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

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 Answer

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.