Advice for my mother in law

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by fluffy_bunny, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. fluffy_bunny

    fluffy_bunny Registered User

    Dec 19, 2005
    1
    Hampshire
    Hi all

    My father-in-law, who is 80, has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. He is still at the early stages and not too bad yet.

    However he is becoming increasingly resentful and nasty to my mother-in-law. He is very cutting and sarcastic to her, and is also becoming more childlike in the way he reacts to her - today she caught him pulling faces at her behind her back! He seems very suspicious of what she does e.g. does not want to trust her with regard to taking his medication but wants to sort it all out himself (which he can't do, as he forgets what he has already taken).

    I know personality changes can be part of the illness but can anyone advise on how my mother-in-law should handle his attitude to her? Obviously she finds it upsetting and hurtful. We try to tell her not to take it personally but she is now worried that he has been harbouring some sort of simmering resentment throughout their 50 years of marriage.

    Should she try to discuss with him? Just try to ignore it and get on with caring for him?

    Any advice gratefully received.

    Thanks :)
    fluffy bunny
     
  2. cynron

    cynron Registered User

    Sep 26, 2005
    429
    east sussex
    aggresion

    Hi Fluffy Bunny.

    The first signs with my husband that something was wrong was when he became very rude to me in public . Freinds and family would comment on it. He then became more confused etc and a MRI Scan showed he had suffered Mini Strokes. Now he is not rude to me and is like a child very dependent on me dressing and showering etc, He goes to day centre twice a week and it is a godsend to me.

    Take care Cynron.
     
  3. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    Hi fluffy bunny,

    Welcome to TP. I don't think that talking to your father-in-law will have much effect because he cannot control, nor probably remember, his strange behaviours. My Dad started swearing and becoming nasty towards my Mum. When Mum tried to tell him what he'd done he was very indignant and did not believe her!

    As you say, it is very hurtful, and will continue to be so until your mother-in-law actually believes it really has nothing to do with their relationship, it's just one of the facets of Alzheimer's. I expect you realise that that will take a lot of time, of course, even if you are telling her not to take it personally. Meanwhile if she can bring herself to 'play along' with each display of mischievous-ness, she might find that it ends quicker.

    I remember that when my Mum fought against any of Dad's new AD moods, it seemed to make him worse. If your M-I-L can laugh and possibly join in with the joke when your F-I-L pulls faces, it may diffuse the situation. It's knowing when to 'play along' and when to take control that is tricky. For instance in the case of the medication , my Mum tries to be matter-of-fact, gets the glass of water ready, jolly voice, hands over the pills... if that doesn't work she has to wait a few minutes before trying another approach. Again, it takes time to read the moods and react accordingly - definitely not easy.

    I'm sure others here will also recognise this difficult situation.

    Best wishes,
     
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    That's the challenge. One needs to be very sensitive to how this results.

    People with dementia can also be quite paranoid about their condition, and don't take well to a situation where they may think someone is making fun in some way, even if they are not doing that at all.

    Just try things, and change what is done, according to the result.

    ...day by day
     
  5. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Fluffy-bunny
    welcome to TP I am sure you will get a great deal of advice here.
    Quote it's just one of the facets of Alzheimer's
    Keep in mind that it is not Dad but the disease that is causing the nastiness.
    I find there is no point in trying to talk about it, and remember if it can be ignored Dad will have forgotten all about it in a very short period of time.
    That is what I do in similar situations.
    Regards
    Norman
     
  6. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Fluffy-bunny
    welcome to TP I am sure you will get a great deal of advice here.
    Quote it's just one of the facets of Alzheimer's
    Keep in mind that it is not Dad but the disease that is causing the nastiness.
    I find there is no point in trying to talk about it, and remember if it can be ignored Dad will have forgotten all about it in a very short period of time.
    That is what I do in similar situations.
    Regards
    Norman
     
  7. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello Fluffy-bunny

    Mum and Dad were married for over 50 years and Dad was on the sharp end of Mums many times, he was hurt at first and then realised it was the AD talking, not her.

    The medication issue was a feature too, but when a person with AD is confused all the time and sees other people taking over things they think they are perfectly capable of doing, it must be very irritating to them.

    If you try to put yourself in the sufferers shoes sometimes it helps explain some of their actions and reasoning. For example, if they have put something away out of sight for whatever reason, they forget that and when they can't find it, their thinking is that someone has stolen it.

    To them it is the only logical answer, telling them they have moved it is not an option as they will be angry or hurt and even more confused.

    It is a cruel disease and all of us with loved ones who suffer from this are constantly battered by the fallout.

    Best wishes to all of you

    Kathleen
     
  8. Bets

    Bets Registered User

    Aug 11, 2005
    100
    South-East London, UK
    Hi Fluffy Bunny,

    I had the medication problem with my husband. He got very annoyed if I tried to supervise in any way and I was very concerned because I knew he was taking the wrong things in the wrong doses. He frequently thought he had run out of something and would ask his doctor for a repeat prescription, when he had a drawerful of all his drugs. (Makes you wonder why the surgery never queried but just supplied a new script.)

    I explained the problem to his GP, my GP (same practice), the practice nurse, his consultant and they all turned to my husband and said "You must let your wife give you your tablets". Of course, he concurred, until we got home and then he wouldn't let me help.

    Eventually, (and it took months before I could make anyone really listen), the CPN arranged through the GP for him to have a dosset box, which is made up by the chemist. Because this was a new system for him, my husband was quite happy for me to take it over and give him his tablets and this has worked well for the last three years.

    Hope this helps,

    Bets
     
  9. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Fluffy Bunny,

    Welcome to TP.

    It must be so hurtful when your partner of 50 years starts behaving like a cruel stranger. Sadly this personality change is one that many people with AD suffer from. Quite often it is only temporary.

    During the early stages of AD, my father became aggressive and abusive and for a few months was a total horror. He too refused to take medication and was completely convinced that everyone was stealing his money and would hide things in very odd places.

    I tend to think that these symptoms could be part of the unconscious fear of becoming confused. Perhaps the anger and frustration of being out of control are unwittingly directed towards close family members as a cry for help.

    It might help your MIL if you show her some of the replies you have received on TP. I'm sure she would feel less hurt once she realises that it is the AD causing the behavioural problems and not her husband who is responsible for it.

    Jude
     
  10. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Dear Fluffy Bunny, I'd agree with what Jude says too, he is desperately trying to hang on to reality. He is aware deep down that there is a problem and is trying to compensate for it by insisting on control of things which are actually beyond him sadly. My Mum was just the same. It was useless trying to reason or argue, just plod, day by day as our Norm says. It is not a grudge, it is a horrid, horrid illness that is causing him to act this way. I am sure if he could he would be the first to confirm how the last 50 years have meant the world to him. It is so sad, oh how I hate this ruddy disease. (oops :eek: ) Lotsaluv, She. XX
     

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