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Old 12-19-2015, 02:24 PM
 
135 posts, read 196,239 times
Reputation: 146

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My elderly great aunt and uncle live with their son and his wife. Over the past year, my aunt has required several major surgeries. The first one was to correct some type of bone deformity. The following two surgeries were because she fell and broke bones related to the first surgery. She fell under her DIL's care.

To make a long story short, I have good reason to believe that her DIL has Munchausen syndrome by proxy. I could be wrong, but something is definitely going on. I've noticed it after my aunt comes home from the hospital. It could just be that the DIL isn't cut out to be a caregiver, especially since she's a very lazy person to begin with. But either way, I've seen and heard enough to be very concerned.

It's strange because the only times my aunt hasn't had a lot of medical stuff going on is when she didn't live with her DIL. They've lived together several times on and off over the last 10 years. There does seem to be a pattern of my aunt having more healthcare issues, especially surgeries when she lives with her DIL. And everytime my aunt has something going on that requires special care, her DIL goes on an attention seeking binge. Everything is always about her.

Should I say something to someone (one of my aunt's two children)? Or should I try to gather more concrete evidence before speaking up? I don't want to put myself in the middle of something, especially if I'm wrong, but I don't want my aunt suffering or getting hurt either.

Right now, my aunt's in the hospital (surgery) and her DIL has already been saying some suspicious things that don't add up.
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,575 posts, read 14,187,164 times
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Run your suspicions by an objective person who is not involved in this. Make your case; answer questions about this. If, after verbalizing this, you feel you are correct in your suspicions, do talk to the adult children of this aunt. But, is there a reason why they haven't noticed this correlation? And, if changing things would be very hard, don't be surprised if there is resistance to your suspicion. The fact that you characterize the current caregiver as lazy tends to make you look biased.

There is no way for us to know what the right of this is. I do think that if your Aunt is being harmed, you should speak up. But why haven't her children noticed anything?
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:32 PM
 
135 posts, read 196,239 times
Reputation: 146
Thanks for the advice silibran. You made several excellent points.

The one son who lives with her works long hours and isn't home much. He doesn't interact much with his mother. He gets all his information from his wife. If I am correct about her, then she can spin things anyway she likes to manipulate him. I have the benefit of hearing and seeing both sides, he doesn't.

The other son lives in another state. He doesn't get to see what I see. He may have suspicions, I'm not sure. In fact, no one in the family spends as much time over there as I do. .


Here's a little bit more detailed information that's relevant to the current situation:

My aunt has a tendency to take too many prescription pills, which has led to her losing her balance and falling. The DIL confiscated them for a month or two after the last surgery. Last time, I'm nearly certain she was taking my aunt's prescription pain pills, anti-anxiety pills, and/or sleeping pills. I know my aunt lets her have a few pills on occasion, but I think the DIL was taking WAY more than a few pills. There seemed to be a lot of pills missing. My aunt thinks her DIL refilled one of her prescriptions and then took half of the pills in the bottle. I'm inclined to believe my aunt about that. She openly admits to taking a lot of prescription pills, there's no reason for her to lie about that refill.

This time, DIL is claiming she found a huge stash of my aunt's pills, which is probably true. So if my aunt was abusing her pills as the DIL claims, then why would there be such a huge stash left? The DIL is the one who always picks up the prescriptions from the pharmacy because my aunt can't drive. It sounds like the DIL is trying to get her hands on the pills for her own personal needs. Either that or she's blowing things out of proportion. Why does she wait until my aunt is in the hospital to look for pills if she thinks there is such a huge problem?

Then there's the problem of the two of them having contradicting stories about things that happen at the house regarding my aunt's care. The DIL always makes my aunt look like she's the one at fault or even crazy. But after hearing both sides of the story and seeing things with my own eyes, it's almost always the DIL's story that's inaccurate, which makes it look like she's lying. My aunt is usually in the wrong, but her story almost always seems to be true. I'm not sure if the DIL has some memory problem, if her dyslexia is making her confused, or if she's a huge liar just looking for attention.

Then there's the problem of the DIL failing to taking proper care of my aunt. I've been there visiting when she says she'll be right back with the medication and then 30 minutes later she still hasn't come back. When I go to look for her, she's doing one of three things: talking on the phone, sleeping, or has gone somewhere without telling anyone. She seems to do this quite often. This has led more to my aunt falling then all the medication she takes. She needs someone to help her walk even with using a walker, the DIL doesn't do this. She can't be bothered. Then when my aunt falls, the DIL makes it all about her and how busy she is. Yeah, busy sleeping during the day. She works may be 2 hrs every other day, if even that much.

My aunt has indicated to me that she's worried about her future. She doesn't trust her DIL to take care of her when she gets older and requires more constant care. She told me she would like to come live with me, but she also knows that I don't have the room for her.

I know some of what I just posted doesn't exactly correspond toMunchausen's, but I'm more concerned about what's going on right now. I feel these issues need to be dealt with first since these relate to my aunt's care when she comes home from the hospital.
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Old 12-19-2015, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,708 posts, read 4,122,391 times
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You might be right about the pills, but no doctor operates on a person without a justified reason. A doctor will NOT just listen to the DIL that her MIL needs to have surgery.

If you can contact the doctors who prescribe the pills, find out what and how many pills they are prescribing and which pharmacies are filling the orders. If two and two don't add up, then "something stinks in Denmark". If there is something going on with drug abuse, report it immediately.
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Old 12-19-2015, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Canada
3,873 posts, read 2,705,846 times
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Can your aunt afford some home care or even visits with a physiotherapist to try to help her with her walking problem? The DIL had said she is too busy so she hasn't a reason to object.

As far as pharmacies go, don't they offer a delivery service?
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Old 12-19-2015, 05:31 PM
 
Location: california
920 posts, read 645,003 times
Reputation: 1065
Quote:
Originally Posted by mej1 View Post
My elderly great aunt and uncle live with their son and his wife. Over the past year, my aunt has required several major surgeries. The first one was to correct some type of bone deformity. The following two surgeries were because she fell and broke bones related to the first surgery. She fell under her DIL's care.

To make a long story short, I have good reason to believe that her DIL has Munchausen syndrome by proxy. I could be wrong, but something is definitely going on. I've noticed it after my aunt comes home from the hospital. It could just be that the DIL isn't cut out to be a caregiver, especially since she's a very lazy person to begin with. But either way, I've seen and heard enough to be very concerned.

It's strange because the only times my aunt hasn't had a lot of medical stuff going on is when she didn't live with her DIL. They've lived together several times on and off over the last 10 years. There does seem to be a pattern of my aunt having more healthcare issues, especially surgeries when she lives with her DIL. And everytime my aunt has something going on that requires special care, her DIL goes on an attention seeking binge. Everything is always about her.

Should I say something to someone (one of my aunt's two children)? Or should I try to gather more concrete evidence before speaking up? I don't want to put myself in the middle of something, especially if I'm wrong, but I don't want my aunt suffering or getting hurt either.

Right now, my aunt's in the hospital (surgery) and her DIL has already been saying some suspicious things that don't add up.
I would make a report with the adult protective services.

I did so but it was too late. I called twice within the two days but she had already died. They showed up at the hospital in a huff verbally attacking my BIL (who paid a caregiver to stay with them when I was kicked out). The problem is it is almost impossible to prove unless you have a camera installed in their home.
I was just about to do that when I made the report but she passed away within 48 hours. Now he's broken his hip and shoulder and I loose no sleep over it. Beings they were both 90 years old (and she was already in hospital for starving her, she was in wheelchair) it is unlikely a conviction or possibly even an investigation will occur. But you will live within knowing you did the right thing, even if not proven.
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,886 posts, read 17,196,676 times
Reputation: 40782
If you truly think that there is problem contact adult protective services or tell her doctor. While the doctor can not tell you information about the medical issues of others you can tell them. Since she is in the hospital right now it is the perfect time to let the doctors know about your concerns.


So, if therapists or others start to come to the home, after the surgery, they could be on alert watching for irregularities or problems with your aunt's care.

I suggest putting the most important things in writing so that you do not forgot anything.


There was a mother in our school who had Munchausen by proxy. It was suspected by teachers and staff for years but it probably took doctors five years to actual make the diagnosis and remove the child from the home. In her case, it probably took so long because the mother keep moving to new cities and going to new doctors and no one either had all of the information or took the time to "add everything up". Luckily the daughter did not end up seriously hurt.
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:12 PM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,135 posts, read 21,823,696 times
Reputation: 23216
Is there a way to install a camera to see what is going on? Or maybe a listening device?
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Old 12-19-2015, 09:15 PM
 
Location: california
920 posts, read 645,003 times
Reputation: 1065
Wow I must be tired. I cannot even comprehend my own post in this thread. Either way, I'd install a camera in their home if you can. Then use that as proof if you suspect something. Also report her to Adult protective services.

I'll pray for you and your family. So sorry you are going thru this
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Old 12-20-2015, 12:59 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,140 posts, read 20,313,684 times
Reputation: 26377
Looking at the situation from an outsider's point of view, it sounds like the DIL steps up to care for your aunt whenever she has to have surgery and needs care afterwards. It sounds like DIL is tired and overwhelmed by being your aunt's caregiver. She's glad to have a little break when you visit, the only time she probably gets to herself, and that's why you find her sleeping or talking on the phone.

If your aunt can't walk at all without someone helping her use the walker, then DIL is putting in many more than two hours a day caring for your aunt. The attention-seeking behavior after your aunt falls is probably really defensive behavior instead...she's upset that your aunt fell down again and she's afraid that you will blame her for it.

My suggestion would be to hire some help to come in a few times a week and give the DIL a break. Or if it's not financially feasible, then maybe you could offer to sit with her a couple of hours, a few days a week, so that the DIL can have some time to herself.

And the pill thing...is your aunt developing dementia, even a very early stage? They accuse their caregivers of stealing, I think almost all of them do it at some point. They also can't remember when they took their pills or will say they haven't gotten a pill all day when they have already taken their meds. My dad had both of those behaviors...he would accuse me of stealing when I'd take his hamper of dirty clothes out so I could wash them, and he'd go around telling people he hadn't had any food or medicine all day. My mom used to believe him, and I had to document everything I fed him while I was taking care of him, and make little videos of him taking his pills, so she'd believe he had gotten them. It was pretty insulting but she was in denial about the dementia, so she believed him.

The pharmacy most likely can't tell you what medications were prescribed or how often they've been filled because of privacy concerns.
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