My husband doesn't want to care for my mom who's in a nursing home.

Started by

My husband does not like it that I have to care for my mom who's in a nursing home. He wants to travel and wants me to leave the care up to my sister. Part of the reason is because he sees me so emotionally damaged by going to the nursing home. I can't stand to go inside those doors. My last post was about how I had a meltdown and screamed at the staff. I haven't gone back inside yet. Tonite I called my mom and she was hysterical. Another bad day for her at the nursing home. This time a staff trying to put leg compressions on pointed her finger in my moms face and told her to be quiet. Mom my cried and I really can't stand that. The nursing home got the Dr orders wrong, they were not supposed to put them on her. They were supposed to wrap ace bandages loosley on her legs. Then they left them on from 10:00am to 6:30pm which was too long. This all happened because after my meltdown I didnt go with my sister to the Dr appt outside the nursing home. My sister takes her to a Heart Specialist and I always go too. This time I didn't go and so I didn't know what the Dr ordered. I've been caring for my Mom with my sister for 4 years. Now my husband wants to move out of the state and leave my mom in the nursing home and leave my sister with the burden. My sister has little emotion and goes along willingly with the staff. She also doesn't care if I move out of state, she never asks for me to help her. She just goes through the motions. I put flowers outside that decorate her room, kiss and hug her, talk to her like a friend, and yearn for us to live together ( which will never happen). It's heartbreaking. Do I leave the state withhusband or ask for a divorce? I'm ripped apart.


Your husband is tired of seeing the emotional damage going to the nursing home is doing to you. That's a normal response for a spouse who sees the other spouse suffering.

I think that on a previous thread that I recommend that you get therapy for your emotional meltdowns. Have you done that? I think now that you and your husband could benefit from some marriage counseling.

I think you must ask and answer yourself an important question "Who are you more emotionally connected with?

Is it your husband whom you have several years of marriage and with whom you took various marital vows.

Or are you more emotionally connected with your mother whom you say above that you yearn for you two to live together (which will never happen)?

You need to do some serious soul searching and have a very transparent conversation with your husband.

Unfortunately, the stress of caregiving often pinpoints a weakness in a couple's marriage like being more emotionally connected with one's parent than with one's spouse.

This site is a graveyard of such dead marriages. I've seen this cut both ways on this site.

There are wives who have discovered in caregiving that their husbands are more emotionally connected with their mother and with them as his wife. She's felt like the MIL is like an emotional mistress and in such a case is 'the other woman" because he is a mom enmeshed man.

There are husbands on this site who discover that their wife is more emotionally connected with her mother than with him as her husband. This is not a nice feeling either because your spouse's mom is so alive in their head that they can't be fully present or focused when not around mom and feels like they are married to more than one person.

The choice is yours. Only you can answer the question about who you are more emotionally connected with? Once you have your answer, then you'll have to chose what to do with your answer.

None of this is easy. I wish you the best in dealing with this mess.
Has it been a good marriage? Are you soul mates? Partners? Is he the most important person in your life? Would you like to remain married, or have you been looking for an excuse for a divorce?

Have you and hubby discussed this calmly? Have you considered compromises, for example to do a lot of travelling now but put off the move for a few years? It sounds like Mom can still talk on the phone. What if you move and you become the daughter who calls her each day, and the one who sends funny greeting cards, and postcards of interesting places? How far away is "out of state"? An hour away? Four hours? Twelve? Have you and hubby discussed a budget for periodic visits back to see Mom and Sis?

You have been going to Mom's nursing home for 4 years. Has hubby been OK with that? You absolutely hate going into the nursing home and have to force yourself to do it. And yet you think you need to micromanage the care Mom is getting. You have meltdowns when Mom cries or complains, and she has a disease where crying and complaining is common. Sigh.

Now you have a chance to take on a new role in your mother's care, perhaps one you are more suited for. And you are considering divorce rather than explore the possibilities.

Oh my gosh. What's wrong with this picture? In your post about your meltdown because your sister wanted to try a consistent schedule for your mother, several people suggested that seeing a counselor might be useful for you to help resolve some of this stress you have. Are you looking into that? Please take that suggestion very seriously before even thinking about a divorce or any other life-changing decisions.

I'm wishing all the best for you, your husband, your sister, and dear Mom.
if your husband cant sacrifice a little part of his life to stand beside an elder in their time of need and support you in your endeavors , he might be a selfish person . he might just be real uncomfortable with aging and decline . either way we all have to do things that are outside our comfort zone sometimes .
flipping out on the staff is something you have to fix for yourself tho . there are stressors in life that you have limited control over . i learned that the hard way . i got too matter of fact-ly with my aunts poa and the despicable cow got even by killing our fun little truck rides .
nh staff have more trouble out of family's than they have out of patients . they arent likely to hold a grudge towards you . its a very emotional time for all involved . i think hubby needs to learn about sacrifice , obligation , and compromise and you have to learn that not everything is within your control . your mom is likely a little bit demented -- most nh patients are , so you cant believe everything she tells you . shes scared and playing you for sympathy too . caregiving crams you thru so many emotional stages that you feel like a manic depressive stuck on rapid cycling .
lastly , the nh has turned over their entire staff if you havent been there for a couple of weeks so theres no one there who even remembers you . my aunts nh turns over staff so often its clear to me that most of the aids are there doing court ordered community service . its almost comical at times . employee of the month denotes someone whos worked there for over a month .
Nora, your profile states that your Mom has Alzheimer's/Dementia, thus whenever she is telephoning you is the hysteria real or is it dementia hysteria? There is a big difference. Someone with such memory issues could become hysterical over an Aide putting on a band-aid for a small cut.

Couple months ago I was a patient in the hospital and had to wear those automatic leg compressions while in bed, which are very important to keep one from having a blood clot. Seemed like I had mine one 24 hours a day. It does make you feel a bit trapped but since I didn't have Alzheimer's/Dementia, I understood of their importance. Could be your Mom didn't understand.
Its a tough call as Im not married, and everyone who has replied is actually correct. It can be a bit of everything. But logically, life isnt the way it used to be with huge families taking honest solid turns with the loved ones in need. Families are smaller as well, so are neighbors and help from friends. Some people can handle it no matter the situation. Some maybe able to handle for a short while. Your mom is only going to get worse, realize that even if your husband agreed to have her move in, he may not help because this is not what he can handle or what he wanted for you both. You will be 24hr/7 days a week with maybe some help from your sister and occasion others.

I agree about most NH, and you must really keep an eye open, but with her Alzheimer's/Dementia, it could be worse in her mind and its not actually that bad. Once you get her home, you may be dealing with her same issues after a bit. I know you love your mom, I didn't want my grandma in a NH after her stroke, she didn't have dementia and could get around with a walker but she died before I could get her out. But honestly, dealing with my grandpa I feel the NH/Hospitals have 8/12 hr shifts for a reason! Or hired care for in the home but my grandpa keeps firing! Care giving for anyone with any type of health issues is hard, worth it, and depends on the person.

captain makes a good point.. I say ask your hubby what he would do if it was his mom or other loved one. Its a tough decision your going to have to make.. work on yourself first if need be, and prepare yourself for either decision that will be made. Really research and go to support groups, spend even more times if possible with your mom, maybe even another person with dementia who still lives in their home and get a feel for it, then decide.
The first two posters have given you very good advice and, incidentally, both have or have and (one is a widow) solid marriages. Their priorities are right. Your husband has priority over your mother. To me, you are far too upset about your mother and the situation than it warrants, and you would benefit from therapy. I think you need to learn more about Alz/dementia. She has a disease of the brain which makes her behaviour far from normal and it is not healthy for you to respond to her like you are. It is not good for you and it is not good for her. She needs people who are calm and can cope around her. My mother has a mental illness and I have told her to be quiet too, because her emotions were out of control. It helped her.

I think your husband, at least to some extent, and perhaps totally, is being protective of you. You cannot manage every detail of your mother's care in the NH. Family can oversee care and bring important issues to the attention of the staff in a calm and cooperating spirit. This works best for your mother. At this point you have pretty well told us that you are not capable of handling things in this manner. Then you need to stay away until you are. You are making things worse for your mother and everyone by getting hysterical.

You yearn to live together with your mother and are contemplating divorce from your husband??? That shocks me. You need help.
I need to hear all of your words of wisdom, no matter how hard they are for me. I've asked for your help and you have given it me. I believe you want to help me......and you have. I have been "out of my mind" with worry, depression, sadness, and stress over my mom in this NH and withthe Alzheimer's/Dementia disease. I have not been rational and I'm unable to stay calm. I agree with everyone. This time as I read your comments I feel a sense of direction, for the first time in almost 4 years How do I say thank you to all of you? I will get the help I need from a counselor. It has been a very bad 4 years. I am no help to my mother. And my husband, while somewhat selfish about caring for my mom (or any mom), deserves a better wife to spend his retirement years with. Thank God for people like you. I am grateful that for some reason I'm finally listening.
We aren't saying to leave your husband. From what you said "He wants to travel and wants me to leave the care up to my sister. Part of the reason is because he sees me so emotionally damaged by going to the nursing home". You are very lucky to have a husband who wants to be with you and work on you two.

Trust me, we all make mistakes, I do- a lot of them, but, ask yourself this. Are you really wanting to give up your husband? If your mom does stay in the NH, you can still be active in her care. So she has been there the whole 4 years? You can still go visit her and be her daughter, you can do paperwork, but its all up to you. The others said it better then me, but you need to find yourself , and work on you, and your husband, mom etc. What level of care does your mom really need? High at this point right? I have over reacted at times, yes Im embarrassed but you go back in, let them know your very emotional right now, and keep going. I think I am better, for the most part. You have to figure out why your this way, find a way to work on it, as I have. Still a slow work in progress.

We all deal with things differently, some of us are over sensitive for various reasons, but day by day you have get strong. Hey this board told me how it is, again today! They are right. Im trying and have plans, in fact.. I have realized somethings that this board will be proud of me, and I haven't said anything yet.. as Im still fighting myself not wanting to really admit it!

The more you come here, the more you get help in person where you are at and talk with your hubby, take some time with him and see how it is or could be.

Good luck

Thanks Me1000, you've sorta summed it all up. It is good to know Im not the only person who has embarrassed themselves at the NH. My mom is bad. She needs a lot of care. She cries all the time and is in fear from the Alzheimer's. The disease is awful. I'm torn between traveling with my hubby and caring for my mom. He does not want to see me so stressed and going to the NH sends me over the moon. Going there has always made me feel bad but I was able to keep cool (mostly). Now I know I can't subject my mom, my calm sister, the staff, or my husband to my unstable, overly emotional self. I can't push myself anymore. I need help. For now I will seek professional help. I wish I had my mom back, the Alzheimer's has taken her away. She was a beautiful, funny, sweet, sweet person. It's just heartbreaking. When she cries a part of me dies. I have to get professional help. Thank you to every one of you. I will continue to visit this site. Maybe someday I can give back to someone else. I had no idea 4 years ago how difficult this would be for me. I thought I was strong. :-(
No, none of us are encouraging you to leave your husband! I am glad to hear that you are going to get professional help. First thing in Monday morning or when you get a chance, look up the therapists where you live and make an appointment. Take care and keep in touch.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support