Follow
Share

Hello, thanks in advance for any advice. My father-in-law was diagnosed with dementia about 10 yrs ago. My husband has been incredibly supportive to his mother (who is a naturally stressed out woman) and is a caring, gentle son to his father. My MIL is at her wits end, but refuses to consider a nursing home and can't afford a full-time visiting nurse (she has a M-F nurse for five hours each day), so she's resorted to going to the ER when my FIL refuses to listen to her, which involves waiting in the hospital all day just so my FIL can spend the night. This also involves my husband leaving work to be there for her emotionally. The gist of our concern is that my husband is spending more time managing his mother's outbursts than spending time caring for his father. FIL dementia is bad, but he has surprisingly good days where he's chatty and in good spirits. But MIL is naturally tightly wound and this experience has her on edge non-stop, despite having a support system. She's pushed a lot of people away and claims no one calls or care, but when you check in with other family members they have, she just won't return their calls, including FIL's sisters. Has anyone else experienced this?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Thank you both for your advice! Getting her evaluated is going to be a challenge, but I'll definitely discuss with my husband.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Get her evaluated so you know what you're dealing with.
If she has a nervous breakdown, that might be a good segue. You check FIL into memory care or AL. You deal with her separately when she is discharged from the psychiatric facility, stable on meds. In these situations, you have to look for opportunities.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks so much for the advice, Sunnygirl. My FIL is definitely different when he's around her alone. He totally shuts down, or the other extreme, acts out. Funny enough, my MIL granted my husband power of attorney a year ago, when these ER visits started. He's still very much the son in this instance, and while he'll offer his mom suggestions/advice, he hasn't outright told her "No, we're going to do things this way." His fear is that she'll have a nervous breakdown, but it seems as though she's been having one her entire life. That's how unstable she is at times. I'll speak with him about exercising his power, which means really putting his foot down with her and standing his ground, no matter how much she resists. In all of this, we've spent so much energy on her, poor FIL has been left on the sidelines in a way.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I really feel for you. The stress of dealing with your MIL will take a toll on you all. With advancing dementia, it's not safe for your father-in-law to deal with this. Does anyone have power of attorney? It will be difficult to implement any plan of care if they resist and you have nothing giving you that right. Is your dad still competent to give you Power of attorney and health care power of attorney? I'd look into that so you can at least try to protect him.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thanks so much, Hug! You took the words right out of my mouth. My brother-in-law has told me he suspects she's undiagnosed bipolar, as he remembers her fits from childhood. I completely agree that my husband will stress himself to death, but she does a pretty good job of guilting him into supporting her. I've suggested ALF for years, but she thinks they're for "old people." She's turning 70 next year and my FIL is in his early 70s. My husband is slowly coming around after spending one too many nights in the ER for a non-emergency, but on a lot of levels, he still enables her and for him, he sees it as his duty. I think this last spell of emergencies has enlightened him, though. Thanks again!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I haven't experienced this personally. But here are a couple of thoughts.
1. Has your MIL been evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist? She's not reacting rationally. Your FIL needs more care than she and supplemental help can provide. She's going to kill YOUR husband with the stress. Either she's suffering from depression, or dementia, or another untreated mental illness.

You're going to tell me she's always been this way. Yes, she's had an untreated mental illness her whole adult life perhaps. Time to get her some help with that.

2. She won't accept your suggestions? Then it's time to stop enabling this dysfunction. Don't show up for the next ER visit/ discharge. The hospital discharge folks may look at this situation quite differently in that light.

The takeaway here is that this kind of grinding stress kills one third of all caregivers. We were certainly going down that path with my mom two years ago when it became clear to me that my brother was going have a heart attack or stroke from responding to mom's "emergencies".

Wouldn't both of your elders do better in an Assisted Living facility? Go visit, like cruise ships! Best of luck!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter