MIL at 96 in memory care. Visiting is taking a toll on my husband. Should he continue the number of visits? -

MIL at 96 in memory care. Visiting is taking a toll on my husband. Should he continue the number of visits?


My husband has cared for his mother for 17 yrs in some form or another. Some years were volatile due to narcissistic father. She is now in Memory Care. Thankfully she is loved by several caregivers. That being said, my husband goes to see her 3 times a week. She is showing signs of failing but it has been a very slow process. Her memory is failing. She almost did not recognize him the other day. When he comes home, he is worn. He says it doesn't bother him. He is not actively pursuing anything else in his life. His mind focuses on one thing at a time. I am concerned this is taking a serious, long-term toll on his life. Because MIL really has no idea of time, should he continue the number of visits?

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OliviaC, the way I look at this is that your Mother-in-law may not know her son, but he knows her. I say, let him continue the visits. It would have to be his choice and only his choice if he feels he needs to cut back.

Wouldn't it be awful if one day you told hubby not to visit that day, and that was the day his Mom unexpectedly passed. He would never let you forget that :(
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You may want to try to get him to go to an Alzheimer support group and maybe go with him. There may be one at MILs facility. If he can express his thoughts, he may discover that the group has had the same issues and how they cope. My group has covered these issues and we shared a few tears. I agree that he may be depressed.
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Only he can decide that.
I was going to see my Mom twice a week, plus working the other 5 days and I live alone (except my pets), so I had to also take care of my house and stuff.
She lives in her house still but doesn’t drive. She’s not “my Mom” any more because of failing memory. She cooks her meals, takes her meds and pays her bills, but I hear the same comments over and over and over. She doesn’t remember what I tell her so that’s sad for me too.
Last year I had to make myself cut down to once a week. It was just too exhausting and overwhelming for me.
However, if I was still married and my spouse tried to tell me to cut down my visits, I would not welcome that.
He’s only got so much time left with her (even though it seems long right now) and if he decides to go 3x a week then I would just support that.
If you want to help him, Maybe you could suggest both going together on one of those days. It’s nice to have another person there sometimes to break up the monotony.
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Does he want to visit less OR do you want him to visit less? There is no right or wrong amount to visit someone in MC.
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Olivia, it's not unusual for men (in my observation) to struggle with the role of visitor. They like to fix things and let's face it, dementia can't be fixed. My hubby did visit his mom 3 times a week and I visited on a separate day. In my one day each week, I learned and noticed more than he ever did. But through my visits, I was able to give him ideas of things to do with her. That helped set the tone. She loved travel stories so we loaded some vacation photos on a tablet and he would show them to her. (didn't matter if they were recent or not, the idea was she loved travel stories). Ditto on taking her for a wheel chair ride around the complex. Though she often said no, no no - I would take her down to see the Christmas trees or seasonal decor and then (of course) she would love looking at it.
Honestly, there aren't many real conversations once our loved ones are in memory care. So it is up to us to find something to help pass the time. Bringing a milk shake (split it into a smaller cup for them and you drink the rest - they are too much for a senior) , looking at pictures in a fashion magazine, etc. A small puzzle (6-8 pieces). Perhaps your husband just needs something to do since there isn't any real conversation.
My brother struggled visiting my Mom in memory care too. He ALWAYS brought his wife to the visit. Once I realized this, I suggested he bring a deck of cards and have her sort them by suit or color. It was something to do. And, she loved singing some of the old songs. (my singing talent is nonexistent but it didn't matter, it was something to do) Sitting in a room staring at your mom with nothing to focus on or do IS JUST AWFUL. I urge you to find activities to help pass the time. He will be happier and so will she. Also as each visitor arrives, they should announce who they are--- Hi Mom it's me, John. It helps keep the connection.
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Seeing a loved one fail can be very sad. I can understand how your husband is grieving the loss of the person he once knew. It sounds like he wants to go visit her 3 times per week, right? I'm not sure how you could dissuade him from doing this. I wonder if I would just leave it up to him how often he visits. Perhaps, once she does not recognize him at all, he might reduce the frequency of visits. I wish I had more helpful advice. I hope others will chime in.

I think that I have already grieved for the loss of my LO. The person we always knew just isn't there anymore. I still visit and try to touch upon her true self inside, but, the conversations, personality, discussions we used to have are no longer possible. I think that I was fortunate that I was able to keep other things in my life.

Do you think that your husband is suffering from depression? Would he feel comfortable discussing his current state with his doctor?
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