Parenting the parents

 First off, apologies for taking a while to reply to comments on previous post, I haven't been active much here this past week due to family circumstances.

Last Tuesday afternoon Master's mum phoned quite distressed, my father in law was diagnosed with vascular dementia last August and as was to be expected he is getting worse, and she hadn't let us know up until this point how much she was struggling, she didn't want to be a bother, of course we would ask but we would get a very watered down version, and what with the lockdowns Master has been visiting once a week but in the garden, I haven't due to shielding.

Anyway, after the call, packed a small suitcase and travelled to London, traffic was fairly light and so we got there in just over an hour and a half, Master was quiet on the journey, he is close to his parents and I knew he was stewing on the situation, he had wanted them to come live with us when his dad was diagnosed, but they didn't want to and I could understand that, and when we spoke about it at the time he could see my point of view, and of course his parents, nevertheless he would have preferred they were living with us.

We spent the evening with them, FIL was settled, what we have learned so far from his doctors is dementia although progressive there can be periods of where the progression seems to slow down for a while and then starts up again.  But it's evident from this visit he has got worse, some of the interior doors in the downstairs rooms had been stripped of the frame and were left hanging, MIL said he did that a few weeks ago because he wanted to replace them, he was a carpenter by trade before retiring, but his personality was the biggest change.

He was argumentative, paranoid  and not easily calmed, and I could see quite clearly why MIL wasn't coping, and something had to be done, we went to our townhouse that evening, tired, concerned and with the knowledge that the next whatever amount of days it took we was going to have to put a plan in action, that was going to be difficult for all concerned.

We lay in bed and Master started telling me stories about him and his dad from when he was a child, one's I had not heard of before, I didn't interrupt, just listened, it was nice, he doesn't often talk about his childhood, not that it was horrid, far from it.  Some were funny, and his laughter made me laugh, Master is good at telling stories, whether they be from fact or fiction, he can make it entertaining and engage the listener, when the children were small he would make up stories and they loved it, me I'm not so creative, they got read a book!

He knows he is losing his dad, that the man he knows is fading, and I can understand that, I watched my mum die 6 years ago from a brain tumour, I remember the doctor at the time telling me to remember her as she was not the life the tumour in the end gave her, life can be cruel and oh these illnesses are so cruel, it's like grieving for someone you love although they are still alive.

Master however is a positive person and is very practical, he needs to have a focus and soon the conversation switched to what needs to be done and he will get the ball rolling tomorrow, it's the way he is, he needs to do something, whereas I tend to be the emotional one which I admit can skewer my perceptions and decisions which is probably why it's best he makes them.

We got home late Friday night, we have brought his parents with us, not to live, both have made it clear it's only temporary but have agreed that help is needed and so they will stay until a plan is made and put in place, which at the moment they are considering sheltered accommodation. I'm glad they are here, MIL definitely needed the break, although FIL still has very lucid moments he is very repetitive and when his mind fixates on something he won't let it go, yesterday he wanted his car keys and was pulling draws out, going through cupboards, accusing each and everyone of us of stealing his keys....he hasn't owned and driven a car for over 10 years!

but it's what you do.


  1. May you find strength through this - it's so very difficult. Remember while you are taking care of them - to make time for you too :)

    1. Thankyou morningstar, it's proving to be more emotionally and mentally draining that I imagined, they do tend to retire to bed fairly early so I'm getting a reprieve in the evenings, but we have decided that we need to sort something out sooner rather than later for all concerned.

  2. Thank you for sharing with us Claire. B's father was diagnosed with dementia very late in life. In a somewhat fortunate twist of fate he passed away before the non lucid moments outnumbered the lucid ones.

    I remember my Mom telling me about good friends of theirs. He had been a doctor and was diagnosed with dementia. He told her that the worst part was having his foot in both worlds. He said he knew what eventually was going to happen to him, and while that knowledge was awful, once it happened he wouldn't know any differently.

    I'm sorry that you are all going through this, as well as everything else currently. It must be so challenging for a man like your husband who thrives on control to have so many things out of his reach. I do mean that in the most compassionate way. I am blessed with quite a few people in my life with similar personalities and it adds an added layer of pain it seems for them when there is no real solution, just making things better in a trying situation.

    Whenever you do have moments to yourself, please enjoy them guilt free.


    1. Thanks willie, '

      I would definitely agree that the hardest thing for my FIL is when he is lucid which is a fair bit he is frustrated with what is happening, he is a man that has always been active in mind and body so well it just is so cruel to see him going through this and knowing it will only get worse.

      It is challenging for my Master and he is struggling, so much on his mind at the moment and yes out of his hands which is difficult for him, but yes you are right all any of us can do is try to make the best out of a horrid situation.

  3. Claire,
    Oh, what a rough time. I'm sorry to hear that there are health struggles with your Master's dad. It's really good that he confided in you and shared those precious memories. That will help him process and then get down to business like you said he does.

    Yes, please take some moments to take care of yourself and your Master. Even if it's a short walk or some deep breathing or stretching, cuddling in bed before you go to sleep...... things that I am sure you're both good at having been married and still in love after this long, but that you might forget when you're so exhausted from the energy it takes to help your Mum-in-law help her husband during this rough time. Will keep you guys in my prayers, Hugs, Windy

    1. Thank you Windy

      It's just shit, to be blunt lol, today was a good day but tomorrow could be very different, so we just have to face it as it comes, my faith is important to me and that carries me through, religion, or more specifically my beliefs is something I'm not permitted to discuss here but I can touch on it briefly if only to say it's at times like this I hold onto my beliefs.

      Right now my MIL needs support and I'm happy to give it, she has been a rock to me so many times in the past it is the least I can do, and yes it is just as important we carve time out for ourselves as he needs me as well, and that's what you do in a relationship, you support one another, especially when the going gets tough.

  4. What a hard thing you are both having to do. Dementia, for whatever reason, is horrible for everyone involved. I hope the best solution possible can be found soon.

    1. Good evening PK,

      It's hard, I didn't realise how hard it was going to be in the respect of it being so draining, I have much respect for my MIL for how she has coped and that she asked for help when it became too much.

  5. Oh Claire,

    I am sending all the energy I can to you guys. I understand more than you know how it is.

    Remember, you need your rest as well. Take care of you and your Master.


    1. Hi Boo, thank you very much

      It sounds like you have experiences with dementia, and so I appreciate your understanding.

      I'm doing ok, it's early days at the moment, as it's not been a week since they have been here, but already I'm realising how tiring it is on a mental level.

  6. Claire,

    Sorry you and your husband are going through this, I know how hard it is. P's mom had dementia and in the end sadly we had to move her into a home. I hope you can find the best solution for everyone.

    Take care of yourself.


    1. Thank you ronnie,

      It's difficult for all of us, it is hard as you will know, I think it will come to a time when moving FIL to a home will happen as we all know it's going to worse, it's just so unpredictable at the moment, what we do know is they can't go on as they were.

  7. My older sister (72) has had dementia for a number of years, and I understand what it's like to see someone who was once quite vibrant dependent on others for assistance and often repeating themselves or becoming quite argumentative, and it can leave the caregiver drained. I'm glad you were both able to convince them to come home with you. Wishing all of you the best!

    1. Good evening Merry,

      Yes draining is an accurate description, to see someone you love and care for lose themselves over a period of time is heartbreaking and just so cruel.

      Thank you very much for your kind words.

  8. Just sending a million hugs. It's so hard.

    Light and love heading your way!


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