1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Weds 28 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Angelo, our Knowledge Officer (Wellbeing) is our expert on this topic. He will be here to answer your questions on Wednesday 28 August between 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

  1. suzy g

    suzy g Registered User

    May 23, 2006
    1
    Hi everyone, I am so glad I found this site, I hope it will help me understand what's going on. My mother in law has dementia, it started 18 months ago and it was left to me to get her help. She was wandering the streets at night holding her purse in her hand for anyone to take, walking in the road, the list goes on! I had to fight the doctors to the end for them to take me seriously, they kept trying to give her antidepressants and send her away, I knew it was more serious. My mother in law is divorced and only has 1 child-my husband-. To help protect him from the ilness I took on all of her care as well as looking after my 2 young children (1 and 3 years) and holding down 2 jobs and I am only 25 myself. She is now in our local hospital as it took it's toll and I ended up depressed and could no longer cope anymore. My problem now is that my husband is not coping with her illness at all and is so moody and won't talk to me, it's affecting our relationship and I am scared we won't be able to keep it together. He rarely sees his mum as it upsets him so much. He has no one else to talk to that understands as he has no brothers or sisters and his dad is now in a long term relationship with someone else. I don't know what to do
     
  2. rummy

    rummy Registered User

    Jul 15, 2005
    700
    Oklahoma,USA
    Hi Suzy,
    This is such a hard thing to go through especially at your young age. You have alot on your plate with a young family and two jobs ! I can't imagine the load your are having to carry. I'm sure your husband feels overwhelmed as well. Take care of yourselves first, if your Mother in Law is in the hospital, then she is ok for now. Perhaps you and your husband can redirect your focus on your home and kids. I'm sure your MIL wouldn't want her illness to come between you. Try not to let it become the sole topic of conversation or to push hiim to visit his Mom when he can't face it. Everyone handles dimentia differently.
    Come to TP whenever you need advice or need to unload, there are alot of caring and knowledgable people here that can help.
    Take care and come back often.
    Debbie
     
  3. mumof3

    mumof3 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2006
    82
    Just wanted to say hi Suzy. We seem to be in similar situations although it has been a while since I was 25! It is also my MIL who suffers from dementia and my husband is an only child. We have three young children and at times the stress of coping with the demands of both is overwhelming. I'm not surprised that you have suffered from depression. It does sound as if you need to make more time for you, your husband and your little ones. I know it is easier than it sounds. We really do not have any help with the children and my husband works long hours in a stressful job and is fairly often working away.

    I recently decided that I was going to be more "selfish" and not feel guilty about spending more time as a family. My MIL lives at home but has carers coming in twice or three times every day. She has us , she has friends and goes to a Day Centre. We do not have the key to making her happy and I have come to the conclusion that we are going to make all of us really unhappy in the process of trying. There is a limit to the time we can spend with her and the number of things we can give up and expect the children to miss out on.

    Unfortunately my MIL has always been a fairly needy and demanding person and the dementia has made this more marked. I know from past experience that it doesn't matter how many telephone calls and visits we make it is never enough and if a friend were to enquire about us she would say she hadn't seen us for ages!

    It may sound harsh and I know that I am different from many people posting on TP in that I am setting limits on the amount of "caring" that we are prepared to do. It doesn't mean that I don't care but I am not prepared to let this illness destroy my relationship with my husband or family life.

    Take time to see friends and talk to your husband about everything but his mother's dementia. I know that at times it is the sole topic of conversation in this house and I feel like a big black cloud is hanging over us. I have determined that my time with friends will not be spent detailing the latest crisis but will be a fun chat instead.

    Take care and enjoy your family. Remember you can't get back their baby years. My middle child starts school this year and I am dreading it!
     
  4. mumof3

    mumof3 Registered User

    Feb 6, 2006
    82
    Just wanted to add that I know that my husband went through a phase where he worried that the dementia was hereditary partly because his mum developed it at such a young age. Reading the AS fact sheets helped. Perhaps you could suggest this to your husband.

    I know when the dementia was diagnosed, we went through a why her, why us time. On top of losing both my parents within three years and my husband's step father it just seemed too much to bear. It's official, I now loath hospital visits! It does make you realise though that life is unpredictable, it's precious and it can be short so it makes sense not to waste it. It is also easier if you and your husband are united as a team. Mind you it has taken me about three years to reach this stage!

    Keep reading TP and posting. I think every question I've had has been covered in past threads!
     
  5. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Suzy,
    Pleased you have found us. I know that my brother found it very difficult to cope with mum's dementia. Your husband must have felt very mixed up when he realised that you were becoming ill, because you were running around after his mum. I think men can compartmentalise their lives and emotions, and it sounds as though your husband has closed down on the 'mum compartment'. Let hime know it is OK. He has a duty and responsibility to ensure that she is being cared for - that doesn't mean that you or he have to be hands on carers.
    As others say, you must look after yourself, your children and your marriage. When that is sorted, if there is time and energy and inclination for MIL, then do what you can for her.
    Take care.
    Amy
     
  6. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    Hi Suzy

    I think you have a huge amount on your plate, but at the end of the day your children must come first. Is it worth having a word with the GP or health visitor to see if they can organise any support for you? Maybe there is a befriending scheme run by Mind or some other support group in your area.
    Looking after two young pre-school children is hard enogh at any time, but an under fives, parent child group might help you to make friends with other Mums (if you have time) Sometimes community groups or Churches run helpful support groups.
    When my Mum was at home it was really hard for me because she always seemed to be more "normal" with other people and I was accused of imagining things. Now she is being looked after by professionals it seems as if a great burden has been lifted from me. I am an only child and there is no one to share the responsility with, apart from my husband.
    Take care of yourself and your own health because if you become ill then you will be unable to help your family and mother-in-law. I'm sure everyone here will be thinking of you.
    Best wishes Kayla.
     
  7. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    625
    North East
    Suzy & momof3

    I'm in s slightly differenct situation with it being my mum, but I totally agree with mumof3
    Just try and think of yourself being older with AD - would you want your childtren spending all their time looking after you, visiting you all the time. I know I wouldn't and I know that my mum (the mum that was) wouldn't either.

    Also, your children are too young to understand why you can't be there for them - it's more important that you spend as much time with them as you can.

    My brother finds it very difficult to go and see Mum - he does every couple of weeks, but I know he doesn't stay long but different pople do react in different ways. My mum can't remember when we've been in to see her anyway!

    Maybe you should try getting away from it all for at least a few days - time for you both to relax away from home

    Take care

    Libs
     

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