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In Feburary, my MIL moved back in with us. She is a diabetic, has a blood disorder, and memory issues (she had several mini strokes that we where unaware of 4 years ago). She is not aloud to take her meds by herself, she is not aloud to drive, she forgets things (like boiling water, turning on burners, what day of the week it is), she will go days/weeks/longer without taking a shower (or changing clothes), and she lays in bed all day (eating, sleeping, watching t.v). No matter how many times she is talked to about things it never does any good. At the last doctor appointment we went to, I broke down in tears and talked to the doctor and mom about everything and how things need to change. Mom agreed that she would start trying harder, get on an eating schedule, start bathing, exercising, taking meds at the right time, checking sugar, etc. She has not tried to change anything at all. How as a caregiver (who is trying to do everything with no help from anyone) do I go about implementing a schedule and making her do it?? She in the opinion of her doctor, myself, and the family needs someone with her at all times. I do not want her to be put in a nursing home (I had to do that to my grandmother and it ruined our relationship). I do not mind caring for family, I am the family caregiver, but there has to be a happy medium for me to keep my sanity! Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

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It sounds like she needs a therapist to come in and help her do these things, including making a schedule. Ask her doctor to prescribe in-home evaluation and have the appropriate therapist set up her schedule. That way, it's done by a professional and isn't YOUR fault... Plus, they can help you figure out how to get her to comply. Therapists have tons of experience doing that.

Before my husband came home from live-in rehab, the rehab center sent a vision/vocational therapist to my house to check things out and answer questions for me. She was very helpful, then the whole therapy staff explained to him in advance how things were going to work. They even explained to him about why "they made me" hide the cooktop knobs to remind him not to use the stove while I was out. Her doctor can order it for her.
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You certainly have got your hands full. Especially important, I feel, that she doesn't burn the house down…

Hang in there, it will all come together x
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Eddie, to answer your questions..... it is my MIL and my husband role.....bringing home the bacon. My role is to make sure that my MIL takes her meds, gets blood drawls (sometimes once a week), goes to the doctor(s), and doesn't burn my house to the ground...... as well as keeping up the house, cooking, laundry, shopping, running errands, taking care of the animals, taking care of our son, etc.

I just got my insurance license in August and started a business with Aflac and I cannot work because I am terrified to leave her alone for to long.

I have sat down and done a schedule for her that was suppose to hang on the fridge and she took it down and nothing has changed. I sat down and did a new entire year calendar that I am getting ready to hang up and see if anything changes but I am not holding my breathe! If things do change they change for a day or two and then go right back to the same old stuff!

I have also come to the conclusion that she should not be keeping track of things by herself. One day she argued with me because I had her medicine ready for her and she wanted to know why because she had to already have taken it because she wrote it down and refused to take it. Just the other day was her birthday and I got her a cake, when I asked her what her sugar reading was she told me 175 but my son went and checked and it was 253. So.....she is either lying on purpose or really losing her mind!!!! Either way I have my hands full!!!!!!!
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Read your profile and am a little confused. Is it your MIL or your mother? If it's your MIL, what role is your husband playing here besides bringing home the bacon? They say a little suffering is good for the soul, but this is ridiculous.

Whatever the case may be it's time for a "consequential" heart-to-heart with someone who's getting a little too comfortable. After all, the ailments -- except perhaps some depression & slight memory loss -- aren't that serious.

A home health care worker, as Sharyn suggested, is a wonderful idea. Prepare a calendar of activities that includes all her needs and hand it to her. If that doesn't work, reach out to family for help. Also, don't forget to nag her.

Any way you look at it, your relationship is going to change.
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Countrymouse - I talk a good game, but I too spend too much time in my jammies and playing freecell. There may be some dynamic "exceeds expectations" caregivers here, but a lot of us do our best, which is pretty good some days, and a little less spectacular on other days.
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Jinx you're right - I phrased that badly, and of course the dementia does affect her thinking processes, so that gadgets that seem straightforward to me can be very difficult for her to understand, let alone remember to use in practice. Her riser/recliner easy chair has an Up button and a Down button - how hard can it be??? And yet I'm constantly amazed at the positions she ends up in…

I expect that difficulty to increase as her dementia progresses; but at the moment she's comparatively able mentally, which is why I suspect her personality still has a lot to do with it, in causing her actively to reject help.

The thing with my mother is that on most days she knows perfectly well how to use her call button, and on rare occasions even proves it by doing so - which is why I found it so exasperating that she often didn't when she really should have done. If I'd followed your advice above from the beginning and just acted on the assumption of dementia I'd probably have endured a lot less stress!

And thank you for the kind words, but actually I feel very small - if I'm so clever, how come I'm sitting here in my pyjamas and bathrobe at lunchtime?! Heigh ho. I'm sure I'll get the hang of this eventually...
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Countrymouse is very wise, but I do disagree with one thing she says. You are right that she has no reason to want to cooperate with you, but I think you are wrong about it not being due to dementia.

To remember not to get up without help, for example, she needs to think of two things at once. She is hungry and wants a snack. AND she promised not to get up by herself. She simply doesn't remember the second part. Her brain JUST DOESN'T REMEMBER. My husband is in early stages, and he can't even remember that there's a box of tissues at his right elbow. "Why aren't there any tissues around here?"

I'm not saying don't get tough, because she needs to take care of her health somewhat. But I think cajoling and luring will get what you want done more easily. She no longer has what it takes to follow a schedule. It's up to you to keep her on schedule as much as you can stand. *sigh* Just what we all need, more work. But as NotHisFault says, accepting reality and getting the job done is less tiring than expecting her to cooperate or initiate.

I get your frustration. I don't think following my husband around to guide him to do every little thing sounds like much fun. I'm not looking forward to it.
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I sat down Thursday (with my husband and mil) and finally had a talk about things. She finally got out of bed a little more and I am happy to report that she got a shower on her own yesterday. Woo Hoo!!!! But when she got out of the shower she says "that was too much like work." Oh well it is a start!!! I have notices a lot over the last few months that I think her memory is worse than the doctor realizes. This morning she got up and asked if today was Thursday. She has a calendar in her room and has to write in a book daily her sugar reading and if she took her meds and still she can not keep the days straight. It is a lot to handle and I know that she is often depressed but I am sticking to my guns and I am going to get her through this. I think that it is hardest for me that I had just went back to work and now I worry about leaving the house! Another hard thing for me I think is her lack of "living"! She is only 67! I think I just expect her to want to do more because my grandmother was 90 when I took care of her and she has so much more drive to live. She has asked a doctor before what her motivation should be to do more............ hello your motivation is your health and living!!!!! Again I do thank you all for your advise and support! Your words and advice are really helping!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! hugs to all of you!!!
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Great and thoughtful suggestions above and I agree with them all. The schedule can start with just bathing every other day and coming out of her room for meals. That is actually a lot for a person with dementia and probably all that she can handle. For my Mother I make sure she is safe and fed. If she wants to watch TV all day that is fine with me. I want to make her last years as stress free as possible. I figure she has lived 90 years - it is OK to relax for heavens sake. Good luck on this journey. You sound like a really loving DIL.
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Being the full-time caregiver for my husband who has later stage Alzheimer's, it has been my experience that it's extremely hard to "make" a dementia patient do things. They get combative, you get into an argument and nothing really gets accomplished. I have found that distracting and just doing it FOR them works best for me. Honestly, I don't have time to talk my husband into everything. I do let him know what we're doing as we're doing it, but I just keep moving him along - talking the whole time about 'whatever'. I crack jokes (even though he doesn't get them) and am a little silly and laugh as I'm constantly moving forward. I do things quickly and keep saying "we're almost done". I realize doing everything for your MIL probably sounds overwhelming, but I have found so much more peace - AND time for myself by just getting it done. I bring my husband to the table for meals to get him out of bed and have him on an every-other-evening bathing schedule. I never ask him if he wants to do something because he will inevitably say 'no'. Anyway, this is what helped me. God Bless You in your efforts.
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You put your finger on it right there: "a happy medium." That's what you need to find. Agree with everything above such as delegating specific care tasks to outsiders - someone coming in to the home to bathe her, for example, will get less backchat from her and will just get the job done.

The other phrase that springs to mind is "pick your battles." Choose the ones that make a serious difference either to you or to her. So, yes, timetable meds, blood sugar checks, basic hygiene on the "Must Do" list and enforce them without mercy; but exercises, hair care, less clinically critical items on the "Good To Do But Kind Of Up To Her" list. Make a sort of A tasks and B tasks schedule, if you like. The latter you remind her about, encourage her to do, offer help with and so on; but if you're getting nowhere then just leave it. You can always try again.

The promises she makes and invariably fails to keep? Phew! That touched a sore nerve with me. Makes you scream. "Mother, you MUST call me before you get up and walk about. It is DANGEROUS for you to be on your own, you will fall." "Yes I will. I didn't realise. I forgot. I will next time. I know now. I don't like to bother you." 3 months of mounting rage on my part before the penny dropped: she was agreeing in order to shut me up. She had no intention of complying, not ever. Didn't want to bother me? Au contraire. She didn't want me bothering her.

Once I realised this, I could also see her point of view. How would I like to be supervised every time I went to the bathroom? Of course that doesn't change the stark reality that if she isn't so supervised disaster will sooner or later follow, but it did make me appreciate that she has a valid reason for rebelling against her situation that has nothing to do with dementia. We've put pressure pads on her easy chairs and beds that are connected to her call system, so now she can't avoid/doesn't have to ask for my help - I just turn up like a bad penny, often to her amazed surprise (it helps to see the funny side); and I do my best to respect her privacy. Not perfect, but it helps me, minimises intrusion into her life, and is a great stress-buster.

Don't be afraid to let her please herself as far as is safe and hygienic. Of course it isn't "good" for anyone to slob around all day in front of the tv and eat unhealthy snacks; but if that's what she wants to do, you have to have a really good reason for changing it. You're not training a racehorse, you're doing the fantastic, loving job of making her last years as happy, comfortable, secure and safe as possible. If she's happy, and you're happy caring for her, then it really doesn't matter if you never quite manage to achieve the model health care setting. Rest your mind about what anyone else thinks if she's got soup stains on her pyjamas: you are doing the best thing for her and your family. You're great. xxx
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hi - you local council ob aging can help you find the health care help you seek. Yes for some reason the patient/client/MIL/parent, etc is one way with family but more respectful of outside help. And some times they can act really good at the doctors office so they feel the doctor will not see the sick person. you have come to the right place for support. This is a great place for lots of GREAT advise and just reading other posts can help you see you are not alone. keep us updated. And i agree serve meals at a table. on a set schedule. No food allowed in the bedroom.
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Where is your husband in all this? I think you need his support and he needs to directly have conversation with his mother (if she is capable of rational conversation) about the situation.
And how about her doctor? Is she eligible for home health care? Does she need OT or PT? Does she qualify for rehab in a facility because of deconditioning? (Might be a nice break for you.)
Having someone come in begins to establish a schedule. Having somewhere to go can help establish a schedule. And can sometimes encourage them to clean up. But you need to have a schedule, too.

Maybe you can start by rallying all the resources available to you for assistance. Find out what they are and then implement them. Is there a facility nearby that offer a geriatric evaluation?
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Sharynmaire has a good idea. I'd start with a bath aid. Have someone come out once or twice a week (more if MIL is incontinent) to assist with a shower or bath.

Serve her meals outside of her bedroom.
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If your mil will be too combative with you on a schedule, which is the thing to do regardless of how she may howl, and fight you, then a home health care worker may be the answer. I know my mother will fight me tooth and nail, but another person such as a home care worker, she will cooperate but ask questions about what she is being given, why she needs it. In the end, she takes it. If you can get a home health care worker to come daily if only for a few hours, you can leave during that time so you are not there for your mil to make a fuss with. However, if your finances can't afford it, then the only thing I can suggest is getting tough with her. The more you let her away with things, the more she will fight you. If dementia is part of the problem, then being forceful and tough will not work. You could call the Area Agency on Aging in your county, they have many programs your mil may qualify for to help you out. Good luck and hugs to you!!
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