Should we move in with my mother in law who has Alzheimer's disease?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 06, 2016
Bffparents asked...

My mother in law has Alzheimer's/dementia and seems to be declining. My husband & I are her primary caregivers. She is my best friend and I am doing ALL I can to care for her. Her daughters are trying to muniplate her and mad because my in laws signed over the house and land to my husband & I before my father in law died. They did this to keep the land in the family and we are the only ones that can afford to pay the taxes etc. One of the daughters lives on the propety within 100yards. She does NOT HELP with her mother at ALL. Years ago my mother inlaw would have told them how the cat at the cabbage but now she is very passive. Is this normal for someone with Alzheimer's? As long as my husband is with her she is strong. It is like he is her back bone. We are trying to figure out wether or not to move in with her or keep it the way we are. I go over every morning give meds. clean etc. & than try to come home and clean at our house. She calls every few minutes until I am back over there. This is wearing me down. We are confused and dont know what to do.

Expert Answers

Helene Bergman, LMSW, is a certified geriatric care manager (C-ASWCM) and owner of Elder Care Alternatives, a professional geriatric care management business in New York City. She consults with nursing homes and daycare programs to develop specialized programs for Alzheimer's patients.

From the way you describe your caregiving role for your mother-in-law, it sounds like you are doing a full time job that might not change if you move in with her. If she were able to maintain some independence and be safe and secure living alone, then moving in would not be necessary. Since she calls you regularly when you leave, and you are willing to provide the comprehensive direct and household care, then moving in will just be a natural progression. Of course, if this causes greater family dissention, then this issue needs to be addressed first. Maybe you need to find out what their wishes are prior to making a move. Sometimes meeting with an objective professional(i.e. counselor) can help sibling differences be resolved. After all, you all have the same goal: your mother-in-law's well being.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

I moved in with my mother 2 years ago. Although the arrangement has worked I wish I had not. My mother and I were closer before I moved in and my relationship with my sister is also more stressful. Sister is resentful and relieved at same time that I moved in. Takes responsibility off her but she often feels left out. I'm with my mom 24/7. I love her and vice versa but it would have been much better if I'd stayed in my own house and come to hers. Would have worked if my sister and I had split up times spent at mom's. I'm much more depleted living with her. There's no escape and no privacy. She shares everything I do and say with my sister. You indicate you are living right beside your mother and that's great. Recommend you keep your privacy and space. Can't emphasize how important this is for you and your husbands mental health and marriage relationship! Know it's hard on you physically and sounds like you may need an answering machine to screen her calls and then return the non-emergency once a day on your schedule. I do not advise you move in with your mother. LittleRockCaregiver

A fellow caregiver answered...

My father has alzheimers & my mom has dementia. 2 years ago my mother broke her femur & had to spend 6 weeks in a nursing home. I brought my dad home so I could provide comfort & security to him. Her stayed w/me 6 weeks. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. He followed me everywhere, even sitting outside when I mowed the yard. If I left to run an errand, he was anxious that i was gone & clung to me when I returned. I couldn't even talk on the phone in another room without him following me. The stress on me was unbearable. He would come into my bedroom @ 3 am to make sure I was there. Scared the heck out of me at first. I would never do this again. I found my parents a wonderful assisted living facility & hired caregivers to take care of them. I visit them regularly & see that they are well taken care of.