My FIL has been living with us for the last 6 years after MIL died. Things had been going reasonably well, but things have turned sour.

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About 10 months ago I discovered that he doesn't wash his hands properly and wipes his dirt on the towel or doesn't wash them and then goes to the kitchen for breakfast. He has not gone gaga and we have spoken to him a number of times. He denies it and I am refusing to tolerate this sort of behaviour in my house. I want him out, but I am being put under emotional pressure by my husband and frankly I am fed up with the whole situation and fed up with the stress. Am I being unreasonable in expecting that FIL washes his hands? My husband and I are doing a lot for him and I don't think it is a big ask.


I have the feeling the handwashing problem is only the surface problem. Could it be that you're simply tired of your FIL living with you? Six years is a long time. A lot of elderly people start to be negligent when it comes to personal hygiene, so what he is doing isn't unusual. However, if he is elderly, it will get worse with time. Will you be able to handle that? It sounds like either your FIL is going to have to find other accommodations or that you will have to do a major mental adjustment about him.
Mrsclean, put around bottles of hand sanitizers for the whole household to use, and try to get Dad-in-law in the habit of using it. He's no different than a child when asked if he/she had washed their hands... it's something they just don't take seriously. Or if you can buy Huggies Natural Wipes to use for your Dad's hands, maybe something different will spark his interest.
Both the above posts resonate with me. The hand washing isn't the real problem...and hand sanitizer at the dinner table and next to his fave chair ought to do the trick.

Although I completely agree that you've done more than your share, I think you are making a big mistake to focus your "I've had it!" speech on his hand washing. Talk to hubby after you've put your thoughts together. Six years is about three too long, in my opinion.

I think you're a sweetie' though. Good luck.

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