Caring for my father-in-law is literally making me sick. How can I get through this?

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Reality: My father-in-law is extremly unhygenic, rude and nearly impossible to spend any time with. He chews and spits tobacco, hacks and coughs all day due to copd ( in final stages ) and has some obsessive issues. He disregards anything his doctors tell him and lies all the time. The most simple task that I do for him turns into an arguement.
My husband and I finally convinced him to hire an aid to come in once a week ( he will not pay for more ) to wash him. He refuses to get in the shower or bath, so any attempt at getting him washed is done by the sink only. The aid told me that he was the nastiest person she had ever cleaned. He only agreed to do this because I was getting ready to leave the home for good!
My husband promised me that when the time comes, he will be placed in a nursing home, which I see very soon. We have medical power of attorney and just enough money to pay for this. The signs we both agreed on was when he could no longer use the bathroom and or was falling. I have made it very well known to my father-in-law, that I could not provide that type of care when needed. He has refused a lifeline alarm, because he is worried that we may leave the house for a few hours. I really think he gets some kind of pleasure out of me worrying about him.
He refused Hospice, because he still wants to continue to see his doctors. we all feel he is in a lot of denial about his disease. He is also an alcoholic, so I do not see him being around much longer.
I am getting sick on a daily basis, due to his deplorable lack of hygiene. I feel guilty because I do not spend any time with him other than preparing his meals, paying his bills or cleaning. I live in the other half of the house and my husband and I have our own bath and some privacy. No other family members ever visit him except my stepson.
It is difficult to tell when my father-in-law is using his illness to manipulate me or if he is really feeling bad. I know that he is exhausted due to his disease and weak, but I was told by his care team to encourage him to do as much as he can on his own. As bad as he says he feels all day, he always manages to get up at 5pm and start drinking.
How do I deal with the guilt I feel for essentailly, emotionally abandoning him? I don't ever say anything to him unless he asks me a question ( to which I must always agree ) because we just end up in spats. I am really a very paitent person, but how much of this can a person take? What can I do about throwing up all the time? I look terrible and I think I am depressed ( I am seeing a therapist soon). I have told my husband my honest feelings and even he cannot spend much time with his dad. It's really sad.
What can I do? Thanks.....

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Time to have a family pow wow with your husband and FIL and lay down new rules. Tell him outright that your emotional and physical health is suffering. Therefore, starting tomorrow....xyz will happen.

FIL must agree to the following in order to continue house privileges, if not, or if he violates, then he will be moved to hospice or NH immediately.
He must bath every other day. Period.
No more tobacco in the house. You can concede outside, but if he doesn't spit in designated area or container and dispose of properly...he goes to NH.
No more alcohol. Period. You will not tolerate since it could interact with meds, he could fall, etc.
You will hire a cleaning service once a week for his living area and HE WILL PAY FOR IT. If he refuses...he goes to NH.

Following above, you and hubby will evaluate the situation monthly, if its not working for you, then he will have to go to NH or hospice...STICK TO YOUR GUNS! Your health is what matters and you have paid your dues and been a good DIL. Your husband should be supportive and backing you. Surely, he doesn't want to see you have a breakdown emotionally or from exhaustion where he might have to take care of both of you. More than that, this stress could seriously affect your marriage and its not right of dad to jeopardize your relationship with husband.

Many hugs sent your way.
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You're not crazy. Get them a TV for their room. Or get headphones for them to wear. My nearly deaf dad had great Sony headphones that he could turn up as loud as he wanted to hear TV which didn't bother my mom. Hand him the cup to put his teeth in. When he says he wants to sit in Bill's chair, say, "No, that's MY chair". Or "No, that's too hard for me to do". Then walk away. Or sit in your husband's chair. They're only pushing you out of your life because you're letting them. Set some boundaries with how they can live in your home.

You mention Alzheimers in your profile, so I'm not sure if both in-laws have it or just your MIL. But that changes brains and if they both have it, their brains aren't working right, so I don't think they're actively trying to make you crazy with their requests. Look up Teepa Snow videos on Youtube.com to learn more about how to deal with folks with dementia. She has wonderful insights.

You need to get some help so that you can take a break and get away from them or you will go crazy. You're a sweetheart to take both of them on. Can you get them into some daycare, so you get a break? Keep us posted and let us know how things go.
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Oh my...........I completely understand your comment!!!
My FIL (oxygen, wheelchair, totally incontinent) and MIL (alzheimers) are staying with me as of 2 months ago. My husband died 3 years ago.
I am 63 yrs old.
I am so frustrated because it feels like they are pushing me right out of my house. I have to go to the basement to get away from the blaring LOUD tv which they play till they are good and ready to go to bed. It's my big screen tv in my living room. And today, my FIL said I WANT TO SIT IN BILL's CHAIR. (That's my husband's chair............and since he died, I sit in it in the evenings as it brings me comfort. Now my FIL's "diaper covered butt" is sitting on it - yuk. I think he did it on purpose - to upset me. So instead of his wheelchair which is perfectly comfortable, I had to go through the ordeal to get him in my husband's chair. I was able to quickly throw a blanket on it before his butt landed ...........but still..........ewwww. He also pulls his false teeth out of his mouth dripping with stuff and says......'here put these in a cup." Ewwwww again. I won't even discuss toilet time.
My question to you all is...................."Does it sound like he's doing this on purpose or do I sound crazy"?
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I had somewhat similar problems with my mom. She refused to leave a large home that she stopped being able to take care of for many years. My husband and I had taken up this task. We actually did this for his mom and mine. Soon we found ourselves working less on our full-time business and more and more on taking care of 3 homes! We were running out of money and I was getting very sick and my husband started having issues too. Both moms refused to go to retirement homes and acted like we were their gophers. I hate to say it this way because we really do love them but that is what it had come to. One day I ended up in a chiropractors office after throwing my back out doing some work at my mom's house. I was crying because I was exhausted and told him what was going on. He flat out told me that I was in a co-dependant relationship and to get her into a retirement place or whatever other suitable situation asap! He told me that both our moms were displaying signs of dementia and that it will only progress and get worse. He said if she didnt want to go then take all of her financials, pack them up in boxes and put them on her kitchen table and tell her you are done! Then he said you are only required to BE HER DAUGHTER and to go visit her on Sundays! I left feeling like a ton of weight had been lifted off my shoulders because I knew he was right. I went home, told my husband and we laid out a plan and we stuck to it. I did discuss things with my mom on an adult level and as soon as she agreed I took action the next day. She was overwhelmed with all of her "stuff" and what she would do with it but she was basically agreeing to be moved. I told her I would take care of it all for her and got a friend to help me pack her up and move her within 2 days before she changed her mind! It helped that I had already checked out options and the place had an apt available. What work, but it was done. I cleaned out the rest of the things she didnt need any longer in her home and sold it within the next few months and I can tell you that where there is a will there is a way. We just need permission or assurance that what we are doing is okay and that we are not hurting them. Do NOT feel gulity! My mom is happier than ever now. She has other people to relate to, she doesnt have to cook and she is very happy where she is. You deserve a life too. Our parents, really deep down if they could be in their right minds, would not want us to be their slaves. Would you want that for your children? Of course not. Take action today for a healthier life for both of you. Maybe your father-in-law can still go to the bathroom and feed himself on his own but I guarantee you that you make the meals and get the food there for him. But if he cannot and will not take care of his own hygiene which is also just as important then he needs to be in a place where it can be done for him. Also, if he is an alcoholic drinking every morning she must see that this is not a healthy situation. If your husband is hesitant then read some of these responses to him. Also I would like to mention, not to knock the person who suggests you lay out jars of vinegar to cover up the smell but that is like putting a small bandaid on a festering wound. That kind of behavior will only drive you to more work in the end. Solve the underylying problem and you will feel better in the end! Good luck and get working! People will pray for you for success.
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monideux Thanks for all the info. I will start looking into things. I do have Skype so maybe that is a start. I did not go on my trip and I am feeling bad. But that too will pass, I'm sure.
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PatriciaAS. I had to upgrade our phones to do this, I tried our Android phones, which is possible, but got to be too cumbersome.

You can set the camera up and use an Android app, even Skype will work.

I tried both Android and a Windows phone and had lots of issues. Most of them just me or my home network.

I then discovered the Apple Izon camera. It hooks into your home network.

You can place the camera where you are concern about your loved ones' safety.

I put in two units and am planning on a couple more just to be extra safe.

Then you load them up and you can view the camera on your Iphone. Shows 5 minute clips of what they are doing while you are at the store or out for a walk.

It takes a bit of patience to get all the kinks out, but what a relief to get out of the house for 5 minutes knowing that they are okay.

Hope that helps.

Also Patricia, have you looked into respite care. I know it's expensive, but that will give you the peace to know he's okay and you can actually leave. You can also respite care in your home, that's expensive too. No easy answers. They will try to control you, that's for sure. Guilt and all kinds of emotions. You're going to suffer (for lack of a better word) either way, staying or going, you might as well go and suffer less with your friends.
God Bless !
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Thanks dmwillis, I'll try it...My wife says I have too sensitive of a nose...
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The reason I spoke about the vinegar was because when you use the plug in air fresheners,all they do is coat your sinus membranes with oil ,so you do not think you smell the odor. Vinegar obsorbs and removes the odor itself. Please trust me on this one.I have a father that gets confused at which chair is the towlet,I got a A in shitology.
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mondieux could you let us know about the device that works on our cell phones. I am very interested in this for my husband. I am not sure about what I am going to say right now and if this should be on another thread someone please let me know. It is about getting away. I have NO help. Period. He won't let anyone come in etc. I was going to be gone for 5 days this last weekend. He pleaded with me not to go and I didn't. I felt bad all weekend as I was going to a 50th anniversary party in another state.. This was for a wedding in was in 50 years ago and was maid-of-honor. I will be talking with my friends today and I understand from a text message I received that almost all were there except me and, of course, understand my situation. I haven't seen or talked with these people in 50 years also. We are trying to re-connect. My husband thought seeing people after all these years was stupid.
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Hi Degrey :
I thought I had it bad, with almost the same issues, FIL and MIL both in our home.
It's been a daily adjustment. I agree with some of the previous advice, great ideas!

We found a daytime caregiver as well as a once a week at night caregiver so we could have some peace. The senior centers also offer daytime care giving, which we use a couple times a week. Bingo and just visiting with other elders seems to help.

They of course appreciate zip, which has been a hard hurdle for us, we want to make them happy, which I've determined is not our job. Safe and fed, with clean clothes and a some hygiene, seems to be the bottom line.

I automatic motion lights and fans for safety and to keep the air flowing. They go on when they walk by and stay on for 30 minutes. The smell is a biggie, I did similar to the vinegar suggestion, found automatic air fresheners (sprayers) for their room and bathroom. We've put alarms on all the doors so we are alerted if they go out of the house.

One item might help to give you and your husband an hour or two, there's a monitoring product that works with your cell phone.

We plug it in prior to leaving and we can watch them when we go to the store or out for breather.
It's taken almost 4 months but the routine is getting a tad easier.

Also Degrey, we started recently eating by ourselves a few times a week. I know that sounds bad, but it gives my wife and I some together time.

God Bless, you're doing all the right things, just realize that you're objective is to keep him safe, fed and somewhat clean.
Mondieux
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