MaxDeb22 Asked May 2011

How can I get my husband to move to a senior apartment community?

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My husband is 74 years old and had a stroke in 2006. I am his caregiver and have health issues of my own. I am 56 and I have COPD, degenerative disc disease in my back and I am also an epileptic. We have 4 dogs and 5 adult cats and our mama cat just had 4 kittens. All these animals are in the house which is very small. One small bedroom where we sleep and a smaller one where I keep my computer.I work very hard to keep the house clean and he just throws food on the floor for the dogs after I have just swept the floor. We downsized and sold our home and rented this place so we would not have to pay for taxes and upkeep. But it is getting to be way too much for me to handle. I am ready to pull my hair out of my head every morning when I get up and have to clean up after dogs and cats and feed everyone. He can do things for himself but mostly he just sits and waits for me to do it for him. He hasnt bathed for almost a year or washed his hair. He only has the use of one hand and uses that as an excuse not to do for himself. I change his clothes and try to get him to do things for himself but he just makes some joke and changes the subject. My health is getting worse and I have tried to discuss senior housing with him but he says he would rather die and that he will take our camper and go live up in the wild in northern MIchigan. He doesnt event have a drivers license anymore. He knows full well that he cannot take care of himself here, little lone there. I have tried to discuss also getting rid of some of these animals, he says things that make me feel guilty for bringing it up. I am at my wits end. How do I get him to seriously discuss this with me? I am trying to think of myself and the future if something were to happen to him. I never get a break away from here and it is driving me to drink even tho I am a t-totaller. HELP!!!!! He also asks me to do things that he knows I should not be doing because of my back. I cannot afford to have someone come in as we are both on social security. I dont know what to do. Help me please.

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EXPERT Carol Bradley Bursack May 2011
You need help badly. First see if a clergy person or trusted friend can convince him to move. If not, try the Alzheimer's Association in your phone book. They have social workers who should be able to help. You are in a situation where you must do something or you will go down with health problems and won't be able to help him either. Please contact the Alzheimer's Association and anyone else you can think of. He may not listen to you, but may listen to someone who tells him that you could die if he doesn't get more help for himself.
Please do everything you can - no guilt. You need help. Period.
Carol
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toadballet1 May 2011
You are in crisis mode! Everything in your being is telling you that a change is needed.
First do you have anyone who can intervene for you? children? friends? clergy? a neighbor? Someone whom he respects and won't "back talk" to. Sometimes, the caregiver gets the brunt of all the bad behavior....but they won't do that to others.
If that does not work, contact social services and tell them the situation. They will send out a social worker who will assess the situation. However, if he is deemed of "sound mind" they will not force him to do what he needs to do.
Your hub has no right to take your health from you. He needs help and so do you. Start gathering information about assisted living centers (can you afford it?) Could you hire an in-home caregiver to come by once a week for housekeeping and to bathe the hub? (I pay $12 - 18/hr - well worth it.) Are you or your hub a veteran? There are some funds there for in-home help.
Failing all the above, you just need to just take charge. Find homes for all but one of the pets. Tell him that he needs to bathe once a week, stop making a mess of the house, and speak to you with more respect or you are leaving. If he is able to "do things for himself," let him do them - and be consistent. If he thinks you are going to back down, nothing will change. This may sound like an extreme solution but you are in a desperate situation.
In the meantime, join a caregiver support group or get counseling (there are low cost services available). Put away the bottle - you do not need a drinking problem too. And PLEASE stop doing heavy lifting or things that will cause irreparable damage to your body. You do not need his "permission" to do any of these things. Are you in a position to leave?
good luck....let us know how things are going...welcome if you are new here.....
Lilli
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