Mum's moving in with me because her husband can no longer cope. How do I explain this to her?

Follow
Share

Mums had Alzheimer's since 2012. She's lived with her husband all this time and I look after mum 2 - 3 days a week to give him a break. Mum absolutely loves the home she shares with husband. Things have become too much for husband now so I'm bringing her to live with my husband and I, (next week - just preparing house, stair gate, mums things in newly decorated room) . Mum would no way adjust to assisted living and will be very anxious when she realizes she is staying with us. I will ask Dr for meds to see her through initial weeks. I adore my mum but I'm dreading this mostly cause my mum just wants my attention 24/7. But as you all know it's all meaningless, repetitive child talk. We've told her her husband is going in hospital that's why she has to be with us. Can anyone please suggest some sort of activity to involve her in. I always took her on long walks before she fell and broke her hip, which put her back physically and mentally. She hardly speaks coherently now. All the conversation is trying to make her laugh. She's becoming urine incontinent and I don't believe she will last beyond 12 months. Anyone else had their parent till the end? All advice appreciated.

26

Answers

Show:
If she's 'becoming urine incontinent' this isn't a signal that she is reaching the end of this journey. I hope everything goes really well, but also hope that you have a backup plan to place her in Memory Care. We ALL believe that our loved ones will not adjust to living in a facility, but they do. And you need to focus on your own life for the next 5 years. This is how long it could easily be.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to jjariz
Report

It is really kind of you to be willing to disrupt your lives to bring Mum to live with you when her husband is no longer able to care for her. And two healthy younger people should have an easier time caring for her than a spouse near her age. So your plan makes some practical sense, too.

You recognize that it is still not going to be ideal, which is realistic. But what would be ideal? A cure for ALZ, I guess. What you have to aim for now, in the the words of psychotherapist Pauline Boss, is "good enough." I found Boss's book, "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia," to be very insightful about the caregiving experience. I recommend it.

Has a doctor suggested Mum has only a year or so left? I'm surprised. Usually they are reluctant to give a prognosis like that until much closer to the end. You might consider a hospice evaluation. It may be too soon to start the program, but it would be good to have the benefit of their experience, and to start looking into this before need.

About your statement "Mum would no way adjust to assisted living." Many of us have felt that way and when it couldn't be avoided, discovered to our amazement that yes, our loved one could adjust. My sisters and I often asked the nh staff, "OK, who is this impostor, and what have you done with our mother?" Mom went to nearly every activity offered. WHAT?! She visibly blossomed in the nursing home for her final two years.

Also, I kind of doubt assisted living would be the right level of care for your mum in such an advanced stage of dementia. A nursing home might be more suitable, but she would be assessed if you decide to go this route.

Here is what the Alzheimer's Association says about late stage ALZ:
"Since care needs are extensive during the late stage, they may exceed what you can provide at home, even with additional assistance. This may mean moving the person into a facility in order to get the care needed." Know that it is not defeat to have placement in a facility as a backup plan, and to execute that plan if/when it makes sense.

I'll post again, with some activity suggestions.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to jeannegibbs
Report

You might have another 6 to 8 years caring for her are you prepared for this?
My Husband had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I think he also had Vascular dementia. He "survived" ,I hesitate to use the word lived, for 12 years after he was diagnosed. Urine incontinence, then bowel is not the beginning of the end by no means.
Does she wander? Will she be getting up at night? A gate across stairs can be just as dangerous as the stairs themselves. She may try to step over the gate and fall down the stairs, not see the gate and trip over it.
Are you prepared and mostly is your Husband prepared for 24/7 care?
Do you have a bathroom that will accommodate a walker, a wheelchair? Do you have a shower that will be easy for her to get in and out of?
Grab bars by the shower? by the toilet?

If you think she will not adapt to a facility she will have the same problems adapting to your house. It is still a "new" place.
This will change your life, your Husbands life, your marriage. If you have children it will change your relationship to them as well.
Final...you can not nor should you do this alone. You will need other caregivers. Give yourself the same break you gave your Dad (stepdad?) So 2 or 3 others to help you out would be great. Keep in mind you will be with her at night as well and the nights can be just as challenging as the daytime.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

And are you going to charge your mother to live with you? Are you prepared to be her 24/7 caregiver? Can she afford help to come in? Is your husband okay with this?
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to CTTN55
Report

What a loving daughter you are. We saw Dad through, in our home. It takes great sacrifice and much patience wrapped in love. Please know your journey will be difficult, but doable. I could not have done and do, without Gods help, and much prayer.
May God bless you and see you through. I will keep you in my prayers. You will have good days and bad days. Best wishes.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to smeshque
Report

If your mom liked to go for walks,, maybe she would enjoy short drives into the country.. no stops.. or it may make her more agitated when she realizes she is not going home. I also got my father large picture books from the library about things that used to interest him.. like trains or planes or sea life. No real "reading".. just pictures. For some reason he loved the maps in the books! Or music from their early years?
And if you are needing to look into placement,, try a MC instead of a NH.. it worked well for my dad's last month, and my MIL has been in one for about 2 years. I think tjey have more interaction and knowledge of ALZ
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to pamzimmrrt
Report

If your mother still enjoys pictures, perhaps a digital photo frame loaded with outdoor scenes and/or birds and other animals in outdoor settings would be enjoyable. There are plenty of free photos available on social media from amateur photographers. There are even a couple of frames that you can connect to your wifi and deliver the photos by wireless. My mother and I visited Biltmore House and Gardens in 2004 and I took a couple of hundred pictures of the grounds and flowers. My mother loves viewing those images over and over again.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to TNtechie
Report

I fought with myself to put dad in a facility because I knew he would not adjust. Well, he did just fine and as he was there I was able to see the care the facility offered to him beyond what I would have ever been able to provide for him. It was an eye opener for me and I saw him daily, had meals with him, went to the events with him provided by the facility and remained his daughter. It was a wonderful experience. He was well cared for and I was too so we were both in a good place. It was the best decision for both of us. I was not trained nor had the equipment needed to care for him as his condition got worse. I knew nothing of hospice, which of course the facility did and set it up in the final stages. I would think long and hard about taking in a loved one in the condition of your mum as was my dad. I found I was a better daughter to him by not taking him in. I will pray for you as you will need prayers. The other caregivers who you think will help you will not always be there and nobody can do 24/7 by themselves no matter how much you love a person. If you do take your mum for now, make sure you do your research and put her name on a list for backup. If backup facility calls, you can usually say I am not ready yet for her to go but keep me on the list. You will have a better chance of her getting into a memory care when you need it. Best wishes to you.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to jemd11
Report

I moved my dad into memory care 14 months ago. He has adjusted and needed more daily structure and hands-on care than myself or my mother could provide. It's a full-time job and that means night time, too. Some of the residents in the memory care facility have lived there for a decade so it can be a long commitment. I love my dad but he would never have wanted me to give up a decade of my middle-age years to care for him.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Upstream
Report

Dear Angela61,
Lots of good info posted in reply to your question. One in particular from Alzh101 I think struck home with me. Based on what you said it would appear that you can not have a productive conversation where your mother can tell you what she wants in terms of future care. I am writing from the perspective of a Dementia/Alz ? patient. Fortunately for me based on advice I've learned on this website I've been able to think things through and have made a lot of decisions as to what I want as far as future care is concerned.
My DW and I have had a 50/50 split in terms of sharing domestic workload at home for the 20 plus years we've been married. One of our favorite past times has always been cooking together. Together, we even cooked for many years for a Service Organization we were members of hosting banquets for between 15-300 people. This was a source of great joy. I understood early on when my diagnosis was confirmed why I had trouble preparing our meals on my own for our family. No longer could I follow a recipe. Now, we'll lay things out for the next days' dinner and while waiting for her to return from work the next day, I'll wash and cut up veggies, take charge of thawing the meat, I still do all the laundry for us and our 11 yr old daughter, shop from a simple list of things to buy from the store, etc. I acknowledge when I don't understand particular directions, or what my DW wants me to do. DW has been a school teacher for 30yrs, so she will patiently work out a way of explaining things to me so I can understand. On the occasion I still can't understand, she accepts it and will complete the task herself, or ask one of our children for help. I go and wash dishes for a Senior Lunch once a month given at church. Again, this is a task I can still manage on my own and the people running the lunch, know of my diagnosis, and willingly support me.
Yes, all of these things are useful in keeping me engaged and I believe anything you can offer your mother to make her feel she is being productive will be helpful to both of you. Finding what those things are, may be difficult at first. Read through this site and you will find a lot of help appropriate to whatever stage of Dementia applies to your mother.
Now is the time for you and your DH to discuss among-st yourself at what point you will both want to move mom in to some sort of MC/NH setting. Agree between the two of you that you won't keep moving the goalpost. A great bit of advice I received from a Priest friend many years ago, each couple's primary responsibility is to their dependent children and their marriage. No, we don't want to abandon our parents, but we can't be afraid of accepting the responsibility to do what is best for them, ie. turning them over to a setting that offers 24/7 professional care.
I made it very clear to my DW and all four children ages 11-37. Please put me in a facility far from home when I am no longer actively engaged in daily life, or so incapacitated that I can't do the things I love to do and be productive. I don't want them to be in a position of trying to care for me and having it become an all consuming part of their lives. I believe their priority should be looking out for their own families, and for my DW to be able to live a life engaged with the world enjoying life. I write this knowing she'll do everything she can for me, but respects my wishes on how I want the next step to go when I need more care than can be reasonably expected. I also encourage you and your DH, to think about what you want in terms of your future care, and get all the legal moves made now, while your health is good and you are of sound mind. That will be the best gift you can give to your children. My thoughts. I hope they are helpful. Best of luck and prayers for you and all of your family.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to jfbctc59
Report

See All Answers