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I live across the country from my family. My mother in law is combative if anyone except my father in law comes in the house to help her out. She will fight going to a new doctor when we feel the current one isn't helping. She cannot make simple decisions about what to wear, what she wants to eat. She will choose to go out with my FIL, adn then get there and start yelling that she didn't want to go out and she wants to go home. I have been trying to get a geriatric doctor for her, and been trying to find someone to come in and help her out but it is all met with fights. She will get to the doctor and refuse to talk or tell huge stories.

She has told me the exact same story 5 times in one 30 minute phone conversation. She is not able to cope with being at the supermarket or mall for more than a few minutes and then has to leave and go home. She gets tired very quickly. She is on medicine for Alzheimers, but we dont think she has it, but refuses to go to the doctor.

What can we do to get her to go to a doctor, and how do we get someone to help her at home when she wont let them in the house?

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Doglover, isn't it for your FIL to say "when"? If he is taking care of things, or thinks he is, then really for you it's a 'watching brief' - encouraging him to ask for help and being ready with names and contact details of people he can turn to when the time comes. Assuming he's competent, you can't force his hand.

The only other point is that if FIL is going along with her turning away outside help, you can help him find ways to stop that if he wants to: such as telling his wife that the help is for *him*, or any of the other strategies that caregivers need to use sometimes. What does he say about the situation?
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Dog, I'm I correct that you are married to this women's son? Does she have any other family? Is your husband still living and able to help out with his mother? How is it that all this is falling onto you? You're to be commended for caring and helping, but I read a lot of posts here about people caring for inlaws and I always wonder why the son or daughter aren't in the picture. I mean no offense, just curious.
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The only suggestions that I can think of right now are indirect ways of helping your FIL. Maybe you can arrange for housecleaning help, if that would be accepted. Grocery shopping and meal prep, that sort of thing. I don't have any ideas to directly help your MIL get medical attention though, if she's so resistant and combative. I'm sorry.
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doglover1, what ever you do, do NOT go to help out... those few weeks could turn into a few months, then a few years.

If you go, then your inlaws will have no reason to hire professional caregivers who are familiar with dealing with patients who have memory issues. Caring for someone with Alzheimer's/Dementia is extremely stressful unless one has a lot of training, and even then the professionals burn out after a few months.
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It is very hard for spouses to acknowledge a decline like dementia. Saw it with mom and her hubby, L. He preferred to think her forgetfulness and confusion was her trying to be funny or cute. Much, much easier on him that way! Reality hits slow and hard!
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There is a power of attorney in place and my SIL and FIL are on it. FIL just recently moved his buisiness to home so he can be there more. He is not ready to admit she may need a facility, and he also fights on getting her to a doctor because of the fight she puts up. I have thought about going to live with them for a few weeks to help out but dont know if that will put more stress on both of them.
The meds she is on is for Alzheimers.

Thank you for the answers.
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If she is on meds for dementia then some doctor had to prescribe it. It sounds like dementia and it will get to the point that FIL will not be able to care for her himself. Do they have powers of attorney in place? Sounds as if it may be time to find a suitable facility for her at the very least.
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Doglover1, sounds like your mom-in-law does have Alzheimer/Dementia because of the way she is dealing with life.... either that, or on the off chance she has developed an urinary tract infection [UTI] which has similar type symptoms in the elderly of that of someone with memory issues, including the yelling, etc.

Unfortunately trying to reason with someone who has memory issues or a UTI is very difficult, in fact almost impossible. You could try telling Mom-in-law that her health insurance requires her to have a wellness check up every 6 months or her insurance will be cancelled [I know that is a fib, be we have to do what we can to get our elders to the doctor].

Once her health issues are under control, maybe she will be more receptive to having someone come into the house to help out.
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