Caring for my mother-in-law - on my last thread of sanity.

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I am a stay at home dad/ retired husband. We have been taking care of my mother in law for 8-9 years. She is 94 and not doing well. My wife works and is the sole provider at this point, we were both engineers but it was in our best interest for her to work and me to take care of things. Anyway, I can't handle this anymore, she can't take care of herself anymore and yet my wife seems to ignore the issue. She's a great woman don't get me wrong, but she just isn't here. If her mother. Can get to the dinner then everyone is fine. The problem is things get bad like today, she doesn't know who I am, doesn't take her meds can't find her clothes and can't get dressed properly, I can't do this stuff. I call my wife and she starts with well I cleaned her clothes last night and I'm like great well your not here to dress her. My wife has her job to me that would be like a lifeline. my only lifeline is her and my son and I'm afraid of losing both. the other siblings do next to nothing. This is my fault because after her husband died I didn't want her to stay in a home so I built and addition and moved her in with us. My wife said I could say no then. apparently I can't say no now. I'm afraid this may break us, it's already done a great deal of damage to me. End of my rope. I am 54 and feel like I'm 70, I have arthritis in my knees/hands and pain management for my back. I still cook, clean, take care of the yard etc. but I just can't take it anymore.


Print out your post, give it to your wife, and force the issue. She may have to decide between you and her Mom. Spouses should come first. You took no vows that said you will care for her AND her mother for as long as you shall live. It's usually the wife that gets stuck with the inlaws. This is a switch, but it's not a gender issue, it's an issue of fairness and equality.
Hire an aide to dress mom in the AM. It's cheaper than a nursing home and it gives her someone to talk to. It lets you get a needed break.
I have to agree with you Windyridge, I think this situation is awkward and uncomfortable, probably for both parties. And he and his wife need to come up with an alternative plan and quickly as her condition is only going to get worse. You know that I have my 85 yr old FIL living in our home X11 years, and I have had to do wound care twice daily for 9 weeks on his buttocks. The gender role reversal sometimes exists in caregiving, it just does. I think Women are instinctualy programmed to be Caregivers, and Men to Provide and Protect. If this Man had to care for his own Mother, he may be able to do it, as he probably had a lifetime loving and personal relationship with her, but with his MIL, it is darn uncomfortable and somewhat inappropriate. It seems it is time for an aide to assist you daily with dressing, personel hygiene, feeding and such, Wife should be able to handle her medication dosing, but it sounds like she definitely needs a wake up call, to get more involved in her own Mother's care to provide the appropriate level of care. This is a sticky situation! But nothing you can not work out, but tackle it head on together! Your marriage should definitely come first, as MIL has lived her very long, and hopefully happy life, but together, yours are yet to come!
Been over a month of serious complaining on my part, she is loaded, her children have money and yet no one has been called to come in, not a single phone call. I'm done, I can't do it I don't have POA. I haven't talked to her since she came home and she will simply ignore the issue. Made a terrific dinner though. I'm so tired of this. I do love her and she rates 10 out of 10 as a person but certain things like even her own health she simply shuts out. I had to drag her to the doctor when she got hit with a rare disease that could have killed her. I just want to leave, that would force the issue and probably break the marriage. Thanks for the comments but I'm giving up and just going to do whatever the hell I want till something breaks or crashes down, which is probably exactly how she sees it. So thanks again. It was good to vent anyway.
NO, NO, NO, You can't just give up! You love your TERRIFIC Wife, you have a Son to think about! You have a home you Love and have put alot of effort into to making it nice! YOU ARE BURNT OUT! YOU ARE DESPERATE, We all get there, make a list, and sit down with you Wife, tell her there are NO NEGOTIABLES on
it, that Something Must be Done NOW, to take a d*mn day off work to bloody well DEAL WITH IT. if she doesn't have any respect for you or Love for her Mother, than you will have No alternative than to take serious action, which may even include removing your Son from the home, as this Must be affecting him too, and show her this blog filled with thousands of others, affected the exact same way, on their last thread, dangling and ready to fall off. Really read through this blog, type in the search box, CARGIVER BURN OUT, and read and see just how many people have come to this site just like you, searching for answers. If the Old Granny ha money, it shouldn't be a problem getting an aide to come in daily to assist her with all the Daily's, and let you completely off the hook, so you can get back to taking care of your son and other family and household duties. How about an EMERGENCY FAMILY MEETING, bring in her family, it sounds as if they are close by, and and say ENOUGH, the Granny Has progressed beyond your scope of care, and that you can not, will not, do it on your own any more, and they better get daily help in, or your leaving, be absolutely truthful, and lay it on thick! Be direct, ask any Brothers if they could do personal care, dress the old lady, gee next will be urine and poop issues, and how are you expected to do That for your MIL? Has the old Gal been to a Geriatric Specialist lately? Is there an Official Diagnosis confirmed? Senility, Dementia, Alzheimer's? Other age relateddecline or disability? I don't like that you are this desperate and willing to let something REALLY BAD happen to the Old
Gal, and then let the Chips Fall Where They Might! Is that really how your wife sees this? To only take action when something terrible happens to her Mother? Maybe a fall down a flight of stairs might give her a friggin wake up call, Gheez! OK, I've said my bit, and Now I'm getting Angry, so I will say good luck to you, yes. You are right to want out of this situation, and that somebody must take a stand for the wellbeing of the innocent old Gal!

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