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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Board Index

I am glad that you posted your feelings and your husbands feelings. I actually manage an Assisted Living facility and began my career in a Alzheimer's area of the building. Depending on which home the family has chosen, this is the best thing for your father in law, your MIL, your husband, and his siblings. The strain of being a primary caregiver to one with AD is at times exhausting and stressful. It is a fact that primary care givers of the elderly are prone to illnesses (such as a common cold) easier, sleep less hours at night, and generally become withdrawn quickly. Your MIL needs help and support as well as the whole family and your FIL. Hopefully the assisted living he is now in is one with special programming for AD patients. I find that it makes a world of difference and the quality of life increases much more than if he was staying at home. I find that as I manage one of these facilities I spend more time with the family and offering them support more than the actual resident. I think this is the most important part of my job and feel honored that families turn to me for questions, concerns, and support. Some other things that may be helpful; Alzheimer's Association, support groups, one on one with your FIL and time apart, talking about it (letting your husband share his feelings and frusterations), writing or journaling, etc. I have been with families like your husband (in tears when there is a move in) and with time and some education that family has become more comfortable with the situation. It will take some time.
AD is no one's fault. It is easy to blame someone when the blaming should go to the disease. The things your FIL do and not do, remember and not remember are out of his control. It is very easy to forget that part when caring for a loved one with AD. Hang in there! Make sure you (and the whole family) take time for yourselves as well.
Thanks for your note, it sure does help. The home my FIL is in is actually kind of neat. It is a large extended family that has older adults as well as young children and pets living in the facility. Each patient has their own mini-apartment (sans kitchen). They have their own furniture and belongings from home. I think once his children moved his things in (FIL and MIL went out for long lunch), they were kind of at ease. My husband came home sad, but kind of relieved. We will go visit in about 2 weeks. My husband was having a hard time because FIL did not know who he was (he's the youngest child).

Thanks for your understanding and wise words.


Many of us have similar stories. I'm an only child. I had to move my 85 year old widowed mother into an assisted living facility 2 years ago because she had rapidly advancing Alzheimers (forgot how to make coffee, work her washing machine, dial "1" before a long distance call, opened the same Christmas gift bag 3 times and was equally delighted each time, forgot math, etc, ad infinitum). I lived halfway across the continent. The facility was really nice, she had an apartment with her own furniture, but she was mad, upset, we cried together and I stenciled the living room, bedroom, and kitchenette walls to work off the guilt. 6 months later she didn't know me, didn't recognize her furniture, and was concerned she'd be late for school and that her mother didn't know where she was. She forgot how to walk a year ago and can no longer dress or feed herself.

Most of my tears were shed 2 years ago and I know I couldn't be awake to give her the 24 hour care she needs. The best advise I got for me was to be kind to myself because I cannot be superman. The best advise I got for Mom was to have an antidepressant pill prescribed for her - it's depressing to be aware this is happening. She is happy, smiles when she sees me, though she cannot call my name. I asked her recently if she knew I was her daughter and she said, "Really?" I always call her Mom and always hug her and tell her I love her. She seldom talks, but can still say "that's nice" when hugged, and "I love you, too."

If some of the furniture went with your father-in-law, it's probably extra sad and empty at the house now and the empty places where furniture was makes it worse. You MIL may need some furniture to fill the empty places. She may need extra care soon, too.

You're not alone on the unwelcome path. Blessings - Barbara

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