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I've been helping my 97 year old mother-in-law for 14 years now. She lives across the street and things are rapidly deteriorating concerning her health, my health(Lupus attack, anxiety) and my marriage. Things started out ok but in the past few years rapidly deteriorating. We got a little outside help last fall, 4 hours a day, 3 days a week......that happened only after I left to help with my own Mom( Alzheimers) and dumped everything in my husband's lap concerning his Mom. With my mother-in-laws failing health the agency is asking me to step up more........they know my husband isn't( I think or does everyone think it is a women's responsibility).......we are trying to get help up to 5 days a week...4 hours a day.......the agency just told me they found a second person...thank-God. Our 2 daughters both adults with busy lives are going to try to help out with calling Nana weekly....she is extremely lonely. Our son (local adult) over seeing things when we are gone for the occassional break... which he is doing and stopping in for weekly visit as well. Our biggest problem is my MIL and my husband have always had a very disfunctional relationship, and my kids are reminding me to try to be more understanding because of that. She has turned on me now too, so unfortunately neither of us what to be around her, she is also more short with her Grandkids too. Her Aide is very nice but doesn't see the entire picture. I go over at times when the aide is with her(to exchange info on how MIL is doing...my husband has only talked I believe once when I was out of town) and my MIL will be sweet as can be to me... but by myself...can be brutal. My husband avoids her because of her nasyiness to him. My girls were calling more but cut back to once or twice a month because angry and short with them too and not real happy with her Grandson now either. The only person that seems to make her happy is her aide. She has gotten nasty with neighbors too. My MIL is very angry with us and her life(feels we can do more and she would be happy)....she feels it is our responsibility to take care of her. Some of my concerns with my MIL are: not bathing(does a sponge bath), dirty hair, staying in her PJs day after day, eatting poorly, can't reason with her(my son and son-in-laws wanted to bring a bed downstairs this weekend so she would be near the only bathroom in her house....she refused saying I don't want anything in my house moved), she is now sleeping on a loveseat.....her bedroom is upstairs(she still goes up at times), she has short term memory loss, messing up medications, unsteady gait...I could go on and on. She is an accident waiting to happen. She does not want to go to Assisted Living where I think she could still qualify...my kids think that's where she needs to be my husband wants her to stay in her home...I think another avoidance of confrontation with his Mom. On top of all this I've been dealing with my Mom(Alzheimers, way worse just had to leave Assisted Living and is now in NH) I'm losing my Mom and want.... need to be with her more(siblings helping out there). The last time(about 5 weeks ago while in seeing my Mom)...as my husband said all hell broke out here(I was gone and unknowing to us the aide needed to take a week off and my mother-in-law would take no other help)....this all developed after I had left. My husband had to take his Mom to the ER( a full day of work he missed..luckily our son works with him and did the work of both)...she thought she was dying....constipation was the diagnosis......and she has been overdosing on stool softeners ever since. Basically I feel like I'm losing my sanity, health and marriage. I still love my husband and things are ok with us as long as his mother(the Elephant in the closet as our kids say) isn't bought up to him. She wants to stay in her home until she dies...she is in generally good health(her organs..heart,etc holding up well...mind definitely starting to go and her MD sees her as living to 100 as a good possibility.....he has told me just to hang in there......my husband and him are friends and not sure my husband is honest with what is happening.......my kids this weekend told their Dad he needs to tell the MD what is going on. What should I (we)do? I'm afraid and feel guilty something horrible will happen and can we be found negligent? Money is not a problem......she could be in the best Assisted Living or Nursing Home? She does not want to spend her money...I have cleaning help lined up...won't take it but complains how her back hurts from trying to clean and complains she can't stand how dirty her house is...I won't clean it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm trying to help with meals, do the MD appointments and emergencies and sociallize with her as tolerated. I'm 61 and my husband is 64......our friends and our kids think he just keeps himself as busy as he can so he doesn't have to deal with his Mom. His Dad(deceased) was the buffer for him.

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You wrote, "I know he is stressed with his Mom (he can't deny her increasing dementia now and hard on all of us her ever increasing anger)" but it sure sounds like he is still trying to, or at least wanting to. "He told me he understood if I wanted to not be involved with his Mom and I told him I needed to step back...just too much stress..." was part of the right answer, but going back on getting the lawyer and actually dealing rather than denying is for sure the wrong answer. Is there anything you can do to bring that back up with him in a calm moment, that you are losing your mom, but his mom might be with us for a while and getting the lawyer after all might make ongoing contact wth her more meaningful and positive for all - that you know perfectly well that neither of you can really totally turn your back on your parent, and just letting things happen is a tempting idea but isn't likely to work out very well, it will only be harder when things finally do fall apart? That he can be angry and stressed and wish with all his heart that he did not have to do this, but realize that he does have to do it? He knows you can't, he stil resents that he has to, I'd guess...

Someday all this will be past...being able to remember that you tried to support each other though it was hard will be a help to you both...you HAD to back off but had already done more and put up with more than anyone should have expected...hubby needs to know it will feel better if he at least tries to do what is right by his own mom, and he kind of knows what that is, it just very very hard to go through with it when it is your own parent...but you still have to go through with it. I will be praying for you that your last days with your mom are more peaceful, and that hubby will find the courage and care inside himself to do whatever really needs done.
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I'm very sorry things are going so badly for you today. If you feel you need to go to your mom's to stay sane, GO and don't feel guilty about it. If you are not already seeing a therapist, please find one. Even better if your husband and son will go as well. You need to take care of yourself, please, so you can take care of your mom and mother in law. Figure out what things you can do and what is too hard (either physically or mentally) and sit down with either the therapist or an uninvolved person who can help you figure out how to get the rest of the stuff done. But first, get some sleep and make sure you are eating healthy and getting away from the situation for at least a little while each day. You need help; no one can do all of this alone. Peace be with you.
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The best way to save your marriage and your sanity would be to totally back off on her and let nature take it's course. Your husband should look into Assisted Living for her very soon, she will kick and fuss at first, but it will be better than it is now. She should have a complete neuro-psych evaluation with a geriatric specialist. She is not connected to reality and I hope he sees that.
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Oh Maryjr, I am so sorry for you. What a train wreck. However, I see some of my own family in this scenario. My mother is very, very much like your MIL. Has been playing games with me for about 6 or 7 years now. Has always been narcissistic. So I understand the personality.

However, your MIL is not where the problem begins and ends. Your husband needs to see what she has done to him. He is not being fair to you. You need to take care of your own mother and your health. BTW, my grandmother had Lupus so I am familiar with this as well.

You are being pushed and manipulated by a narcissistic old woman who more than likely damaged her only child. You are their scapegoat. Please get out of this before it kills you. Your husband and his mother are being very selfish.

Sorry, I wish you well but you can't change or help these people. Just stand your ground. You have enough to deal with.
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Well life has turned to crap! My Mom is basically slowly dying a prolonged death...Alzheimers now complicated by the effects of a stoke affecting the right side of her body and what speech she had left(she is actually talking more just harder to understand a mix of present time the past and confusion). She is at high risk for stroke now and not much can be done....we are praying God will take her. Was out of town visiting my Mom for awhile following her stroke and just returned home to hell. MIL is firing her help, husband is short tempered with everyone including me. I took my MIL to the MD the other day, my husband left work to meet us at the MD office and she had a total meltdown in the office....she will not listen to anyone... she has told MD, agency, me, her son(only child)(my husband)and her Grandkids that she will decide when she needs help, told agency not to talk with me or my husband...and that she is perfectly capable of making decisions for herself. She is not talking to me or my husband now. My husband told me he was getting a lawyer involved to have her labeled incompetent(I did not witness the meltdown at the MD office so not sure what was said)...she has not let me into an office visit for over a year...just wants me to drive her to her monthly appointment for her valium prescription...I'm just her transportation. He told me he understood if I wanted to not be involved with his Mom and I told him I needed to step back...just to much stress. Now today not getting a lawyer and says he will just let the chips fall where they will and let her be a victim of her bad decisions. He than tells me he wants us to try having her over for dinner in a couple days and that means me being involved again......when I told him it was fine he was having his Mom over but I would go out...need to shop for a shower gift(said nicely) he got all upset with me telling me he wouldn't have his Mom over alone and would go out to eat by himself. I'm home where I was hoping to find a little rest, relaxation and compassion for a few days...boy was I wrong...my God my own mother is dying. He later stomped off to work....my son who works with him said he is short tempered with the help there too. I'm so tired right now don't know where to go or what to do. If things don't improve I'm heading out to my hometown to spend more time with my Mom in a couple days...maybe tomorrow... plan to go back in about a week anyways but will go sooner. It is hard there too watching my Mom suffer....it is more her mental anguish than her physical pain...it is gut wrenching....me and my siblings all trying to be there for Mom in the NH....have a schedule going. I know he is stressed with his Mom(he can't deny her increasing dementia now and hard on all of us her ever increasing anger), me with my Mom's situation. He is angry and short tempered and all I seem to do is cry.......I'm praying God please help us!!!!! I'm not be dramatic...it just hurts so bad.
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Things with my mother-in-law going ok right now....got addditional help help going just in time for her. Got a phone call from one of my sisters early this morning....our Mom had a stroke last night. Waiting to get more updates on her condition. Taken from NH early this AM to hospital. Initially unable to move her right side or speak but some improvement now noted...weakness right side but movement and attempting to communicate with the kids in town. Presently being moved to the neuro floor. Kids in town having us from out of town wait what our next move should be.....
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Dear Maryjr, what your husband needs is some sort of therapy. You are getting the side effects of what your husband has been through and it is not fair to you. Sounds as if your husband doesn't like to deal with unpleasant things. Not good at coping.......

Don't let him do this to you. My husband is very passive aggressive just like your husband. It took me 30 years to learn what I would take and what I would not take. Like you, I have a well educated husband from a fairly affluent family. I came from the South, uneducated and I have always been low man on the totem pole, as they say. But at 61, I am kicking ass and taking names.

I too have Ivy Leaguers in the family. We know how smart they are and how hard it is to get into this small circle. However, they are humans who will use and abuse if it suites them. Don't let it suit them.

I am assuming you are educated as are your siblings. Find your life. Love and help your husband but don't let him hide behind your skirts. Set boundaries. You will be angry for the rest of your life if you let this go on. Take care.
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Just got back from a get away with my husband....feeling better about things....these things can tear families apart or make them stronger. We now have aide coverage 5 days a week, 4 hours /day, kids calling Nana once a week, me doing Wednesdays(today hospital test for MIL( checking more on her digestive problems), breakfast out with her, MIL over for dinner to night.....today was a good day so far with her....that is how I and sibs deal with our own Mom with Alzheimers...she has good days and bad days...my own Mom's bad days are confusion and non-stop crying....I handle that better than my MIL's anger), Sunday.... day for my husband to check on his Mom and dinner again at our house if we are here( he is here for dinner when she comes on Wednesday...though he usually escapes to avoid confrontation after awhile(she can be very argumentative and so can he and he removes himself rather that loose it....fun times at our house but she usually wants to leave soon after that)....someone posted to me he could have been so hurt(can't remember exact words...no time to look up) that he can't jump back into the frying pan....I'm going with that.......my MIL's MD and the agency feel she can still live in her home for the time being so I'm accepting that.....told my hubby but only with the necessary help......not letting my MIL destroy our family or me either.... Another bump in the road we are navigating.....no easy answers. Having a Lupus attack didn't help either.
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Your husband is making you do this? Excuse me, but how is that possible since we are no longer in the Middle Ages? If he won't help, then definitely call Adult Protective Services to remove her from the house. If your husband doesn't like it, maybe a swift kick of his carcass down the front stairs would knock some sense into him (figuratively speaking). You'll be the bad guy for awhile but this isn't a popularity contest.
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I too have a mom who is very controlling and wants to be the total center of the attention (and center of the universe :) ) and I learned early to set unmovable boundaries. She soon learned to get along an cooperate with the program or do without. Sometimes she did without and that enphasized that her demands were not going to soften the boundaries so she could once again be in control. Set the boundaries. In you situation, you have got to or wreck your health and tear-up your family. One, ornery, old-lady is not worth that high price. You have value and rights too, and I don't mean as her doormat.
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Hi, Mary - This is a quick suggestion, as I am dealing with my own urgent caregiving challenge this morning. I didn't read through everyone else's comments yet.

If your MIL seems she is likely to keep living awhile longer (my father at 93 has cousins over 108) for the sake of the stability of the rest of your immediate family (you, hubby, and adult / younger kids) I support the comments I read that say she needs to go to a NICE assisted living place. Some are "bone yards" as my elderly father has seen recently.

IMPORTANT STEPS:

1. Asset Protection: If you haven't set up a "special needs Trust" - look into doing so. It may protect her assets. Medicare does a 5-year look back and assisted living place will likely also try to seize her assets as well.

2. Check References: If you have a place you want to consider, check references (!!!) with other families who monitor the place closely.

3. Visits and Adult Day Care First: Ease your MIL into day activities so she makes "friends" at the place - first. Familiar environments are easier to transfer someone to than entering into a cold CHANGE.

4. Contract - Get it reviewed by a lawyer!: Several years ago, a rehab facility on page 21 of their some 30 page small print contract, hid a clause saying they would put a lien on any real property my father had once the contract was signed. He was to be there three weeks only! I refused to sign - even though the Administrator repeatedly picked up the pen and "literally put it in my hands" (!) telling me "no one reads these things - they just sign." I told my father not to sign it either. They tried to get a signature once when he was high on meds and I walked in.

I just went through a similar experience with him on a reverse mortgage where the Notary forced signatures without his reading - or my reading documents. It worked out as we cancelled the Contract during the next 30 hours during the "cooling off" period.

Be very careful what you sign for --- that legal jargon -- you could be giving the place the right to put a lien on your assets as well.

5. Note on POA - - POAs can't open bank accounts. Found that out this week. You need a clause in the TRUST DOC that also says that the POA has the right to open a Trust Account, or convert an existing bank account to a Trust Account.
Check with your bank and lawyer on this - but that's how it is in California.
If you don't have this, and your MIL is of sound mind and can still sign for herself, our bank in common Branch Mgr looked into it with their legal dept and says the person in question can sign a letter and have it notarized giving the right to the POA to open an account if they are incapacitated.
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no one should have to do it all...but to say a person with Alzheimer's can make choices and be responsible is an improbable idea.
I am all for people with and without disabilities being comforted by routine,
but people who are not exactly their former selfs ....well lets put it the way I want to
Politically Correct, I believe in some dysfunctional families the elephant in the room is undiagnosed high functioning autism for which the parent developed patterns of behavior that comforted them. As long as they were ritualistically performed everything is cool, but when the brain begins to unravel even these ritualistic comforting actions become very unsettling because they do not even know why they do them....after watching my 86 year old for the past 7 years closely as I was home, she is not my MIL I have begun thinking that in her generation they did not go around diagnosing people with autism, I would think if it was manageable.
To me there seems to be some sort of correlation between people with Alzheimers and undiagnosed, but high functioning autism.
When the the two combine for a one two punch, they can be overwhelming.

In answer to the question of the sexes, women were seen as inside the home and men the outside, I do not harbor this believe system but men do, they run...
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Looks like everything is getting planned well. My concern is letting the aide help her write checks. A few years ago, my uncle(who had substantial money) had a live-in aide and he let her write checks and go to bank and cash. He also liked her and felt sorry for her and lent her money (we think 1,000's) that he told his daughter she was paying back when she could. she had to finally tell the aide she could not write checks. After he died, my cousin figured she go her bonus in loans. she would also go grocery shopping and take some of it home when she had her 2 days off a week. She came from an agency and it was included in job desc for lite housework, cooking, etc. my cousin had a cleaning person come in and the aide took that as not having to do anything.
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Enjoy your time away with your husband! Steroids can make you more emotional, so don't be surprised if you're a bit weepier than usual or unable to sleep, depending on your dosage.

Sounds like you're starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, between getting more help for you MIL, your kids helping more, and your husband starting to see what's really happening with his mom. Hang in there and take good care of yourself. You've got lots of help now, so you can relax a bit and let others take over some of the burden..
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Got my knitting needles going...one of my ways to relax. My hubby got the word that his Mom has dementia, cognitive impairment and short term memory loss. Hope he just needs more time to digest the information. He feels her staying in her house with help now 5 days a week 4 hour a day will be sufficient....and we'll increase as needed.....hopefully that will work. I'll see how things go but not putting things on hold I want and need to do. My hubby wants me to go away this weekend with him for a get away, we have coverage everyday but one, 4 hours a day and our son will be gone than also for the weekend(no coverage Sunday or Wednesday now), her aide is concerned and said if possible she will drop in to check on her after her other client on Sunday and i said we'd leave a phone number and my husband will call into check on Sunday how his Mom is(Sunday is his day...When we are home on Sundays she'll have dinner with us and he'll try to attend to things at her house(results of our family meeting)....my MIL says she'll be fine alone so ok with my hubby(still in denial I think..oh well). My husband is ok with this and I will be too...not my say. I'm going with my hubby....it is a nice place in the Mountains and I need it, She wants to live in her house and he wants her to have her way so that is what it will be. I think the diagnosis has helped me...will explain to concerned relatives(and ask them to talk to my hubby if they have concerns) that this is what we are dealing with(dementia,etc) and she wants to be home even though she calls them telling them her son is to busy and I don't help.......telling them I now think she does not remember how much I am in and out of her house and I am doing the best I can...and that I think Assisted Living is the way to go but not my say. My son who lives in the area is going to do more to(he is 29), trash out to the curb on Wed night, visits(he is going to try to see gently one on one why she wants to stay home if she is so unhappy and what she wants of me and his Dad.....and his sisters and him and see if he can talk any sense into her. We'll see it he can at least convince her to let them move her bed downstairs before she falls down the stars......everyone is worried about her falling down the stars. I'm going to take care of me and I'm in charge of Wednesdays with my MIL.... this coming Wed...Hospital test on her intestine in the AM, probably breakfast out after if she is up to it(and behaving ok), dinner at my house later in the day. I'll also be stopping in a couple times a week to see how things are going with the aides there and if she calls...right now doesn't call me for help unless desperate...like poop, but complains how she has to do all this stuff...clean her laundry, tidy her house to anyone who will listen... and no one ever visits and she is always alone.....ugh! I read other post and I am so much better off than so many other caretakers I read about. I can still have a life. Getting another aide in for 2 more days is helping me see clearer and relaxing. The end of August going with some girlfriends for a get away for a couple days to the Mountains and right after Labor day going in to spend a week with my Mom and sibs. In the fall making time to get together my my girls and Grandson. What is hard is knowing she has the money for additional help. I'm also telling myself I'm not being selfish doing things I want to do. I'm also going in to talk to my MD about me handling the stress. Part of my Lupus is anxiety and panic...now I'm doing that, and had my first full blown attack in a few years...joint pain, stiffness, rash...so now on steroids...and feeling better. I know it is not just my MIL, very hard to with my Mom's deteroriating condition and our big annual summer party thrown in on top of it all...to much stress. Thinking the party might be the last, started in our 20's now in our 60s...fun...maybe will restart when things slow down and do a smaller version. As my kids say...Mom you need a plan and that is what I'm trying to do....a reasonable plan where I stay healthy, me and my hubby are ok(she is usually worse to him than me....if she is ok I'll do somethings with her,if not I'll walk out and have alot of my interactions with her with other poeple around like the aides...she is always nicer when other people are present...have read that is not uncommon. Well signing off.
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I totally agree with blannie the only reason people hurt us is because we let them! maybe there should be a law about just how much crap caregivers can take and the elders are found guilty and punished by law I don't know maybe no sweet things for six months until they behave!!!
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Mary I agree with vstefans, this IS great news. Your hubby is finally stepping in and assuming more control, which takes the pressure off of you. It sounds like your MIL has a good doctor who sees what is happening and hopefully can work with your hubby and MIL to get her into a facility where she can be taken care of and enjoy herself (if she has any interest in being happy). At least now you know (and can tell others like the social worker) that she has cognitive impairment and dementia. Whatever you do and however well you do it may make no difference in your MIL's reaction. But it can make a difference in YOUR reaction. Drop the guilt - you've been a STELLAR daughter-in-law and she couldn't have asked for more (nor could your hubby). Keep us posted.
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Mary that's great news. It takes some of us embarrassingly long times to admit our elders are having cogntive problems, and it sounds like hubby's eyes are opened to it now and that alone should really be a huge help towards everyone coping a lot better. God Bless you all!
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The MD appointment went well and yes she was all dressed up and clean(as much as a self sponge bath can do)...her aide finally convinced her to go to the beauty shop with her and get a hair cut and wash a couple days ago...she did since she was coming to our house for our annual summer party this past Sat. and family and friends would be there. She was also dressed nicely(Aide there to assist her prior to the party and stayed with her for the party) and hair just done, otherwise all I see is her in are a nightgown, longjohns and a robe and maybe a sweater over that anyother day. The MD visit went well because my husband did make it and as usual I waited in the waiting room...she does not want me in any longer(this has been going on for almost a year). My husband asked about the Neuropsych Battery test and the MD said no, not necessary and told my husband your mother is dealing with cognitive impairment, dementia and short term memory loss...he is a GP who specializes in Geriatrics. My husband was in with his Mom and the MD for nearly an hour and he has an appointment with him tomorrow without his Mom. My husband came out rather stunned and told me he would be taking his Mom to further MD appointments. I said I would help as needed and he said he realized he needs to go and she is being totally unreasonable with me. I think he has been in total denial thinking her problems were short term memory issues only and conflict with him and now me. To me this is very big with dealing with my mother-in-law. He really can't say we'll do what she wants.....he is smart and I know he realizes it. He has been watching me and my sibs deal with my Mom's situation for 7+ years now. I think he will need to put his foot down...necessary help in the house or Assisted Living......I think Assisted Living but keeping my mouth shut.......my kids and some of her relatives and hopefully the MD can maybe help my husband see that is the way to go.
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After all the other advise my only thought is can you move. I can not imagine waking up every morning and seeing her house and wondering what evil she will think up today. Try not to let her pull you in. do what you have to do and keep your mouth shut. Remember it is not about you it is about her and she probably has little control over her actions now. Do you have a public health dept in your county? If so give them a call and they may visit and send in a nurses aide to take care of the hygiene part of this a few times a week. It may actually be too much for her to take a shower alone or something may not be working in the bathroom(she would never tell you) An Aide could also set up a pill box. There is nothing wrong with a sponge bath if she is actually doing it regularly. As for the hair, she probably can't manage that but won't get off her high horse to tell you and certainly won't accept your help. She has disliked you since the day you stole (as she sees it) her son and feels she wants to stand over you with a whip to punish you for the rest of her life. She has no idea that her nasty nature drove him away when he was a little boy. However that does not let your husband off the hook. He has the POA and is responsible so must enforce whatever is best for his mother. She behaves and stays in her home or sinks into further self neglect and has to be forcefully moved. She is far too physically healthy for you to wait around waiting for her to break a hip.
Is she able to get herself cleaned up and nicely dressed for her Dr appointments which she seems to enjoy. You certainly have my sympathy so take care and write if it helps you to unload that is what everyone is here for.
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OK, you just got dissed by MIL who is progressively cognitively impaired. FWIW.
I know it stings when a person you care about says unfair things like that, it would still get to me when my mom who couldn't actually see much at all told me I looked tired. She is saying that because she 1. does not appreciate you/takes you for granted, 2. can't get you to make her completely happy by doing everything for her all the time exactly the way she wants it done, and 3. has to blame someone besides herself for her problems and unmet needs.

You are more than entitled to a couple of good crying spells over this load of horse manure, but don't take it to heart! (BTW, you picked a good person to cry to!)She has no business making you feel bad and then complaining that she does not have even more opportunity to make you feel worse. You are taking on too much guilt - it is your vulnerability that you feel somehow you really SHOULD be doing more, but it is false guilt, believe me and believe your more rational mind on this one - and she is pushing that guilt button and pushing it hard. So, defend yourself simply and factually and you may even find that you are entirely right to defend yourself and you actually ARE doing more than should reasonably be expected. MIL is just not ever going to be reasonable in her expectations- she may not have been even before she became more cogntively impaired, and she's sure not going to get any more reasonable now.
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Just re-read my resent post.....sounds like I said mil beating up her son and now I'm beating him up too...meant feels like she is now beating me up too.
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Was feeling pretty good about everything the start of this morning......my husband even offered to go to the MD appointment with me and his Mom today if he gets home from work in time......my mother-in-law no longer wants me to accompany her into the examining room...the nurses have asked me to come but my MIL says she'd rather be with the MD alone......this started last fall after I insisted we needed additional help(insisted to My husband not my MIL) and started with help 3 days at that time...prior to that she always wanted me there because of her hearing and she couldn't remember. A relative of my MIL called today to ask me what is going on with Mary. I told her we are having alot of issues lately. MIL had called her and told her, my husband is to busy and I do nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did get upset and started crying(I've turned into a crying mess lately) saying besides the aide I'm the only one and gave examples of what I'm doing lately(I could probably do more physically but as my daughters told me over the weekend that they can see I'm emotionally spent.and as my son said Nana wants a slave).......I feel like I'm defending myself. This women is a geratric social worker and she feels MIL belongs in Assisted Living and needed to be there a year or so ago or more..........I agree but I don't feel like I have any control over anything. The agency we are dealing with than called and gave me advice how to communicate with my MIL more effectively. She was very nice and maybe I'm being overly sensitive but I think I've been very careful in how I interact with her......maybe I am more of a problem than I realize. They say she feels out of control and we need to be gentle and understanding how we bring difficult subjects up.......I have had some practice with my own Mom and we did it successfully.......my MIL is a totally different personality. I keep a gentle voice, only hung up phone on her once when she was screaming at me(that was about getting help in...the aide she now loves)......that is when she would not talk to me for 5 weeks and my husband said I needed to talk first or she would never talk to me again.....Thanksgiving was coming so I called and spoke to her about the Thanksgiving plans........she never said anything acted like nothing happened but cold to me ever since or nasty.......I really don't know how to communicate with her. I'm not mean...my Dad always called me the peacemaker...maybe that is my problem.....I try to hard to fix stuff and make peace...ugh. Not being mad at hubby, he has been beaten up by her and now me...we are in this together. The women from the agency is going to e-mail me more info and we talked about my MIL possibly benefiting from a Full Neuropsych Battery of test to try to get a handle on what is going on. I'm going to mention that to my husband when he comes home at lunch time. My mother-in-law wants more medical testing, her MD says he can find nothing seriously wrong so maybe she'll go for this. I told the woman from the agency she is acting more strange..losing interest in her apperance, told her my mother-in-law did get along reasonably ok at one time with me but really deteriorated in the past year(she is angry with me because I asked for additional help...my husband told her(not me at that time we were getting help in and that I couldn't do it alone anymore, he is also the one telling her we are going up to 5 days a week now....I'm not the one delivering the news but she is blaming the need on me I feel), and my kids are noticing nana changing more and more too...angry they find and unable to reason with her. I know this will eventually come to a head......maybe today at the MDs office...I'll be sitting in the waiting room........I'm just the no pay help she wants.......I don't want pay, I just don't want to do this anymore at least not like this.
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I'm sorry you are in such a tough situation. Please remember, you can't take care of anyone unless you take care of yourself first. I hope you can be at peace with the idea that you need to put some limits in place to save your own sanity and family; sounds like you are doing a good job of that already.
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You've got a very good attitude now that you've seen what some other caregivers have to say. Your kids all sound extremely mature and wise - you and your husband have obviously created a very loving family. Don't let your MIL try to tear it apart. She is a sad, ornery old lady - but she's CHOOSING to behave that way. You've given her lots and lots of chances to join your family in love and she doesn't want that. She wants everyone miserable and kowtowing to her every need and whim. Set and stick to those boundaries! Good luck and keep us posted.
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All the responses have been so helpful. I've been reading other dialogues similiar to mind and I know things I need to acknowledge now and change. None of us can fix my MIL and make things good. Boundaries need to be set up, we had them before and need to do them again and adjust as needed....as our son says Nana wants a slave and preferably one she does not have to pay. At this point 2 different aides 5 times a week, plan to go to 7 days soon.....think the idea of 2 people good for coverage as well as input as to how things are going and if things need to change(like outside placement)....that will help me and I'm sure my hubby and kids. On the days she is alone Wed. and Sunday provide dinner(that will also be socializing time and I'll take her to her monthly MD appointment.....I can manage that. Part of the problem with me is I'm afraid what other people think letting her live like this.....helps knowing this is not unusuaI and will be telling myself that me, hubby and kids are doing the best we can under the circumstances and this is her choice...My girls have told me to remind myself of this and I will. I know she does not want to give up control. I'm going away with my hubby Saturday thru Tuesday for a get away and the aides will be there for MIL all but Sunday and me or my hubby will do a quick call in that all is fine on Sunday to his Mom when no one is there(local son also out of town)......we have a neighbor who checks that her lights are on... and nothing unusual...she use to stop in and have tea with my MIL occassionally especially if we were away but my MIL got angry at her when she sugested she needed some outside help...refuses to talk with her since. Concerning my own Mom will visit when I can...aim to go for a few days every 6 to 8 weeks....I've been wanting to run to Mom when things get to crazy at home but not good idea...jump from a fire into another difficult sad situation as my girls pointed out. My kids said Mom you need a plan...I was just talking in circles, feeling panicky and my husband shutting down.......we both ended up yelling at each other.....me yelling and crying"she is not my Mother, she is your mother, I can't do this anymore" and him yelling back"what do you want me to do.... quit my job.......obviously we are not communicating very well. We are usually not screamers....we both tend to shut down and at least for me mull things over in my head and can't stop...need to start working on a knitting project and get back to exercise and yoga...that helps with the anxiety......got my self stuck and unable to think. We both want to keep our relationship intact, start doing things on our bucket list while we can...and when we are with our kids have fun and me especially not worry about Nana...we use to try to even include her in some activities but she gets upset with our choices and feels that we don't think of her. In the mountains we hoped she could sit and enjoy a change in scenery in a nice rocker at the camp while we took a hike with our kids.....we'd not leave her all day...just a few hours......that would leave her feeling slighted....so we stop taking her most places....it is also much harder as she ages. Thinking clearer and making my family...hubby, kids and Grandson my 1st priority.
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It's just so sad to me (as a total outsider looking in) that one mean, nasty old narcissistic woman can wreak such havoc on a loving, intact family such as yours. You're all jumping to her tune, trying to please her, trying to take care of her trying to respect her feelings and for what? More criticism and dysfunction at every turn. At some point I think you have to save your marriage and your relationship with your children. Step back and set some major limits on how much you'll try to "rescue" your MIL. She's still apparently competent - let her take care of herself as much as possible. If she doesn't want help, so be it. It's not worth destroying your entire family over such an ungrateful, hateful woman - who's been that way her whole adult life from what you're saying. I believe in honoring your parents but not at the expense of your own mental, physical, and marital health. Just my own two cents of course.
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My husband is fine with me going out of town to spend time with my Mom. She lives about 6 hours away so I tend to be away 4 or 5 days at a time. My next trip will be most likely late August or early September when school starts up....a number of my local siblings are teachers or have kids in school or heading off to college....good time for me to help them out....give them a break....we all try to take turns being with my Mom a few hours each day when possible, only made possible because there are alot of us....and not all days can be covered. My husband saw my Mom for the first time in 4 years this summer, last time at our daughter's wedding.......he really liked my parents(my Dad died about 7 years ago) and my huge family and they liked him. He and my son are having a hard time seeing my Mom in such horrible shape, my daughters are handling it better. My husband's friends and our kids also think my husband is having a terrible time getting old.....says to me when he gets bad there will be a hunting accident.... My husband and I went to a baseball game tonight and I relaxed more...no conversation about MIL.... someone mentioned about my beaten up husband in this blog and I thought how true, going to think that when I feel angry at him. I've been angry at him and the whole situation and she really has made his life hell at times.....when his Dad died she told him well you never loved your father...furthest thing from the truth......when his Dad was failing our kids were middle school, HS and college, we were both working, my husband running his own business, and inspite of distance(we live in the northeast) we made it down(3x in less than 2 months leaving our kids with neighbors keeping an eye on things...horrible time) and got hospice involved....we were not there when he died...he wanted to be. My husband asked his parents not to return after that final summer because he knew his Dad was failing rapidly(dementia and physically) they went anyways....my mother-in-law had to put my FIL in a NH about six weeks after arriving in Florida. There has been so much hurt. One of my daughters told me she is finding me very angry at her Dad....she is afraid we'll end up divorced. I'm not going to be mad at my husband, I don't want to leave him over this, saw a photo of us in happier times yesterday and it made me cry, want that back......right now my kids are for just letting things play out. Her house is not real dirty, her aide does some light cleaning...vacumn, tidy bathroom and dusting and helps with laundry. My MIL is still taking laundry down to the basement as well even though we all ask her not to do that.. The aide is trying to get her to agree to the cleaning lady I have lined up for once a month...we'll see. She has fallen a few times that we are aware of but no broken bones.......she has good bone density for her age....done several years ago. I feel she will still be considered able to make her own decisions and I don't want to call Adult Protective Services about her. I'll do what we need to do with my kids ok and hopefully husband's ok too if we get to the point Assisted Living or NH are the only options and she refuses. My husband is now insisting that his Mom have help in 5 days a week 4 hours a day...hopefully she won't fight us on that..it is arranged now and she is not happy... she feels it is not necessary and he said after that we will go for 7 days....that was part of the plan at our family meeting yesterday......my kids came up with the family meeting idea....they reminded us we use to have family meeting when they were young....worked than and hopefully will work now.....feeling better.
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Hey - its OK, you have already done everything we could come up with, I guess its time for me to remind *myself* that the easy problems have been solved already. It MUST be hard for hubby to do more for mom with her life-long rejection of him as a male!! My parents wanted a boy, and I'm a girl, but they more or less eventualy got over it, at least my Dad would occasionally say he was proud of me. And, partly because I had a more troubled relationship with Mom, I had a harder time with her passing than I did with my Dad, so it may be that way for your hubby too. Neither you nor hubby should have to live up to expectations that MIL seems to have, of being responsible for making her happy in every way...

Is hubby "there for you," reasonably supportive when it comes to your mom, even though he does not have the kind of relationship that you did?
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I'm curious though what happens if APS comes out sees the bad living conditions but also that the MIL is still competent. I thought under those circumstances they couldn't force her to do anything even if she chooses to live horribly?

MaryJr, I face similar circumstances with an elder who wants to be in control at all costs and a family history of dysfunction, it is a toxic brew. Good luck to you.
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