My mother in law is upset

My mother in law is upset and angry since yesterday. Last night I wanted to say good night to her and she didn’t even want to look at me. Early in the morning I went to my in laws room to give my father in law his morning pill and I can tell she was upset then. I know why my mother in law is upset. It’s because my husband said that he will take my father in law to his doctor appointment. This is an important appointment and my husband needs to know if my father in law needs to have a surgery or not. My mother in law said she can drive and she knows how to get to the appointment. She is 85 and she has gotten lost lately going places and last week I had to go along to the dr appointment because she didn’t even know how to get to the appointment that was 4 minutes away. And she doesn’t remember things anymore. I feel bad that I have upset her because I opened my big mouth to tell her that my husband was taking them to the dr. I am very emotional right now and am silently crying. People in this forum must be sick of me posting stuff but I have no friends to talk to. I feel alone and depressed. My own sister and relatives don’t talk to me. It just seems like I am doing a good thing by taking care of the elderly but still not appreciated. Same thing happened when I took care of my dying mother last year and I was called all sorts of names by my own flesh and blood. And people were mad at me. It seems like people are always mad at me. Should I just ignore my mother in law? And I am Sorry for this post.


Yes, ignore it. She is not in her right mind. You have to learn not to take things personally.

I would like to suggest that you get some counseling for yourself to learn how to set boundaries with family, and to have someone in real life that you can talk to on a regular basis about your anxieties. Do this for yourself. There is no shame in needing to speak to someone, everyone can use it at some point in your life. You will feel better and more able to handle what is going on in your life. :slightly_smiling_face:


Yes, ignore her. Just because she is upset, doesn’t mean you have to be upset too. You’re doing the best thing for your father in law.

Please, could you talk to a doctor yourself about how you’re feeling? Perhaps he may know of a support group for those looking after elderly relatives. You’re going through a lot of difficult situations right now, and you deserve some external support.


Also MAKE SURE it is put on both of their charts that dates of any appointments, tests, etc. must be made known to your husband as well. These can easily be forgotten by those who are older and beginning to forget. They just can’t handle the bombardment of information when it gets to that stage.

You are not alone. MANY walk in your shoes. KNOW that in the end no matter what is said to you or about you by family doesn’t matter. YOU and your husband know what you are doing for his parents. It’s easy for someone who isn’t there day in and day out to criticize or judge but the person who is there is doing their best in a very difficult situation.


Cajun, Lou and Irish are the best, please heed their word. I wish I had them when I was in your situation. Lucky to have them now!


Aww, you are so sweet! :blush:

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I’m sorry you are so upset over this. What I found myself thinking about while reading your post is something I remember hearing years ago about when a man had to take the keys from his Dad and tell him he couldn’t drive anymore; that if he wanted to go somewhere he’d have to have his son take him because he just couldn’t be behind the wheel (safely) any longer. His Dad was angry and hurt… it’s hard to accept getting older, having things ‘taken away’ from you that you’ve done your whole adult life and suddenly realizing you will have to rely on others to do it for you. Imagine driving yourself everywhere for 70 years (assuming she started driving around 15 yrs old) and now, suddenly she’s told someone else is going to bring her husband to his appointment…

She’ll come around (or if she has the beginnings of dementia maybe she won’t) but she’ll need time to get used to the ‘new normal’. Accepting will take time. My grandmother told me before she passed that it was hard to look in the mirror or see how her body was getting old and betraying her, because her mind was still sharp as ever and there was nothing she could do about ‘getting old’.

So although you and your husband are hurting at the anger towards you right now, hang in there! She will need time to accept her new normal… anger will be part of it.

Perhaps you could offer that your husband would accompany both she and her husband to the appointment? That way she could still feel she was helping and included, even though your husband will know why he’s there. :wink:

Hang in there! You’ll all work it out together in time…


Thank you everyone for your advice. My mother in law took my father in law to his afternoon appointment today. She did not know that they had this appointment. My husband told them they had it. Mom didn’t want my husband to take them to the appointment. So my husband let mom drive and take dad to the appointment. It was a big mistake. She called me twice and said she got lost. Then she said she didn’t understand the doctor and the doctor didn’t understand her. Then when she got home she was exhausted. My husband took her to the pharmacy to get the prescription which was sent to the wrong pharmacy. She didn’t even remember why she went to the pharmacy. After all that she still thinks she can drive dad to his next appointment this Thursday which is no where close to where we live. I forgave her and made supper for everyone. And didn’t say anything to upset her. My husband says they are old and give them time and they will come around.

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Your husband should not have let his mom drive, I hope that is obvious to him by now. It’s not right, and they are putting other people in danger.

I don’t know what your husband meant by “they’ll come around” but things are not going to magically happen.

Is he afraid to speak up to his parents? I hate to say this, but he needs to take charge of things and tell them the truth : they are no longer in charge of every aspect of their lives, and no, his mom can no longer drive. He needs to take the keys away and that’s that.


You are a soldier - bless you :slight_smile:. Irishmom and several others are right - the time has come for adults to take charge. I am reminded of my dear sibling who was in a similar situation to you - caring for elderly parents. Every family member - who was not around - had advice and criticism for the quality of their care. But sometimes hard decisions had to be taken with immediate effect. Looking back I would not have wished for better care for our parents. Rest assured you and your husband in caring for elderly parents are witness to the compassionate face of Christ to all around you.
God bless

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You should just stay strong. Yes they are upset but they must be worried about their memory loss and that must be hard to accept. Ultimately God is watching and he is no doubt smiling that you are taking such good care of the elderly. “Honor your Father and Mother.”

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What you describe is very concerning just about the safety and well being of your parent-in-laws but you too. These are suggestions to look into if you haven’t already done so if your husband has power of attorney over the health and well being of his parents.

Sometimes it’s indeed the dementia, which results from changes in the brain that affects a person’s memory, mood and behaviour.

In other instances, there may be changes happening in the person’s environment, their health or medication that trigger the behaviour. Perhaps everyday activities, such as taking a bath, is too difficult, or they’re feeling unwell from something unrelated to the dementia and this is expressed through unusual or odd behaviour.

People with dementia may become angry or agitated because they don’t understand what you’re saying or what you want them to do.

You can’t understand them – They might also feel frustrated because they can no longer make themselves understood.

Urgent General Practitioner review

Your mother-in-law requires a urgent psychiatric geriatrician referral after speaking to her General practitioner. She may require assessment \ memory problems, dementia, complex medical, medication and psychiatric problems related to older adults.


With regard to your mother-in-law who may have dementia, but continues to drive, attempt to discuss your concerns about their driving with them. It’s important to raise the issue early, while they’re still able to make decisions about their driving future, such as selling their vehicle. Sometimes people with dementia will recognise their own limits and accept that they’re putting themselves and others at risk. Give the person a chance to make the decision to stop driving.

They may be reluctant to stop driving, possibly because they can’t understand fully that they have had a loss of skills. The problem must not be ignored, even if they’re only traveling to the shops and back.

It’s often useful to involve the person’s health practitioner, who can assess their fitness to drive and, if necessary, take appropriate action if they don’t agree to stop driving. The health practitioner could be their usual doctor (GP), a registered nurse or nurse practitioner, or a specialist if appropriate.

A person with early signs of dementia may show the following decline in driving skills:

  • driving too slowly (this doesn’t mean that all slow drivers have dementia).
  • confusion when stopping and changing lanes.
  • becoming lost on a route which would not previously have confused them.
  • ignoring traffic lights and signs – confusing the colour or order of the lights or failing to notice traffic lights, Stop signs or Give Way signs.
  • not being able to make sound judgements about what’s happening on the road.
  • increased number of scratches, dint’s on car body.
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Does your mother-in-law have dementia?

With regard to you, as a caregiver of your in-laws you do need to care for yourself too. If your mother-in-law as developed dementia then always remember the behaviour is not a deliberate attempt to cause others to be upset.

You have done nothing wrong.

Anger and aggression are often directed against family members and carers because they are closest.

Often unusual behaviour actually makes sense to the person with dementia because they are reacting to being frightened, confused or feeling frustrated. They often simply need reassurance that they are safe, loved and cared for, even though the behaviour may not appear that way.

One way of coping with changed behaviours is to have a plan or strategy about how you might respond to the behaviour or situation. It’s easier to have a plan of action, than to try and think what to do when the behaviour happens.

Be creative and think about what you might do. Maybe ask someone else for any suggestions they might have. If you have several strategies, decide which one you are going to try first.After the situation has happened, review your strategy. Did it work? If it did, remember how you dealt with it – maybe even write it down. If it didn’t, be prepared to try another strategy should the behaviour happen again.

You may need outside agency supports to develop these strategies. Remember - you are doing a good job!

I hope this helps you and your husband in some way. Pax Christi

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You indicated in another post that they are willing to move to a nursing home, of their choosing, which you indicated that they can well afford, but your husband is resisting the idea because of the distance. Go re-read that other post; there are numerous indicators there that you are overwhelmed by caring for TWO people who are quite possibly in the early stages of dementia.

Furthermore, your husband, by bowing to his mother’s wishes, potentially put them and other drivers in danger. She could have taken a wrong turn or stopped suddenly if she panicked at not knowing where she was going and caused an accident. And if she (and I assume her husband?) don’t understand what the doctor is saying, how are they going to follow his orders?

Newsflash for your husband: They are NEVER going to come around. Not if they are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Those are diseases from which there is no recovery. There may be moments of lucidity, but they will become fewer and far between.

What it boils down to is this: YOU NEED HELP. You are alone. You have no one except anonymous strangers on the internet to talk to. YOU CAN’T DO THIS ALONE. You have your own family to raise. You said your inlaws can afford the nursing home of their choice. YOU ARE NOT FAILING THEM OR YOUR HUSBAND OR HIS FAMILY–OR YOURSELF–BY GETTING HELP, EVEN IF IT MEANS HAVING THEM GO INTO A NURSING HOME.

You want to do the right thing and you are probably worried what people will think if your inlaws go to a nursing home. You’re afraid that it will seem like you’re avoiding the responsibility of caring for them, that you’re breaking the commandment to honor your parents. There is no shame in admitting you need help. There is no shame in letting trained professionals care for them and their special needs. There is no shame in taking care of your own family (including young children) first. There is no shame in taking care of YOURSELF. When a plane loses cabin pressure, who are you supposed to put the mask on first? YOURSELF. Because you can’t help others unless you help yourself first.

One more thing: I mentioned in the last thread you started that it seems like your husband is using the excuse of having to take care of his parents’ house and your old house to avoid dealing with his parents. The fact that he caved in to his mother’s wishes, knowing full well that it was not a good idea, tells me he doesn’t want to deal with them, doesn’t want to anger them, doesn’t want to upset them, doesn’t want to be the “bad guy” for taking away the keys. He needs to step up to help YOU. If his siblings refuse to take any responsibility, if no one else is willing to step up, then he needs to make decisions that will benefit both his parents and his own wife and family. I said before, the houses will not collapse without his daily care, but I doubt the same goes for you.

Praying for you. I know what you’re dealing with. And I know this can’t go on much longer.


OP, please print this thread out and let your husband read it. He needs to hear what is being said. He might get mad, but it isn’t you saying it, it’s all of us.

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I will print this thread and show it to my husband but it’s no use. He doesn’t even know I am on Catholic forum if he found out I will be in big trouble. I suggested bring in a social worker and he said no. I told him he needs to take them to their primary doctor to be evaluated but he says no it’s dad’s heart doctor who should evaluate him and it’s the medication that’s making him act this way. He did take dad to his heart doctor and he didn’t talk about the import issues because I asked him if he talked to the doctor and he said no. Last night dad had is out burst again when I tried to give him his pill and said he wanted to get the hell out of here and was so mad at me. Then I called my husband because he was at the other house and still said give it time and things will work out. As for mom’s driving my husband wants to get a GPS for her so she won’t get lost when she is driving. It’s no use he won’t listen to me. I texted two of my brother in laws who live out of state and they are saying too things will work out. My sister in law who was upset about something called yesterday finally and sounded very upset. I had to explain things to her and email her too. She also said I am glad you are taking care of mom and dad and things will work out. She also lives out of state. The brother in law who lives not too far from us has to have his wife’s permission before he could come visit his parents or he would say he has a bad back and that prevents him from helping out. I researched online for caregiver support group near my area but there is none. So I have to bite my toung and put up with everything. I think I have to carry this cross because when my dad was on oxygen and was dying about 16 years ago I wasn’t there for him. I was living out of state working. Only 9 days before he passed away I got a job transfer and moved back. My dad the whole time he was sick and was on oxygen he never once complained and he always prayed. I often wonder why God took him away first. When I was a care giver for my mother last year and when she was dying I had a tough time too. My sister who lives out of state was mad at me and still is and won’t talk to me. I have aunts, uncle and cousins who live near me want nothing to do with me afer my mom died end of last year. As soon as my mom passed away people ditched me. So I have no one literally except my 2 boys. I am helping my son with his online schooling and he is on zoom meeting so I am able to write on this forum. If I go by my in laws right now I have a feeling I might be in trouble.

Well if you will “be in big trouble” don’t print it out.

From what you are telling us, your husband is a very big part of the problem and he is in denial about what is going on.

If it were me, I would offer to go do the work on the house and let your husband come and handle his parents.

How much work is he planning on doing over there anyway? Enough to keep from having to deal with his parents?

Please, you need to talk to someone. Make an appointment with your priest for advice on how to handle your husband.

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He has lots of work at the other house which I will not be able to to. They are a handy man’s job like putting on new doors and trims and fixing things around the house. Plus he has to go to work full time. Then I take my older kid to school while the other one rides along because he can’t be left alone with grandma and grandpa. Then when I go to pick up my older son from work my youngest son who does online schooling still has to ride along with me bringing the hot spot and doing online schooling in my car. I know this set up stinks but it’s the only way it seems for now. My husband did say he would work from home so my youngest son doesn’t have to ride along. But he hasn’t moved into the new house yet because of working on the old house and trying to sell it. He pretty much tells me the more I call him and disturb him the longer it’s going to take him to finish working on the other house so that he can sell it. So he would much rather not come over that much to the new house so he can keep working on the old house.

Has he always been such a poop head?

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Sounds like it’s time to give the DMV a call to get your MIL’s driving abilities reevaluated; you don’t want her to kill someone.

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