Mom, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, has been in MC for about five months now. She is adjusting well and tells me she really enjoys the games, piano concerts, sightseeing rides and other activities there. She also seems less agitated and less prone to the delusions she used to have, and more capable overall (i.e., she can read and choose from a menu, whereas she couldn’t before ) even though she often can’t remember certain information from one minute to the next.

The one delusion she will not let go of, however, is the notion that my husband stole some Christmas cards from her months ago. She has confronted him angrily about this imagined theft in the past and said he was not welcome in her home, and although she does not bring it up anymore, my husband is still so put out about this that he has refused to spend time with her. They never really got along in the first place, but because of this estrangement I find myself having to split my free time between them while I keep them apart. It’s tiring and depressing trying to provide a one-person family experience for my mom, and my husband can’t seem to accept that it was the disease talking when she accused him. He points out that she was always paranoid and mistrustful (which is true). Should I try to insist he get over it and join me in spending time with her, or just assume I will have to keep them apart forever? In other situations I’ve known it seems as if married couples share the responsibility for an ill parent. I don’t really appreciate being left on my own with this, but at the same time I believe people have a right to avoid being subjected to hostility and insults. Mom will be joining us on Thanksgiving and Christmas, the first time in months we will be together, but my husband is accepting this only because of the holiday.

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Your husband obviously doesn’t like your mother, and your mother doesn’t like him. Dementia makes it worse, and to be honest spending time in a NH or MC is not most people’s choice for recreation. Being a spare wheel in your visit would be even less appealing. Your mother is getting good care, and I hope that you don’t feel any need to ‘split your free time’ equally between her and your husband.

It's good of your husband to cope with your mother for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Clearly she will pretty much dominate HIS enjoyment of them. Unless it all goes swimmingly well and the relationships blossom (sounds not likely), I’d thank him for what he is doing, and let him go and enjoy his free time in any way he wants.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
lkdrymom Nov 22, 2021
I have to agree. Be happy that he is willing to sacrifice his enjoyment of the holidays so you can have your mother with you.

People always say "it is the disease" as if that makes it all ok. It isn't. He doesn't have the connection you have with your mother so he doesn't have the desire to let abuse roll off his back the way you might. He is entitled to his feelings and expecting him to just get over it is not fair.
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"Should I try to insist he get over it "?

Is that really the hill you want to die on?

Do you have a good marriage? Is he a supportive husband - other than dealing with your mother? Does he insist that YOU spend time with HIS mother?

If the answers to these questions are: Yes, yes and no - then give you husband a dispensation from spending time with mom - you go visit her in her facility, then come home and spend some "quality" time with your husband.
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Reply to notgoodenough

Squid, another question.

Your mom's in MC. This is all she knows now. Taking her out to "join" you two could make her especially unpredictable, especially if then confronted with someone she thinks is the enemy.

Have you considered having both these events at her place? The MC? I would do this around lunchtime in the area where other seniors visit their families. It'll be peer pressure from the people she always sees to moderate her behavior toward DH. If she does blow up on DH, then he can (should) just go rather than be the focus of upset.

This would also make for letting you two have dinnertime alone without complications of behavior, let alone transport, let alone anyone feeling trapped.
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Reply to PeggySue2020
Frances73 Nov 24, 2021
We did that for Mom's last few holidays. We picked up prepared meals and took the food to Mom's place. It was much less stressful to her, limited the disruption to her schedule, and let us then go to our holiday events without worrying about not including her. Plus, she got bragging rights that her family visited her!
It would be best for your mother not to be aggravated in her delusions again.
She is in MC, go visit her alone for an hour on the holiday. Bring gifts.

It is not unusual for someone with Alzheimer's to pick someone in the family and falsely accuse them. Keep her away, protecting her and your husband from being hurt. If she does not see him, maybe she will forget.

You are not doing anyone any favors by enabling a meetup. Be at peace about it-it is nothing he has done, really. Put your beliefs in action: " I believe people have a right to avoid being subjected to hostility and insults."

It was so very sad when this happened to a friend's adult grandson-his gma accused him of stealing and rape-made no sense to anyone, but she picked him. He was never able to visit her again.

Can you help your own grief over this situation, and let it go? So sorry this has happened-her brain is broken. It is all new to you-no one's fault, and not your fault either! 🌸🌸
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Reply to Sendhelp

Mom is safe in MC. Hubby is not having to be in her general vicinity, and unless he wants to be, why SHOULD he be. Now he is down to living through these holidays,and he is willing to do this. He may be a better man than I am a woman. I can tell you right now that in a situation like this, where you have admitted that your mother has ALWAYS had little use for him, I would not be as kind as he is. I would likely be off on those holidays donating my time to a local charity where I would be loved and appreciated.
These things happen. Why would you want to insert yourself in the middle of a war, even if a minor skirmish? That would not give you the peace and joy of family gathering, it would only put you torn in the middle and hurting.
Acknowledge that Mom never cared for your hubby but YOU do. Acknowledge that your Hubby is trying best he can for the sake of a holiday and thank him. And visit your Mom in her board and care. Take her a whole mess of boxes of Christmas Cards.
Wishing you PEACE for the holidays. Life isn't always a Jimmy Steward movie. Sometimes we just have to get through them until real life shows up again.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

I no longer have a relationship of any kind with my MIL. She has blamed me for so many things that I did not do, stealing her engagement and wedding rings just being one--and has openly spoken of her hatred of me, even in front of my kids. Horrible. Consequently, they have no relationship with her.

Dh would certainly PREFER for me to accompany me to visit his mom (still living in her own home) but I will not go. He's offered me $500 cash to go, once. I laughed it off and said I could get my OWN $500 and that was just ridiculous.

Now he goes, maybe every other month. Once in a great while she will agree to go to lunch with him, most times, it's a drop in visit and he fixes a couple things there and comes home.

He was really bummed about his latest visit and was ramping up to guilt me into going with him--and I stopped him with a "and how many times have you gone with ME to see MY mother?" The answer to that was "about 10 years". And she lives 2 miles away.

Neither of our moms have dementia, but are just slowly getting 'dotty' if that word is even really used. It's hard. They are both 92 and really pretty miserable. I am OVER the guilt I used to feel at not being able to like my MIL. I came into the family a dewy eyed 20 yo thinking I could make anyone like me.

Epic fail. I put 44 years into kowtowing to this woman and I am done.

Do I wish it had been different? Absolutely.

DH is responsible for 'gifting' his own mother for her b-day and Christmas. I imagine he'll either buy something incredibly expensive (guilt) or he'll forget. Either way, I don't/can't care.

We don't talk about our issues with the moms. There is no point.
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Reply to Midkid58
Frances73 Nov 24, 2021
LOL, Mom called her mother-in-law Mrs Jones for nearly 50 years! The nerve of her, marrying the perfect son! She was never asked to call her anything else.
My Mom was 5 min. up the road in an AL. I just made a left out of my development and drove straight there. So, I checked in everyday. I only stayed 15 or 30 min. Mom had lost the conception of time. Sometimes I wonder if she even knew me. My DH never went with me and I didn't ask. He didn't like NHs. When she went to a NH, that was in the next town so I cut down on my visits to every other day. Basically to let staff know there was someone checking on her. Mom was in her last stage of Dementia by then.

Since DH and Mom never did get along, why do you feel the need to push him going with you? There are many posts on here where the husband is not involved in the care of the wife's parents. There are some where the wives aren't involved with in-laws care. Others, the DH expects the wife to care for his parent/s and him not being involved. Do you see Mom every day? You really don't need to. She is safe and cared for.

As long as your husband understands that some of your time needs to go to Mom, then I would just let things go. Really, what kind of "us" time can u have visiting Mom?
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Reply to JoAnn29

Than you so much, everyone. I really appreciate the answers and the clear consensus here!
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Reply to Squid62

I think you should be delirious with joy that your husband is willing to join her on the upcoing holiday. It's not as if she ever was really fond of him. No reason to throw the man under bus at this point of the game. Her brain is broken - it doesn't work the way it used to and she may or may not forgive him for the imagined theft. You have placed her in MC which she enjoys and where she is receiving good care. You should now enjoy some quality time with your husband. And quitely frankly, if Mom "misbehaves" during Thanksgiving, I would not ask my husband to submit himself to the possibility of the same behavior on Christmas. She may not remember how she has behaved but he does and he counts.
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Reply to geddyupgo

To be blunt it sounds like your husband is acting like a petulant child.
Many people with dementia have been exhibiting signs for sometimes up to 10 years before an actual diagnosis. Is this maybe one of the reasons your mom has been paranoid and mistrustful?
There is no need to "split your time" between your husband and your mom. Visit mom during the day, and it does not have to be everyday. And the rest of the time is yours to do with what you want. I am assuming that you have dinner with your husband, spend the evening, go to bed, wake up with him, have breakfast and begin your day. If you visit mom for 1 or 2 hours a few days a week that is far from "splitting time"
In any case
When mom visits I would keep the visit easy going, not a big crowd.
If mom starts in on your husband let him go watch a football game or read a book. No sense in both of them getting upset, making you upset in turn.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Grandma1954
Isthisrealyreal Nov 24, 2021
Thats not really fair to the husband, considering that they never really got along.
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