My mother-in-law is not mad about her move to assisted living. Is it alright to leave when she is mad? - AgingCare.com

My mother-in-law is not mad about her move to assisted living. Is it alright to leave when she is mad?

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We had the family meeting. MIL visited the ALF and like it. She is the one that made the choice to move. But we helped her along with that choice. She is 94, breast cancer, high blood pressure, won't or doesn’t remember to take her meds, we are sure that she as dementia, can't pay her bills, can't make out a grocery list, had not done laundry in a month, only take sponge baths, walks with a shuffle, complains that she is weak, not sure how well she was eating, left a pan on the stove and the stove was on, accused the care giver of taking things and now I have seen her fall twice. She has also said lately that she has been confused.

So it has been about a week since she moved into that ALF, up until today, mornings for her have been good. We are thinking she may have sundowners syndrome because at night when we would come to take her down to dinner, she was either sad or in a bad mood. However, when she had a good lunch, her mood was much better. Well this morning we arrived at her apt about 11:30am hoping to find her well. That was not the case. She said that she was sad. My husband tried to find out why she was said. And she was saying things like she moved to soon, it wasn't her choice and the somehow we made her move. She claimed that we made her sign the papers for the appt and that we were to blame for where she was at now. But we said, she said that she was glad that she made the choice to move and that it was the right time, She made those claims infront of the family. Well she went on and on, My husband said to her that she has the choice to be happy or sad, and she said no she didn't have a choice. Then she pointed her finger at me and told me not to say anything. My husband said fine, she could act any way that she wanted but we didn't need to treated that way and we would be leaving. She just said fine and we left. I'm not sure if we should have left, but we did. I don't see how we could have made anything better. The other night she pointed her finger at me a claimed that it was all my fault she is where she is and that I didn't have any right to be happy when she is so sad. Now this is the woman that has always said the "The Time to be Happy is Now". I think I just needed to vent.

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Thanks you so much, dllynn, for taking the time to provide this update. We learn from each other.
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It has now been about 4 weeks since my MIL moved into ALF and things are working out well. After a ruf 3 weeks, things seem to be calming down. She tell us now that she doesn't know how she made the move but understands that it was for the best. She has days, when she is just confused but that is OK, she is now in a place that is safe. It has been a long road to get to the place that we are at. I just wanted to let everyone know that it is working.
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That is a great idea about writing things down and the fact she is reading them is great that is something to keep in mind so someday I might need that done for me. It sonds like the worse is over and goes to show that they do adapt to new surroundings when they have to be done-your experience is a good teaching tool for others it is good to read good outcomes on this site.
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We are now into our 2nd week with my MIL in the ALF. Things have gotten much better. My husband and MIL both like to write, so my huband wrote a letter to his Mom outlining the event of the weekend that lead up to her move, something to help her remember what took place. I think she has been reading to remind herself that she made the choice to move and it has been working. She has not lashed out at us in the last couple of days, in fact we both took a break from our Mothers on Mon and did our own thing. She is taking her meds and has even walked down to the dinning hall on her own. I know that she can go back to lashing out again, but I have to say that it has been nice having a couple of day, where she has been in a good mood. I will take them when we get them. We have also told her that it is really good to see her feeling at peace within herself.

Thank you to all for you replys. They all helped during this time of stress.
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You do not need to stay when she is verbally attacking you-it will just get you upset and will not help her at all as far as the rest of the family going to see her that is up to them-you have told them about her outburst and they can decide if they want to see her or not.
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Jeannegibbs, thank you for you comments and well as others. We know that it has only been a week, and that she is no longer in her environment. I can understand that she will have days that are sad and most defiantly it is a roller coaster ride. When my husband looks back at last 20 years of this life, I think it has been a roller coaster but not this extent. We have been married 15 years and for those 15 years, I think I have walked around on egg shells around her, then I didn't see her every day, some times it would be a month before we would see her. The last year or so we have been seeing her 2-3 times a week and now it's every day.
Jeannegibbs, you are correct that we need to be there for her when she is happy as well as when she is sad, but when the anger comes out, I do think it is best that we leave, my husband doesn't have a thick skin and I think he takes on a few trates of his mom. The other night when she pointed her finger at me and said it was all my falt. I just stayed with her and made sure that she made her way down to the dinning hall. As of the early demenita, I think we are beyond that, I would love to get her to a Dr to see if there isn't a problem with her diet or some other reason for her confusion other than to say its demenita. But MIL would not have that, she said that it comes with old age and that is the Dr in her talking. We will struggle just to get her to the medical oncologist for her cancer check up.

Early in the day we had a call from the nursing staff, advising us that my MIL refussed to take her meds. I said don't worry about it, lets try giving them to her between 9 and 10am and we will see if that works. We went back last night to have dinner with her. We found her in the dinning hall, already at a table with my Mom and two others. We stayed and then my husband walked her back to her room, she had forgotten all that took place that morning. She even agreed to go to church with us this morning. We will see what awaits us. As one of the cousins said, she is like Dr jekyll and Mr Hyde. The family is now calling us to see if it is safe to see her, because of her moods. Some times I wish they would see her in one, just so they can have a clear picture. Thank you all for taking the time to listen, this is a good place to come and sometime just ramble.
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I think that it is OK for her to be sad. Her whole world has changed. The move is a definite acknowledgement that her independence is declining. If she has always been a "the time to be happy is now" person, it is confusing and disturbing to have these sad feelings, too. It sounds like she also has the confusion of early dementia to deal with. Poor lady.

It is sure OK for you to vent. Sometimes we need that. It is OK for MIL to vent, also, but maybe we can't expect her to be rational about it. Blaming you is not fair, but right now, to her, life isn't fair. It has only been a week? Gee, that is a pretty short time for a 94-year-old person to accept and internalize the major changes this move represents.

I think it is OK for you to leave, especially when she is aiming her anger at you. But I'd be careful not to give the impression that you only love her when she is pleasant and you only want to be with her when she is happy. Who can she talk to about her sadness, if not her family?

When you were growing up, did you ever say or think to or about your parents, "I hate you, I hate you! I wish you weren't my parents!" The anger and frustration were real, but the words were not true. We've learned more accurate ways to express our feelings as we've grown up. But those with dementia are losing some of that ability.

However you decide to handle her outbursts, don't take them personally. It really isn't about you. You have done all the right things and you don't need to second-guess your decisions or feel guilty.

As Nancy says, this is a roller coaster ride. But take some comfort in knowing that it becomes a roller coaster ride even with those who do not move into ALF. Hang on for the ride!
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Oh and about the being mad thing, your husband needs to calmly tell her when she gets out of sorts, 'well mom, we're going to leave now until you feel better about us being here'. I'd start with the positive reinforcement idea, that when she's not crabby, you all stay. But when she's got a mad on, everyone leaves.
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It's going to be a roller coaster for quite awhile now. Get a thick skin and ride it out, she's needing someone to blame and guess what? You're it. Oh well, she'll come to grips with it eventually (to a certain extent) and things will get better. I still hear about it after 2 years with my mother-in-law, but every day it's better. Hang in there.
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Venting is good. You have done all the right things and you can feel good about that. She is safe. There will be good days and bad days; so much is out of our control; especially their moods. Take care.
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