This is my first post ever, to bear with me.
My husband’s father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (family doctor + psychiatrist both). We’ve noticed a regression for several years, but this is the first time that he’s received a diagnosis. The problem is, he refuses to accept it or acknowledge that there’s a problem. My mother-in-law is at a loss because his diagnosis is also feeding in to his depression and hostility, making their living situation unbearable for her.
They moved across the country to the east coast a few years ago because he had convinced my mother-in-law that the reason he was unable to do anything (such as build planes, like he used to) and struggling with depression, was simply because of where they lived (not because of dementia). There was always an excuse: weather is bad, not enough space, don’t know enough people, etc. Then, they moved to the west coast a couple of years ago because….the same reasons. Now, they’re planning to move back to the east coast, a mere two years later, because…the same reasons. My husband and I even have a move in the works to the west coast right away so that we can better support them through this difficult time. But we can’t follow them back and forth across the country—we just don’t have enough money for that.
This next move is especially worrying because it will be to an isolated lake property. We fear that the isolation will not only make things worse for my father-in-law, but will also make things increasingly more difficult for my mother-in-law who will now have access to zero support network and will lose connections to friends and other family that used to be nearby (on the west coast).
I understand my mother-in-law’s frustration—I don’t blame her for feeding in to this because she feels like she’s out of options. But the fact is, when they move, he will be happy for a couple of months and then regress into his old behavior because the problem is mental health—not where they live. He promises her that, when they move, he’ll take up new hobbies, get out more, do more around the house, be happy, etc. But time and time again he has proved that this is not the case. And refusing to acknowledge the core problem is just delaying the actual treatment he could be receiving to improve both his and my mother-in-law’s situation.
My questions are:
Has anyone had a similar experience with Alzheimer’s/dementia in their family (i.e. denial)? What did it take for he/she to accept the diagnosis?
If you have experience with this, what is the best way my husband and I can support his parents? We honestly don’t know what to do (we’ve tried being honest with my mother-in-law, moving, everything, to no avail).
Do we have any options at our disposal if we fear that my mother-in-law’s safety might be at risk? With this latest move, and the isolation of their new home, we’re concerned for her well-being. His verbal hostility hasn’t transitioned into physical abuse, yet, but we don’t know what will happen as his health degrades.
Thanks in advance 🙂