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Thread: My MIL is going to assisted living tomorrow

  1. #1
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    My MIL is going to assisted living tomorrow

    This should have happened about 5 years ago, but she was stubborn.

    Her care has escalated and falls almost entirely on my husband (of 6 kids). I've been watching my husband age before my very eyes. His mother has never been rational, and even more so the last few years. If she could have her way, she'd have my husband move in and take care of her every whim 24/7. She has health issues (but won't do anything on her side to make them any better), poor decision making skills (like not opening her mail for months, her food stamps were cut off because she never responded), and is consumed with anxiety. Its just not safe for her to live alone, she is now on oxygen and just wants everything to be done for her. She told my husband that he's just trying to "dump her", and today she said "tomorrow, I'm going off to jail". It just crushes my husband's spirit, and has been taking every last ounce of energy he has. If he wasn't already retired, he would have had to resign because she is just so demanding.

    Not asking for any advice really, just needed to get all that out. I'm just hoping that things will get better for my husband after the month is over. He'll still have to empty out her apartment. She can't quite understand why she can't bring her whole household with her to the rest home where she'll be sharing a room. There is a lifetime of clutter he will have to sort through (semi hoarding tendencies).

    For anyone who has been through this with a loved one, any words of advice? How long did it take for your loved one to get used to the new situation (even though they may never have actually "liked" it)?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    When we moved my dad (my mom already gone, would have needed dynamite to get her out) it took several months. He was in the mid stages of dementia at the time and kept thinking it was temporary because we were doing renovations on the house. He had been depressed for a long time before this and he actually perked up quite a bit after the move. He enjoyed meal times with the other residents and started eating much better and looked forward to visiting. I still felt a huge amount of guilt for moving him and resentment over the huge job of cleaning the property. It didn't feel good at the time but I intellectually knew it was the right thing to do for his safety and my sanity.

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    My grandmother never wanted to go to assisted living but once there enjoyed the attention and even got a boyfriend.

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    My mother was determined to die at home - and she was the most stubborn woman I ever hope to know, a trait that did not lessen with her increasing dementia. But in June of 2015 she fell and hit her head - hard. We took her to the hospital, and they would not release her unless it was to 24 hour care. So she went to a nursing home - where she fell again, and broke her hip. Even though she did physical therapy and got back on her feet, she soon gave up and stopped walking. There was no way she could return home, even if one of us moved in with her - which was not really a good option. We moved her to a much nicer care facility. She seemed to accept her circumstances with some creative editing and never really acknowledged that she was living in a care facility - she would often tell us where she was visiting - her nephew's home, a hotel, an amusement park, the fairgrounds - and show us around. Her delusion - or refusal to acknowledge a reality she did not care for -was harmless and kept her spirits up. She wasn't always happy, and she didn't always remember our names, but she never lost her caustic wit and we did a lot of laughing. She died in the fall of 2016, about 18 months after leaving her home, and just a few weeks shy of her 98th birthday. While we hated that she fell, it forced us to move her to a place where she was safer, and it also removed some of the guilt we would have felt by making her go earlier, if that makes sense. I empathize with those who have to care for family elders, and I have to say I'm not looking forward to being one of those elders my self. I'll probably be just as stubborn as my mother was... herbgeek, I can only send my best wishes and cyber hugs to you and your DH. ((( )))

  5. #5
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Herbgeek, I hope this does eqse the vurdon of your hubby.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I'm sorry you and your family are going through this Herbgeek. It does seem like this will be a good thing for your DH once the transition is made. Why did all the care fall on him? Was it a matter of proximity?

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    I am so sorry. I wonder where those are that have those "great" experiences with their senior aging parents or loved ones when the burden falls on the shoulders of the caregiver??? For my mom the hospital would not release her till there was nursing home lined up and honestly it was a 30 minute choice worse way to go. NO she never accepted and got worse asap, told dad she hated him and was sorry she married him over this. I can not think of a sadder thing for a loved one to say or do.

    I have not experienced those great moments same as your husband. I am it and am 3.5 hours drive away. Dad too needed to be in assisted living care 3 and 1/2 years ago when mom passed, but no way in h*ll. I quit bringing it up as he points his finger to his head like a gun. Every day now when I make my phone call I take a breath and think: What is the crisis today?. Monday I had 4 checks to put in boxes to make calls on.

    How can I make things different for my son not to have the burden? I have plans and thoughts, but have watched every single elderly person make the same mistakes as they are not ready or never ready. I have thought about writing a letter to myself at 70. Oh wait is that too early? Is that too late? Will I say 80 is better or is that too late?

  8. #8
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Why did all the care fall on him? Was it a matter of proximity?
    Partially proximity, although one brother is even closer (10 minutes away versus an hour for my husband).

    The big reason is that there was a lot of dysfunction in this household, and many of the kids are angry or damaged in their own ways. My MIL was an enabler, both for her alcoholic husband until he died, as well as allowing her father to molest the daughters. My MIL allowed/enabled a lot of bad behavior in addition to these big ones, and did nothing to make anything at all better. My husband escaped most of this insanity (was not molested, and the alcoholism only got bad after he moved out at 18). My husband is a decent man, and is willing to put personal feelings aside mostly, to do the right thing. Its driving him crazy that she not only refuses to help herself, but actively does things that make her conditions worse, but he's not going to let her continue to suffer in this awful apartment she's in.

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    This is a tough one, both for all of you and for me to even read. I grew up with my great aunt in a nursing home, which is NOT assisted living. Assisted living around here are places where they have what might amount to an apartment, that have people that come check on you and assist you as needed a couple times a day. They tend to be next to the nursing facility and require you to have some physical mobility and enough faculties to be safe for yourself and others (not something where your going to light the place on fire). They also require financial planning on the part of the one going in.

    We visited weekly and brought my great aunt to my grandmothers house, multiple times a year, for years (typically, once a month). After my grandmother died, my great aunt, kept asking me to kill her (and she was serious). She didn't want to live anymore and physically started getting violent with those around her, and finally had to be medicated enough, she was pretty much a vegetable (I stopped going as I couldn't deal with that, or her in a kill me state). She lived like that for the last few years of her life.
    Nursing homes are not nice and even worse when no family comes to visit (it doesn't sound like the siblings do that). Your MIL is moving out of assisted living, however it doesn't sound like she has been assisting her own living. She may never adjust and that will depend on her attitude as well as those in the home and if people visit or not.
    My great aunt had polio as a child and was only placed into a nursing home when her mother could no longer care for her (in her 90's). My grandmother took care of her mother and husband, who were both dying and she couldn't care for her sister as well. There was no other family (WWII gold star and other brother died a few years after due to things exposed to in the war). There were periods when the home was better run and people active and it gave her something to do/the mind someplace to be, and there were times that were worse. She resigned herself to it, I am not sure I would say, adjusted. (lived in one for more then 20 years)

  10. #10
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herbgeek View Post
    My husband is a decent man, and is willing to put personal feelings aside mostly, to do the right thing. Its driving him crazy that she not only refuses to help herself, but actively does things that make her conditions worse, but he's not going to let her continue to suffer in this awful apartment she's in.
    Your husband's mother is her own person and can make her own decisions until those decisions start endangering others (and herself, though our society tends to give individuals more leeway on that). If your husband's judgement is that he could no longer supply the level of care that his mother and those around her need to be safe, then finding her help was the right thing to do, even if that meant moving her out of a home which contributed to that peril. Your husband should not feel bad about that. And while he may feel badly that his mother is charting her own course in her self-care, he is not responsible for that, either. She has her own reasons for doing what she is doing, and, at some level, it is what she feels is best for her.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingLady
    How can I make things different for my son not to have the burden? I have plans and thoughts, but have watched every single elderly person make the same mistakes as they are not ready or never ready.
    I think it's more than readiness.

    We live in a society that prizes independence. Giving that up -- at any level -- is hard. Relinquishing a driver's license is tough, as anyone who's had to take one can verify. Admitting a need for external assistance, whether it's a hearing aid, or someone who comes in and deep-cleans the house because you no longer can reach it all, or moving to assisted living or even nursing or memory care, is tough to take. I have a 29-year-old relative with a chronic disease that, on some days, is greatly aided by a walking stick. She went without one for a long time -- too long -- because 29-year-olds don't need that kind of assistance. The roots run deep.

    And getting our ilves in order is a sometimes-confusing, sometimes-unpleasant task that somehow always falls behind other projects. We grow attached to things that have lots of sentimental value to us. Our energy and strength levels drop so we can't do as much as we used to -- or understand what we could before. It's hard to see, sometimes, until something or someone points it out to us starkly, which is not a welcome discovery, either. We're getting old, which, in our society, diminishes our value and usefulness. Getting old is for the birds -- but it beats the alternative.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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