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Hi everyone,

I have given up my consultancy business to care for my 84 year old mother in law who has vascular dementia and alzheimers. As she could no longer live independently we have purchased a bungalow for the three of us to live together.

We have a good relationship but I am struggling with her constant demands, and need some head-space, someone to talk to and some time out for me.

i live in County Durham and would like to get in touch with other similar people to share with and seek advice on some of the issues I am encountering. :)
Hi Soraya, welcome to the forum. If you read through the forum posts you will see that many members are struggling, in different ways, to deal with an elderly relative with dementia.
Just because you are all living together doesn't mean that MIL has to be totally dependent on you. Have you contacted the local Social Services Department for a Needs Assessment for MIL? A Carers Assessment for you? There are many services which are available, but only through recommendation of a social worker, so it's vital that you let SSD know your situation. Did you know that MIL is probably entitled to Attendance Allowance? Hopefully you have a Power of Attorney set up? That's probably more than enough questions for the moment!
Hello Soraya and welcome to the forum :)

You may find these links useful -

I googled "carers support co durham and found this one - ... nty-Carers

Also the Alzheimer's Society
they offer advice on all forms of dementia not just Alzheimers; they probably have a branch near you and will hold regular peer support group meetings as well as one-to-one advice. They also have a very food forum called "Talking Point".

Also have a look further down the Index here under 'Specific Conditions & Disabilities' where we have a section solely for Dementia - you'll find a lot of posts relating to various problems carers face when caring for someone with dementia together with a lot good advice on how to handle various situations.
Soraya, welcome to the forum. Like you, I 'look after' my MIL (I say that in quotes as now she is in a care home). She became incapable of looking after herself when she was 89, living 400 miles away from me, and dementia was developing (which I had been slow to spot, I know - and even slower to accept, sigh.) (one doesn't want to accept it....because of what we know is in store for them, and us, alas.)

Unlike you, though, I'm widowed, which swiftly made it totally impossible for me to look after her once I realised that she could not simply move into a flat near me, but would need far more hands-on care - not just the making meals and doing the laundry and so on, but, far, FAR more 'wearing' the 'keeping company'. If she'd moved into a flat near me I'd have had to move in too....

So, because it was just 'me' to look after her (her surviving son lives in the USA), I had to make the very hard decision to move her into a care home near me, that could cope, at that time, with her relatively mild stage of dementia. (Since then, she's moved twice, and is now in a 'secure' unit as she is a 'wanderer' and has to be in a 'safe space' for her own safety).

I'm telling you this for two reasons. one, because I think it makes a real and material difference to being a carer for a mother in law, not a mother. And secondly to ask you what your plans are for the future? Sadly, if your MIL does not die of something else (eg, heart disease, pneumonia, etc), then she will die of dementia - and that is not an 'easy' way to go, for her, or for you.

My own sister-in-law's mother died of dementia, having been nursed at home by her two daughters (living very near by), and it was extremely grim. At a late stage, she became doubly incontinent, and required constant changing and cleaning, and finally could not get out of bed, became completely unresponsive, just staring or sleeping. My SIL and her sister - and their husbands - were in an awful state, both from exhaustion and depression, and finally I urged that they allow their mum to be taken by ambulance to the local care home, simply for a short respite break, as the two daughters were 'on their knees'. Their mum died about a week later, and I cannot but say it was a mercy to all of them - not least to their poor mum (who had been the last person one would ever think of getting dementia - she was a real 'mother of the clan'!)

So, I do thik that you and your husband, and any other of your MIL's children, sit down and have a difficult but essential discussion about what you will do as the months go by....and, indeed, and when your MIL worsens. You do need to think ahead, and 'be prepared'.

Most of us 'reverse' into being carers - it 'just happens' and often we make a kneejerk initial reaction - eg, to move intogether - that only once it's done does one realise the full impact...and the long term implications.

I wish you well, but to be honest, I think you are in for an increasingly difficult time. You will need external support, because one person cannot, just cannot, look after a severely affected dementia patient, if you are alone in the hosue with them day after day (and your husband is still trying to hold down a full time job, but coming home to a wife 'on her knees'.....)

Kind, if rather gloomy regards - Jenny
Hi Soraya
I would suggest finding out if there is a local daycare service for your mum. My mum has vascular dementia and attends a daycare centre twice a week, it is a godsend. Social services suggested a few and we visited them and chose the one we liked best. It isn't cheap and as mum is self funding she pays £30.00 per day including transport. Having the house to myself is wonderful and I make sure I use at least one of them for 'me' activities, usually sewing.
Good luck.
Take care