Making the leap to involving other family members.

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Hi all...MIL has been under my care for 3 + yrs now. First in our home for a year after surgery with many complications, then in senior apt around the corner. She is progressively worsening in her mobility due to awful arthritis with few treatment options left. She sits in her recliner much of the day and eats junk food. She does go to the community room for lunch during the week, and the hairdresser, and bingo. Also she is fully incontinent of urine and much of the time, also of bowel. Doesn't seem to realize the extent sometimes of the soiled clothes etc. We do have someone in 3x wk for showers (though if there is a substitute or time change she'll often cancel) and once a week for homemaking. I have cleaned her and her apt up countless times (bowel accidents), done all her errands, taken her out, done laundry, etc etc. She is also getting more difficult to keep on topic. This week I decided it's really time for her 3 kids to communicate and insist that she either hire more help or look at assisted living. She has the money to do either. I think hearing it from them is important, especially them encouraging her to use her money on her care rather than trying to save it for them in the future etc. So, started this today by explaining to my husband that I am "off duty" for the next month except for social visits with her. My sister in law was visiting for a few hours today and when I asked she did throw in a load of her mom's clothes- which are always pretty strong with the incontinence -and I'm sure this was a bit of an awakening. My husband was already trying to get me over there to finish the load of laundry rather than him going! Pretty much whenever I have gently brought up the need for more care her 3 kids agree etc then change the subject and that's the end of it. One lives on the opposite coast and one about 2 hrs away. My husband has taken her to 1 or 2 appts and to the store a couple times since she has been in the apt over the past 2 yrs. I am learning that people are very content to let you do everything for their parent! and though in ways, she doesn't need near as much as many people do, and is a very grateful lady, I am tired of being the one to be called over whenever things happen, especially after a full day of work. I still have one child at home also, 15 yo girl. I definitely feel good about giving her the care I have, but I am ready to turn the job over. She is otherwise healthy and it could be a long time. Not sure if I really believe that we should have to put our lives on hold to care for our aging sort of bums me out that we may never really have our golden time as a couple by the time we've raised our kids then cared for our parents!
Thanks for letting me vent!
lauras, you go, girl. There is no reason all this should fall on you. It is probably because you are a wonderful person. But wonderful people can be taken advantage of. It sounds to me that the in-laws and hubby need their chance to be wonderful, too. They will probably be happy to get more help or consider assisted living after they see what you've been going through for 3 years. If your MIL were poor, it would be one thing, but if she has the money there is no reason not to use it for her care. I hope you can stick to your guns if someone starts complaining. Be tough!
Thank you for the encouragement JessieBelle! I feel so wimpy right now as I work as a home care Physical therapist and see people who do so much more in caregiving than I do. We have really exhausted everything to deal with incontinence etc even up to a spinal cord stimulator and at this point she doesn't have the ability to modify her behavior to do any more. My daughter is going to a public charter school about 30 miles each way, and the days are just fuller now. I need to be able to make her and my husband a priority more.
If she is consistently incontinent, doesn't she need to be in a NH? I thought that AL's don't usually provide that level of service.

My sainted mother told me that incontinence is the trigger for putting someone into a home, and that sounds right to me. Not an occasional accident, maybe, but your MIL sounds like the burden is way too much for your uninvolved in-laws. Good luck, and hold firm!
She could probably still manage pretty well with assisted living. She does wear depends with pad inside 24/7 though still has problems leaking. I ended up there today to check her leg which ended up being very swollen (it's always swollen, but a lot more now) and painful. She had bumped it last week. So tomorrow dr. appt for sure, I really would prefer ER to r/o DVT vs cellulitis vs something benign but she wants to wait till morning. It never ends!
I understand the frustration at others watching you do all the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively), while they think the occasional effort they make is enough. It's so unfair, and I deal with it myself. The fact that she has money does give you some good options. I would suggest seeing what sort of in-home visits you can schedule for her so that someone who is qualified can deal with the laundry, helping her keep clean, and other things.

I hope you know it's ok to lay down the law with your husband and tell him that you cannot keep doing this. You work, you have a child, and a home to run. All the same things he has, right? So why is it YOU doing all this for HIS mom? Your taking a month off is great, and I hope you enjoy the difference in the demands on your time. Setting boundaries whenever possible is so important. What will happen after the month is up? Is there a plan in place?
Not working out too well so far - MIL mentioned painful leg yesterday so I went to look at it (being that I am the one who has more medical background) and was concerned for cellulitis, possible DVT. Was able to get appt today and took her to MD and radiology, thankfully no DVT, but wt is up 10#, fluid. Husband did make the trek to pick up dtr from school, but when it was time for setting up appt etc he just reminded me he had to work and couldn't be sure of getting out at a certain time. I had to upend my day quite a bit. He doesn't get paid if he doesn't work, though so that wasn't a good option either. He asked if she could get a ride somehow but he forgets that she can't communicate info to/from MD appts without someone to guide her.

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