MIL has ALZ and is still cooking? FIL is expecting this even though he know she is rapidly declining. Advice? - AgingCare.com

MIL has ALZ and is still cooking? FIL is expecting this even though he know she is rapidly declining. Advice?

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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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