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sister-in-law

(13 Posts)
PinkCakes Wed 07-Oct-20 19:44:58

My brother's wife has got the beginnings of dementia (she hasn't yet been properly diagnosed, so we're not sure of the type). It's really sad. She's a lovely, quiet, gentle woman - or was - who used to be a carer (so did I, and my brother, too, we all worked for the same company). My brother is finding it all a bit much - suddenly having to do everything in the home as well as cope with his wife's aggression, accusations, etc.

My other sister-in-law (husband's sister) rang my husband the yesterday, wanting a favour (the only time she ever gets in touch - we haven't seen her for 3 years - and so I spoke to her as well. I happened to mention my brother's lovely wife (they'd met a couple of times, many years ago) and how her short-term memory has gone, to the point that she (lovely SIL) couldn't remember what she'd had for dinner, 2 hours previously. Husband's sister laughed at that! When I said it's not funny at all, she accused me of being too serious, said I should have a laugh about it. Stupid, insensitive cow. No empathy at all.

Sorry for the long ramble, I needed to get it off my chest.

Gingster Wed 07-Oct-20 19:54:20

My brothers wife also has dementia and it has progressed so quickly. She has always been unsociable and really tried her best to split our family in a quiet way.
They moved away from the rest of us. NEver made us welcome and really had no interest in the rest of us. BUT. It is such a wicked disease and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. My poor brother is at his wits end and is on the brink of finding a care home for her, but at the present time he wouldn’t be able to visit. A horrid situation.

crazyH Wed 07-Oct-20 19:56:51

Glad you got it off your chest.
Dementia is not a laughing matter. You are a kind and caring soul. I'm sure you will be of great comfort and help to your brother. When you mentioned your lovely s.i.l. had forgotten what she had for dinner, I kept thinking ....now what did I have for tea? We hear so much about Dementia and Alzheimer's these days, we get anxious about our own ageing brains as well.... All good wishes for your s.i.l. and your brother .....with a great sister like you, I'm sure your brother will be ok xx

PinkCakes Wed 07-Oct-20 20:05:45

I've been supporting them both as much as I can. I spent all day cleaning up round there last Monday, whilst he went shopping and met a friend. I'm taking her out tomorrow, for afternoon tea at a lovely tearoom in the area she used to live. Hopefully, she'll remember her school, childhood home, etc

Dinahmo Wed 07-Oct-20 20:26:57

It's possible that your SIL is in the stages where she realises that something is wrong with her but doesn't know what, which could be why she's so aggressive.

My mother had pre-senile dementia around 53 years old. When she was 55 or 56 she was assessed at University College Hospital. She spent 2 weeks there and they wanted to keep her for longer because to have Alzheimers at such a young age was unusual. She went through a bad phase, telling my sister and I (the 2 who visited regularly) that my brothers were lovely (they very rarely saw her). She used to say she felt like jumping off a bridge. I had to bite my tongue to not say " for f..k's sake go and do it.

The early stages were very hard. She had had encephalitis in her early thirties and had fluid drawn from her brain. She remembered that and thought that was the cause of her problems. We didn't try to explain what she actually had. She gradually lost her powers of reasoning. She'd read a page in a book and not turn the page. She'd go to the top again. I would visit her and find that she had been trying to write her name but forgot it.

Good news now - at least for your SIL. It seemed to me that gradually nature takes over and sufferers forget what they used to be. My mother went through a phase of thinking that I was her older sister and she'd tell me how I used to tell her off. Then came the phase when she knew that I had a connection to her but didn't know what it was.

People do dredge some things up from the depths. My mother was Welsh and used to sing a lot. She spent her last few years in a home and whenever Songs of Praise was on she'd sing along. The most surprising thing of all was that when we were told she had pneumonia and wouldn't last much longer, the local curate went to the home to see her and say prayers. She said the words of the Lord's Prayer and she hadn't spoken coherently for many months.

All this was about 40 years ago and I'm sure that things have changed a lot n the treatment and care of such people. My mother went into a home before she got really bad and i think that was the best thing for her. She would have hated her children feeding her and cleaning her but if those personal tasks were undertaken by the staff in the home, that was OK because they wore uniforms and she therefore thought that they were nursing her because she was ill.

My thoughts go out to your brother - he is the one who will need your support. As for your friend, words fail. When my husband was away I had to have one of my dogs put to sleep. My husband told a friend who laughed and said, it's only a dog. I've never forgotten that and no longer feel the same towards her. Your friend's attitude is appalling IMO.

PinkCakes Wed 07-Oct-20 20:47:53

Dinahmo Thanks for all that. I've worked in the care sector for 23 years, and have looked after many people with dementia, so I know what's coming, I think, as does my brother. His wife's aggression is all directed at him - she appears to sometimes confuse him with her 2nd husband, who used to knock her about and steal her money (my brother is her 3rd husband). She's perfectly fine with me, and I don't correct her when she's confused about things, apart from when she says things about my brother which aren't true.

The other woman isn't a friend - she's my husband's sister, who had always been a horrible person (despite being a so-called Christian).

I know what you mean when you say someone said "it's only a dog". A couple of people said something similar when my beloved cat had to be put to sleep. Those people are unfeeling bastards, and I won't have them in my life again.

V3ra Wed 07-Oct-20 21:12:43

PinkCakes with your carer's background I'm sure you're well aware but just to say make sure your brother sets up the two Powers of Attorney for his wife while she's hopefully still able to agree, and applies for any help and support going.
My Dad struggled on looking after my Mum on his own for longer than was good for him.
I know you're there for them as well but it really is a time to get whatever help is available in place for all of you.
Such a shame for your lovely sister-in-law.

As for your husband's sister, well what can you say?
She's only got in touch after several years because she needs something. Says it all.
Try to ignore her attitude.

Floradora9 Wed 07-Oct-20 21:48:41

did your husband do the favour ? We realised they only time my BIL and his wife contacted us they wanted a favour from us .

welbeck Wed 07-Oct-20 23:57:28

dear PinkCakes, sorry to hear what you are facing.
as for that other woman, well have as little to do with her as possible. if you do have to speak to her again, don't be too polite.
all the best.

PinkCakes Thu 08-Oct-20 08:24:05

Thanks, all.

I've suggested POA to my brother. His wife won't readily agree to that, as she keeps accusing him of having her bank cards (she lost them somewhere in the house, we've searched all over). Her own sister is a Social Worker (Warminster) so is going to advise about legalities/finances/care etc.

As for the other sister-in-law (the bitch), I've blocked her on my 'phone. My husband didn't do the favour, but only because it was a problem with her gas fire and he isn't qualified - he's an electrician, so has helped with other things in her house.

GogoTJ Mon 12-Oct-20 23:04:58

I've got 2 sister-in-laws...they're both cows! wine

Puzzled Tue 13-Oct-20 11:05:45

A friend's husband has dementia (or Alzheimers ) It is so sad to see him changing into a broken old man, who has to be watched like a toddler. And he is a little younger than us.
And yet, he can make quite intelligent conversation. But walking outside, one of us has to watch him, or he will go wandering off.
I have suggested various things that might help, to keep him stimulated, but things seem to be progressing to the stage where outings are starting be a bit of a worry.
It pains me to think of the strain that it puts on his wife.
S i L is apparently going the same way, but B i L is so unlikeable that we have not visited (Would not expect to be made welcome) for years. It pains both of us not be able go and visit (even if it is a long way) to try to provide some support.
It is a cruel fate, for which there is no cure, yet.
We can only try to give as much support as possible, if only to giver the carer a short break, in which to relax.

Toadinthehole Tue 13-Oct-20 11:26:19

I think you need at least another three years, preferably forever, not seeing/ hearing from this SIL. There must have been a reason for having not seen her for three years already. You don’t need it. So sad to hear about your brother’s wife. Hopefully she’ll be able to get the help she needs.💐