My MIL (91) has Alzheimer’s. She moved in with us this year (my husband and I both retired December 31st - yes, we really messed up our retirement within three weeks of starting it). We did it for all the “right” reasons. On top of that, we have the moral high-ground over other family members who refused to take her - yeah, ask me how that’s working out for us! It’s not that I don’t love my MIL - there are times when she is a sweetheart, but there are times when I am seriously doubting my own sanity. She pee’d all over the house in the first two weeks she was here (yes, we use incontinence pads, she lowers them to pee on the floor then pulls them back up). Solution, we got a motion sensor. Great, no more “accidents” but now, I am up four (minimum) times a night with her wandering around and needing the toilet. I’m working on an average of 2-hrs sleep a night for the past eight weeks. That is an indicator of where I am emotionally, but it isn’t the problem. She treats me (actually is convinced) that this is a nursing home and I am staff. She orders me around with a very disrespectful and nasty tone. She is convinced my husband is hers (no matter how many times we try to convince her otherwise) and thinks I am the hired help trying to steal her man. It was mildly amusing to start with - we didn’t really think she believed that, but as time has gone by, it is becoming downright creepy. My husband doesn’t want to be left in the room with his mother because she gets very inappropriate.

Add to that the belligerent attitude, the constant (CONSTANT) complaining and the way she expects me to jump when she says so - it’s making me crazy. We humour her every whim - my husband won’t ever push back, I try but she tells me she’ll report me to my supervisor if I don’t do what she wants. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and there is no end in sight - this has to be the healthiest 91-yr old in history - apart, of course, from the disease slowly eating her brain. I feel like it’s eating mine too. And it is blowing our once happy home apart. My husband and I snip and gripe at each other all day long. I never thought we would be here so soon into caring for her. I don’t think anyone can tell me it will improve, but lie to me please - I need some hope.

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I don't think this has anything whatsoever to do with 'love' for your MIL, of course you both love her. This should have to do with what's best for HER; what's safest for her; where she can get the type of care she needs by a qualified staff who works in shifts to give her that care. You and your husband are incapable, and unqualified, to care for a 91 year old Alzheimer's patient who thinks her son is her husband and who is peeing on the floor & ordering you around like you were the hired help. Since she already believes she's residing in a nursing home, my suggestion to you is to find her a wonderful Assisted Living Facility that specializes in Memory care/Alzheimer's, and place her there right away, for her own safety (and for your sanity). At some point, she is likely to start wandering and then leave the house in the middle of the night. The ALF keeps the doors locked to prevent such a thing from happening. I used to care for a wonderful old gentleman who was burdened with AZ. His daughter thought it would be 'cruel' to place him in a facility, in spite of him insisting he lived across the street. He'd wander out every night, until one day, he fell and died of a subdural hematoma. It's not a 'cruel' thing to place an AZ patient; it's the right thing to do. If your MIL does not have the funds for a private pay facility, look into applying for Medicaid and having her placed that way, and you can visit often. In any event, please DO NOT ruin YOUR retirement and/or your marriage in a misguided attempt to 'do the right thing' by caring for someone you're unqualified to care for. Things only get worse for these old gals........they do not get better. Trust me, I know. My mother is 92 and going downhill VERY quickly, having fallen 3x in the past 2 weeks. The kindest thing I've EVER done for her was placing her in a local ALF about 4 miles away where she has wonderful care from a staff of lovely people.

All the best of luck, my friend.
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SJLSJL May 2019
Thank you. Timely reality check. We aren’t qualified - we are floundering around trying to meet the needs of someone when we really don’t have a full understanding of what those needs are. I don’t know if we can get there with her in her present state, and also, through reading A LOT recently, know we have harder days ahead if we persist. Which I guess is the scariest thing. And ultimately, I am no good to anyone when I’m this tired. I can’t keep things in perspective, everything seems insurmountable right now. And perhaps, for us, it is.
"I’m working on an average of 2-hrs sleep a night for the past eight weeks." How much longer can you tolerate 2 hours of sleep a night?? It is not alright and it is a big problem. You are sleep deprived. Sleep deprived people have - and cause - more accidents. You should not drive a car - or operate heavy machinery - while sleep deprived. Sleep deprived people get sick and heal slower, if at all. Many caregivers die before the loved ones for whom they are caring.

You are still in this early enough to make a plan to get her moved into a facility. Talk to a social worker. Work with the social worker to get your MIL the professional care she needs.
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Please listen to what the people on this forum tell you...they have been there in the trenches and know what they are talking about!!! Hope you get some much needed rest when your MIL gets placed!!
I’m sorry. We can’t tell you it will improve because it won’t. It wouldn’t be fair or kind to tell you it will. And by the time she passes, irreparable damage may have been done to your marriage.

Somewhere in the past, you made the Noble Promise to her or to the family not to put her in a facility, correct? You viewed what was to come when she moved in with you through rose-colored glasses. Now you’re suffering the harsh realities of life controlled by dementia. I’m sure she would be absolutely mortified if she could have predicted the future and see herself as she is now.

You have a choice. You can gamble with your future and her’s and keep things status quo. Or, you can sit down with your husband and his family if he has any sibs and admit that this isn’t working out. Sure, you can import in-home health care. You can send her off for respite care once every few months so you and hubby can reconnect with each other. You can delegate some of the nighttime potty trips and other care responsibilities to him. You can take her to the doctor and have her meds adjusted. But, 90% of the time it will still be the three of you. You are doing the work of three shifts of trained caregivers around the clock

How long you can tolerate this situation is up to you and your husband. It’s ok to admit defeat and say “we can’t do this anymore. We gave it the old college try and it didn’t work.” She can’t help who she has become but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own lives for her.
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SJLSJL May 2019
You are so right. We went into this saying to each other “it’s gonna be hard, but we can do this together”. Well, we had no idea. We thought how hard can it be to care of one sweet old lady. We can feed her right, get her clean and infection free (she came to us with horrible fungul infections in several areas of her body), and love her - every day let her know by our actions that she still matters and people still love her. We never expected the push back we get from her on everything- it’s like living with a two-yr-old with advanced language skills in the worst mood of their life - every day. Her memory is literally down to a 30-second reset. She used to love animals and has known our dogs for years - we have caught her kicking one of the pups because he looked at her! Very sad because he is the sweetest boy. My husband wants to give it a while longer before we admit defeat - I can give him that, but it is so hard every day. I take my hat off to the many many people doing this on their own, or for years on end (often both). Ultimately, I am so very disappointed in myself, that after not even half a year I’m even contemplating giving up - I thought I was made of sterner stuff. No matter where this ends up for us, I will never brush aside someone who tells me they are caring for their loved ones at home - I truly didn’t realise what that does to lives until now.
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I’m so sorry for you and husband. My advice for you would be place her in nursing home ASAP. Don’t pass go, don’t collect 200.00 dollars. Save yourself. I say this because I had to move my mother in with my husband of 1 year. We have had no time together just the 2 of us. It stinks. I thank God we get along great, rarely do we argue, when we do it is over almost as fast as it started. I do feel that my mom has gone nuts and took me with her. Some days I just can’t deal with her. So I have to just gray rock her. We moved to her house three years ago because we had two stories and step were hard d for her. Mistake we should have placed her in nursing home then. Please do yourself and your husband a favor , think of yourselves. You won’t get any thanks or help from other family members. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. This comes after four years taking care of mom who is now 89. She will out live me and husband.
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Start surveying your area for good MEMORY CARE and stop attempting to “earn your Crown” by keeping her in a setting that works for neither her nor you.There is NO “moral high ground” when caring for people with dementia. Basing your decision on that premise was a mistake that you made with a willing and loving heart, but one that you must now accept for the mistake it was and move on.

It doesn’t make the SLIGHTEST bit of difference what her “tone” is. She has dementia, and THAT is what you are hearing when she talks to you. Because of her brain illness, she is no longer responsible for her behavior.

As I continue to read your narrative I find wonderful comments about all you’ve learned since you began this work. Be proud of yourself for your honesty, your love for your husband and your life together, and your intelligence and increasing sophistication in dealing with a dementia victim.

In our situations we found that the closer you are to her potential residential site, the easier it will be on you, and the better for her. If you can arrange short frequent “drop-in”visits, great!

Deal head on with flashes of guilt, because you’ll have them. If you’ve done as well in the future as you’ve done in the past, “guilt” is NOT AN OPTION!
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I too have a healthy 95-year-old with dementia. The best thing I ever did was to move her to an assisted living/memory care facility. For 11 months I cared for her. I went through a lot of what you are doing through. I was resentful that I changed my whole life to take care of someone who doesn't even know who I am. By the time I made the decision to move her, I was exhausted, my health had suffered, and had no life outside of her. I had to cut back on work which has adversely affected my finances--so instead of retiring this year, I will probably need to go a year or two longer. For the first month she was there, I was riddled with guilt and found it hard to adjust back to my "real" life. Slowly, I saw that she was happier there and interacting with other people which seemed to keep her more "connected." The ladies who care for her really know what they are doing. Off-putting behavior that made me freak out, they take in stride. While I know I will never have the relationship we had before (I miss it and I miss her), at least I am not full of anger and resentment. I can visit her, take her treats, and leave the distasteful duties to someone else.
You deserve your own life.
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Agree with the other comments about it's not about love being enough. If love were enough?  Ahh...would be so easy if it was just that. But as another perspective, because love is not enough, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions to do what is best. For her and for yourselves. I don't know what that decision would be for you, but it sounds like this isn't working out so well. There are other ways that can benefit all of you.

And I'll just say it. It kinda sounds like you guys are a bit (or a lot) in over your heads, as they say. And, that's ok. There's such a learning curve to all of this. One thing I've learned? I want to make sure my mom is taken care of, emotionally, physically, financially, etc. And I'll never give up on doing that. But when I became unable to provide that care myself, and when changes were made? Turns out, it all worked out ok. I knew for the longest I was in over my head, but until it actually changed, and I look back, it wasn't until then I realized the insanity of what I was trying to do.
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Oh dear. Why would you want the moral high ground? What exactly is that anyway? Great answers given. It’s not giving up. It’s facing the truth. Alzheimer suffers go like a freight train and will roll right over the top of you. This is bad and no, you are not quitters You and your husband really need to get this sorted ASAP. You will go crazy - quickly. She is not physically healthy. She is peeing everywhere and while I am thinking about it, how many hours sleep a day is your husband getting? You say it is tearing your marriage apart. Your husband needs to place you before his mother and keep his marriage together. It’s his mother so stand firm and get him to deal with it and 100% believe me. IT DOESNT GET ANY BETTER.
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"Ultimately, I am so very disappointed in myself, that after not even half a year I’m even contemplating giving up - I thought I was made of sterner stuff. "


Not knowing everything about advanced Alzheimer's Disease and not having had the training and experience needed to care for somebody who has it is not a moral failing.

You took your MIL in to ensure that she had the care she needed. You have made a good start and her condition has recovered well. From here, she needs more than you and your husband can provide, no matter how hard you try. Remind yourselves sternly that the sole aim is to give her the care she needs; and surrender any unreasonable and counterproductive expectations you may still have of yourselves.
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DILKimba May 2019
There is no failure involved with these situations. It is okay to put down a load that is to heavy.

Look at it from a different perspective, her being in a facility will provide her with a village of people to boss around, plus there are 3 shifts, so no one is being sleep deprived. She will have lots of room to roam around, lots of different faces to interact with. She will have a base schedule and wiggle room to be who she is now and who she evolves to be.

You can go visit and see that she has her needs met, any special treats and turn around and go home.

Facilities are equipped to deal with human bodies that no longer have sound minds. They have the staff and resources to give that person a reasonably decent existence. And quite frankly, that's all you can expect dealing with this damnable disease.

Alzheimer's robs a person of so very much, but we don't need to let it steal our lives prematurely. Love and care don't mean sacrificing your wellbeing.

Find a certified elder law attorney ( will help you find one in your area, they can help ensure that dad isn't left destitute and impoverished by placing her in a facility that will give her the care she needs.

Perhaps now you can see why other family members said no, propping up some situations only cause greater harm when the bottom falls out, they were wise to step back.
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Psalms23 May 2019
😁🤓 So true. Thank you!
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