I married a man 25 years older than me. I always knew I would care for him when he got older. But now we have become his parent’s caregiver and all I can think about is what I have to look forward too.

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Ten years ago I married a man 25 years older than me. I always knew I would care for him when he got older and that never bothered me. But now he has become the caregiver for his aging mother with parkinson's and beginnings of alzhiemers, which means that I am part of that care system too. His step-father never liked the fact that we were married and so for many years we were not in touch, I barely know his mom and she doesn't even realize that we've been together for 10 years. He has moved into her house an hour away from me, I visit on my days off from work.
I feel so selfish because all I can think of is me. I keep thinking that this is all I have to look forward to for the rest of my life. We will care for his mom until her passing and at some point later I'll have to care for him and probably my own mom and/or grandparents. I fear this is all I have left in life.


2young, I sometimes feel like you describe - I'm in my forties caring for my 85 yr old mother. It is an overwhelming feeling, but things would be worse if I were older and experiencing aging health myself. (trying to find a bright side, anyway!)
We're trying at home care right now, as of last week. It's too soon for me to try to offer much advice, except right now try not to think about things that may or may not be needed 5-10 years down the road. I feel pretty good if I can manage daily care, keep sitters scheduled, and some "down time" for two week periods at a time.
Are you new here to this forum? I am and it looks like it will be a good place to connect with people who understand.
1. Why isn't his step-father taking care of your husband's mother?

2. Did your husband even discuss this arrangement of leaving you to live with his mother?

3. Were there and are there other options to seeing that she is safe and cared for than the current situation?

4.. You are not selfish. Rather you are feeling like any normal spouse would feel..

5. How old are you?

6. How old is he?

7. I think it's time for you two to have a very serious discussion about all of this.
MMC, yes I am new to this forum and new to this situation(six months). I am just hoping this forum will be a good place to let off some steam and hear from others in the same predicament.

His step-father passed away six months ago which prompted the situation. He went over there when his step father was on his death bed and hasn't been able to come home. We have discussed my moving over there but as his mom is very settled in her ways, she is not very ameanable to moving. I struggle with the decision to move over there because my work is here and there isn't a comprable job over there which would mean my driving an hour back and forth to work. I continue to encourage him to look for other care options, but assisted living or nursing homes don't seem to be an option because she doesn't want to leave her house. She also is pretty picky about who comes into her house so home care is difficult as well, but it is something we are looking into. However, another situation that makes it hard is that the house is not very well cared for or maintained. It doesn't have a working kitchen, the heat & air is about to go out any day and it is just generally dirty and smelly. I have tried many different cleaning methods and tools to no avail.
I am 35, my husband is 60. His mom is 80 and although she has parkinsons and alzhiemers she is actually in pretty decent health. She takes care of her own personal needs, but is too scared be in the house alone. She wouldn't eat if he didn't put it front of her and she'd either forget to take her meds or take too many.
While I know that he and I need to have a big talk, there seem to be several big obstacles to that. First, when we are at his mom's house we have little to no privacy. She sleeps in the living room and even when you think she is sleeping, she will be listening to every word you say, even if we go in our bedroom to talk if she knows we are up, she will come in the bedroom to find out what we are in there talking about. Next, on the rare occasion that we get to go out for an evening or have a day to ourselves(there is one family friend who tries to come over once a week and give him a break) I really just want to let him have some down time and I really just want to enjoy the time with him and not start a difficult talk. Lastly, I know that he is emotionally overwhelmed by this situation and although I know we need to talk about it, I don't want to add to his already struggling emotional state.
It has been 6 months since this all started and I've sort of just been waiting for the dust to settle, but I'm starting to realize that it just may never settle.
Thank you both for your kind words and thoughts, I'm happy to have this outlet where I can find some peace of mind.
I'm glad you found this forum and my you do have a lot to vent about. Anyone would who is in your shoes.

Medically, your MIL sounds like someone a doctor would say to that it is not safe for her to live at home. Has a doctor tried to explain that to her?

From the description of her house, it sounds like someone from home health could come out to do an evaluation and they would probably see the need to explain to her that her house is not up to building code to even live in.

Now for some more questions.

Does he have Durable and Medical POA for his mother?

Has a doctor evaluated her competency to handle her business in a business like manner? If all the above are true, then he needs to find the guts to do the best thing for his mother, his marriage and himself by doing what is needed as her adult son. My goodness, a 60 year old man and his wife are more than entitled to some privacy. Who does she think she is, his first wife or something? Does the door not have a lock? If not buy one that does and install it.

If he does not have POA, then he may well have to go through the painful ordeal of guardianship because both her state of mind and her physical living conditions are neither healthy, safe nor reasonable to continue in.

Does he not work and has taken early retirement? If not, why can't he talk with you like during his lunch break on the phone?

Is your MIL as dirt poor as her living conditions sound like she is? If so, then medicaid would pay for going to a nursing home most likely.

My armchair response about your husband, and I'm not a therapist, is that it sounds like your husband's knee jerk reaction was basically him reverting emotionally to being his mother's little boy and if he has never been married before you two got married that just might be what is going on with him.

Nope, the dust is not going to settle nor is the F.O.G.(fear, obligation and guilt) that it sounds like he is in going to get any less thick. He is your husband and you are his wife. That should come first before his mother which it sounds like she is paranoid, controlling, and to a very large degree narcissistic like she wants him all to herself and you out of sight.

Again, I'm not a therapist, but it sounds like his emotional state would be greatly helped if he got some therapy.

I gather that he is an only child. Wow do I know what that is like! :( How long was she a single parent before getting married to the step-dad?

BTW, there is a recent thread started by a 60 old wife who is finding it mighty tough to care for her 85 year old husband. That sounds possibly like you in 25 years and that is sad.

I don't think it is reasonable to leave your job or your house given the whole circumstance that you have shared, but my do you have your hands full and wow is the energy level difference between a 35 year woman and a 60 year old man.
You need to have that talk and sooner that later as Crowe who is a very bright and understanding man you two are married not he and his Mom and the outcome will tell much about what the marriage means to him-my mother in law always came first even when I was in labor and he knew he stoped at her house to visit that day and it never got better he has some hard questions to answer do not give up ypur job or home she probably needs a nursing home and he can still be a part of her life-you may have to just tell him what a deal breaker this is for you-if I had been tougher years ago I would be much happier now,
If I am correct, his mother has ALZHEIMER's and Parkinson's disease. Did I read that correctly? Keeping this in mind ALL bets are off!

Crow: I have to say after dealing with a mother with Alzheimer's, his mother's "thinking" is not the same as that of a normal aging controlling parent. She has a disease that robs her of normal behaviors! She may not even REALIZE that her son is her SON and the thought of him being with 'another woman' may be why she interrupts them in her home, or why this 'other woman' is even in her home at all! I mean no disrespect, but please take a look at the facts. She needs help and should be able to rely on her son for help! Even if it is for him to have her put in a facilty, if he has the legal right to do so.

2young4this: this is a very unfortunate situation, but this is what has been dealt and if you are not prepared for what is going to happen, then you and your husband need to talk, or separate. And it sounds like you are 'separated' right now. So talk to him about finding a facility that WILL take his mother in, be prepared for the backlash when she 'resists' and then perhaps she will be in a better situation and you and your husband can go on with your lives. Even if she is IN a facility his involvement will still be quite a bit, if infact she is the only family he has. If he is not the only family, then it is time for the 'talk' with the rest of the people.

My heart goes out to all of you still on this journey, it isn't easy and it isn't for the faint of heart. It does however show just how much people are willing to do, and for whom.
If the mom thinking is so far gone that she thinks her son is her husband and that his wife is 'another woman', then this is very problematic regardless of what is is coming from. The mon obviously needs help. I hope the son has the legal authority and guts to deal with it. Either way, something for her care has got to change because that setting in the house sounds unlivable. If he has to go to court for guardianship, this is going to cause even more pain. Yes, it is what it is, but it does not have to be what it might be, but the likely hood of that is beyond anyone's predictability. He's already abandoned his wife for 6 months which to me does not sound good. My mom has dementia but she is able at time to try to control me with her F.O.G ability like she once did. I've spent years in therapy getting my freedom and many other people would be helped greatly and their marriages saved if they would get free also instead of going into auto-pilot as mommy's little girl or mommy's little boy which people who have been programed that way do with blinders on, only to see the devastation left behind later.
I agree with MiaMadre and Crowemagnum, I have had my mom for a year and she has Alzheimers and a heart condition, they are not in their right mind. I didn't want to believe it at first, I wanted her to still be mom,she is not. She is not able to think rationally and it is not going to ever get easier, every choice your husband makes is going to get harder. I am in the process of having to get guardianship of my mother, that process is horrible you have to file that they are incompetent and the sheirff serves them papers, but again; they are incompetent.

My doctor suggested I get into therapy because the stress of a mother who was always been a bit controlling and a new marriage is overwhelming. Trying to find that balance of keeping my husband from flipping out, and her happy means I disappear, which is probably what is happening to your husband. He HAS to get some outside help to understand what is happening to his mother. I went to the local Daycare center for Alzheimers and talked to the director she made me realize that I am dealing with a child, but inside I am still her daughter which makes things very emotional and dysfunctional if you let them lead the situation. He has to take charge, and she can't live in an envioroment that is not clean. My mothers income is limited and my husband and I have been going out of pocket for her meds at $600 a month, I just got Medicare to help with some of that, and will be going to Medicaid next week to check into Assited living for Alzheimers. Mom is still physically active can go to work out class for seniors twice a week, goes to senior lunches three times a week, she doesn't realize that she asks the same questions 20x in a minute, she is forgetting words, people...

I have help come in 5 days a week, 3 hrs a day, its not enough to maintain a career or a marriage...so get your husband the info from senior or aging centers in your town so that he can be educated on what he is dealing with. Its not Mom anymore, she looks like her, sounds like her but this person is an imposter....

Wow, a new marriage at 50 and serving incompetency papers on your mother for guardianship plus dealing with all the past family of origin bit could possibly crush you like a sledge hammer. I hope you are in therapy and that you all can get out of having to "pay out of pocket." You may have to learn to parent your inner child. I sure hope your mother's controlling ways did not mess up your social life in the past. I know my mother's surely did.
He is working on the POA. She doesn't have a problem giving it to him but they have deemed her unable to consent so he's going to have to go through the courts anyways.
His mom does get confused at times and often refers to him as her brother, but she knows my place in the family even if she doesn't always remember my name or how long we've been together. It's particularly difficult because at times she has full knowledge of what is going on, but then merely ten mins later she can not know what time of day it is.
I appreciate everyone's advice and suggestions.
We will defintely be talking soon, I just have to ready myself for it. But I am happy to know now that I have some people to share my thoughts with and get help, advice and support from. Thanks.

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