My in law's live about 35 miles away from us and my mother-in-law is in the first stages of dementia. How can I better help her and what do I need to pay attention to? - AgingCare.com

My in law's live about 35 miles away from us and my mother-in-law is in the first stages of dementia. How can I better help her and what do I need to pay attention to?

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My mother-in-law has first stages of dementia. She lives with her husband (he is in poor physical health and is not much help to her--both physically and emotionally.) I live 35 miles away and spend one day a week with her. It's hard for me to discern what she needs help with and what I should still let her handle. Right now I help her clean house and go through her checking account and mail. She is willing to let me help--we have a great relationship. What else do I need to pay attention to?

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My father has the first stages of demenita..Although he wants to cook for himself, and sometimes he does well, other times, he will forget to turn off the burner. I have returned from work to find the house smelling like burnt food. He forgets he is sauteing onions and they will burn..
I would try and get her to buy more ready made foods or offer to cook some things so they can just pop it in the microwave to heat up..
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I forgot to add the link for the National Family Caregiver Program.

http://www.aoa.gov/aoaroot/aoa_programs/hcltc/caregiver/index.aspx
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One thing that you may want to do is to apply for assistance through the National Family Caregiver Support Program. Call you local Office on Aging for information on the application process. Here is a link that will explain what it can do for you and your in-laws.
Nancy
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Doctor visits & medications. If he is willing, ask her husband to keep you informed unless you think it would cause friction between them or yourself (it can be a tight rope).
Stress to her that you are there for her if she needs you. This can also be a two edged sword.
I wish you the best.
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