I recently had to quit my job of 13 yrs to stay home with my mother-in-law. I love her and I am doing this out of love for my husband also. We are in our late 40's and still have kids at home. My problem is she was diagnosed with dementia and is staying with us until we can move into her home. She tells my husband that I am trying to control her because I have to make her take her meds. She has started making up things to tell my husband about me, like I'm selling her meds to my children, all she takes is blood pressure pills. I never get a break from her. Help please!

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I hope you're ready for the answers! I suspect you are about to get swamped with replies :)

Your MIL has dementia. In the short term, nod and smile, pat her hand and say "there, there" and remind your husband - should he look troubled about what she tells him - that she has dementia. Don't argue, don't correct her, and pick your battles with care.

In the medium to long term, and I know this isn't what you asked but, if you want to go on loving your MIL do not move in to her home. Sell her home and use the money to find the best continuing care facility you can. This is equally vital if you and your husband would like your marriage to survive.
Helpful Answer (9)

Doing things that are bad for YOU (quitting your job, moving into your MIL's home) are RARELY the ONLY choice.

What other choices have you looked into?

Have you called the local Area Agency on Aging and asked for a "needs assessment"? Have you asked them what MIL's eligibility for various needs based programs is? Have you applied for Medicaid for her?

Until you know what her demonstrated level of need is (assessed by a professional) you can't assess the choices.

If you had asked ME if my mother could afford Assisted Living at the time it became obvious that she could no longer live alone at home, I would have looked at the monthly price and gasped. My SIL, with cooler head and an MBA said "that's quite doable". So, never say never.

Call for the assessment tomorrow; they often take several weeks to schedule; and make sure that YOU are there so that MIL doesn't exaggerate her competencies, or the extent to which her family is willing to help.

The best case scenario, I think, is the one in which you are able to return to work and visit as a loving DIL, not a stay at home drudge.
Helpful Answer (7)

Here is a mischievous thought for you to chew over. If it were your husband who had had to give up his job to care for his mother - *his* mother, note - would it still seem to be the only option?

The way to see MIL's situation differently is to take yourself out of the equation. What would be the possibilities if you weren't there?
Helpful Answer (7)

Hi, Momof5and8. We're currently caring for my in-laws (Alzheimer's for one and major health issues for the other). We've been able to keep them in their own home, which is just a few houses down the street from us. We also have young kids at home (ages 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 20 yo in college) and are in our mid/late 40's -- well, I am; hubs just turned 50. I say all of that to let you know that we're in the same boat! That said, would you mind sharing why you think quitting your job and moving into your MIL's house is your only option?

Before y'all make any more permanent moves, please reconsider all your options! If you're feeling a little trapped now, that's only going to get worse as the months and years drag on. I missed a great deal of my oldest's senior year and transition to college because we were in the throes of moving the in-laws to our town. We are also a homeschooling family, and I absolutely LOVE that. However, our youngest children's education was suffering because I now have extra duties, so we have chosen to send them to the elementary school down the street. None of these things are "bad" choices, but they are compromises from how we envisioned our family. I find I have to actively fight against resentment sometimes.

My husband was adament that his parents have their own space, and I am so very thankful that he never pressured me to live with them. He's a wise man -- that would not have ended well!! I'm thankful that when the screaming starts, I can walk home. I'm thankful that I can parent my children without MIL's constant interference. I'm thankful that I can relax when I sleep or clean or cook, knowing that they are NOT in my living room watching TV at full volume. There is no way I would want either of them living with me. I *might* be able to handle my quiet, docile FIL, but all the activity in our house confuses him and makes him anxious. MIL?? NO. WAY. She is incredibly selfish, sees people only as a means to get what she wants or entertain her, and never stops talking. Maybe I'm too selfish?? But at least I'm self-aware enough to know that I do not have the capacity to take on that level of crazy!!

If y'all do decide to continue living together, please put some support systems in place to protect your marriage and your relationship with your children. Counseling, support groups, respite, hired caregivers, etc. Staying married while raising a busy family is tough enough without the added pressure of caring for an aging parent. Tomorrow is our 24th anniversary. With lots of honesty, grace, and humor, were looking forward to another 24+!!
Helpful Answer (6)

Sometimes, even when we have the best of intentions, they don’t work out the way we would wish them to. In theory, having your much-loved MIL sounded like the right thing to do, but now you’re having second thoughts as you’ve realized she’s not the MIL you have come to love, but rather some stranger who looks and sounds like her and is accusing you of doing crazy things you’d never do in a million years. It may relieve some of your stress to make sure your hubby understands what dementia involves. My mother was a much beloved “Nana” to my kids. When she suffered from dementia, I would warn them before we visited that the Nana we knew and loved was not that apparent any longer. She said some outlandish things, not mean or accusatory of us, just outlandish. Because a lot of her delusions were sexual in nature, I told my kids to keep the grandkids away, but also told them to just close their ears to the sex talk when we were at the NH. I also didn’t hesitate to tell Mom to “be a lady and ladies don’t talk like that.”

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel with placing her in a facility? Can you hang on until she goes? If you face having to care for her for a matter of a year or more, you may want to consider a local support group. Don’t turn down help from hubby or even the kids. Don’t be a hero. Get out by yourself. Go have coffee with a friend or alone. Go out with the kids. Whatever you do, don’t lose yourself. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (4)

You need to apply for Medicaid for her, just for starts.

Moving in with and attempting to care for an oppositional elder with dementia on your own is a recipe for disaster.

Go back to my earlier post and take the steps outlined.

Why does the fact that you rent make a difference? I fail to see the significance of that.
Helpful Answer (4)

Momof5and8, the best support group I have found is right here on the Aging Care forums.

Trying to find an outside support group isn't easy, the mean reason is that so many caregivers cannot find the time to attend such meeting, plus find a babysitter for their love one while they are at the meeting. Check with your local Agency on Aging, they might have a list of caregiving groups.
Helpful Answer (3)

This doesn't make sound financial sense, coupled with the income you are giving up today will be the loss of contributions to your retirement fund for the future (sorry, I'm drawing a blank about what you Americans call your pension plan). That you are giving up your home to move into hers means that she will expect to rule the roost and you will have no easy exit available. She is in the early stages of dementia, this is a commitment that can easily go on for decades.
Helpful Answer (3)

Don't move in to your MIL's house.

If your MIL's mental state is such that she can't find her way home from familiar places or remember to take her meds and/but she believes herself to be competent, your husband needs to apply for guardianship because she can't give him power of attorney. He will then be able to sell her house and use those assets to find her long term care until the money runs out.

If he is imagining that once you're all tucked up in the bigger house everything will be fine... he needs to imagine again.
Helpful Answer (3)

when you are the caregiver - your the one that gets the brunt of everything!! My sister who is five years older then me has alzhiemers & in the early stage- if I phoned her & she did not like what I was saying she would yell & swear & hang up on me.A day or so later I would call & she would not remember that she had even talked to me.I am her only family— her hubby passed & that is when the alzhiemers started to show up.She would tell everyone I was bossy LOL probably right, only because she did not listen to a thing I said.She would take the advise from my husband ,but not me.Whether dementia/ alzhiemers ,there is no cure.There are different stages they go through.Her brother inlaw was stealing from her,there was a man looking in her widow,she would call the police on him — not! It was in her mind.From there it went from
not letting a cleaning lady in,to forgetting to eat ,to smoking two cartons every two weeks.In the end my sister weighed 70 lbs.
I finally got hold of the POA PAPERS FOR HER HEALTH & PROPERTY
went to the bank & while she could still sign for me to be joint on her bank account — got that all done .Her neighbour & best friend talked her into doing that.She wanted her friend to be POA .
that was at least 4 years ago.I ended up having to place her in the hospital & giving her house back to the bank ,paid off her bills she had .She now is in a nursing home contented ,happy & not alone.
I could never have ever taken care of her or have her live with my husband & son. My sister is only 73.She worked as a health aid
& when placed in the nursing home thought she was still working.
If possable don’t move in with your mother inlaw.Get your husband to get her to sign papers for him to take care of her as she gets worse.It will make things go smoother in the end.Just my thoughts only!
Helpful Answer (2)

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