Help with mother-in-law in late stages of Alzheimer's. Any advice?

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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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