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What happens when the Carer stops caring

Victoriasponge

New member
Apr 18, 2021
4
0
My MIL was diagnosed with mixed type dementia 4 years ago. She has completely changed personality becoming aggressive and argumentative. She is constantly moving and hiding things which is causing a lot of distress to my FIL. Unfortunately my FIL seems incapable of understanding her illness and constantly questions and argues with her. He thinks she deliberately hide his possessions and does the opposite of what he says and he takes her behaviour personally. When we try to explain and defend her he then argues with us. She is still dressing and washing although not showering everyday. She can do very little around the house anymore but continually tries to. She is burning cooking and mixing up ingredients but can’t be stopped from attempting to cook. She hides food in places like chest of drawers which the FIL finds later and this is another flash point. He has told us he has had enough and doesn’t want to look after her anymore. My husband and I work as do other relatives and so cannot step in. She has refused carers in the past and doesn’t want or currently need help with personal care. She is very confused and has no short term memory, she forgets things from 15/30 minutes ago. She has started to talk constant rubbish about the house being left to her my a lady she used to care for which never happened or that the police have told her no one can park outside her house which hasn’t happened. She is destructive with things in the house. She has keyed our car when we were visiting her and this week smash a tv by knocking it to the ground in her conservatory. She denies all knowledge but we know she can’t remember doing it. This is the opposite of how she used to be. She was placid loving and caring. My FIL wants her in a care home but she still has very lucid moments and I think she would be very distressed. We are very disappointed in his attitude to her but can’t deny her behaviour is challenging. We love her dearly but she seems so unhappy we wonder whether being in a care home would be better for her. Any advice ?
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
5,379
0
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Victoriasponge

It sounds as though both of your in-laws are struggling. While I’m sure your MIL isn’t doing anything deliberately it must be very frustrating for your FIL to have to constantly police her attempts to run the house. Would it make things easier if he (or you) organised frozen ready meals to use instead of your MIL trying and failing to cook for them if your FIL isn’t able to take over the cooking. I know this worked for my parents when my dad was struggling to look after my mum, who used to do most of the cooking before she became ill.

Have your in-laws had a recent care assessment done by social services as it sounds as though they need support. I know it isn’t always easy to persuade people to accept carers - I persuaded my dad to employ a lady to help with cleaning, laundry and gardening and odd jobs by making out he’d be doing her a favour as she really needed a little job. She’d go 3 days a week to start with and tidy up and cook lunch (perhaps in your MIL’s case she or he could “help” to cook to start with) and I gradually increased her visits as needed. I never used the word “carer”. “Home help” or “cleaning lady” were acceptable though.

If something like this doesn’t help then a carehome might be the answer but, unless they can afford to self-fund, I don’t think SS would consider it necessary yet.
 

Victoriasponge

New member
Apr 18, 2021
4
0
Thank for you reply. My in laws are not originally from this country and despite 20+ years of trying both would never eat at my house and only eat things cooked their way. We’ve taken meals which remain untouched for days and end up in the bin. She did have a recent care assessment but refused carers and to be honest the threat of them seemed to bring about a little improvement but only short lived. I am trying to find strategies for my FIL to stop him reacting to her when she is argumentative or obstructive but it just doesn’t sink in. She had a recent stint in hospital where she was very compliant and engaging and I think this adds to his feeling that she’s doing things to him on purpose. Which of course she isn’t. I think she needs occupying so she doesn’t start to medal in things rather how you would occupy a child but as there are no groups or day centres running at the moment this is an non starter. It would also rely on him taking her and he doesn’t see the value in them but I am hopeful he will come round. She hates people being in the house she is very suspicious and starts to become agitated. I was there earlier and she didn’t know who I was which is another deterioration in her it was clear she wanted me out although she wasn’t aggressive to me. Did your relative do any kind of activity. I’ve taken knitting and puzzles but she’s hidden those too ! I’ve been reading about Twiddle muffs I wondered if that would be any good ? Sorry to go on.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,980
0
South coast
It does sound to me as though your FIL is reaching carer burnout, but all the while he is refusing to take advice, or change anything, there is very little you can do.

I have a feeling that eventually there will be a crisis and your MIL will end up in a care home. You might want to research care homes in your area so that you know what is available, if it should come to that.
 

Victoriasponge

New member
Apr 18, 2021
4
0
I think I will start to do some research just to be prepared. One of us visits daily albeit after work and trying to share the load so to speak. The GP should be contacting us this week to discuss reviewing her medication and I will speak to him regarding what care could be offered once restrictions lift.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
73,100
0
Kent
When we try to explain and defend her he then argues with us. She is still dressing and washing although not showering everyday. She can do very little around the house anymore but continually tries to. She is burning cooking and mixing up ingredients but can’t be stopped from attempting to cook. She hides food in places like chest of drawers which the FIL finds later and this is another flash point. He has told us he has had enough and doesn’t want to look after her anymore.

Hello @Victoriasponge

Your father in law is under tremendous stress. It isn`t his fault he is unable to understand your mother in law`s dementia, especially if she was more contented and compliant while in hospital.

He has said he doesn`t want to look after her any more and his wishes deserve consideration. He is no longer able to meet his wife`s needs and both parents sound very unhappy.

The best you can do is visit care homes and find the best you can for your mother in law. Once she is settled, if it`s anything like my own experiences, your father in law will be able to have a better relationship with his wife than he has had for years.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
1,408
0
Hello @Victoriasponge

You mention that your mum was compliant and engaging whilst in hospital which suggests she may be far happier in a care home environment being cared for by professionals. It sounds as though she is very anxious at home and medication may help in the meantime (a low dose anti-depressant can be very beneficial). The link below might be useful. You can search for care homes using various criteria but there is also a lot of useful information at the bottom of the main page regarding types of care, funding and so on. It's a good resource, even if you are not quite ready.

 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,374
0
High Peak
If your FiL is saying he can't cope now, what will happen as your mum deteriorates? He is with her 24/7 and that is a hell of a lot for one person to cope with. Presumably he is quite old himself so probably has his own health issues too.

He seems unable to understand her dementia so may not be the best person to care for her anyway. If you can't persuade them to have carers in, then a care home is the only alternative though I have no idea how you would achieve this if your MiL says no.

Good luck - it's an incredibly difficult situation when you are waiting for a crisis to happen and force the issue...
 

Victoriasponge

New member
Apr 18, 2021
4
0
That’s exactly how I see the situation. She seems to have completely turned against him which we’ve been told does happen. The way he handles situations has just exacerbated the problem and there is constant arguing. They’ve been very happily married for over 50 years it’s such a tragic way of ending such a wonderful relationship. Thank you for sharing the links. I will look at them and discuss them with my husband. He agrees with me but his siblings are taking some persuasion. I think if she was in a care home and he could visit her the time they have left would be one of quality not sadly quantity. We have a nurse visiting next week and hopefully this will progress things. Until then we are trying to do a rota in between our various work patterns. Thank you again for all your advice.
 

notsogooddtr

Registered User
Jul 2, 2011
986
0
My mother never really understood my Dad's dementia, practically every sentence seemed to start with 'Do you remember' I printed off the info about compassionate communication and was furious when she didn't seem willing to take it on board. Looking back I realise she was so frightened, her own health was deteriorating and she was watching the man she had been married to for over 50 years disappear. I wish I had been kinder to her