How to respond when you don't agree with sibling about Mom's condition?

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My MIL moved in with us (we have a detached living quarters to our home) and her daughter insists our 95 yr old mom has Dementia. Mom has lived with us 2 months and doctors, friends are amazed with this woman. She has to do a flight of stairs to get to apartment, shows no signs of dementia and is a joy. Gets up each day, fixes her coffee, do makeup, hair, dress etc. And she has what I call normal memory for being 95, great recall uses a cellphone even though it is frustrating, engages in conversations. She had some medical issues (a minor TIA from untreated high BP) so we've seen a neurologist and he said she follows directions and doesn't have dementia. She had not been taking her medications while living with daughter for her blood pressure and had been under a lot of stress. But we've been able to get her health back. There is a lot more about the situation but we're going to be going back to where the sister lives (110 miles away) to get moms house ready for sale soon. The siblings do not get along and I just am not good at figuring out what to say.

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My parents do not have dementia, but, they can act VERY different around other people than they do me and each other. My mom was acting very outrageous in the ER once and all I did was invite one of my brothers into the room....OMG. Total change in her behavior. Like night and day. I told him what happened, but, I'm not sure if he believes it. I'll have to video tape it sometime. Seniors really can be a mystery.
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I agree, let your husband handle what is said between him and sister. I wouldn't say Mom is doing lots better. Just that she seems to have adjusted and Dr. gives her good grade. If she argues, let husband handle it.
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Boy you hit it on the head and I really appreciate your insightful reply.
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The piece of the puzzle that may be missing for you is the years of mom/daughter relationship before you ever came into the picture. And mom may well have been showing signs of dementia if she had a TIA and uncontrolled high BP while she was with sister. Just be glad you've got things looking up and mom is feeling better. I wouldn't be too down on the daughter, as she may have lived with a different "side" of mom that you don't see. And you may see that side of mom in the future, who knows?

I would let your husband contact his sister with updates. I always bristled when my SIL was the go-between for my brother about our parents. I felt like it should be my brother's job, not my SIL. It annoyed me that my brother wasn't involved enough to contact me. That's just my 2 cents about it.

Good luck, it sounds like you've got it handled. Just have compassion for the sister - she may be battling demons you're not aware of. She may feel guilty that mom is doing well now and doesn't know how to maturely express those feelings, so just isolates herself.
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I totally understand - I am the SIL and the daughter is very hurt but her behavior is really causing concerns. I think I am part of this problem as I am the cheerful one. I didn't live with mom for 4 months immediately following her being moved from her home but I know my husband - her youngest son, is the one that went to get mom from the toxic situation. Mom doesn't want to go back but loves her daughter very very much. Mom agrees she was doing some crazy things and the neurologist said it was directly related to her high BP. So since my SIL doesn't communicate with us I'll leave it at that. We have just the sale and clean up of the house and should have that done in the next 6 weeks. I just wish my SIL wouldn't take it out on mom. She is a dear sweetheart of an old lady and I say that with great affection, we are unfortunately having a very good time while the other is left out. I feel bad for this hurting mom but was going downhill and had given up her will to live but at least I see that we're improving now. I just don't understand someone saying that a loved one has mental issues, arguing and not contacting the caregiver for updates; I'll just text.
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Your sister in law must feel pretty crummy about this situation. I know. I was in it.

My mom much preferred my SIL, was much more cheerful, compliant and happy when SIL was around. We used to joke about it, but it still hurt.

My SIL made it better by saying mom didn't have to put up with HER as a moody teenager, or cope with her childhood issues. My SIL also claimed until the day mom died that she didn't have dementia. She did. I had the neuropsych testing that said so, and I also knew that mom's reasoning was off, because ultimately, I knew her better.

If SIL doesn't want updates, just send an occasional text and don't expect a reply.
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Yes, we are on a list to have mom in a retirement apartment. She is living relatively on her own now but we feel she will experience a better life with more social. You are right, we had a MRI and cat scan along with physical examination by neurologist which he said had no signs of Dementia. I am sure this doesn't mean we may not have this disease in the future. I'm sure he will continue to watch and test.

The daughter never calls us for how is mom doing, and I've tried to keep her posted by text messages mostly as phone conversation deteriorates because I don't know what to say. I always say it takes two to tango...mom is more compliant with me and I've discussed with mom part of it is my personality and I observation that mom want to be asked and not told what to do.
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Do you need to say anything about mom's condition?

Is there any thought that mom can return to living alone?

Maybe mom is more compliant with meds when it's not her daughter asking her to take them?

Did the mom have a "real" diagnostic workup and not just a perfunctory "she can follow directions" at a neurologist?

Dementia is more than not being able to follow directions. It has to do with lack of reasoning skills, among other skills.
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I'd be cautious about making assumptions, since you have only had your MIL for a couple of months. There may be a lot of things you aren't aware of. And even if MIL seems fine now, maybe she wasn't then. Plus, issues like that can fluctuate. I'd keep an open mind and hold off on assumptions for a good while.

And, I would check with an expert on selling real property and the handling of assets, just in case MIL needs Medicaid down the road. Those proceeds may be tracked and I"d make sure it was done in a way to protect MIL.

But, if MIL is doing great, that's awesome. If they ask, I'd likely say that she's settled in and you are working on making sure she's comfortable. I'm not sure I'd rave about how great she is and that she doesn't seem to have the problems they claim. I'm not sure how that would help matters, but, that's just me.
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