Follow
Share

My FIL ruled the house when he was alive. MIL has been diagnosed with mild dementia but we're having issues with quite a few things regaring hygiene and behavior. She is sweet as can be with my husband and son but downright mean to myself and my DIL. Everyone says it's the dementia yet in the middle of a rant, if my husband walks in she immediately turns into a smiling sweet lady. He didn't quite believe me when I described our conversations until he came up behind her one time and listened for about 10 minutes. If she can shut it off that quickly then I don't think it's dementia. Any advice?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
There is no benefit at all to them. They were trying to help us out. It was better 2 years ago but every month she gets meaner. They are getting to the point that they want to move out but they are called over several times a week because she falls. They pick up her Meals on Wheels lunch everyday. They do her grocery shopping every week. Her children don't have time to help and the nursing home said she doesn't fit guidelines for admittance.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I remember the story well now. It is a very difficult circumstance.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What will happen if DIL votes with her feet and leaves? 'Cos I think I would!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

We all are still interested in how it's going with mil's hygiene issues.

What is the benefit to your son and dil of living in the house with mil? (If I remember correctly, she has an attached apartment and refuses to let anyone in.)

If it's not his own blood relative, not sure why there would be any expectation for him and his wife to help the woman at all. And if she's mean to them, all the more reason to stay far away (actually, don't they want to move out?).
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Husband doesn't know what to do. He tells her constantly that she hurts us but she doesn't care. When we are in the US together, I let him deal with her. When I am home and he's not, then I take over all care, shoppping, doctor's appointments and tune her out.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yes, but my son is from a previous marriage so is not a blood relative. We live in Europe and the home is in the US. We bought it because the home she was living in was in horrible shape, with holes in the floors, rats running around and toilets not working. She lived in the country with noone around and fell and laid there for hours before someone found her. We bought a house in the middle of town and moved my son and his wife in to help. And it has gone downhill ever since.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hmm, I'm still trying to figure out family connections. It is your MIL, so it your husband's mother. This person is living in your somewhere far away from you. I'm trying to figure out how DIL fits in. She is married to your son. Does both your son and DIL live with your MIL? Ah, yes! It is his grandmother on your spouse's side. Okay, got it worked out.

What does you husband think should be done? Another thing coming in here is she is treating her son and grandson well, but the in-laws who are their wives poorly. She may be suffering from Matriarch syndrome and think the in-laws are outsiders.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, an understatement of the month, but I didn't want to rehash all that. Since we live so far away I'm more concerned about DIL. She's called us several times crying from the hurtful things that are said. They have talked about moving out, but we really need someone there. I am not sure how or if I should confront her. MiL has been in our house almost 2 years. If someone is not with her I'm not sure what to do.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It could be that your MIL is of the old school where men are on pedestals. It is a sad truth that some women don't like other women. I've run across many women who will even admit that. Your MIL may be like that.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

?! "Issues regarding hygiene" is the understatement of the month, isn't it? :) Hope you're making headway with her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Um. The only reason I can think of for wanting to know whether she can help it or not is that you think if she *can* help it you can train her out of it, so to speak.

But a) you can't really tell which is Vascular Dementia (especially loss of inhibition, as the dementia affects the temporal lobe) and which is competitive misogyny, as is/was so common in your MIL's generation; and b) even if you could say for certain at this point, the same balance won't necessarily be true next week.

So speaking for myself, I'm not sure it helps to try to work it out. And I certainly would not waste a microsecond trying to correct your MIL's behaviour, whether it's down to the disease or to her unfortunate personality. Save your mental energy for setting boundaries and devising responses to her that you are comfortable with - because that bit you can control.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I think she has vascular dementia as she had a stroke 6 years ago and things have gone downhill since then.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Can they help what they're saying or doing? Yes and... no. Do you know what kind of dementia your MIL has? My FIL has frontotemporal dementia. This kind of dementia affects things like impulse control and empathy. And here's what he does: he has it in his head he's in love with me and at every opportunity he stares at me, licks his lips when he catches my eye, and tells me all the delightful things he wants to do with me. Gross, right? And the kicker is he NEVER does this when my husband, his son, is around, or in front of other people. If asked, he will usually deny it. If confronted with evidence (I got a few videos of him in action), he promises he will never do it again. And he always does it again, unless my husband is around or we're with other people. We've told him if he doesn't stop it, he could end up living in a NH. He does it anyway.

The thing is, Dad will say things like "I can't help it. You're just too..." You get the idea. He has a genuine, dementia-caused compulsion. He really can't help it. Yet he somehow manages to not stare at me, or make suggestive lewd comments when other people are around. So he has some control, right? Or maybe not. Something is set up in his demented brain that says wait 'til she's alone." But he can't exercise that control when what he sees as opportunity presents itself.

This sort of thing may be what you're seeing with your MIL. The possibilities of what triggers her behavior are endless, but she may just be compelled to what she does and have no empathy at all for those she does it to. (My FIL fails to see how his behavior could make me uncomfortable or angry, or that it would affect his son if I did, for whatever bizarre reason, give in to him.) Just throwing this out for you to consider.

My husband, and extended caregiving family, have gone round and round about whether Dad's behavior is dementia. If he doesn't know it's wrong, why only in certain situations? Why be so sneaky? Can people with dementia be sneaky? Yes. Yes a hundred times. While reading other people's experiences on this board, I've learned dementia doesn't take away the sneaky. Parts of the brain work, other parts don't. The sneaky part seems to persist somehow and the dementia patient may not even know they're doing it. It can get a little surreal. I hope you get more answers and maybe some good advice on how to handle your situation. In my case, I've had to learn how to simply put up with a lot and avoid being alone with my FIL.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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