How can I get my family to stop talking about things that upset my mother in law with dementia?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother in law has dementia. My husband and I sold our home and moved into her home to take care of her. Both my in laws have dementia, and my father in law passed on 3 years ago. My husband and myself were paying a live in care giver for the past 4 years. We loved her, and thought of her as family, but with the economy what it is we realized we had go through gone through about six figures a year of our savings,and we could not keep paying for the care giver and keep our house to. So we moved in with her 7 months ago. Her siblings and other realatives rearly came to see her ,thay all live close by.

Here is my situation, my mother in law has always been the kind of woman who could not say no to relatives, she gave money away no questions asked, well people took advantage of her, and her mental condetion. Once my husband took over her banking and now pays all her bills, shes had one visit in 7 months. She no longer reconizes her family, and when thay did come all thay did was talk about dead realatives and her childhood home. I and my husband asked them prior to there visit not to mention certian things that stick with her and leave her depressed and agatated for weeks later. My father in law passed on 3 years ago, and she does not mention him at all. She doesn't realize hes gone. She thinks her mom is still alive also. My mother in law is 88.

Im a stright in your face kinda lady, and I have let relatives know why certian topics cant be mentioned. They dont seem to care. They dont have to deal with the fall out there words have on my mother in law. When she gets depressed she stops eating and drinking ensure. S humming bird eats more food then she does. The ensure is keeping her alive. How can i get people to understand what ther words to to her?

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.

It sounds like you are trying to encourage visitors and you can further help by giving them a list of acceptable topics. Perhaps they do not know what to say and grope for the topics that give them the most comfort. If you compose a list of ten topics that will not sadden your mother-in-law perhaps they will no longer bring up the 'taboo' topics. Sometimes if you plan their visit around an activity that does not require maximum conversation, every one may feel more comfortable. If the visit is around a meal or an outing then the focus would be less on 'conversation' and she might enjoy just having the comfort of their presence.

Community Answers

Dragon fly answered...

I apprciate you ancering my question. Please forgive my miss spelling i am dyslex. As far as guest are concern, there visiting my mother in law is not some thing i encorage, and my mother in law has no idea who these people are. These are her siblings and cousins. thay are old enough to understand when my husband exsplains in detail, what topic schould be avoided and why it should be avoided. Grans house in the past was a meeting place for he siblings to barrow money from her and each other. Gran would never turn familey away. Once a week her sister would come to barrow money,this went on for years. once my husband took over grans and gramps acouts he stoped leaving money in there possesion because her sister and her grown kids would say thay were short on cash and with my in inlaws dementia thay would reach in there pockets and give away all ther money that my husband gave them for pocket money. Once gran no longer had acess to her own money her sisters visits went from once a week to once every 2 weeks three years ago to 15 to 20 min every other month last year. My husband and I moved in with my mother in law 7 months ago.We could no longer aford the live in care giver we were paying, all my in laws bills and our morgage mayment to, so i resigned from my job and i am a 24 /7 care giver, to my mom in law. her sister has not called and came over to visit once, on grans B-day. She and grans other sibling have never , ever come on her b-day to her house in the last 26 years. but thay came and brought her cousins and there grown kids to for one reason. to see how I was taking care of her, and to see what happened to my mom in laws stuff. thay are people who critize others, but are not willing to offer eany help. and as far as thay are concern I am not familey. How do I know this because a cousin told my husband over the phone wile i was siting nex to him. my husband and i took care of both my in laws at the same time, Financially, and hands on as well. Iam treated by mom in laws fam as the"help". Im good enough to cook; clean the house. wash soiled sheets empty gramps cathter bag ,change dypers, and soo much more stuff that eany body who is a care giver knows, has to be done, But im not good enough in there eyes to make desisions for gran. My husband and I have been married 26 years in may. And I find it strange that these relatives have known me that long and not under stood my nature! I will do what ever I have to do with in the law to protect gran from these valtures. Hash words i know normally i curse like a salor but this will do.gran is like a child who cant defend her self so my husband and i have to. My husband is a polite educated man, who uses decorum with these people. I on the other hand am a stright to the point,now what? kind of person. The only perpose grans sibling serve when thay come is to ease ther own mind , because thay sure dont ease grans, thay leave her wose for war every time. No matter how meany times thay are reminded about the taboo subjects, thay feel thay have the right to bring that stuff up because THAY are her familey.