How do I give care when my mother in law resists so much and takes so much? - AgingCare.com

How do I give care when my mother in law resists so much and takes so much?

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I moved in with my ex mil because I care for her daily. she has peripheral artery disease dementia and has had one leg amputated. I cook and clean for her, take her to doctor visits, grocery shopping, etc. I also have four teenagers that live with me and it is beginning to get more difficult because 'gran' has come to expect me to do everything and basically ignore my children or my needs. I feel like a slave sometimes. And she has been 'hearing' a whooshing sound in her ears. I explained that it was most likely her blood pressure or the sound of blood going through the vein by her ear and that we need to go to the doctor to have her ears checked. She refuses adamantly. She says "I don't need to go to the doctor! I know what it is ! No one believes me or pays any attention to me!" She has claimed that it is gas from the drilling a few miles away and that we are going to blow up any minute from a gas leak, it is the air conditioner making noise and we need to 'throw it away' and she keeps turning it off, it is water running through the pipes under the house, and a couple of other things. But everytime she hears it, she calls me to drop what I'm doing and come listen. Of course, I hear nothing, and I tell her that.....and remind her of the last time she called me in to listen and I heard nothing. She just complains and complains alllll the time and I am tired of listening to it, especially when she won't go to the doctor or listen to reason whenever she is complaining about something. This applies to her eyes as well. She goes in cycles with her moods and so when she is having her fits, we have to cancel appts. and reschedule because it is too much for her to handle to get up and ready to go to the doctor!! Then the last time we made it to the doctor, she told them that I wouldn't bring her! and one time she told them that I drove her all the way to the office, but turned around and took her home because I didn't want to take her!!! How do I deal with defending myself or making sure that people don't believe those lies? It is hurtful and I'm beginning to get angry about it. It makes me want to just 'do' the work without 'feeling' compassion or anything for her. And she puts on a real good show at the regular doctor so he doesn't make sure that she knows she has dementia and that she is NOT remembering and taking care of things correctly any more, like she says she is. I thought about starting a caregiving journal, just to log daily all of the decisions and problems or successes we have, and I would have a little 'proof' of what is taking place. I would appreciate any help!

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I have thought of respite care and will look into it. She depends on me greatly. and the ex is her addict son who lives here as well. :) Me and my four teens live with her now and I provide care for her. The ex shows up sometimes in a drunken stupor and uses a room. (I am on the couch or one of my kid's beds.) I have no room. again :) . It is a nightmare, but one in which I am beginning to wake up!! The ex is Randy, and he doesn't help at all.. In fact, I run interference when he is home. He grew up with his mom very emotionally and verbally abusive to him, so he followed his dad into drinking to escape and yelling at everyone who upsets him. My being here has brought peace to a certain degree to gran's life, because he won't dare yell at her with me around. I feel that I am compelled to care for her. Not a bad compelled, a very good compelled. Not that it is a duty, but I want her last days to be somewhat joyful and peaceful.....her life has been full of abuse and rejection. From her original family to her husband and kids...her other son died from an overdose 2 years ago. I can make her smile and laugh,and that makes me feel good, but I do get discouraged and exhausted. Mostly because of dealing with the ex (who I think has alcohol induced dementia!!! seriously) my kids have given me fits for about a year, but are finally understanding why all this is happening and they are beginning to mature a bit....and I am learning so much also. I can love without allowing myself to be abused... that is a big one! I can forgive not hold grudges or feel angry or taken advantage of.. and so much more. It helps SO MUCH to be able to vent on this board when the days are hard. Right now, gran is in pain because she had an injection in her eye today, so I'm running between her and my 17 year old son, who is having severe pain and some swelling in his broken arm that had surgery saturday, and my ex called to tell me everything he needs me to take care of also. I would have cried and gotten mad a month ago, but I'm learning to set boundaries, and let everyone know that I'm human...they are so used to me taking care of everything, they are bumfuzzled (southern term?) when they have to do something themselves... LOL and as for the tinnitus, I have thought about that - I have it , but I thought it was more a ringing noise, and hers is a whooshing noise. I really think it is medicine related, because when I make sure she takes it correctly, she doesn't hear the sound. Usually when she is having a bad day, (screaming at us and accusing us of wanting to send her away, and saying she will just pack her bags and leave) she hasn't taken her meds, and has lied to me and hidden them, then that is when she hears the whoosh. by the way, she is in a wheelchair, with one leg, and has the peripheral artery disease type of dementia.
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Where is your ex in all of this? Is he helping care for his mother as well?
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I don't know how dementia affects hearing or if she might have tinnitus [I don't have dementia but do have tinnitus --11 years-- and it's very distracting at times; not so bad at others] I keep music on most of the day, sometimes the TV, and use a sound machine [waterfall, rain on roof, waves, train, etc,] at night to help mask it. Maybe sound distraction might help her not focus on what she's "hearing"--it's real to her and maybe some obvious source of other sound.[TV??] might provide visual and auditory stimuli that would help.
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Is it possible for your ex MIL, to go to a nursing facility, for respite care for 2 weeks?
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I have no advice, just lots of love and compassion for you. Sorry about your sons.
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thank you so much jeannegibbs. It helps to 'hear' you say that her judgement is off and that she is in a delusional world and that I shouldn't take her behavior or statements personally. Although I seem to know this at times, I fall back into thinking that I'm the one that is at fault: I'm not doing good enough, I don't make her feel 'safe' or comfortable enough, I am just not doing enough for her. I know these are false beliefs of mine, so it is immensely helpful to be reminded of the truth. It seems like I live in the twilight zone at times, and this crazy nonsensical life becomes "normal". My ex husband also lives here, so that adds an enormous kink in things. I think he has dementia also! But again, thank you for your words of wisdom. I will get a good night's sleep and start afresh in the morning! I have been studying about dementia and it has been so helpful. I was also offered a REACH class here in Ft. Worth, but life got too complicated with my kids. So I'm going to try to get into that class soon, where I can learn and be trained in caregivng. I'm also going to start my journal! thanks again! (i know this is off topic, but my two 17 year olds were in a wreck on Friday, one injured badly, and 'gran' is doing what she has done MANY times in the past when someone else needs attention........she demands ALL my time and attention and gets mad and verbally abusive when I tell her that I have to tend to my son (who needs to be fed and is bedridden with compound fracture to his arm for another week or two until he is released by the surgeon). I have just been letting her get mad and doing what I know I need to do, but I feel my resentment growing. I know this will pass, but it helps to vent! thanks. :)
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Keeping that journal sounds like a very good idea.

Gran has dementia, poor lady. Take care of her, love her, give her attention, but don't take directions from her. She has poor judgment. She can't help it, but it is true. She expects you to spend all your attention on her at the expense of time with your children? Remember that her brain is not working well. Yours is. You must use your judgment about how you spend your time. Her judgment is faulty.

Her judgment is faulty about going to the doctor. You need to get her there. She is having "a fit"? Is she dressed? Let her have a fit at the doctor's office.

She tells tall tales to her doctors about what she can and does do? That is to be expected. That is how persons with dementia behave, poor dears. They live in a delusional world. But you know what is really going on -- you are not having delusions. Get a note to the doctor before each appointment, explaining the current situation.

It MIGHT help you to learn a little more about dementia and realize that you shouldn't take her behavior personally. Much of it she can't help.

She is your elder. In a sense she is your employer. You want to respect her. That is good. But the bottom line is that she has cognitive impairments. You have to take charge.
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