Caring for mum in law with dementia

Hi there. I am new to the forum. My 96 years old mother in law moved in with my husband and I 4 years ago as she was struggling to live independently. The transition went smoother than we thought. She was diagnosed with Dementia about 3 years ago and has probably had it for the past 6 years when I look back.
I am her main carer but have a care package in place morning and evening which makes a huge difference. I also have the support of a befriender who brings a lot of fun and sunshine into my mum in laws life when she comes.
Weve also got day centre 2 days a week. I don’t think I could sustain it if I didn’t have these supports in place. Since lockdown though all this has stopped ( the carers stopped coming in initially because my mum in law had a chest infection and we both told to self isolate ) I just decided after that to continue this…so the past 7 weeks have looked very different. In some ways I have got to know her much better and there is a slow rolling pace each day. I miss the fact there is no respite but take one day at a time and pray for fresh strength and endurance each day! .
A book that really helped me in the way we engage with her was " Contented Dementia" Oliver James. I actually went on their family and friends course as I loved the book so much. It seemed to remove some of the frustrations we used to get into with her and we now try and live in her reality whatever that is! It can vary…
I find afternoons challenging and long sometimes and have to try and come up with different ideas to keep her occupied . She has macular disease and is registered blind , so talking together, reading out loud to her and going for small walks near the house help. Its good to have found a forum of people in similar circumstances or just an understanding of the world we share.

Well done you for coping with what sounds like a really difficult situation. I too am a massive fan of Contented Dementia which I use as my bible for coping with my husband who has vascular dementia. Hang in there, I know it’s tough and lonely, we’ve lost all our support too so it’s down to us - I try and look at it from the point of view that they, bless them, can’t change so we have to because we can. Not easy though … keep smiling [when you can!].

Hello Anne, welcome to the forum

It must be a shock to lose your support network and suddenly find yourself in a very different caring situation! I’m sure many on here can relate to that and will offer tips and support.

I don’t know if you read the Welcome to the Forum section but we’re running a series of online chats if you’d like to join us, information is here:

Best wishes


Hi sally and Jane
Thanks for your replies… I just spotted them today , am learning my way around the forum slowly!
Glad Sally you find the book so vitally helpful too with your husband. Sounds like you have a healthy approach on the fact they can’t change but we can. Looking at ways in lockdown particularly how to look after me so my mum in law doesn’t get my dregs ! More challenging!

Jane thanks for link to online chats … I managed to join a few and they were helpful, really enjoyed the Creative Writing one…good to express how you feel on paper x