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After a year of marriage, my husband and I allowed my mom to move in with us. She is 63 and has dementia. This is a fairly new diagnosis. It's been about three weeks and we have been struggling to find alone time together. She gets upset when we go places alone or when I go to pick him up from work and leave her. I cannot control where she goes and what she does. As seriously as I take the reality of the pandemic, I can see she is a Covid case/asymptomatic carrier waiting to happen. Any advice? We both work, so she is alone during the day. She is okay enough that she finds things to do while we are gone, but gets manipulative when we try and leave her to go on a date. Do other couples struggle with this? How do you handle it? I don't want to feel guilty about leaving her, but at the same time, I don't want my marriage to suffer either.

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My mother is almost 94 and has dementia. Your mother can easily live another 30 years, but will your new marriage MAKE it much longer if, after 3 weeks, you're 'struggling' to find alone time together? If it were me, I'd find alternate living arrangements for your mother because, as you probably already know, things only get worse & worse with dementia. The irritating behaviors exhibited now will advance to the point of being totally insufferable in a matter of time, and how will your husband react to that? A controlling, manipulative person becomes way more controlling and manipulative as her dementia progresses. I know, I have one of those mother's myself. She, however, lives in a Memory Care ALF and gets excellent care & attention there from a full time staff of people who see to her every need and want. Otherwise, she'd be expecting ME to be her entertainment committee and that ain't happenin.

Remember that your marriage needs to come first. Otherwise, your mother will likely seep into every aspect of your life to the point where you will have NO life except for looking after her.

Look into alternative living arrangements for her so that Plan B can be utilized if/when the time comes.

Don't automatically poo-poo that idea away. Make sure you prioritize your marriage and keep it fun and alive. Whatever it takes. If that means going away for long weekends while you still CAN, before your mother requires you to be home 24/7, then do it! We have one gal who posts here who has created a sex closet (literally) to escape her mother's prying eyes and ears. That's the only place she and her hubby can go for privacy. Like I said, things can go south in a hurry when dementia is involved!

Wishing you the very best of luck and inventiveness when it comes to keeping your marriage alive and your mother in line with lots of boundaries! Set them down NOW~~~while she's still cognizant enough to understand them!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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It's called setting boundaries. Thankfully she's only been with you for three weeks, so you still have time to sit down with her and explain that since she is now living in your house, she will be abiding by your house rules and that does include the fact that you and your husband will be going on "date nights", and you will not tolerate any negativity or manipulation from her when you do.
You have to remember that she is now living in YOUR house, and you and your husband need quality time together away from mom, to sustain and nourish your new marriage. Being a caregiver is hard and it can be especially hard on a marriage if you don't take the steps now to make sure your marriage stays on track. Best wishes.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Yes, I went through it too. My mom lived with us. She has Parkinson’s disease. Don’t feel guilty.

As your mom progresses she will need someone with her.

My mom was okay being left when she first moved in, as she worsened I contacted Council on Aging for assistance to be with her. Mom enjoyed their company.

Is your mom lonely or has she always been controlling? Is she afraid?

Tell us a bit more about her personality.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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JLew2019 Nov 15, 2020
She has always been a bit controlling and never really enjoyed being left alone. She lost her husband, who she was a full time caregiver for due to cancer, in 2014 and then moved in with my grandma(her mom) and myself. I was grandma's full time caregiver. She also had dementia. When mom moved in, it freed me up to date and have friends. I met my husband, got married, and moved out last year. She hated that I was leaving her at home with grandma to see my boyfriend at the time, once a week. She wanted to go everywhere with me. So, this isn't different behavior. The manipulation isn't new either. Both have gotten worse though. I have explained to her that my day with her is Saturdays and my day with Josh is Sundays. The rest of the week he and I end up staying up until midnight in order to spend some alone time together. Thanks for the encouragement.
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Could be anxiety?

My Mother does not like to be alone. Anxious +++++ calls out if Dad is in another room. Always been anxious & never has lived alone, taken a trip alone etc. But now, with aging & other issues I think it's a survival thing. She knows she needs others around.

Talk with her & her Doctor about this. Maybe some mild meds may work?

But also, for the longer term view, maybe a move into assisted living may be considered as a solution? She has company. You get a marriage.
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Reply to Beatty
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What happened to grandma?

Moms Dementia will progress to the point you cannot leave her. Dementia is an unpredictable desease. In early stages, one day they seem normal, next day not so much. With my Mom her decline was monthly but she was in her late 80s too.

I would not approach Mom with "my house my rules". But I would try to make her understand that you need alone time with ur husband. This maybe hard, the ability to reason is one of the first things to go. As is being able to process what is being said. They become like small children. Setting boundries may eventually be hard because of short-term loss. And since Mom has always been this way, it will be hard to change her. So u change you.

Just like a child, you say "DH and I are going out on a date. We should be back about 9 pm. Will see you then." then walk out the door. Don't try to placate her. Just walk out the door. As time goes on, u may have to hire a sitter.

You have taken on a big responsibility for anyone more so because u are newly weds. You may want to start looking into resources. If Mom has money, then an AL. She will need more and more care. If u don't have it, get POA while she understands what she is doing.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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ToniFromRVA Nov 20, 2020
Not just POA, but Durable POA, Advanced Directives, future plans, & will (if not already done).
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Hi! Me and my husband live with my grandfather who has dementia. We struggled as well whenever we first moved in with alone time. Never feel guilty about leaving her. I would recommend if you or you husband has family to see if they would maybe take your mom for the night or come over for the night to give her some company while you and your husband get away. It is okay to remind her that you have a husband you need to spend time with as well. We are still trying to find that balance but all in all it is honestly okay to tell your mom you want to spend some alone time with your husband. Also maybe make a schedule for your mom and on what nights you and your husband spend time with her and what night you and your husband spend time. I always tell my grandfather where I am going whether he wants to go or not. If I want him to go with my I always ask. If I do not want him to go I simply tell him I am going here be back soon and leave. Hope this helps and I hop everything gets better <3

EDIT*** I also recommend looking into a security system because as it progresses you will learn about sun downing and My grandfather has walked out of the house at night before and we have found him down the road, just a tip
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Reply to Jbailey0601
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this is a very common problem. My Mother in law pulled this crap all the time. My wife always fell for it. We finally ended in divorce.

You are probably going to have to find someone to come sit with her while you guys have a break. Check with your church they often have volunteers for this. Also check the local Senior support resources they often have people willing to help. BUT you may end up paying some one.

Caregivers need breaks, that is all their is to it. If you cant get her to cooperate than she is just going to have to have her fits.

At some point you will have to decide what is your priority your Mother or your Marriage. If after you just read this line you hesitated about your Marriage. I can tell you the Marriage is lost.
My wife strung me along for years and I was stupid enough to take it. Now im 64 and by myself. She should have been truthful with me and ended it 15 years ago. And I should of not kept wanting to believe her.

Your Mother is not going to suddenly get better and say "oh I'm fine you guys don't worry about me" So if you have not, you need to start planning now for how your going to move her to the next stage which is most likely a facility
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Reply to lacyisland
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It may be time to arrange for her to have "visitors" - sitters - while you go out. Please ask family members, friends, members of community of faith, or get paid help to "visit" so while you enjoy "couple time". If you can pitch it as the "visitors"
are for her enjoyment while you do some "tasks she would not be interested it," She may come to look forward to your date nights rather than be sullen that you are not taking her with you.
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Reply to Taarna
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I can relate on a few of what you mentioned. I had both parents move in about 5 years ago. My father started to show signs of forgetfulness and my mother is paralyzed on the right side of her body due to a stroke years ago. Anyway, I saw the writing on the wall and started looking for an apartment for them, since then my father has dementia and has to be watched 24/7. Since he requires so much attention now my mother has started peeing on herself for attention not a good situation. So, I’m saying all this to say look in the future for yourself and your marriage.
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Reply to malsings07
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so I am guessing you have only been married for one year and then moved your mother in with you......that was a lot to take on.  Does she still drive? maybe you and hubby should discuss about taking away the car and/or both the keys that way she can't at least go somewhere and get lost or not protect herself around others.  Can you get someone to come in when you and hubby want to go out alone?  Would she be careful around a stove? if not, then you need to find someone to stay with her.  she could be living with you a long long time so either find someone to come in when you want to go out or some counseling to see how to work around things. wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451
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