Follow
Share

My mother in law moved in with us unexpectedly last January. She had a stroke 13 years ago, and is confined to a wheelchair. She came with nothing but the rags on her back. She had no money, as brother in law stole it from her. My husband had to take money from his 401K so that we could build an extension onto our house for her with a huge handicap restroom. She receives social security and a very small pension altogether not much at all. I have control of her money. She wants me to buy her an anti inflammatory drink that costs $150 a month! I did this for a couple of months out of guilt, because in her previous home, she was very neglected. We try and give her whatever she wants. I finally convinced her that this drink was having a placebo affect on her and that it was all in her mind. Well, now it's been a couple of months later, and she wants me to buy it again for her - she's very adamant about having it. It really angers me! I've told her if she has inflammation, then we need to tell the dr. about it - she doesn't want to hear this. This is a huge waste of money that she doesn't have. Her money is being used to pay back my husband's 401K, as well as her diapers, and everything else she uses monthly. How do I say no to her without feeling guilty?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Stick to what's best and let your convictions override your guilt because the guilt doesn't go away, we have to overcome it. Our first impulse is to make them happy but sometimes we can't in light of doing what's better for them and making the right choice.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I think Ismiamil has the best idea. Glad to hear it might have worked just talking to your MIL but why not also add that you saw a home made one on tv, like dr Oz's show and try making her one? Her mind might be different but she still knows what she wants and I am sure its so hard to say "no" to her, you're a very sweet persn to care so much, I would feel the same way. Good Luck to you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

OK, she wants a four pack of Palea (cactus juice) for $120? Would she have bought some for you as a child? Hell, NO. Do you know how much Kool-Aid that works out to?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

and, I might add, my mother is also on social security with no retirement...I have had to continually dig her out tight spots...now, that I have divorced, and have exhausted the 401K money I got through divorce to rebuild my life. And I am on early Social Security due to an accident at the workplace...my mother doesn't have a say anymore if she want's to live me...if not me, it would be a shelter.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I wouldn't feel guilty in the least...I am the sole care giver to my own 84 year old mother (my sister is an alcoholic) - she is lucky to have a roof over her head - I wouldn't worry about it and just turn up the radio or television if she starts giving you feedback...I don't care how old someone is, there is no excuse to be rude and unappreciative.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You have and are going above and beyond the caring process of your mother in law. I applaud you. You need a break. Have you ever looked into the programs under your county Medicaid office where you are able to get a certain amount of hours of care for her. There is no cost involved and she has to be financially eligible. Since she has a small amount of income she would probably qualify. Sometimes they just have to hear that not taking this so called medication is not healthy from her from someone else since she obviously is taking you for granted. She is so lucky. My husband and I just said No to my mother in law moving in due to my breast cancer treatments, we both could not believe she asked. I am in the process of getting her admitted to a Nursing Home and she is handling it okay. I was thinking that I could not handle her and do not know how I would handled it. You can also go away for a few days and get respite care in a Nursing Home. Sounds like you need a major break. Once again you are great .
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Thank you all very much for your responses. I did try a less costly drink for my MIL, but she didn't want it. She is VERY brand oriented. I don't know why. She asked me again last night for the drink (Nopalea). I calmly told her that right now, her money is being used to pay for the addition that we put on for her, as well as her diapers, and other care needs, etc. This is the truth, and it worked, she nodded her head in agreement. I then told her that I would make a dr. appt. today for her to see exactly what is troubling her and how we can fix it to make her feel better. She agreed. Yes, I'm sure my MIL went without many times, as her children were growing up. If the drink was reputable and worked, then I would spend the money, however, from my research, it's basically a placebo effect. We were in no way prepared to have my MIL live with us, but due to my BIL going to jail, and my FIL was in the hospital at the time (has since passed), we literally had one days notice to pick her up in AZ, we're in CA. Some days I say "why did I do this?" MIL had been in numerous nursing homes years ago when she had a stroke, and they all were terrible experiences. I think this is why we decided to build on our home and keep her there. I'm sure there are nice nursing homes, but for her very limited funds, I don't think they would be that good, maybe I'm wrong. We would have liked to have her go to assisted living, however, I found out that is a luxury and could no where near afford it. Thanks for all your responses, and letting me vent. I'm glad I found this website, because I'm a "newby" at caregiving.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Maybe juicing like with a nutrabullet could be a substitute. What is in this drink?
Juicing can have other health benefits family wide like just eating more veggies.
There are recipes that claim to be anti inflammatory. If it won't be too much additional stress, maybe you can offer a homemade alternative.

I sound like an advertisement because I recently went on a health kick and love it as a meal substitute and enhancement.
The machine is $80 with the 20% coupon at bed bath and beyond.
If it became a family kick, juicing is easier than cooking and cleaning.

You have nothing to feel guilty about, but guilt is sticky and hard to shake off.

Any chance someone else would volunteer to donate an allowance for the drink? You do a lot, any siblings or nieces who could take this on? There are elders in my family for whom I would be willing to pitch in. Granted this would need to be from a reliable and willing source.

If not, a polite no as previously suggested is a all you owe. Sorry to hear this causes you stress as you have done and continue to do so much.

God bless

L
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I did what you suggested, SacFol, and came up with an anti-inflammatory drink that seems to fit the price -- Nopaleo from Trivita. It is an alternative type "medicine" drink that has not been tested. I read a bit more and there is a huge question whether it does anything useful. Something I did find useful on line is some home remedies for anti-inflammatory drinks. One had pineapple, which has so many good properties. I wonder if one of these cheaper home remedy drinks would satisfy the MIL's needs.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Try not to feel guilty. Did you or her doctor notice any difference in her/her health when she was drinking the stuff? Go on line and google it to see if there have been any reviews, good or bad. My mother was taken advantage of by people she was staying with. Her SSA check was under $500. I learned that she could apply under my father's since they had been married at least 10 years before he left her. She now gets just under $1,200 plus about $200 from a pension she didn't know she was able to collect. Her rent is $600 and even with the increase, she still spends as much as in her account. I've had to put money in to cover NSF situations and she tries to spend that. She's in her mid 70's and watches QVC and HSN and other similar shows. She orders facial creams that she thinks are going to make her look 50 again. I've tried to explain that even though her income has increased she can't go hog wild...she says she knows and agrees but it doesn't make any difference. I no longer feel as guilty when I say no. In this case, I think it's reasonable for you to say no. If this was a $20 drink, I might agree with ejbunicorn; but $150 is more than the average person should be expected to provide unless you're a millionaire. I would do some online checking to see what reviews are out there. I did that with the products my mother ordered. I let her know a lot of people thought they were being scammed and there were a lot of complaints about the product. This seemed to make a difference to my mom. Good luck and hang in there.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

marcia8585, I think I understand your ethical concern about tricking the MIL. At first blush it does sound unfair. Who could suggest such a mean thing?

Well, many of us have had to get past first blush in our search for what works for our loved ones with dementia. How would I want people to treat me if I were in the same situation? I'm not sure exactly what the situation is here, but I am assuming the MIL has some cognitive decline from the strokes. What I would want if I ever develop dementia is to be kept comfortable, safe, calm, as free from anxiety as possible, with adequate stimulation and social activity. If to achieve that my relatives or caregivers have to use some trickery or to fool me, so be it. I would prefer that to frequently having confrontations.

I say this after caring for my husband (dementia) for ten years and now helping to care for my 93 yo mother who has dementia. Did I ever lie to my husband? Would I trick my mother? Absolutely! I would do whatever I could to improve the quality of their lives. There is a HUGE distinction between the trickery of the BIL who stole MIL's money and a loving lie in her best interest.

I'm not sure I would use Gigi's approach. I would rather try to figure out how to end this particular situation than to prolong it long-term. But I don't at all think Gigi is mean or unfair to suggest it.

I would not want my relatives to try to trick me NOW, and I would not try to trick my son or my sister, all of us being in our right minds. I am only trying to explain that in dealing with dementia we have to re-examine our assumptions of what is ethical.

(I don't know to what extent considerations of cognitive decline apply in this case. 1daughterinlaw will need to factor that in as she reads our responses.)
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Doh!!! I meant "... when you STOP feeling sorry for her."
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Two questions: (1) Why isn't your husband taking charge here?; and (2) What's in the drink that she seems to be addicted to?

The guilt about these situations will stop when you start feeling sorry for her. The stroke was 13 years ago, and since last January her wants & needs -- whether real or imaginary -- have been catered to.

Instead of telling her "Forget it; you can't afford it," track down that thieving brother-in-law to pay for her $150 elixir. It's the least that c_____h can do.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You are bargaining with someone whose brain is rapidly returning to the functional level of a four-year-old. Discuss her compulsive fixation with the supplement with her MD and bring a bottle so he can read the label. Most of this stuff is placebo effect, you are absolutely right. PT would do her more good than drinking goop.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

It would be nice if we could say no once and they would accept it. When the same requests come up again, it can be hard to handle. With me, it is not so much guilt as feeling that I have to defend my position on it. You are doing the right thing, daughterinlaw. If your MIL has Medicare, there are so many anti-inflammatory medications that will be covered at no charge. $150 is a lot of money for a nonprescription preparation, so I understand exactly where you are coming from. I hope she will forget about the drink soon so that you can live in peace.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My mom has always made me feel guilty before her dementia and it has esculated since her dementia. At first I was driving 60 miles every three days to do things for her to make her happy and after two years, it was brought to my attention that my health was becoming an issue and I have had to stop my visits to the nursing home down to one every 10 days but mom will call me up to 40 times a day complaining and wanting something. If I say no, I get the riot act and she will say whatever comes to her mind to make me feel guilty and also hurts me to the core. It is so hard to remind myself that this is her illness but nevertheless, it hurts. Saying no to my mom is like saying no to a child who wants a new toy at the store. The social worker at the nursing home told me that if I let her have her "tantrum", within three days she will be over it. Sure enough, he was correct. I buy mom everything she asks for because she always says, "think of me stuck here, I have nothing, you can go places, I can't" This plays on me so much that I feel guilty going to the grocery store so I try to do what I can to make her happy. She has had 4 new roommates in a year because she gets so jealous of what the other has. We have gotten her a bookshelf, a dresser, a refrigerator, new clothes and shoes and everything has been brought to my house because it wasn't good enough. I bought her four new outfits and within a week she called crying she only had rags. Recently, her fourth roommate got a chair and now mom wants her new dresser out and a smaller dresser so she too could have a chair. It doesn't matter if we are broke and wore out, she sits at the nursing home like she is a queen and demands and demands then breaks into tears if we don't do her bidding. I am stressed to the hilt and when I don't do her bidding, she says she wished she had aborted me. I have POA and that makes it worse because she thinks that means I should jump when she hollers. Her bday is this Sunday and she is getting her second new dresser which we all know will be worthless in two weeks. It is hard at first to say no to your loved one. Sometimes you just have reverse your roll and be the parent and tell them enough is enough and you can't afford these things. When they cry and say you abandonded them or don't love them you have to say "you are here because WE DO LOVE YOU". When a parent lives with you, you truly have to be the parent and explain you can't afford this or that and eventually they will move on to other things. In my case, the social worker told me we are going appease mom this last time and put a chair in her room so she will see there isn't enuf room for one and she will get her new dresser and after that, the bank is closed. This is hard on us all emotionally and physically and sometimes I just don't know what to do or feel. I have become numb to mom's demands and the sad part is, she was like this before getting sick. We cannot allow them to run our lives and at the same time, we gotta love them. It is tough. Don't do what I did. For two years I never left my house, never went anywhere except to church and my husband took over grocery shopping because mom would call if I was out and make my day turn into a nightmare because I got out of the house. Sorry for venting all this but I need you all to know that when our loved ones have this illness, "GUILT" is their specialty. We are the parents, look what we have done for you, now it is your turn no matter what. Buy hey, did we get what we wanted as children? Think about it. Be tactful, clever in the way you handle the word "no". Mom just got a new pair of shoes and saw a different pair on someone else, she wanted them too and after a week of her crying over them, she has forgotten about it. I would give her the moon but then she would want the sun. If I gave her a royals royce, she would of wanted a mercedes...just love them, do what you can. Be blessed and I will keep you all in my prayers
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I would not fill the bottles with something else and trick her. that is simply not fair. whos to say the drink is not really helping her? that is just mean. would you want someone to do that to you if you were in the same situation?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Perhaps you could look for a locally available inexpensive drink to replace the one she wants to order, explaining to her it's the same thing but within the family's price range.

Or, just save the bottles from the original drink and fill them with something else that tastes the same.

Or you could dilute the original with Gatorade, other juice or whatever so that it lasts longer, gradually increasing the ratio of dilution.

Anything would help that will avoid confrontation which is ineffective in relationships at best, and works against us with the elderly.

Your guilt feelings are a separate issue and I would guess aren't limited to this situation. Try the Serenity Prayer. Blessings to you and the family to work out solutions which are a win for everyone.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

There are so many things you can do straight from the grocery store that's just as good, just like Kathyt1 suggests. Good fats like fish oil have the same affect as a special drink and are far less expensive. Remember this as your rolls are no reversed and you and your husband are the parents: You were told "no" many times when you asked for things. Jeannegibbs has it perfect. God bless!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Wild Alaskan salmon has a better immune response than acai. I use Dr. Perricone's anti inflammotory diet. I tried the drink it's very helpful, but not at the price. Eliminate sugar, white flour, and alcohol from diet, add cinnamon, tumeric, salmon, sardines and you will get a much better response than just the drink. I have multiple sclerosis. I have tried everything. The Anti inflammatory diet is the best I have found for auto immune diseases.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

sorry but I do understand about paying back the 401 k but still i would go without something so my mom could have that drink, did she not go without something when you were growing up so you can have, i bet she did
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Jeannegibbs makes some good points, Mom, I'm sorry, you can't afford it is the perfect answer. Yes she does get some small income, as ejbunicom states but she also has letigimate expenses and the cost of her housing and supplies are part of that expense. It is very generous of you and your husband to take her into your home and to make her as comfortable as you have with the re-modeling.

It would not be fair to simply write off that expense; you and you husband need to secure your own futures by paying back the 401k. Perhaps if you consier that doing so will keep you financially independent in the future it will be easier.

You describe a safe and secure situation for your MIL which is substantially better that her previous situation. You are to be congratulated for that.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

well she gets social security and a pension not her fault that someone ripped her off and nice of you to take her in but i would go without something so that my mom could have that drink after all it is her social security and pension
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You make very good points. I will keep ALL of this in mind. Thank you for your response.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Mom, I'm afraid you can't afford it.

Mom, I wish we had more money, but we can't afford a drink that costs $150 a month. If you need something for inflammation, let's go to a doctor so it will be at least partially covered by insurance.

Of course if the stroke has caused cognitive impairment, then reasoning with her is not going to be very effective. Make a brief statement and then just say no.

Now, how do you not feel guilty? Since I don't know what you have to feel guilty about I can't tell how not to feel it. Are you sure it is guilt? I can understand regret that you can't give her everything she wants. I can understand disappointment that she can't or won't grasp this reality. But guilt? That doesn't make sense.

A certain amount of irrational guilt seems to be part of caregiving. Maybe this is your quota and you just have to learn to push it to the back of your mind and not let it drive any decisions.
Helpful Answer (11)
Report

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