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Issue with my MIL - Need suggestions

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by banujaga, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. banujaga

    banujaga Gold IL'ite

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    I am married in Feb 2009 and ours is a late marriage and a arranged marriage too. Initially, i used to think that my MIL is like my mother and used to all work for her like washing her clothes, doing all the household work, not even allowing my MIL to touch water.

    i have lost both of my parents and my siblings separated from me becoz they did not like me getting married. initially they thought that i will be alone and so whatever i am earning and saved will belong to them after my death. But things changed with my marraige. i never used to do any work in my house before marriage.

    Coming to my MIL's story now, she is 85 years old. i sympathized her only for her age. I am working and leave my house at 6-45 a.m. and reach home only at 6-30 p.m. Initially, i used to get up early cook breakfast and lunch for her and go. i was not packing food for me though.

    after 4 months of my marriage, she started showing her true colours. She is not clean basically. so, i used to request her to take bath and give her clothes for washing. she is so possessive of her things that she doesn't allow anybody to touch. she didnt even allow me to touch her vessels. before i could shift my things to my MIL's house, i had only 2 vessels to cook food and she used to hide all spoons, serving spoons, etc etc when i am not at home. it used to be difficult for me to cook also.

    i washed all her clothes one full day as it was too dirty and arranged it in the cupboard for which she scolded me. My house is very big and i am the only person to do all the household work. my hubby helps me sometimes but he doesn't get any free time as he keeps doing things for his mom.

    She is so dirty and she stinks and we have only one bedroom and a hall. she sleeps in the hall. She sneezes and wipes on the showcase. every week i have to rub and clean the showcase. Then she spits on the carpet only. for 2 weeks, i washed but it was too difficult for me as i have to go to work as well as do work at home also. so, i removed the carpet.

    my toilet is in the bedroom, so we cannot lock the bedroom. when we both are together, she comes and peeps in. our toilet is also very big, almost a normal kitchen size, i can say. She urinates all over the toilet (it is a bathroom and a toilet). when i go home in the evening, you can see patches all over like a public toilet. once i saw her and told her to use the toilet inside and not urinate outside. for that she started calling me names and i decided that i will not talk to her and i will ignore her. but now, even ignoring has become a problem for her. everyday, myself and hubby fights only for this.

    she doesn't even pour water after using the toilet. even a scavanger will not clean by seeing that toilet.

    she is doing all this not becoz she is aged or she doesn't know. she wantingly does it. whenever i clean, she stands beside me to check if i am saying something so that she can pick up a quarrel with me or she keeps laughing seeing me cleaning the toilet.

    i told this problem to my elder bro in law. he said he will make some arrangements and see that his mom will not trouble me. That was only at that time to convince me. later, it is the same story again. Now that my hubby and i leave the house at 6-50 a.m. my elder bro in law and his wife only has to take care of her. they only come and give her breakfast and lunch and that's it. they are in no way trying to solve my problem. above all that, after 3-4 days, his sis in law keeps talking abt my MIL all good things to change my mind.

    Yesterday, it was even too much. She started convincing to do all the work again for my MIL and ignore everything. We can ignore the talks, actions everything but what abt the mess she creates in the house.

    someimes in the midnight, i have to get up and clean the toilet or else we cannot sleep there.

    i am 37 now and so we both are planning for a baby. i am undergoing the follicular study. becoz of this, my health doesn't seem to be ok and i feel like taking rest or relax.

    i dont know what to do. Please advise.
     
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  2. feduptocore

    feduptocore Senior IL'ite

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    hi I'm the first to give a FB...
    well my advise would be hire a full time maid.. someone who is a bit of an ayah who can take care of the old lady patiently.... in bangalore you may get one for Rs 5000/- max.
    get one of those hospital potty chairs and tell MIL to use this in the nights so she doesn't disturb you. get the maid to cut vegs and keep if your DH will not allow her to cook. Tell MIL you are doing this for her comfort.
    She is 85yrs old and is NOT going to change... either she is basically very dirty or else due to age has become slip sod...
    K
     
  3. lavii

    lavii Gold IL'ite

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    who were taking care of her before your marriage?
    is she doing this only after your arrival?if so please show your dh once how it feels to clean messy stuff
    if its age factor i will stand by her..when my grandma was ill me and mom used to take care of her for months on bed itslef
    but if she is wantedly doing all this you dont have to take the pain
    whats your dh stand on this?
     
  4. shivachoubey

    shivachoubey IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi,

    Your MIL sound like my grandmother. Oh, we all were so upset with her for doing this on purpose. But the fact she was suffering from Alzimer and these were the starting symptoms. She would not take bath, she would urinate outside toilet and say its not her urine, extremely possessive about her things, shouting all the time, stealing things and complaining that her family doesn't feed her enough.

    I used to be very irritated with her until I came across an article in Readers Digest where the behavior was chalked out, it exactly matched my grandmother's behavior.

    One reason people turn like this is because of loneliness and less physical and mental activity. You can not do much about it, please understand that she is suffering from a disease which can be very confusing to diagnose. You will understand in 2-3 years when she will completely loose her memory. My grandmother recognized us till the last moment but would get confused with others. Once she came to me asking to pick the phone clutching in her hand a ringing alarm clock.

    She is old and she needs to be taken care of. If you can afford then shift to a 2 bedroom flat or 1 bedroom with 2 toilets. If you cannot take care of her alone appoint a maid.

    Had she been doing it on purpose rest assured she would be clean and keep herself in good condition and give you a tough time in other ways.

    Take it out of your mind that she is doing it on purpose and approach her as a patient. See what arrangements you can make to ease your life as well as hers.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Drpreethis

    Drpreethis Gold IL'ite

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    For God's sake she is 85 years.. She could have some serious illness. There was this old lady who lived in my native who did all this weirdo stuff and it seemed like she ws doing it on purpose till an educated neighbour called a doctor. She had some kind of syndrome and just looked smart whereas she had no control over whatever she did. So, do not just think otherwise, take an educated guess and seek medical help for her.

    Since the both of you are working why dont you hire a domestic help / nurse who would be around till you come home or even a full time one.

    Why are you living in a single bedroom house ? How about moving to a two bedroom with 2 bath ? If that is your own house, how about extending it.. Let her mess up the bath she uses and you could have a maid to clean it up. Ask the older son and wife to take care of mommy dear for sometime. Till you finish up with renovation OR with your Fertility Treatments.

    There is no point in frustrated cleaning, just find solutions. Ask your husband to join you back home once to see the mess.

    I also wonder, you said you had to wake up in the midnight to clean the toilet.. SO YOUR HUBBY WAS AROUND TOO ? WHAT WAS HIS TAKE ? SO, HE DOES HAVE A NOSE WHICH LETS HIM KNOW IT SMELLS..

    Doesnt he want to do anything about it ?

    You are simply taking all the trouble and letting away your hubby.. Everyone works, Banu .. and that is no excuse to not help wife who is also working ! So, talk to him seriously about the matter !
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
  6. Giselle816

    Giselle816 New IL'ite

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    banujaga -

    I do have to agree with shivachoubey's point that many of the hardships you are dealing with from you MIL may in fact be related to Alzheimer's Disease or some other cognitive health process. I don't have any MIL of my own to share, as I am engaged of >1 year, but I have worked as a health care professional for the aging, and have seen many individuals with Alzheimer's Disease in its many stages.

    What I can say from my own experience working with people who have Alzheimer's Disease is this:

    The disease most often affects the elderly, but early-onset senile dementia can occur in the 60's for some. With Alzheimer's Disease, the earliest signs are usually slight memory loss, or difficulty with short-term memory, slight decreases in attentiveness, or even apathy (showing no concern, no interest for hobbies, no zest or excitement). Usually a person's memory continues to diminish - more often the newer memories (such as not recalling chores or outtings you may have done with them) than the older (they still can remember family member names or faces). Some people in the early stages also struggle with choosing words ("it's on the tip of my tongue, but I can't remember that word!").

    What you're describing, with your MIL's resistance to the help you have given, her behavioral outbursts, her suspiciousness (watching over you as you cook/clean, hiding all the spoons), her irritability, and her basic forgetting how to correctly use the toilet (making a mess EVERY time) are also consistent with a moderate, more progressed dementia. Alzheimer's Disease individuals with moderate dementia commonly have: poorer memory, difficulty to recall words when they are speaking, sometimes memory difficulty with recognizing close relatives, more difficulty with reading/writing, wandering, lability (peaceful one minute, then crying or yelling shortly after without any obvious stimulus), hoarding & suspiciousness (as their memories decrease, what little they do recognize they often cherish and fear that anyone else around them will take them...they stash ungodly amounts of food in their bed, hide things around the house, or collect many odd items randomly), and even urinary incontinence. People with moderate stages even forget the basic use of things that they may have used for decades (they still know how to use spoons, but may forget how to turn on the stove, or how to turn on the light, or how to use the toilet (forgetting to clear it with water after use or to not make a mess everywhere)). They also don't attend to their hygiene anymore - forget to bathe or resist bathing, not concerned with cleaning their hair or styling it, don't wash their face or hands, don't brush their teeth, don't clean their linens, etc, and they become very defensive or resistant when someone suggests that they wash. In addition, they have more frequent falls (this is dangerous, especially if they break a hip because it turns into a medical emergency) and also start WANDERING (the leave the house/apartment and wander in the streets, to the store, to some park...and can't tell anyone where they live or how to get back home). And, often their dietary habits change - may forget meals, become more picky, favor sweets, etc.

    It creates huge stresses for loved ones and families to not only witness their loss of mental sharpness and behavioral decline, but to also experience the outbursts and increasing demands. It is also very hard for families to often accept that an aging process like Alzheimer's has taken over the mind of a person they knew so well. Mind you, the changes with Alzheimer's are often very gradual, and many are missed early on...it's not until people start having increased irritability or behavioral outbursts that family members start recognizing other things happening. Plus, many families miss the early signs because no one person is there witnessing it 24 hours a day (easier to miss signs if people are working half the day and gone...which sounds consistent with you noticing her "true colors" by 4 months into the marriage - that you had been around long enough to witness the oddities or problems). Sure there are medicines and studies out there to help treat Alzheimer's individuals, however none can reverse or cure it...they can only sometimes slow the progression.

    I recognize you saying your MIL appears to be doing this intentionally, sometimes almost targeting certain individuals. With Alzheimer's, people can appear playful or spiteful to those whom they are rejecting help or assistance. The best thing to do is to get round-the-clock help who can assist with supervising and redirecting your MIL, esp if she indeed has this dementia process. Also, as memory fades, it is important to also try to surround people with Alzheimer's with familiar things, familiar people (don't be introducing various family friends repeatedly or new neighbors, etc), and a SET DAILY ROUTINE (meals at same times, naps at same times, bedtime at same time). It helps to give projects to help keep their mind as active as possible, especially when they are no longer interested in reading, writing, listening to radio, or watching tv. Some of the projects I have seen used that help are: folding cloths/sheets/napkins (simple repetitive and keeps the attention), painting, making basic flower garlands or simple crafts, etc - the key is a simple, only few-step process, that is repetitive and familiar.

    Things do not improve on their own, but can be cushioned if you have enough CONSISTENT support and help. It will be absolutely imperative that you and your husband sit down to talk about this, so that you can both be united in your approach to help your MIL. I imagine it will be very difficult for your husband to quickly come to terms with what may be affecting his mother. Do not fool yourselves that you can do this alone or that your husband expects you to handle all the cleanup - he needs to help, or arrange for help for you both. I can say from experience that it is exceptionally challenging for 1-2 people to handle on their own, especially when you and your husband are working all the time. Plus, this is a very stressful situation and not conducive to supporting a pregnancy (stress manifests itself in many ways in our bodies, and it can take a toll on pregnancy or trying to become pregnant). And, this is not something you can manage to follow, watch, or supervise your MIL as she further declines, especially if you have a little baby in the home too... Please, for your sakes, your MIL sake, and your future little one's sake, sit down with your husband to address this immediately. I promise you, it will be the hardest, but best thing, you have ever done for your MIL and for yourselves.

    I hope this helps somewhat and I wish you and your family all the best... :thumbsup
     
  7. rosegirl

    rosegirl Bronze IL'ite

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    If you and your DH are earning well why dont u shift to a 2 bed 2 bath apartment and employ a maid full time to look after your MIL. Thats the only way you will have some sanity in this scenario I feel.
     
  8. ganges

    ganges Gold IL'ite

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    we had the same problem with my mother. If sister in law is not working, you both can sit with them and talk about your job, your health for conceiving and all and aks to them to look after your mil. YOur dh can go there and help in between. Or if you both are financially okay, try for bigger house and put a home nurse who will look after them 24 hours. we did the same only. Please dont expect your mil to change. In this age they will be very adamont and will do whatever you say not to.

    may god bless you.


    ganges
     
  9. Nandshyam

    Nandshyam IL Hall of Fame

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    Lady, at 37, aren't you yet matured? sorry but your post is so childish and not right.

    Please for Heaven sakes, the mother is 85 years old. What do you expect.... Are you a doctor, what if she has some sort of illness or something?

    So what if she stinks.. would you behave and treat your mother the same way too? What goes around comes around, I don't usually say this, but think for a second. You ain't going to be young always and there will be a time when you would forget stuff and be a nonsense(as you put it) for others too. Be kind even though they get into your nerves. You know why, because they are helpless and old.

    Try to find a practical working solution than this whining and complaints. It is not going to help. If you both are working, hire someone to look after the house, a nurse for the mother, a new house with more than one bedroom/toilet.. There are N number of possibilities if you really want to make this work. It is upto you. Either do it in action or just whine about it and make everyone's live miserable.

    Life is short, try to make the most use of it in a good way !!
     
  10. asuitablegirl

    asuitablegirl Gold IL'ite

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    Taking care of old and sick family members is very hard. And there's no shame in the fact that you are having a difficult time handling it all. Yes, as the other ladies said it IS the right thing to do to take care of people who need help... but that element of nobleness doesn't suddenly make cleaning toilets fun! I can understand your frustration. I'd be frustrated too. But instead of aiming your built up angry engergy at your mil (who probably does have alzeimers or some other ailment through no fault of her own), aim that energy instead at finding a solution... I think a maid to come and clean the house is a great idea. Also, if you can afford it, a nurse to look after your mil's hygeine needs. And please, take her to the doctor for a check up ASAP. By remaining in this filthy state of living, it's unfair to both YOU and mil.
     

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