Caring for Mother in Law


Registered User
Feb 13, 2006
My mother in Laws dementia has got to the stage where my husband wants her to live with us. We run our own buisness and have problems within our marriage.I dont think I can cope. I feel very guilty after reading the posts of everyone who takes on the role of carer ............but i honestly dont think i can do it


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
but i honestly dont think i can do it
...and I don't think that is at all an unreasonable thing to say.

Some people can, some can't.

Even if you can for one person, that doesn't mean you could for another person with the same problems. For instance, I have cared for Jan for 15 years, but I don't think I could have done it for my own Mum so closely. Dreadful thing to say, but it's true. I'll never know of course, because it was never asked of me. Had it been asked, I don't think I could have asked Jan to share it with me. Ah, all those what if's...

Had I been asked if I could have done it for Jan, I'd have not have expected to have the internal strength. Amazing what one can find inside oneself.

The questions you need to ask yourself are numerous, one of which is - who would actually be doing the active caring?

Can you elaborate on what
mother in Laws dementia has got to the stage
means? How exactly is it adversely affecting her at the moment? What is the development that has made him suggest this? In such a situation, what would either of you be able to do?

At the current stage, I think you both need to look at the situation, review her condition, look at what options are open and what resources you have [time, ability, willingness, strength, etc] as well as acknowledging how long it might go on for [given her age and physical health]

Has your husband seen TP at all? Does he know what might be asked of him in the caring?


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Hiya Lesley,
What a dilemna you find yourself in.
I think Bruce has given some good advice
At the current stage, I think you both need to look at the situation, review her condition, look at what options are open and what resources you have [time, ability, willingness, strength, etc] as well as acknowledging how long it might go on for [given her age and physical health]

Has your husband seen TP at all? Does he know what might be asked of him in the caring?
I don't know what your household is like, but I know that in ours I would become the main carer (it happens when my step children come to stay).

Don't feel guilty; your responsibility as I see it, is to help your husband ensure that his mum is safe and cared for, that doesn't mean it has to be in your home. Different arrangements suit different families.

Take care,


Registered User
Mar 12, 2005
West Sussex
Hello Lesley

I am with Bruce and Amy on this one.

My own Mum has AD and even though I am lucky to have a strong marriage, I know if she were living with us it would be a huge strain on all our relationships. There would be times when we were cross with her and resent being tied to the home, as much as we all love her.

A simple thing like popping out for milk or a paper can so easily turn into a major upheavel, if your mother-in-law was not safe to be left alone, your irritation and resentment at being tied to the home would at some point boil over and this would escalate any problems you already have.

Our loved ones all need to be cared for in the safest and happiest environment, for my Mum it is a residential home that gives her the one to one 24/7 care she needs and allows us the freedom to visit as often as we like with no pressures.

It is not what we wanted for her, a year or so ago we felt awful for taking her there, but it has worked very well for all of us, even though at times I still feel guilty for her not being with us.

Think long and hard and be totally honest with your husband about how you feel before you commit yourselves to whatever you decide is the best arrangement for your mother-in-laws future care.

Good luck


Dave W

Registered User
Jul 3, 2005


I have to say I agree with the others too. Through all the dilemmas of trying to get my mother placed in a good home at present, my partner has been a pillar of strength and a huge emotional and practical support to me, but we discussed options several months ago and moving my mother in with us was simply not the right option for us.

We're not all in position to be full-time carers, and many of us that could are not cut out for the role: it's a job, and if it's not one you'd apply for in other circumstances, why would you take it on? Although my mother is now at a stage where meaningful discussion of these kind of options is no longer possible, there have been moments where she's acknowledged the amount of work involved in handling all her affairs and trying to sort everything out for her, and been apologetic that I've had to do so much (even without taking on full-time care for her). Making me unhappy and stressed wouldn't solve her problems, and would probably make them worse - and there's no need to feel guilty about that.

I think Amy's last paragraph put it very clearly: what works best for you will help you to be the most help to your mother in law.


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi Lesley

I am also in agreement, especially with Kathleen whose post could have been one that I wrote. I felt terrible about putting my mum in a care home 6 months ago and although we do have bad days, mostly she is much better and as Kathleen says, safe and well cared for. I cannot imagine whether our relationship would be so good if I was the 24 hour carer - I suspect not.

As it is, I can see her nearly every day and really enjoy being with her without getting irritated or stressed and much more importantly, causing her upset and stress by getting that way.

All the best



Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Another point of view

Whilst I agree with the advice given above, I am looking at 2 points which have not been addressed at all:

1/ How is Lesley going to tell her husband (& business partner) that she feels it's not a viable idea?
He is likely to be resentful & hurt, as well as frustrated in his wish to resolve the question of his Mum's health & safety.
A refusal may be the straw which breaks the camels' back if there are already problems causing conflict.
On the other hand, if Lesley agrees to take Mum in, the extra strain of that may have the same effect.

2/ How is Mum going to take the suggestion of leaving her own home?
This depends a lot on what 'stage' she's at. Can she still feed herself, wash herself, be left alone without wandering?
Or is she already largely dependent upon care by others? If the latter, could a more comprehensive homecare package be put together?

If the answer to Q2 is that no-one's suggested it to her yet, and she may well refuse, then there may be little point in kicking around the conflicts in Q1 in advance of Mum making that decision.

Lesley, how much time do you spend with your MiL at the moment? (I am wondering if the demands of the business mean that your husband visits on his own) Do you know at first hand what hands-on care she is likely to require? Do you & she generally get along, or is there some friction between you? Do you have children to add to the mix?

I'm sorry this is more questions than answers, but I think the bigger picture needs to be looked at.

Best wishes
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