She is grieving the loss of her husband of 60+ years, and is frustrated by her short term memory deficits, physical frailty and cognative decline. Trying to set healthy boundaries, and build a relationship with my mother in law is a challenge, because each day in ‘new’ - most of the last day is gone. It’s like living in a not-so-funny version of ‘Groundhog’s Day’. Every morning, the same questions, anxious obsessions about various safety concerns (a nearby tree falling on the house, the cat getting killed by a car). Explanations, or words of comfort from one of us are ‘gone’ in 5 minutes. It is pretty heartbreaking, and maddening. Anyone else coping with significant memory issues in an aging parent living in home?

Are you both prepared to care for her for ...2 years...4 years...or more?
Is the house set up in a manner that will make it easy for you to care for her safely? No carpet, no stairs that she has to deal with, large bathroom that will fit a walker, 2 or 3 people or a wheelchair and 2 or 3 people? (sounds like a lot of people but I often had my Husband in a shower wheelchair, me and a CNA in the bathroom, luckily I have a handicap bathroom and it was perfect).
If not is there a possibility of her transitioning to a Memory Care facility or if she is able to do many ADL's (Activities of Daily Living) by herself she may do well in Assisted Living. If that is not an option is there Adult Day Care where you live? That would give you a break as well as structure and socialization for Mom.
You also need to find a good Support Group. This forum is wonderful but you should have people that you can talk to , call on and ask questions when the need arises. I tell you a good support group can save your sanity. The friends you have now will slowly drift away and you need friends that are close that you can count on.
Medication can help with anxiety, depression.
If Mom wanders check with the local police department and see if there is a program in your area that will help in tracking loved ones that wander away. Where I live there is a program called CareTrack but even something as simple as a tag that you would put on a dogs collar or a suitcase to track the location might help.
Lots of other considerations and I am sure many will chime in with ideas.
And feel free to pick the 100's of brains that are here.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Grandma1954

You don’t say how long her husband has been gone, but grief can be all-consuming and detrimental to one’s health, physical and mental. She’s had her feet knocked out from under her. In addition, she’s been moved to a new home and nothing is the same as when she lived in her own home with her beloved husband.

If she hasn’t visited her doctor lately,she should go. There are meds to help with cognitive decline and depression. Wait a while before suggestion adult daycare and other socialization. My mother was a recluse and socialized on her own terms. “Building a relationship” may not be something you can do if she doesn’t remember you from day to day. She will learn to trust you and depend on you for her basic needs, but don’t expect much else. If you and yiur partner work, you should check into a caregiver for when you are gone. Good luck. Come back often and give us updayesa,
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Reply to Ahmijoy
Andy22 Mar 22, 2019
Thanks all - I just want to say what a godsend this forum has been. I was out of my depth in the beginning of this journey, and feeling adrift. Just knowing that others were dealing with similar challenges, whether we handle them differently or not, has made all the difference in the world. While thinking about other’s situations, I learned about my own, and offering help or insights gets me out of my own set of ‘blinders’ more often than not. I appreciate everyone’s contributions more than you know.

We’ve started 2days of daycare a week, and processed a lot of feelings about the changes in our daily lives. MIL is doing better having outside activities (though she doesn’t recall them) and is responding well to meds. We’ve also defined what it will look like when we have reached the limit of our ability to provide positive care, and come up with a plan to transition to that next step. This has all helped A LOT. Grateful to have found this place.

That kind of hands on care in the home can be and is all encompassing. I do sympathize with you. I gave it my best for short while, while I worked to find my LO care in AL, then MC. It is very tough on the caretaker and mentally and physically. I recall the days where she would repeat the same comment or question over and over dozens of was unreal. There's nothing you can do but, patiently respond. I'd make sure you get some respite time. You'll both need help and regular breaks.

My LO also worried a lot and obsessed about lots of things. She cried a lot too. I would check with your mom's doctor and explore medication. My LO was prescribed meds for anxiety and depression and it was wonderful. It helped her a great deal and when she wasn't so nervous and obsessing, her repeating was reduced some. And her crying almost stopped too.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Sunnygirl1

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