How do I manage my in-laws' dementia?

Every so often, someone asks a question about a specific situation, and some advice I give strikes a chord. I record those here, just in case you’re going through something similar.


My mother handles the books for the family business, but dementia or Alzheimer’s has resulted in a lot of mistakes. It’s time for someone else to take over. How do we have this conversation be productive (if that’s even possible)? What steps should we take or tools can we use to facilitate this?

How kind you and your husband are.

You will both need a lot of patience.

Memory loss is like reverting to childhood. You’ll need to treat her like a child: very kindly, very patiently.

You don’t say anything. You just start doing the books. Your husband does all the talking.

He doesn’t make it about the memory loss. He makes it about the business.

He tells your FIL that it’s the appropriate time for the kids to take things over to keep things running smoothly. He explains that it breaks his heart to see them both working through an illness, and that he needs them to spend their time taking care of their bodies because your FIL is about to take on the full time job of taking care of his wife.

They need to enjoy each other and do fun things during their remaining time together.

(Lions mane is a supplement you can consider to help with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It slows the effect.)

You’re going to have to give both of them another job. Something it’ll be easy to keep track of, but so she still feels useful. Everyone needs a purpose.

Morgan Balavageself care, advice