Asking my husband for help with his mother.

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I asked my husband for help with his mom (I have been taking care of for 2 months) and he told me anytime I am "done" we can put her in a nursing home. That puts alot of pressure on me. I feel like if I cant do it alone, its my call to put his mother in a home..How do I ask for help, or even a break without having to "give up"


Macismom, whose idea was it to move your mother-in-law into your house? Was it your idea and NOT your husbands? The fact that you say he's ready to put her in a 'home' indicates to me that maybe he never wanted her to live with you two, but that you were trying to be nice and wanted to help. True, or am I off base.
We both decided that she should move in with us. I quit my job to stay home with her. My "job" was to be fixing her 3 meals a day and make sure she takes her meds (which are only a few) She basically quit eating and was losing weight fast..Since she has moved in she requires ALOT more attention than we both anticipated. I dont get weekends or holidays off, and he still does the things he wants to do on his days off. When I say something about him staying home with her he says "you can leave the house and go anywhere you want", but when I do leave, after an hour or two she is calling me wanting me to come home because she is sick, cold, dizzy, etc...On the weekends, I leave my husbands number out by the phone and not mine..she never calls him.
So you've both decided this was a bad idea, so what's the plan now? Was there ever a Plan B? Have you ever checked into Adult Foster Care? In my opinion if a person doesn't need a nursing home YET and they still want a more homey environment, that Adult Foster Care is the way to go. Sounds like your husband has taught his mother that whining to him about stuff doesn't work, so maybe you need to take a few lessons from him. She won't turn on the water works in front of him because it does NO good, so she turns it towards you instead where she knows you'll jump when she tells you to. Maybe it's time you sat with you husband and asked him how he does it. Could be he can give you advice on how to 'handle' his mother that he can pass on to you. And when you leave for the day, tell her to either call her son or 911 if she has an emergency because your phone will be off.
Sounds like you both decided to give it a try to have MIL live with you. It wasn't what you expected. It isn't working out. So now you need to make a change. It is possible that with firmer setting of boundaries and an adjustment in expectations, you could still make this work.

If you try some changes and it still isn't a satisfactory arrangement for you, or you decide it isn't worth the effort of making changes, then the obvious next step is to find MIL somewhere else to live.

But I am a little confused. If MIL is in need of care to the extent that she qualifies for a skilled nursing home, then how can either of you think you can leave her alone for hours at a time? Either your husband is right and you are being over protective, in which case I can't see her qualified for a nursing home, or your unwillingness to leave her unattended for long periods is a good instinct and if the two of you can't handle that then a nursing home is appropriate.

Are you considering alternatives such as assisted living or the foster care arrangement Nancy suggests?

Perhaps it would be good to have an objective assessment of the level of care MIL really requires and for you and your husband to get on the same page about that.
My MIL was in a nursing home for rehab to help build up her weight and stregnth, but they said that she did not qualify to stay there-she was in too good of shape. From there she was in assisted living. She is on a special diet and they did not cater to special diets. She was also terrified to stay there (a man walked in on her in the restroom, when she reported it they told her "it happens sometimes") she cried and begged us not to leave her there every time we went to visit-which was daily. My husband is an only child, so it is up to him and I to care for her. She can bathe her self, go to the bathroom alone, etc..she just doesnt like to be alone, and the less attention she gets-the sicker she gets. My husband is her legal gaurdian, and she is "afraid" of him. She begs me not to "tell on her" when he gets home because she doesnt want to get fussed at-which tells me that she knows what she is doing. She will only eat if someone prepares the meal and sits it in front of her, and if it's food that she is able to eat. I dont know if she would even qualify to be in a nursing home now, because she is self-sufficient-to a point. I might add, when she was in rehab, she ate well, did her exercises and everything they told her to do...with me its a struggle.
The "help" I have referred to is with her meals on the weekend, etc..I need a break from the constant complaining and bitterness. She has told me that she wouldnt complain if she wasnt so unhappy, and that she uses me as her "sounding board"..she complains about the food I give her, the meds, etc..constantly saying "that food made me sick", or "that medicine you gave me made me sick", "why do you keep my bedroom so cold", "You're mean to me", etc.......
Just a suggestion on the food. Ask her to work with you on the food, what type of food would make her happy. We had to do this with my mom and believe me it was not easy as she may have been in her upper 90's but she had her taste buds.
She talked the NH into buying her tabasco sauce and chili peppers. She ate them!
We also started taking her shopping to buy food which make her happy to be able to pick out things that she wanted. Even though her last few years were in a NH she was still able to have some of her own food with her and they would prepare some of it for her. She liked chinese food so everyone would cater to it until she was tired of it and moved on to something else. When she lived with me one of the biggest problems was that I do not cook grease food, she wanted eggs cooked in bacon grease like my SIL did. Not happening! So believe me I do understand the complaining. Other issue was the salt. I gave it to her as I figured you know she has eaten it all these years and if a little salt was going to kill her she would go happy. Food will more than likkely always be a battle but I do wish you luck. I work for a NH and food seems to be what they think is one of the last things they can control. My moms statement was if you take my food away that I like you might as well shoot me. Boy I miss my mom..
I have taken her to the store and let her pick things out, the next day she decided she didnt want it or "forgot" she doesnt like it. She cant have anything greasy, or spicy. She was liking mac-n-cheese for a few days until it made her "sick" because it was greasy..what it boils down to is she isnt happy with anything. She is very contrary and I can handle it-most of the time. My husband seems to think that when I say 'I need a break", that means i am throwing in the towel-which is not the case-I simply need a break. My MIL has a couple of family members that call to check on us to see how we are doing, and they ask if there is anything they can do to help,when I say "You can take her with you for a day or two" the response I get is 'Anything but that. my nerves cant handle it". My MIL says she doesnt want to make her son mad, so she doesnt complain to him. I tell her she should worry about not making ME mad, because I am the one that is here...she doesnt get it, or she just doesnt care. I know I need to learn to pick my battles and not take all the criticism personally, but I can only tune it out for so long.
So many times we just get overwhelmed. You stated that you quit your job to stay home to care for her, With that said, It could be that you are missing a little adult conversation that does not contain whinning. Believe me it is hard. What about taking her to the senior center for just a couple of hours to play Bingo or ? I know that here at the NH BINGO is the most loved thing. We would have a up rising if we tried not to have this. We have a flu outbreak and the (residents) played in their rooms as the dinning room was closed.Most areas have this is not everyday sometimes once or twice a week. Remember you
must take care of yourself too. You will do no one anygood if you get sick.
I would first suggest a visit to her doctor for an evaluation. From there he might send out a Home Health Care Provider if doctor doesn't feel she qualifies for nursing home or assisted living facility. HHCP will do an evaluation as to what her needs are and what options are available down the road. A little counselling might not hurt you and your husband, as well.

You might even consider hiring a companion for 5 or so hours a few times a week, if not daily. HHCP will have provider names you can contact.

Is she really afraid of your husband? This just sounds like a toxic situation for everyone involved. Not a healthy way to live for any of you!

Good luck!

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