room and she has dinner with us and I find myself dreading dinnertime listening to her repeat the same thing over and over again and making little or no sense. When you spend just a short time with her, she appears to be more competent than she really is, and although we visited her several times a year when she was living in another state, we did not realize the extent of her needs before we volunteered to take her in with us, although it really would not have made a difference because her other children want nothing to do with her. I work out of my home, so it is difficult to get away for any length of time. We have tried senior day care, but most of the time she doesn't want to go and getting her prepared and ready and getting her on the bus (our town has a door to door senior transportation system) takes a lot of time and hardly seems worth it given the extra time and money involved. I believe her needs place her somewhere between an assisted living facility with extra help and a nursing home, but she is not yet ready for a nursing home and that she would suffer emotionally if she were in a nursing home (and we would feel extremely guilty!) She has very little income, just her social security ($1000/month) and we cannot afford to pay for a nice assisted living facility for her where I think she would do well because she is a social person. My mother lived with us for several years before she passed away 2 years ago and although she was difficult a lot of the time, she was much more alert and oriented and less needy until her final illness and I had respite from my family members so even though it was tough at times I did not feel as irritated and stressed as I do now. I am having a hard time understanding my feelings because as I mentioned before, my mother-in-law is a very pleasant person, she does not complain, and is appreciative of all that we do for her.

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I couldn't have said it better myself. I agree with Madeaa five a hug. My mother passed away on June 2, 2013. All the conflicting feelings you are having, I had with my own mother. You need to understand there is no wrong or right answer to taking care of your mom. You are going to feel guilty no matter what you decide. So doing everything with LOVE. I know that sounds so simple, but its really difficult when you are tired and angry at the disease, and tired. Your MIL is blessed to have you. After all, her other children needed a break and you took her on (regardless of your reasons). At this point in your MIL life, you and hubby need to make the decisions that are best for her and your family. If you let the guilt take over your decision making, the guilt will destroy your family and your MIL. I went to visit my mom at the nursing home that I swore I would never put her in. She passed away from dementia, and I believe it killed me more then it killed her. In the end she passed away peacefully, and I spend every day for 4 years visiting her in that nursing home. I hated putting her there, but I had a special needs daughter, hubby and son to also take care of. I had to pick (if you can imagine) which I was more responsible for. I felt guilty, angry, sad, happy at times, and every imaginable feeling you can think of. But in the end I did what was the best for my entire family. I would have loved to keep my mom at home, but financially and emotionally it was to much. I tell you all this, because even though our stories are a bit different, we are all the same in our caregiving rolls. You are dammed if you do, and dammed if you don't. So do the best you can with love in your heart and words, and keep on moving. Above all take care of your health first, because your body will break down fast. Remember, let go of the guilt, it helps no on.
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Hi I hear you loud and clear. The thing is you did the caregiver route with your own mother for some time before your MIL. I know I would never ever ever want a repeat performance after this stint. You are probably conflicted because you did it for your mom now it is time to do for your husband's mom. You've been there done that and gotten the T shirt. It sounds like you need to decide if you accommodate your MIL with some help. My mother refused the day senior center, now she can't wait to go. Yes, it is at times overwhelming to get her out the door onto the bus, but those few hours are bliss, I listen to my music and if I have any energy left, I go for a bike ride. I must push myself, you understand, she takes so much out of me, that I want to curl up under a rock when she leaves. But, the more I push myself to get out during the time she is gone, the more energy I get. You know how hard this is, she does deserve the same treatment your mom received from you and your husband, and yes I can understand fully how you feel. My suggestion would be to get her out to the day center where she can make some friends, they take trips, although I am praying for my mother's day trip. If not, get someone in to help you or her, with either doing your housework, sitting with her, taking her out. In other words, you need to find a way to make it work and you will find it, you need to try to be objective and find a solution, forget the guilt, it helps no one.
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omg clarae51, how dare you be so obtuse.
I looked at your profile and you are 'caring' for someone who is in assisted living.
You are clueless so when you take someone into your home and become a hands on 24/7/365 caregiver you check in again and let's hear your tune then.
Service to others my a$$.
bless this.
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Well that previous comment was not supportive please ignore it! I would suggest going to some Nh and checking them out. It might ease your mind about her having to live there. You have to take care of yourself first.
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Red17 roses couldn't have said it any better. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't, and forget the guilt. It helps no one. As someone about to put mom in a AL facility, who vowed NEVER to do that, I know what it feels like. I tried doing home health care for mom for about 13 weeks (late stage dementia on top of dual diagnosis psychiatric problems), and realized I just wasn't able to do it. I'm TRYING to forget the guilt, since everyone keeps saying this is for the best. (Three answers were from this site yesterday! They were SO helpful!) Good luck and blessings to everyone ~ and as I always try to remember too, don't forget to take a deep breath.
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Hi,
I can empathize with everyone here. My mother came back from Florida after her husband died, and lived with my sister. She has progressively gotten more forgetful. My sister couldn't handle it, and we both agreed that assisted living was the way to go. We found a beautiful memory care unit at the Atria, and mom looks better than ever. They have a salon in-house, so her hair looks great. She gets manicures and pedicures. She also is cleaner and there are psychologists that come in, and a doctor that visits once a week. There is a cheerful recreation director that gets her involved in activities all week. There are weekly outings on the bus supervised by a CNA.

Compare this with her life before. My sister and I both work full-time. My mother was by herself in a small apartment, watching TV (Jerry Springer, etc.) all day. She had absolutely no social interaction. She was forgetting to eat lunch, even though my sister would try to run a sandwich home. She also was found outside and had a wandering tendency. Unfortunately, her mentality has decreased to that of a 4 year old, and you wouldn't leave a 4 year old alone all day. In today's society with many folks forced to work two jobs, there is little time for our dear parents to spend with us during the day. My mother is in a much better environment. She gets THREE excellent meals a day and snacks. Her unit is bright and cheerful, and she can sit out in a beautiful courtyard. Since the unit is a locked dementia unit, we don't have to worry about her wandering off somewhere, and I get to visit all the time, and when I visit, I am in a happy mood and we do fun things.

If you are with someone and miserable, they are going to sense it. Plus, your family is also being put under a lot of stress. Giving mom some independence and good meals and supportive activities is not a bad thing. Just be sure to thoroughly check out the facility before making any decisions.
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I am sorry for the situation that you are in. Many of us have gone through it in one way or another. My in-laws had moved their mom from IL. to AZ. to help take care of her and it made things 100% worse, for grandma. Moving isn't easy at any age. She had to be taken back to IL. and admitted to one of the nicer NHs.

Not everyone (very few) are cut out to be caretakers. Don't look at it as failing, look at it as trying. Your Mother needs full time care, in a facility that can see to her needs.

My own 94 yo Mother would have sat in a chair and died, without a fall sending her to the hospital. She is now in a NH and is much better, nutritionally and her grooming needs are taken care of.
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Try a memory care assisted living that will take medicade. This has worked well for my mom with a similar profile. It's more homelike than a nursing home. Good luck!
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There is an old saying that 'your feelings are your feelings and feelings are not right or wrong'. Once years ago when a counselor asked me how I felt I launched into 'well, I should..." and she stopped me. She asked again how I felt and I realized I was hard pressed to even know, let alone express it. We can 'should all over ourselves' and nothing good comes of that.
My mother has been, in my life, a font of useless advice that included things like 'compared to _______________ you have nothing to complain about'. Surprisingly, that never made me feel better!
What has made me feel better is to admit that I am struggling with 'this' - whatever this is - and am doing the best that I personally can do. Or, if I am not doing the best I can, then I search my soul, write things down and weigh them, talk to a trusted friend or counselor who I know I can count on to help me get clarity and will tell me the truth, then figure out a game plan that I know I can commit to. We all have gifts and the ability to do for others. Do NOT compare yourself to someone else. Only strive to do your personal best. If a vessel is empty nothing can be poured out and that is the problem for many caretakers. If you need reinforcements, if you need to draw a boundary and say 'this is what I can commit to and no more', then you will be more effective at WHAT you CAN do. You do NOT have to lose your life and identity and complete happiness to prove you are a good or caring person.
My BIL is so resentful and punishing to my 93 year old MIL because he takes everything on (and there are perks for him, ie, he controls her bank account and has full access to it which we know he occasionally helps himself to). My MIL is afraid of him and he bullies her and resents her but his 'image' on the outside of things means so much to him and being a perceived martyr in his circle of friends, family and church acquaintances makes him feel truly always 'in the right' that a) we are not able to be a part of caretaking for my MIL b) he resents her and takes it out on her and c) she is unhappy too.
Allow others to help if they offer and do not expect them to do everything the way you might think it should be, loosen up and don't be hard on yourself, do healthy things for yourself, and admit to yourself what you are truly able to do and fill in the blanks the best you can. There are resources out there and you should not feel bad for just being who you are.
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I am so sorry things are looking so bad for you. I have been caring for my husband for about 13 years now. He has vascular dementia and Parkinson's disease. The dementia started out slow but has now moved to the advanced stage. I did have full time care for him at home while I was working full time but just recently retired. I now care for him 24/7 but two days a week I take him to day care and he seems to be ok with that. It gives me the day to do what I want or what is needed. When I am home with him it is a little harder because he wants me to sit with him or he wants to kiss my hand so he needs attention. He hates to take his shower so he grumbles and I laugh and make jokes and finally he says he was nice and thanks me. I was very angry at the beginning and frustrated to say the least but I have learned that it doesn't do any good to be sad, frustrated or angry. You are only making things worse for yourself. I give my husband Xanax the day he has his catheter changed. He used to fight the nurse and myself during this time so he now sleeps thru the procedure and all is good. I only give the Xanax one time every 3-4 weeks and makes life much easier when the catheter change is done. I have been with my husband for 35 years and there is an age difference so I suspect it might be easier for me to care for my husband who is 87 years old. He has 6 children who never come to see him or help so if I get respite care, it is because I pay for it. I figure one day I will be able to live a normal life but until then, I will be there for him. I have accepted the responsibility and I am happy I did. I also go to support groups which is a great help and I read thru all the comments on the different memory boards which I find very helpful. May God Give you strength in your journey and you will be able to find some peace.
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