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They have both gained weight this last month her 12 lbs., and him 6 lbs. I really think it is unfair for him to expect this of her. They live with brother in law and his wife who do not do anything for them. I use to go over and cook for them, but sister in law told me to not to use her stuff and starts trouble with me. I avoid this, cause I don't have to put up with it. I worry about my inlaws and have them come over once a week for dinner. I still take them shopping, Dr. appts., ect., but worry about their eating habits. They won't throw away and actually eat spoiled food. FIL who doesn't have ALZ hates to throw anything away and will insist it being still good. My husband and I want them to move in with us as it would be so much easier to take care of them then having to go over there. SIL doesn't clean their bathroom and it's not a good environment for them. There is no socializing, no meals together, nothing. I worry about how long this can go on before someone gets admitted to the hospital with food poisoning. They are true southerners so diet is mostly carbs and fat. They can't eat green leafy veges due to blood thinners. They are both set in their ways and will be impossible to try and teach them anything new. They both think they are doing fine. MIL has been doing scary things like pouring hot grease back into plastic bottle, etc. FIL has mobility issues, brother and sister nlaw wont help take care of them, they just stay in their room. I have them come over to our house as it gets them out of their house, and they really appreciate it, but can't them get to move on anything. They are both in their mid 80's, refuse to take of business and I worry about the mess they are going to leave for us to clean up when their gone. Course this may be years and I've asked them several years ago to get things in place. I'm beginning to change my mind about them living with us, but I still worry about their well being. I know we can't do anything till something bad happens, but I don't want to wait for that. UGhhh... Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

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One thing about ALZ is that the oldest memories last the longest. In this case, she is probably reverting to the first things she leaned to cook when she was young. Also, what is their dental health? Leafy greens can be a problem with dentures, also anything that would make crumbs. Maybe for oil, find her a metal storage can and then dispose of the contents asap. As long as she is still capable of operating a stove with a reasonable degree of safety, let her cook--
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jeannegibbs: Im glad I made you laugh. Didn't really think about the southern part of the story....Okay, let's change it to collard greens... My grandma in law made the best. My husband thought I was crazy. This was our honeymoon... What a great time!! Thnking about it stocking the fridge for squireels etc... Oh well... Maybe they will come around and like it. :)
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You are a wonderful person to care so much. There are family members who wouldn't even bother to visit. Yes, I'd try to get that POA. Best of luck to you and them.
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jeffrey, you said it so well about how abilities change. It can be a long journey down this road and you expressed it so well.
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I would be concerned about their safety too. You say that MIL has dementia. I would be concerned with her handling hot grease. Cooking is also very risky. What is your SIL thinking allowing this? Very odd, IMO. Is there widespread dementia in the house?

You say your FIL doesn't have dementia, but I know that refusing to admit that food can spoil is a common symptom of dementia.

As long as they refuse to sign POA's there's really little control you might have. It's a sad situation, but things will likely get worse. If the couple are seeing doctors, perhaps the doctor could introduce some help into the home. With your MIL having dementia, she is entitled to the help, even if the rest of the household doesn't like it. By virtue of the elderly couple staying in their home, they do owe a duty to them.
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Thedaughternlaw - it changes dramatically depending on what stage of Alzheimer's they are in. My 84 year old mother has lived us for the past year and half, can barely understand how to get water out of faucet, without great difficulty. 4 years ago she could still make a sandwich and heat up something in the microwave. Over the past 4+ years, I saw the ability diminish. One day she couldn't remember how to make coffee anymore. The meals on wheels were great as long as they in a stage that they can remember to eat them, and it doesn't just pile up in the fridge and go bad. I had to clean out her fridge every week. Then I had to hire a woman to cook for her. But back then she knew what a refrigerator was. Now I make every meal, put a bib on her, and I am grateful she still remembers what a spoon or a cup is. I am sure I will look back at this now even as the "good old days." This is what happens - you keep having to change your expectations based on their ever diminishing capabilities. You can't expect them to want to "change," since "change" is what seems to be destroying their lives.

On your POA question, the POA for someone with Alzheimer's is ESSENTIAL -- so let me get on brief soapbox on that. All the other stuff you can just help them along, but you really need to get the POA before things go too far - whoever it is. But you have to have a POA for them. You write it down, print it out, find a notary, and talk to them in the car, and get them to sign it. Tell them you don't want the POA, you don't plan to use the POA, but you need that, and you will keep it for an emergency. Just like you need health insurance, car insurance, life insurance. You don't wait until you are sick or your car breaks down. Do they go to the doctor and pull out their checkbook and pay the full amount? Of course not. They have insurance which pays the vast majority of any expense. Why? No one could afford it otherwise. One sickness, and you would be broke. That is what the POA is, both durable and medical, for a dementia patient. One day they are sort of OK, then they have hallucinations, or can't remember what year it is, how to cook, or even how to dress. As it progresses, they need a POA to represent them as insurance from how to cope with Alzheimer's. It is really essential. Sorry - off soapbox on POAs.
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Hi SusanA43... Thanks for the amazing insight.... I am not sure I would live a week after a diet like that... good to hear things are changing....slowly by the sounds of things.... M
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Thedaughternlaw, having Alzheimer's doesn't mean you can't do the things you used to do. If your MIL and FIL can still do things, great! Let them. Your MIL does need someone looking over her shoulder to see that she is being safe. Maybe a metal grease jar would also be helpful for her. Do try to encourage her not to reuse oils. That isn't really healthy and oils are not expensive, so why risk it?

My mother has moderate dementia, but she still cooks her own breakfast each morning -- bacon, eggs, & toast. I'll take over when she really needs me to, but until then I like that she is cooking for herself. I do the cleaning, because her arthritis is bad, but she does what she can for herself. Most of the time she doesn't need much help from me, even though she has is probably around Stage 5-6 of some type of dementia.

It is also okay for the families under the same roof to have separate lives. I would go nuts if I stayed with my mother all day, watching GSN and the Waltons with the thermostat set on 80. It is much better in my rooms, where the vents are closed and I can get my work done. (I would probably also drive her crazy if I hung out with her too much. She also wants her privacy from me, I'm sure.)

Sometimes situations sound bad when written with a certain slant, but people who are caregivers understand how it is. If your MIL and FIL are content enough with their living arrangements, and if they are safe enough, I would say just to support your SIL & BIL the best you can.
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Marty - I can answer the southern foods thing for you. Had an old-school southern MIL living with me for years. Everything is breaded, fried, cooked with salt pork or bacon, boiled to death, heavily salted, etc. It's not a healthy way to eat for elderly folks. "New" Southern cooking is healthier, but if you're dealing with an old school southerner, it's going to be pinto beans with salt pork, gravy made out of unimaginable things (hot dog gravy! canned tomato gravy!) and poured over everything, corn bread soaked in a glass of milk and eaten with a spoon, and the like.
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Hi Thedaughternlaw. I'm in Ireland so not sure of the southern ways you are dealing with. But I had similar experience with my dad still expecting my mam to cook his meals eve while she had dementia which he struggled with through deinal which in many ways spoke to me of his concern that his wife was 'leaving' him and this insisting that she cook his meals give him a sense of distorted comfort. Also with mam she too, having cared for him all her married life felt that it was her role and again I could see it gave her a sense of purpose in the unspoken but unconicous reality that things were going 'off' for her. In my moving home I tried where safely to include her in helping with some of the light things in preparing a meal... other times I would tell her she could have a day off and I would look after things, which made it easier to let go... In dealing with my Dad i continued to try an explain to him that I was 'concerned' for mam and also that in her cooking meals she may (and did) at times undercook a dinner. This certainly helped Dad while struggling with the fact that he was 'losing' mam this apporach gave him a soft way out to let others help while not having to say that he was scared of what was happening to his gal!! My heart goes out to you in your desire to see change and the difficulties that you seem to be having with your BIL and SIL and while it sounds like they have hit a burnout too it may sound like you may need to find a time and space to raise your concerns with them for your MIL and FIL in a manner that expresses appreciation for 'all' they have done (even if that is not the case) in order to try and move things forward rather than hit a crisis.... Is there other support from other family members that could help you 'negoitate' this discussion? It sounds also like you need their support in order to address the issues with your FIL and MIL...Just a fe thoughts and best wishes as you move forward!! And remember you are not alone!!
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cwillie, you are so right about how some men of that generation cannot boil water, my Dad fits into that category. My Mom [97] has been trying to teach Dad [93] some things around the kitchen in the past few years, but she is decades too late with that. She should have started back when Dad retired 25 some years ago. Dad is very reluctant to learn and I can understand why, the kitchen is Mom's domain... one has to tread very carefully.

Thedaughternlaw, as for introducing new foods to your in-laws, you can try but shrug it off if mother-in-law turns you down. I have that same thing with my own Mom, half her grocery list is desert type items.... then I have to stop to think, they have been eating this way for a very long time and they are now in their mid-90's, they must be doing something right so I now leave Mom alone regarding her grocery list. At that age, one should be able to eat what they want.
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Thank you for your reply. I guess that's the only thing I can do for now. Have a hair appt this afternoon for her. So I'll just keep doing things for now. Yes he does not cook and she is really tired of doing this. But this gives her purpose. I wish I could do more for them, but truth is I have to work to help support my own family which cuts down on time I can do for them. I'll do what I can for now..Thanks.
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It sounds to me as if everyone but you is in serious denial. It is hard to admit that our parents aren't as capable anymore, it is scary to admit it about a spouse or ourselves. Your FIL expects his wife to prepare meals because she always has, and often men of his generation can't boil water! She won't see the scary things she does as problems, that's the nature of the disease. They both probably expected that their living arrangement would provide them with ready made caregivers in their old age. Your BIL and his wife seem reluctant to step into that role.... THAT situation is a minefield for you and I would advise you to tread very carefully. It is up to your husband and his brother to sort this out with their parents. As a good DIL you can keep doing what you already have been, and as others have suggested help stock the frig and cupboards with simple snacks and ready made meals. For you own peace of mind you could do a little research on poa's, caregiving resources , assisted living and memory care options available in your area, that way you will have the info to hand when the inevitable hits the fan.
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thank you for your comments. Yes they are set in their ways. They don't need help, so they won't get any outside agency involved in anything. MIL insists she fine and father n law doesn't rock the boat. They are set in their eating habits. I take her grocery shopping and try to get he to focus are easier to fix foods. Both in laws own house fil and bil, that's why they are both there. It's really BIL's house who accepted money from FIL during a divorce and never paid him back, thus FIL has name on house too. There is no POA's and I've tried telling them we need this. I will work on this again, and again. FIL doens't like to go out to eat, let alone bother anyone to take them. Both are depressed and don't want to go anywhere. I try to get them out when I can. They like flea markets, but he won't go if he's not up to it. She like garage sales when I can get her out. Laely its been a struggle to get her out, especially to the grocery store. They won't do any daycare period or invited anyone into thier home. They won't ask for any help, but if you just do for them, they appreciate it. I'll keep reading on here and try to keep doing what I can. Have to catch them in a good responsive mood before I can discuss matters with them. Thank you again for your comments.
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I'm not clear on who owns the house, is this your FIL/MIL's home? If it is, why are BIL/SIL living there? If it is the other way around, then I would be PO'ed too if you came into my home and started cooking without asking! I wouldn't be too concerned with trying to improve their diet at their age (after all they've survived this long on a southern diet) but I would try to help clean out the frig to get rid of anything spoiled. I hope you have your POA's in order though because ALZ is progressive and their diet is the least of your problems.
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IloveMom, I love your grocery list, and it makes me laugh. Yup, I sure can see a Southern couple in their mid-eighties chowing down on sweet peas and hummus and broccoli florets -- not! The Boomers will in their 80s, but the current batch of set-in-their-ways elders is not so enthusiastic about raw munchies. Worth a try? Maybe. Sounds like a good way to stock the fridge for a caregiver!
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"we can't do anything till something bad happens, but I don't want to wait for that."

Alas, that is a pretty accurate description of the situation. A while back someone on here who worked for a helping agency said they had a lot of files stamped WFC -- Waiting for Crisis.

But maybe there are a few things you could do to mitigate some of the risks. What about having meals on wheels or a similar program deliver a hot meal each day? You'd know that was fresh and wholesome and when you visited you could quietly clean out any old leftovers. With one hot meal provides, would they be satisfied with toast and cereal for breakfast and opening a can of soup in the evening? Or anything easy to fix and consumable in one meal?

The notion that they can't eat leafy greens because of blood thinners is pretty silly. If they had a salad every day the dosage would just be adjusted to account for it. But it is more a matter of being set in their ways. And that is OK.

Staying in their room all day doesn't sound any better for their health than eating spoiled food. I am glad you are visiting them and getting them out some. Another option is to find an adult day health program. Usually these programs have door to door transportation, provide a hot lunch (and often breakfast), and have optional services such as help with a shower or cutting toenails! Even if they claim not to like it, being exposed to other adults and activity can be very good for them.

Personally, I don't think moving them into your house is the answer. I'm sure you would provide a much better environment than the one they are in, but even better would be one where there are three shifts to handle any emergencies and routine needs, their meals are all provided, and their are plenty of activities and opportunities to interact with lots of other adults.

Bless you for looking out for this couple! Don't let it overwhelm you, but try tackling one improvement at a time.
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Thedaughternlaw, if you take in your in-laws, I bet after awhile you will realize why your brother-in-law and his wife have given up trying to help your husband's parents. The key words you wrote "They are both set in their ways and will be impossible to try and teach them anything new". Who knows, maybe the bathroom gets clean early in the morning and they mess it up within minutes afterwards, it doesn't take much.
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They are in their 80;s. Let them eat. Let them gain a bit. Do they have a senior excercise program adult day care?
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Movie night!!! They are 80, any bingo anywhere, church functions, local city functions? Senior night at the local cafe? Early bird dinners any place? They don't have to stay home and fix meals.....
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Get picking foods, like sweet peas hummus, cucumber, chips, snacks, easy prep foods, salami, cheese, balsamic vinegar and french bread. a little bottle of red wine... can it hurt? Broccoli flowerets, celery, snacky vegies, and apples, dried plums, almonds, cashews, Trader Joes is a great place to go. Picnic lunches.
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What about Meals on Wheels, a local food bank that can deliver meals, church... Take them to a cooking class to see how to make one meal at a time. It's only2 of them.....
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You have a full plate! Could you get some in home help through Medicare or some other agency? When my elderly husband broke his arm he had 6 weeks of in home help. They would do personal hygiene and exercises for his arms and legs to keep him mobile 3 times a week. A nurse came once a week to take his vitals.
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