Mother In Law With Early Dementia Moved In With Us 6 Weeks Ago. Recently Retired, We Had Fun And Travel Plans. Our Last Child Moved Out 20 Yrs Ago. I Feel Intruded Upon And Like Home Is No Longer Mine

Question

Asked by Sandy

Mother In Law With Early Dementia Moved In With Us 6 Weeks Ago. Recently Retired, We Had Fun And Travel Plans. Our Last Child Moved Out 20 Yrs Ago. I Feel Intruded Upon And Like Home Is No Longer Mine

. She is 92, not very mobile. She is capable of fixing a sandwich and getting her own snacks, but refuses to do so and my husband won't insist. This means we can't go out for 3-4 hours without returning home to feed her. We're interviewing now to find someone to stay with her while we vacation, but even vacations will be at a minimum because of the added cost of 24 hour care. I am always fighting back tears and feeling like an outsider in my own home. There is no longer privacy. She's always there. I feel guilty because she has no where else to go. She has a 98 year old sister so we could be in for several to many years of this. Please someone suggest something.

Answer

Dear Sandy

I think caregiving is more difficult if the parent who has moved in is not your blood relative. I cared for my father for over two years after he moved into our home. I loved him a lot, but it was very difficult at times. My husband and daughter found it more intrusive than I because they did not have the same common childhood history and the depth of attachment common between father/mother and daughter/son.

I would like to make a couple of suggestions based on things we did that helped make the situation easier:
Create a bed sitting room for her so she can spend a lot of time doing the things she likes. Treat it as you would her home and encourage her to live as independently as possible. Tell your husband it is very important for his mother to keep up with the skills she has when someone has dementia and that doing things for her will only contribute to deterioration.
Get your husband, her son, to take her out on a regular basis without you. This gives you more time to do your own things.
Keep up your social activities and friendships.
Think about regular respite care so you and your husband can still travel.
Think about day care placement for one or two days if you continue to find it too stressful.

My father died last year and we all miss him a lot. We are all pleased we worked our way through the difficult times together.

Hope this helps
Christine

Answered by Christine Kennard