My mother in law has developed dementia. It has reached a point where she can't stay home by herself, and my husband and his brother have moved her into an assisted living facility. It's a beautiful, expensive facility, but she's unhappy there because it isn't her house, and she wants to return home. My husband has been stressing himself out running to her house across town to get things for her and taking them to her in the facility several times a week, and every time he sees her, she complains and wants to go home.

My husband brought up to me the possibility of having her go back home and having us move in with her, to take care of her. My husband works full time. I stay home and homeschool our early elementary aged child.

I really think this isn't a good idea, for multiple reasons. Our child has developed severe food allergies, and I'm still learning how to cook for this diet. I have health issues and am on a special diet. Adding another person to cook for who has fixed preferences for convential foods would add another layer of cooking labor when it's already overwhelming. I also have limited physical capabilities due to injuries.

My mother in law can be very sweet, but she is often very critical and speaks negatively about people, and has her TV on constantly, tuned to angry politics and violent news. She also collects papers, magazines, and other things, and her home is full to bursting. Not quite hoarders level because it's mostly organized and clean, but there are many boxes and piles of papers. She's been this way as long as I've known her, and I can only imagine it getting worse. My husband gets irritable after spending time with her (again, this has been going on since before the dementia). I don't think I'm physically or emotionally capable of meeting her needs. I think it would be very detrimental to our child. I think it would be extremely detrimental to our marriage. I don't know how I'd be able to adequately homeschool and take our child to activities while being responsible for someone with dementia at home.

On top of this, my mother (who lives in another city) is dealing with cancer right now, and I need the freedom to be able to go and see her on occasion.

Everything in my gut tells me that moving in with her is a bad idea, and that she needs to stay in care, but I dont' know how to tell my husband. I don't want him to think I don't care. I do care, but I think we need to be realistic about what we can handle, and I think this is more than we can handle.

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I am sure your husband is worn out and looking for a way out. It may seem to him that it will be easier if he isn't running to her house, but it will not. It is also hard to listen to the complaints. I don't know how long your mother in law has been in her new place, but it takes time to adjust. My mother took months. If she has dementia, it will not get easier no matter where she is. I suggest your husband cut back on his visits so she starts turning to other people and activities in Assisted Living. Right now, harrassing him is her entertainment. Set up certain days and don't leap to instantly get what she asks for. For some time, I only visited my mother with another person because she behaved better.
Helpful Answer (27)

Listen to your gut. Don't do it. You're concerned about cooking for another person? What happens when you're in the middle of one of your son's school lessons and your mother-in-law becomes agitated and angry and nasty and it takes 2 hours of various tactics to calm her down?

Your husband may think it's the perfect solution since you're home already during the day but who's going to get up with mother-in-law when she awakens at 12:30 a.m. searching for the antique sugar bowl she received on her wedding day?

When the time comes who will be the one who bathes and cleans your mother-in-law?

What will you do after you've been caring for your mother-in-law for 2 years and the resentment and anger and guilt and exhaustion are tearing your marriage apart?

This is more than you can handle. I know your husband is feeling guilty about his mom being in a facility but when people have dementia that's where they usually need to be. I don't know how long she's been there but it can take months and months for someone to get acclimated. Believe me, if he pulls her out now 1.) there will be no going back. Ever. 2.) It will be the beginning of the end of your life as you know it.
Helpful Answer (24)

You have very good points, and as a full-time caregiver to my Husband (with dementia) and my Father, I support your conclusion 100%. Never do anything that will put your marriage or family at risk.
Helpful Answer (22)

What your husband really means is that your family move in with his mother so YOU can be free full time caregiver.

Tell your husband he will have to FIRST change to a part time job and then you will make a written agreement as yo exactly which days are HIS and which are YOURS. Make very certain he has the time to honor his part of this labor division...or he will weasel out of it. He doesn't like spending time with her...he wants to dump that on you. Don't let him. Bet he changes his tune in a hurry when he has to FIRST lose his job to be available to her

You are not responsible for her happiness. Do not do this. No one will be happy. And, finally....she is only going to keep getting worse.
Helpful Answer (22)

Please do not do it.
It will ruin your marriage and you.
Your mother in law will adapt to the nursing home.
Take care of your child first .
My husband ask me to bring his mother to live with us
When I said okay only if he quit his job and stayed home to
care for her it was a different story.
He placed her in a nursing home.
Good luck
Helpful Answer (20)

You are right on target.

I would only add that it sounds like he's emotionally enmeshed with his mother and needs some healthy boundaries with her. He needs to realize that by moving into her house, he will be seen as being her little boy once again and will be treated as such by her. That will set up an emotional triangle in which he is caught in the middle trying to keep two women happy which want work. What I am saying is that he needs to put his marriage first, his job second and his mom third for she is being cared for at an assisted living. 

Also, this running back home every time she complains is a war trying to make her happy that he is not going to win. We can't make others happy. That is something she must find herself. I am sure a lot of people in assisted living places would like to go home, but many of them realize that this is not possible anymore for various reasons and reasoning is something that just can't be done with someone who has dementia so give it up and try distracting the conversation to something else. 

I think you two need to be somewhere without distraction from other family members and have a very important heart to heart talk. You may want to begin by empathizing with his concerns about his mom and how hard this must be on him, and then bring up your concerns in light of how you see the bigger picture which you don't feel that his over focus on his mom sees. The less you can sound like you are attacking him, the better this should go. He needs to hear and understand your concerns.

I hope this helps.
Helpful Answer (19)

As you say, "I don't want him to think I don't care. I do care, but I think we need to be realistic about what we can handle, and I think this is more than we can handle."

You don't know how to tell him? "Darling husband. I don't want you to think I don't care. I do care, but I think we need to be realistic about what we can handle, and I think this is more than we can handle." You can then add the list of reasons: homeschooling, existing difficulties to be accommodated, the need for you to be absent regularly which can only increase, alas, and the fact that your MIL's own care needs also will necessarily increase.

You're right. It's a difficult conversation, but don't be in any doubt that you are correct in your assessment. I'm sorry DH is sad and stressed, but bringing MIL home is not the solution.
Helpful Answer (19)

My dear, what CM said above.

DH needs to understand that he cannot make his mother happy (one cannot MAKE anyone else happy!).

His and your energies would be best spent getting her to a mental health professional, perhaps a geriatric psychiatrist; it sounds as though there are underlying issues of long-standing. They might be ameliorated with meds, maybe not, but certainly worth a look.

Ask DH to talk to the social worker or other advisor at the facility. Is his mom happy when he's not there? Many elders are actually perfectly content in their new lives, but harp on their adult children when they come.

When my mom moved to Independent Living, she would call us to complain about one thing or the other. Our response was "mom, you have staff to take care of that" (ants in the kitchen, broken light bulbs, etc).

"Oh, but I don't want to be a complainer".

"Mom, for $5000 a month, they d@mn well better do what they're supposed to". THAT got her attention!
Helpful Answer (18)

All of the above. Do not bring her into your home.
Helpful Answer (18)

You already know that this will not work - so don't let him persuade you to try it etc. Your MIL is only going to get worse and end up right back where she is now, or in a SNF. Why not keep her where she will end up anyway - but help her to adjust? You are not a one - person assisted living. You must be direct to husband - you guys are not abandoning her, you will visit, see that her needs are met, but at the same time making sure you and your son's needs are met too for schooling. He might think you do not care - you can tell him how you BOTH can care for her but not be hands on in-home care.

I'm starting down the same road myself - my husband's parents sprung on us that they want us to live together - me saying "over my dead body" and my husband wanting us to try. Be direct, be strong - otherwise in a few months we'll be reading your posts about how angry, ill, stressed, and resentful you are.
Helpful Answer (16)

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