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AIBU to wonder how I will cope - MIL and Mother losing short term memory

(6 Posts)
marriedinwhite Sat 10-Nov-12 20:16:27

MIL and my mother are both 76 going on 77. MIL has been here this week and couldn't remember what she was told for more than 10 minutes, got confused about a meeting time and wasn't ready for an important event and got very mixed up with the keys and locking up although I heard DH explain it at least three times (former deputy headmistress).

My mother whom we saw at half term forgot entirely MIL was coming and swore she hadn't been told about it; on the phone after talking about the visit insisted MIL hadn't been to us but DH had been to her. Similary things have happened a lot in the last year.

I have a full time job; Mother is 100 miles away; MIL closer to 250 miles and no other siblings able to help or in the UK.

My grannie spent 10 years with alzheimers that became very advanced because she was otherwise fit. She lived as long as she did because my mother visited her daily and fed her and kept an eye on her, her treatment and the staff.

My children are 18 and 14.5. How on earth am I going to manage this. I know I will have to give up work, probably sooner rather than later, but I feel so alone with this. There is no-one else to help apart from DH who already goes to his mother's at least once a month to deal with the basics.

Oh fuck!

MammaTJ Sat 10-Nov-12 20:27:08

You do not have to do anything. I am a carer. I work in a home for the elderly with mental health problems. Most of them have dementia. I love my job, I really do. I give my all to them during the 11 hour shifts that I am there for, but there is no way on this earth that I could ever think about looking after a relative full time.
There is home care, there are residential homes. You do not have to do it.

Teabagtights Sat 10-Nov-12 20:29:00

You move them nearer in specialist homes. You cannot possibly do anything with the distances involved,

nannyl Sat 10-Nov-12 20:31:49

my Dad is 62 with alheimers / dementia
(he has 2 children (me and my sis) and no partner)

he lives 250 miles away from me (a SAHM)

round the corner from my sister who works at least 5 13 hour days a week)

just last week, aged 62 and 5 days old he went to live in a care home

marriedinwhite Sat 10-Nov-12 20:33:33

MIL esp. needs to be in sheltered accommodation at least now but refuses to move; my mother also would presently refuse. I know there will come a time when there will be no choice for them. Even closer they will still need regular visits and much care and the upheaval whilst they have some memory left will be monumental for them - MIL has been in her home for 55 years; and my mother in hers for 30 years.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 10-Nov-12 20:36:26

Please get advice from the Alzheimer's Society.

My mother lived with Alzheimer's for at least 10 years. The last 5 she was diagnosed, and spent her final 3 years in a hospital setting. This meant that the first five years were particularly difficult for family members. We thought she was just being cantankerous, when it was in fact her disease. I remember visiting with my young DDs from 400 miles away and making a very hasty retreat when she started effing and blinding over a toy left on the floor. I was bitter for a while and it NKY made sense when she was diagnosed.

There are practicalities of memory loss. The elderly person has to recognise it for themselves and buy into coping strategies. My DF has an A4 hardbacked page-to-a-day diary where he writes down everything that is happening, including when he puts something in the oven. At this stage, it is weeks rather than months before they need nursing care.

Living with Alzheimer's has a much bigger impact on relatives than on the elderly person. It is very hard to go through it alone. Accept all the support you can. You don't know how many years it will go on, and in this time you will become an expert in the health service and social service.

God bless my SIL who spent a good six years caring for my mother and her welfare.

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