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My mother in law is in late stages of Alzheimer's. Me, my husband, brother i n law and father in law are trying to get through this difficult disease. I have three kids (8, 5 and 1), a stay at home mom. My hubby and father in law and brother in law have their own business. So two days a week I'm with her and the three children. she cannot do anything around the house like cleaning or cooking. She does not like showers, brushing her teeth or changing cloths. My father in law does most of this and she fights him over it. She can hardly talk to us. Its just words that make no sense or sounds. My kids play and it aggravates her because they are to loud. She refuses to eat for me and is starting to do the same with my father in law. I have been in this family for 10 years and she don't know me anymore. I sit with her 2 days a week and her moods toward me and kids are taking a toll. I'm trying so hard to help them by staying with her while they work. Any advice would help.

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Thanks. Been busy the past few days. School starting up and a thousand supplies to get. MIL doing OK. Still not wanting to feed herself. Will eat a little when fed. She freaked out yesterday and was hot and sweaty? We couldn't understand what she was saying when she had her spell. Walking around in a panic said she was hot and gonna die. Worried us. FIL wasn't home but we tried to comfort her as best we could. FIL does not want to contact what relatives she has. Says if they cared they would call. I admit I have lived her 10 years + and have spoken to her sister a handful of times. Her brother has never called! He is already getting frustrated with her eating and drinking. So I don't think it will be long before he reconsiders outside help.
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Kristi, My moms lips were chapped and peeling. Her mouth was dry. The urine output is low and a deep color yellow. They say if you are hydrated your urine color would be a pale wheat color. The only real way is to do a blood test. If you are concerned you can call doctor and tell them you are concerned and see if they will order a test. You could tell them about how much liquid you think she is getting a day. My moms doctor was always very helpful and supportive and I could call her anytime I had a concern.
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Can all three of you fit in the doctor's office? If he does not want her to die soon then he needs someone a little more objective to tell the doc what is going on! Badly dehydrated people have sunken eyes and dry mucous membranes and very concentrated urine (unless it is due to diabetes of either type), just lowish urine output might be the sign of milder dehydration. Sorry this is so hard for FIL to face - understandable, but could lead to things going the opposite way of what he (and you) really want!
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That's on of the problems. I don't know what all is said at the Dr. He does that part. There is no way she would cooperate for me to do that. She eats when fed but after supper she just kind of zoned out into space. My hubby asked if she was given some kind of medication and FIL said no. So she may just be extremely tired? We will be with her more tomorrow. Been looking at ways to tell if there dehydrated. How much should she be drinking?
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Kristi, Maybe you should take your MIL to her doctor, or just call her doctor and tell them what is going on. They can advise you!
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Kristi, It seems like you are being held back by your FIL. Sometimes you can't tell them anything they don't want to hear. Sounds like he is in denial and that is sometimes how we try to cope with something we do not want to deal with. The final days started by my mom being unresponsive and shallow breathing. Then she was given ativan and later morphine, to keep her calm and comfortable. She then closed her eyes and the morphine kept her sleeping. She was never going to wake up on earth and passed about 8 hours later. One of the reasons for hospice is that they administer the medication for them to pass peacefully. I know that you don't have the power to make the decisions but talk to your husband and let him know, that something has to be done. None of us want to face the end of those we love. Love much grieve much!
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Thanks. I know its going to be hard discussing help. Hospice was around when his mother died last year and that is one reason I don't think he wants help. He fears the worst but I can't get it in his head that its happening. I hope and pray its peaceful whenever it does happen and for the suffering to stop. We are not forcing her to eat. I truely believe she has forgotten and doesn't like being fed or getting help. I think that's why she gets so angry. She is stuck and don't want help. Me and my family went to the lake today and they were asked to join us but FIL didn't want to. So I'm not sure how she did today.
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Kristi, you are so sweet by your in-laws! I had a horrible family of origin, and my in laws, as imperfect as they are, have been wonderful examples to me as well. That's why I want them to have as much dignity in their final years as possible.

I read a very important book on the process of dying from hospice. That's how I learned about the body shutting down and losing the ability to digest or absorb food. Food and water at that time simply prolongs the agony. It just seems harsh to me now to force feed a person, when their body is doing all it can to end this life and start the next.

I think calling hospice and gathering info for your family would be a great start. I met with the hospice rep at a fast food restaurant so I would not get anyone upset. I learned a lot, and we were able to have the hospice nurse evaluate mthr. It was not her time - yet.

The hospice people are like midwives for the dying - offering knowledge, support, pain relief, and understanding of how the process goes. I would not want to have my first baby without someone there who knew what was happening! Perhaps that argument can bring your father in law around to allowing hospice to help in the home (free in the US, regardless of ability to pay).

(((Hugs!!)))
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This was my only outreach also. You have helped me understand and I thank you for that. I will pass on the knowledge I have acquired through this ordeal as well. I have found myself crying about her condition. She is not my mother but I have been around her for 11 years and she taught me a lot wheni married her son. I just hate seeing one of the kindest women I know that never said a curse word or a bad thing about anyone go through this horrible disease.
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Kristi, this board was my only support group, and I came often to get some help. I was so thankful to the ones who helped me along the way. You are not alone. I just finished the endstage as mom passed July 3, and I want to help someone who is going through this disease. The end stage is very emotional and you will find yourself crying, because you probably are already in the grief process, as it starts when we know the end is near. Things will get better for you and your family!
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Kristi, I am glad that she drank the ensure today and did eat something. That helps you through another day. All you need to do is call hospice and tell them how she is not wanting to eat or drink much and you don't know if it is the end stage or not. The family will not think that you are crazy, but helpful in finding out actually what stage she is in and what you can do to help. If she is not ready for hospice they will tell you, I guess you can go on it and if they get better they can go off. Medicare pays for this service and it would be a great help for all of you. Nobody in the family wants to face the end, so they escape by not being there. It is very hard to face the end and no one wants to do that. I fought so hard to keep mom alive and then when the doctor said, that she wouldn't last more then a week, I felt some relief that I did not have to work so hard to keep her going. I just didn't know how I would face the fact that she was ending. It is very sad to be going through this situation, but I guess it is a part of life. You will have no regrets after she has passed, as I can tell that you are a caring daughter in law and did many wonderful things for her. Her time will come and I think she should be evaluated, by the hospice, as they are experts in the field of end stage. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you face this time. Please, take care of yourself, you are doing an amazing job!
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She drank ensure today! Two of them! That helps a little. We have to keep on her to drink it but still its in her system. She ate bit of a hotdog and chicken sandwich. I know that's still not much but some nutrients is better than None. She will go potty if you take her in the bathroom and help her sit down. She keeps trying to sit on the opposite side the toilet is on. I don't like thinking about what is to come or how long she can go on. I don't want her family to think I'm crazy if I contact them and make the suggestion to come see her? But then afraid not to. So they can see her because we don't know what tomorrow brings. She has little family left but I know I would want to know if she were my sister. I just don't know what to say. I don't want it to sound like she has days to live but urgent enough for them to get the message. Any suggestions?
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Kristi, I feel your pain. You really should call in hospice to evaluate. I finally placed my mom in a nursing home 10 weeks before she passed. I knew she was on the decline, not eating and it was getting to stressful for me. Your MIL sounds to be near the end. My mom couldn't feed herself and wouldn't drink. Little did I know that she would only be alive another 10 weeks. When you are in the situation you think it will never end, so you feel overwhelmed. Know that your MIL does not have much time if she is not drinking much. The doctor told me he would be surprised if my mom lived another month. If she is near the end then it will end and when it does I know there is an emptiness and a sadness but a relief all at the same time. I am still trying to figure out how to carry on without her. I am glad that I could take care of her at her end stage of life as she needed me and I know that she appreciated everything I did.
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I don't think she is in pain from her back. She just forgets she's leaning. We ask her to stand And she can straighten up for a few minutes but then reverts back to a leaning or bent over postion. I am a bit aggravated at FIL because he is busying himself. Which means he is going out more and " leaving me with the kids and MIL". Today is day four. My hubby helped yesterday, with MIL. I had to go buy school supplies and asked hubby to watch our one year old. After he said he didn't know if he could watch the baby and his mom I broke down. Its extremely stressful with them all and no one knows how much I'm taking on. I can take so much til I have my emotional breakdowns like yesterday. I asked " how do you all think I watch all four?" He said I don't know how you do it. I don't either sometimes. After I let my stress out he of course felt bad and watched the baby too. He knows how hard it is. My FIL and Brother in law do not. I guess because I don't complain a lot to them or they don't see my breakdowns. I realized yesterday she is not feeding herself. She has forgotten. Hubby fed her as much as she would take and at times she was very hateful. She has also forgotten where the bathroom is. If we take her in there she will eventually go. But trying to time when she has to go is the problem. I put depends on her just in case but FIL won't? I hate my kids are having to see the decline. The two youngest don't really know any different but my 8 year old does. She would help so much when he was born. Change diapers, feed him, hold him. She never fed the other two. She has held my one year old a handful of times. Its progressed so much in 8 years and fear for my hubby and brother in laws health. I have read about it being inherited.
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Kristi, my mom was humped over as well. My moms was from osteoporosis. She had 7 spontaneous spine fractures. What happens is the spine has a front part and a back part and they break on their own because of weaken bones. The front part collapses and therefore causes the bending forward. Because of the fractures of the spine it can be painful. The not eating part was so hard on me and I knew that it would probably be the way she would die. My mom went from 122 to 95 pounds in 10 weeks. Its the not drinking that really shuts the body down from dehydration. I knew it was serious that she drink, but she would only take sips. At this point there is nothing else you can do, but call in hospice. They can tell you if it is the end. We called in hospice, but mom passed before they started. It is very important that they have fluids and if not enough it will be the end. Dementia is such a cruel disease and they really do have a battle to fight.
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She only takes a few sips also and sets it somewhere. She used to drink milk and water. She will not drink milk anymore and she don't like the taste of water no matter what I put in it( flavor things you get at the store).
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I'm sorry for your loss. That sounds so much like her. We try and try to get something in her and it is a battle. My hubby made her eat today. He sat with her and fed her. Its hard for me to do that because I'm a stranger. I can barely give her water and her take it let alone feed her against her will. She has been so humped over today and frustrated easily . hubby didn't help matters but she has to eat and drink.she says the same things , she already did eat, why are you giving me more. Stuff along those lines. How can you get them to sit down? She's been bent over and now she is complaining about her back. We try to straighten her up but I don't think she can help it.
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Kristi, My mom not eating was so stressful. I knew she had to eat to live. I once asked her, Do you want to die? She shouted, No I do not. Then I said, you better eat then. She said, I just did, which was not true. She started to get dehydrated and I tried to get her to drink gatorade, but she would only take a few sips. It was a constant battle to get her to drink. She finally did die of dehydration, not enough liquid and the body shuts down. So sad to see them starve. The doctor said that was textbook dementia. Their brain stops telling them how to drink. My mom passed away 1 month ago.
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Sujean that sound like my MIL. Says she could eat but then don't. Same way with drinking. When we ask her to eat repeatedly it makes her mad. Yesterday she ate yogurt and maybe a quarter of a burger. Drank maybe two cups of water. My one year old out eats her.
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My mom stopped eating and would only take sips of liquid. She kept saying she was thirsty, but then would only drink a sip. She walked up to the day she passed, but stopped talking a few days before. Eventually if they are not drinking enough fluids the body gets dehydrated and that leads to the end.
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The excuses are likely not the real reason, though they might be a clue; she might feel full, it might hurt to swallow, she might be so constipated putting anythign else in there feels bad...or something totally unrelated could be off kilter. You could try just giving an acid blocker and seeing if that helps any. My FIL complained of terrible difficultly swallowing, his throat was tightening up - and it turned out he had such bad prostate blockage his creatinine was up to 3. How that connected exactly I am still unclear, but he actually got that taken care of successfully and the symptom never came back. Another month and we would have been deciding about dialysis though. Hope you can get her looked at.
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Thanks so much. When going through this it seems like your by yourself. Its very comforting to hear from all of you helping and sending prayers. The medication she takes to keep her more calm is new, had it about a week. We don't give it on really bad days. She was a poor eater before. I'm not sure how to handle the excuses she makes to not eat or drink. I can't understand what she is trying to tell us. I will say something to father in law. I'm sure my hubby has tried to talk to him to.
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My FIL had alzheimers and he was diagnosed around age 60 and passed away at 68. Your MIL will eventually stop walking, then won't be able to sit in a chair without reclining, and then become bedfast. The appetite will continue to decrease and then she will forget how to swallow which will make her high risk for aspirating food into her lung which leads to pneumonia or death. NEVER take anything personal with an ALZ patient. They really do forget ALL things such as dressing, bathing, or how to move their foot from one spot to another. They become angry if they are afraid, confused, or when the disease has changed the brain so much their personality becomes different. You all really need help because this beast we call alzheimers will only get worst. As for your FIL, sometimes it is harder for men to ask for help than women. He is probably hurting emotional and physically. But gently remind him there is great help out there for him and her. Hospice would be a blessing to you all and for your MIL. Our family had hospice for a year before my FIL passed. They came 5 days a week for bathing, sent social workers and chaplains regularly and then helped make his passing peaceful. Good Luck and remember one day at a time.
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kristi27, I am very sorry for the stressful situation you are in. It sounds like you are a caring, compassionate person. Naturally your attention has been on nurturing young children at this point in your life. While in some ways elders with dementia may seem to behave as youngsters, they are going in an entirely different direction. It would be disturbing if a toddler ate very little for several days. It may be "natural" for the elder with dementia.

Since she is in the late stages of dementia it may be very appropriate at this point to have her evaluated for hospice care. This is a special kind of service for those in the end stage of their lives. The goal is not to "cure" them or make them "better" but to ensure as much quality as possible, and as much freedom from pain and distress, for the remainder of their lives. If she is evaluated and they concur that she is eligible for the services, take advantage of them! If it isn't time yet, ask what to watch for and call on them later.

My husband died in our home, holding my hand. He had been on hospice care 5 weeks. My mother was on hospice care in a nursing home for about three months and then was discharged from the program because she improved so much. Hospice does not hasten death or prolong life. They are just there to help the entire family through the natural experience as it unfolds.

Of course you hate to hear that her body is winding down. This is very sad. But if it is true -- and hospice can help determine that -- then knowing it and acting accordingly is a blessing to all concerned.

My heart goes out to all of you. Please keep us informed as this progresses. Many of us have been where you and where your FIL is now. We care!
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That's why I posted about EPS, if she is walking around but holding herself a little funny and not swallowing, this may not *have to* be the end. Dad may just be very stuck in a rut and thinking he "had to" keep doing what he's doing even if it is not working any more. Maybe that's the key..."I know you decided to do all her care and not get outside help, but something had changed with mom and our best efforts are not wroking right. She's actually starving herself - she probably can't even tell us why, but we ought to check it out."
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I'm not really sure why he is not considering. We have a family friend that sits with people for a living. She even lives close to us, not even 5 minutes away. We are still trying to get him to change his mind because I think he is going to burn his self out. You can't take good care of someone if your burnt out. In my opinion any way. I really hate to hear her body is winding Down. Today she has not ate anything and still trying to get liquids in her. She makes excuses and walks off. They don't match up or make since. Its frustrating as a care taker, just watching the decline.
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Kristi, that is bad news. I was just about to ask why are you even hesitating to ask for outside help when you need it? You need it!! The meds may be wrong for her, and difficulty swallowing may be part of a risperidone side effect called EPS for extrapyramidal syndrome or drug-induced Parkinsonism...if the risperidone is really necessary, and sometimes it is, there is a medicine called Cogentin (benztropine) that in low doses will often fix that almost completely.
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Sad news. My father in law doesnt want help with in home care. He thinks it will make her more angry.
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It's ok when she won't eat. It's her body winding down, and it usually means that she can't digest food that day anyway. There are times in dementia when the kidneys, liver, stomach, etc don't work as they should and putting food in makes things more uncomfortable, gurgly, or even painful. Allow her to eat as much or as little as she wants. The leaning over to the side also indicates the end is near. Can you have her evaluated for in home hospice? That might well be the next step, and they can help you learn how to cope with her decline while juggling your children...
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Thanks for the kind words! And advice. I'm learning slowly but surely. Her moods have been OK the last two days but still using the bathroom on herself occasionally. She is eating but my 5 year old eats more! That is a big concern of mine. I read and a lot of the time the patient is a good eater.my hubby lost his grandmother last year and I saw how she ate so little. I think that's why it worries me so much because I see similarities in her and my mother in law. The way she talks, eats and sometimes walks. She will lean to one side on a bad day, her talking turns into sounds and won't eat.
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