Hi Viva,Hi there
I'm new to this forum but have been reading people's experiences for a while now. I can really relate to what you are saying Jojo2018. I too live abroad with my husband. It is his mother that has recently been diagnosed with mild dementia and we are currently awaiting a brain scan too. We see her roughly four times a year and in the past have had her stay with us abroad for three weeks and that includes fetching her from the UK and taking her home again. She is 85 years old and lives alone. We have just spent three weeks staying with her at her house in August. We knew that she had deteriorated mentally and she no longer wants to go out with us. In the past she would go on days out with us etc. Now we find her often with her head on the kitchen table asleep during the day. She doesn't eat properly and is thin and frail but insists she is okay. When I cook for her she wolfs everything no problem. She was assessed by a psychiatric nurse recently at home and he said she was slightly underweight but needs to eat more. She is very good at lying to people about how she is. Her self care has gone downhill totally and in three weeks of staying with her she had a shower once. She doesn't want to leave the house and we had to force her to go out to get a haircut after a row. She can be very manipulative and verbally nasty. The neighbours are very caring and offer to help her go to appointments like the chiropodist but if she does go she will then say horrible things about them afterwards! She has started doing some bizarre things like staying up very late at night and washing pots that have already been washed. Sometimes she gets dressed at midday and often has her clothes on back to front. At other times she's very lucid and and dresses appropriately. Every day is different!
She doesn't want any kind of help at home. The consultant she saw recently asked her how she would feel about carers and she flatly said there is no way she'd have anyone coming into her home. What gets me is that she has started ringing us up in tears or on the brink of tears saying she's lonely. She won't go out and do anything at all which will bring her into contact with people. She has not led an independent life and had no friends of her own when she was married. She distrusts people and is quite paranoid generally and always has been. The neighbour next door goes to coffee mornings at the local church which is ten minute walk away and the vicar even lives in her road but she won't go to anything social. So she guilt trips us instead. She has told my husband several times that all she wants is for us to return to the UK and live in her house with her(!) Talk about selfish... However, I do care what happens to her and I am fond of her but she just won't help herself. I hope I don't sound too resentful. The only support we have in the UK right now is the Memory Clinic and my husband's brother's wife who is good to her and will take her to appointments. His brother however is disinterested in visiting her and would like to see her in a home ideally. Anyway, any thoughts would be most appreciated.
It's nice to hear from you, though I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. There are a lot of similarities in our situations - only last week my MIL cried and said she wished we could live with her all the time - with zero awareness of how challenging it is to be here. I feel awful for her but it's harder and harder to even visit never mind stay for long periods - I feel like I am going mad myself sometimes and there's so much guilt when I have negative feelings for someone suffering so much. I never show my frustration so she has no idea how maddening it is. And the friends she has are getting lost as she gets more intolerant of them - falling out with them for seemingly minor things - and as you say slagging people off and seeing the worst in people.
Like yours, my MIL was incredibly against having carers - she threatened suicide in the worst of her arguments with my OH if he allowed them into her home again. However, after they messed up her chemo medication and he had to sack them and find a new company, she wept for days and still talks about no longer seeing the lovely girl that visited who was like a daughter to her. For the new company we ended up just lying because without them she would have starved - we said the new carers were from the hospital and were mandated by her cancer Dr - she argued for weeks but now is happy with them it seems.
We have also started looking into care homes as we can see her confusion increasing and cannot move back and live with her - even if we move back we would not live in the same house as we do when we visit because it's getting unbearable - but that's a huge battle that we are scared of starting.
I sometimes feel at the end of my empathy when she tells us off for something like stealing her things or spending too long in the shower, or rails against an awful neighbour or friend... but then I see a frail, confused old lady who raised my OH with love and needs our care to survive and feel hugely guilty!
These are tough times for all of us - I can only wish you luck and suggest getting carers somehow to lessen your load and worry.