I'm 10 years younger than my husband and now mother-in-law has moved in with Alzheimer's. I cant cope, any advice? - AgingCare.com

I'm 10 years younger than my husband and now mother-in-law has moved in with Alzheimer's. I cant cope, any advice?

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I need help dealing, feeling guilty because I do not want to do this my husband feels I am just being unreasonable, My stomach is in knots I cannot hardly even eat. my mother in law is in the kitchen every single time I go in there trying to help fix meals I let her help but I want to scream, no privacy, no time for me day or night now I put my grand daughter on the bus and now mother in law is here asking me how to do something all day because she don't remember how to do it or don't know because she is in our home now. I also have a seventeen yr old daughter here at home and I cannot open my mouth and say anything to her without her having an attitude and I feel like my husband just don't understand I am also going through menopause and all I want to do is cry,scream, I have no patients I bite peoples heads off and do not mean to I have turned into a total monster and I don't know what to do. My marriage, My Mother In Law, My daughter, My grand daughter, and I have 8 other grand kids and 4 other daughters I have no time or patience for I feel like every ounce of happiness has been sucked away from me and I feel like I have no way out what do I do How do I cope, How do I smile again and laugh and enjoy anything all I do is cook,clean,homework,

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number one, get some medication for the menopause, like Cymbalta.
number two, get the 17 year old to take care of the five year old.
number three, stop being a doormat and put the MIL in a NH.
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How do you cope? I don't think you can, frankly. I think the situation has to be changed.

Of course it is possible to cope with someone who has dementia living in your home. I did it for ten years. I would do it again if I were in the same situation. So, am I just a better person than you? Nope. Here are the differences in out situations:

1) The person with dementia was my husband. I chose to live with him many years ago, and expected to stick with him in sickness and health, etc. He was the most important person in my life (after the children were grown). I really and truly wanted to be with him. It was my choice. Is it your choice to have MIL living with you? Is she the most important person in your life right now?
2) Our children were all out of the nest. I still loved them, enjoyed them, kept up with their lives, but I had no responsibilities to them. They were all taking care of themselves and their kids. Sometimes they were able to help me. But the big thing was I didn't have to constantly vigilant on their behalf. I didn't get anybody off to school or deal with their love lives or prepare meals for them or get them to bed on time. And you know what? Properly caring for a person with dementia takes all of your focus and all of your emotional and mental energy. Do you have the luxury of giving your MIL the amount of attention and empathy and help she needs and deserves? Is caring for her the only thing or even the main thing you have to do? I could give you lots of tips about caring for her, and could point you to websites and books that would help. But how would you have the emotional energy, time, and resources to do a proper job of caregiving? It has to be your main focus in order to do it right.
3) I was well past menopause. I also had a crisis to deal with during that period in my life, and the stress made my symptoms worse, and the bad symptoms interfered with my handling of the crisis. You need to take care of yourself. You deserve support and understanding from your husband for this natural but often-stressful time in your life. Do you have that?

I coped. I doubt very much I could have coped in you situation.

Instead of trying to figure out how to cope with an untenable situation, spend your energy working with your husband to find a more suitable living arrangement for MIL. You deserve that, and so does she.

If you are having trouble discussing this with your husband, I suggest getting an objective third party involved, like a therapist.

Please let us know how this works out for you.
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So what were the various rationale for moving MIL in?
- family pressure?
- socialization?
- guilt?
- finances?
And by whom & how was the decision made?
I'd suggest you make the time to over a week to jot down your thoughts on the above then have an away from home chat w/ hubby & a separate one w/17. A new plan has to be done & this means mil moves to another place - either another family member or into AL or NH and she uses her $,savings & income for it.

My guess is that your the type who wants to make everybody happy & have been able to juggle things in the past with great ability. Amazing ability but this time not working. It's not you per se but the reality of the situation. one of the hardest parts about dealing with parents with dementia is that it doesn't get better, it only is going to be worse. Dementia is a terminal disease. Unlike the adventure of parent hood in which your kids learn, develop, grow & more forward with life & your pleasure in being a part of this, dementia goes backward. They are going to forget 5 minutes later, accuse your grandchild of stealing everyday, and eventually forget who your husband is much less you who is basically a stranger to her life history.

For the 17 yr old, they are just hormonal & snarky. I have a male 17 teenager & really it is the comic strip Zits in real time. I will say, she probably sees what you are going through and thinks that she does not ever want for her the future what she sees you going through & is not going to be sympathetic. It may be that the strong mom she knew & admired at 14 has seemed to have vanished. This scares her. Really try to have a talk with her on all this. Try to find something to do just with her that is your time only. If that mean hubby takes his mom to the movies so you all can make cookies so be it!

Where are the parents of the 5 yr old grandchild?
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Don't feel guilty.I doubt many of us welcomed the idea of becoming a caregiver.
In order to get time for myself I now:
Wash mom's clothes and throw it on her bed to fold.
Keeps her busy and though I end up refolding it the time it buys me is priceless.
I give her little jobs like dusting her own room,picking lint off old sweaters,etc; "busy work".
Everyone in the house or that visits my home MUST spend at least 15 minutes visiting with Mom.It's my rule and I enforce it.
As for "having an attitude" well, I call it "wearing my cranky pants"and let everyone know I feel cranky .They know it's nothing to do with them and I apologize ahead of time if I am short with them or offend them.
At 8PM I help mom get undressed for bed and say "goodnight" and I close the door to my family room so that I can spend a hour or two at peace with my husband.
Obviously it doesn't always work but by doing it every night at the same time it's become a ritual for her. She recognizes it as a signal that it's the end of our time together for that day.My quiet time, her TV time. Though she doesn't understand the plot to stories anymore it just what she does at 8PM.Somehow these things have imprinted on her mind and they work.
I use same technique mornings.I toilet, wash, dress and give her breakfast then have established a routine where I am alone for coffee or quiet time for what I have to do.Our joke is: no conversation until I've had two cups of coffee and can think straight.
One thing to remember is that her behavior will change as she passes from one stage to the next.Your menopause will pass as well.Try and relax.Don't focus on the whole picture or the future, take one hour at a time, one thing at a time.
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Whose brilliant idea was it for MIL to move in with you, may I ask? And how long has she been there?
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She belongs in an assistant living place. Look for one fast. You have enough responsibility. Let your husband deal with his mother.
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I was in a similar situation and remember stopping at a mall on my way home from work to just walk and have time to myself. I went from a single in my own home with just 1 cat, to married with 2 dogs, to MIL as a new widow living with us, all in about 5 months. Luckily, I got accustomed to the dogs and the MIL realized that she would rather live on her own.

Why is the MIL living with you? Is it a financial situation or does she need help with daily living? Does she go out on her own or have friends or hobbies? Maybe get her involved in a club or activity or something.

At home it sounds as though there needs to be some "rules" or "who does what". If MIL is able to cook, even if it is making toast and putting out mild and cereal, perhaps she could be responsible for breakfast each day, or dinner a couple of days a week. Set up a schedule. It will be work to get it started and it will pay off in a more organized household. Can MIL be responsible for maintaining her room, including changing linens and doing her own laundry? Perhaps she could also do some of the family laundry. Does she get social security? If so, she should be paying you rent, as a courtesy. You could spend it, or put it in a special savings account for her future needs.

I'm guessing that if the 17 year old was previously an OK average teen, she is now feeling pushed aside and doesn't know where she fits in. Try to have a talk with her - outside of the house, where it is quiet. Tell her how you feel and ask for her help around the house and with the MIL. She may or may not agree, but at least she will know that she isn't the only unhappy one.

And YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. You cannot help anyone else if you have a mental or physical breakdown. Can you go to work, even part time? It will get you out of the house and give you extra income. Perhaps it would pay for a housekeeper and other things that would make your life easier.
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Consider showing your husband your post so he can fully understand exactly what you're going through. The stress of caregiving not only affects your attitude, your day to day living, but your own health as well. Can visiting nurses or home health aides provide some assistance if MIL's insurance will cover it? Your husband may not want to put his mother in a facility, but you have rights as well. See if he wants to take full responsibility for his mother, but I think we know what the answer would be. Women have the vote -- you don't have to take this!
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Unless your husband is the 24/7/365 caregiver for his mother, SHE HAS TO GO! You are taking on way too much! I wish YOU well.
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Maybe there is a way to talk to your husband about setting healthy boundaries, for example, having a paid caregiver who comes in to dress, feed and manage your MIL in the mornings while you are getting the grandchild ready for school. And another helper who can babysit her a couple of times a week. Time her bath aide visit with your own trip to the grocery. Set up your home so she has a tv, small frig, water and snacks in her own room. Be firm about guiding her back to her room at regular times (for example,"when the windows are dark") so your teenager can have some family time with you. Your husband might see the need for assistance, once you put the needed tasks on the wall on a chart and ask him to help with them. Yes your whole life is changed. But it can be a significant experience for everyone. One of the children may grow up to be a physician specializing in geriatrics!
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