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I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 children, all 10 years old or younger, and my husband works full time. My husband's father had a stroke about a year ago, and lived with a close family friend until recently when they could not financially afford it any longer. When my husband and I discussed his father moving in with us I was not aware of how bad his health was. After the stroke his left side became "paralyzed". He has days where he can barely move, much less attempt walking. He frequently has issues with bed wetting or bowel movements. He will repeatedly attempt to take a dry pair of underwear off, stating that they are wet, when it was just a minute before that he used the restroom. We have to keep a constant eye on him, making it extremely difficult to take care of household chores or to assist our children with things they need. My father in law and I have never really known each other either, so assisting him throughout the day while my husband is at work seems awkward for the both of us sometimes. I do not know how to take care of him, as I have never had to do anything like it in my life. There seems to be no instruction manual for things like this, and I could use any advice on the situation, whether it be medical/emotional/financial...any advice is helpful at this point.

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Thank you to everyone who posted here. I have taken the advice and talked with my husband about all of our options. For now he stays with us, we have nursing and physical therapists visiting the house 3-4 days a week, as well as several friends who help me throughout the majority of the week. The nursing home is still an open option, but my husband I think feels guilty for going that route so for now this seems to be working. The only issue I am experiencing lately is the "angry" moments my FIL has. At first he was kind and always nice, here lately he says some very hurtful things. I try not to take it to heart, thinking he is not in his right mind, but it definitly hurts a little each time he does it. I can only hope things will get better from here, and thank you all again for all your amazing words of wisdom.
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Actually, there is a manual. It's found at:


How do I know? I wrote it. I went through this three different times! Including the incontinence.

The first thing you need is a "family conference" where you sit down and explain in exquisit detail and in very small words what you are going through and ask for help. If no one seems interested, you need to take drastic measures. Invent an excuse to go out of town for two nights. You can arrange for some help, if it would ease your conscience. But the idea is to have another family member forced to cope with what you face every day. Then it may be easier to enlist them in being part of your solution.
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phyatt...You sound as though you know what needs to be done and you, and your husband, confidently get it done. Sounds to me like you're very organized and knowledgeable about care. Thank goodness your husband is helpful and participating with his GM's care and household chores.

Ignore your MIL. It's good that she doesn't live closer and visit often. Perhaps take her calls and speak to her less? Set boundaries for her in your life...the amount of time and energy you will put towards speaking to her or acting on her suggestions. You know what is best for GM because you are there with her 24/7. MIL is not in the position to have even a clue, but I understand she's your husband's mother and that can be a sensitive matter. Could he handle his mother...taking the calls or returning calls to relieve you of that stress and burden?.

Could be best in the long run if your husband acts as the liaison between you and his mother. They are family by blood, you are family by marriage, and that can be a point of contention with some when it comes to who should make decisions for family. From my personal experience, In-law members of the family can be looked upon as "interference", especially when it comes to making some tough decisions for a loved one. I would suggest that you put some distance between your MIL and yourself when it comes to GM's care.

I applaud you for your compassion and hard work, which probably doesn't get enough praise. You and your husband are treasures, which I'm sure GM appreciates. Job well done!!!
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I've been asking myself this same question. My fiance and I gave up our home and moved in with his grandparents to help out. Granddaddy was 83 and grandma will be 80 next month. Granddaddy was providing full time care for grandma and when we came for thanksgiving, we realized what a toll it was taking on him and decided to move to help out. Other family members live far away and so we were the ones that made the sacrifice. We moved in on New Years 2010. Since then it has been non stop drama. No one had any idea that granddaddy was sick but two weeks after we arrived, he became ill and was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away on 2/4. We are now the full time caregiver of my grandmother-in-law. We went to the courthouse and got married because since we are now responsible for the household and grandma's medical care it was neccessary to make our union legal. I cared for my sister who passed of cancer a few years ago but it was not this demanding. Grandma cannot walk alone, soils herself frequently and has some dementia so at times she is demanding and difficult. The most frustrating part is that her daughter (my mother-in-law) lives 6 hours away but trys to micro manage the household and medical care even though when she visits she never stays more that ten hours and doesn't help with anything-just criticizes and dictates what she wants done. I'm 44 years old but she treats me like I'm incompetent. My husband helps out with cooking and housework but I handle all of the medical and hygene. When we first moved here, he worked out of town so for several weeks I did it all including caring for my ten year old son who was uprooted from his father and sister and friends to move to a new place and now has limited time with me. I like to think that I am setting a vauable example for him in compassion and try to make time for him whenever I can. Things have gotten easier now that I have somewhat of a routine and have learned the best way to handle the hygene. Grandma has been depressed and has a decease in energy since granddaddy passed but her daughter (my mother in law) is adament about not using pharmaceuticals unless it is labsolutely necessary. Not to mention the fact that I cannot work because I have to be here.....I only get out of the house for short periods of time to go to the store and then I'm constantly worrying about her and rushing to get home. My husband stays with her but he cannot take his grandmother to the bathroom. We try to get her to eat a diet that will manage her diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol but she is resistant and family and friends constantly bring her things she should not eat. Often she will not go to the bathroom when asked if she needs to go only to soil herself and create a mess. I am so frustrated because I made so many sacrifices to do what I felt was right but it seems like all I get is criticism. Hell, until recently I wasn't "family" but I was good enough to clean up urine and feces but not trusted enough to make decisions when I'm here 24/7. I have a masters degree in counseling and 24 years experience so I'm no dummy! I don't mind making the sacrifice but it's difficulty when it seems like no one understands or appreciates it and all they want to do is bark orders. It helps to be a part of this page and to know that I am not the only one. I constantly remind myself that no matter what others think or say, I know and God knows that I am a Blessing and I am doing His work.
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LesleaJ, thanks for posing this question, scenario. You have received many helpful responses--ones I have taken to heart. It will make the decision to place our mom (11 children) in a care facility where she can get 24/7 care a lot easier. I don't think it is selfish to NOT want to perform caretaking responsibilities when you have small children. I am single and I don't want to do it. It's way-y-y more than I can handle.
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For both Leslie and Golfqueen I say what my daughter told about my mother. SET BOUNDARIES!!!!!! I agree with the answer that this situation will ruin your marriage and maybe you bringing up your kids. There are many of us in this situation. It is a sign of the times with our population aging in the US with longer lives we are living. It's really a two edged sword. But you have to choose your immediate family even though it may hurt both you and your husband. And get on the same page with your husband. Let him know what you go thru on a day to day basis. Apply for Medicaid as fast as you can. Is your FIL a veteran? They often have homes that are very good and only take from the veteran what he has coming in as income leaving a small amount for the veterans wallet. (to buy small items) These homes are run on a state level. Go on line to find one in your state. In NM it is not hard to do this. God bless you for trying, but you will kill yourself and maybe lose your marriage.
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My grandmother came to live with my parents, my younger sister, and I when I was just 10 years old. The first few years, it was okay. She then began to develop Alzheimer's, but at first it was called dementia. My mother quit her job to become Grandma's full time caregiver. Dad had promised my Grandpa to take care of Grandma (It was my maternal grandmother) when he was dying. Later, Dad made us both promise to never make such deathbed promises regardless of who asked. It is no life for a child, nor an adolescent, to live with 24/7. My Dad finally considered leaving Mom. He never did, but ended up being treated in hospital for depression. We couldn't, wouldn't, have friends over. Grandma was incontinent, and no amount of cleaning her up got rid of the odor. Mom kept her sitting in a recliner in the living room until the last couple of years. She lost the ability to talk, but moaned and drooled. If you put your father-in-law ahead of your children, they will never forgive you for it. It's tantamount to child abuse. I'm speaking as a child who lived through it. I attempted suicide at one point, and went on antidepressants. I asked to be sent to boarding school, anything to get away from that. My Mom is developing dementia now. I do love her and will care for her, but my children are grown. Your children deserve better.
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* Stay-Home-Mom and 4 Children - this is a BIG full-time responsibility itself.
None of us realize what it means to be a "Care Giver" until we are put in this place in our life.
*I don't wish to judge a person because this is God's place to do so. However, the person you are talking about is "your husband's" father. Your husband needs to accept responsibility for him. Instead of causing hardship and bad feelings within the marriage, I agree that you need to move him into a loving and caring facility where people can give your Father-In-Law attention that he needs. There are private homes vs. Nursing Homes (Foster Care Homes). You can also refer to the Website "A Place for Mom", who also helps dads, in locating a new home for your Father-In-Law.
*Medicare can help you financially to move your Father-In-Law into a care home. It normally takes about 3 months to process the paper work. He also can't own any more than $2K in his name. If he has a great deal of money, you can't transfer this money in to your husband's name. The officials do a 5 year tracking process for all monies and assets. Unfortunately, money becomes very stick and upsetting when it comes to this delicate matter. Does your husband have any family members who can help him with the expense of taking care of his father?
*In-Home-Care" is available in all states and cities. Cost is normally $12-$17 pr hr. Your husband could hire assistance for 4 hours every other day. Male employees would be sent to your home to take care of your husband's father in lifting him to take a shower, etc. This would give you a chance to catch your breath and remember who you are. If you seriously hurt yourself lifting your Father-In-Law, who is going to take care of the children, house, and be a wife to her husband?
*No man should feel that his wife must take care of "his father" without providing her with love, understanding, and mental support. I do believe in "God's eyes" he does not approve of your husband running away from this matter.
*There is no reason for you or your husband to carry any guilt in respect to moving your Father-In-Law into a care home. In reality, you both would be doing him a BIG favor by doing so. You have done all you can do for him. You and your husband married each other because you love one another. Together you are raising 4 children. The time has come to do what is the right thing to do so each of you can get on with your lives and future.
*Sad to say, however, "Time waits for no one". The sooner you start doing your research, you gather your Father-In-Law's financial information, you meet with the Financial Manager of a loving care home (Foster Care Home), you take your husband's father to visit the various sites, you can enjoy a free lunch to sample foods that are served, and your father meets some of the residents, he will be ready to move to his new home.
*I know this journey isn't easy for you or for any of us who are in your shoes right now. No matter how our hearts are hurting in having to accept the age of our parents, and accepting the fact that they are nearing the end of their journey, we must take the steps to do what is right. My prayers are with you and your family.
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I have to disagree with the advice that it won't strain your marriage of you do it for the "right reasons." it's physically demanding, on top of raising four FOUR! little kids. Whatever the reason, if it gets out on you without real help, YOU will be strained. And that strains the marriage whether you want it to or not. Whether you have the "right" reasons or not, it means resources your four kids are getting now will be strained (and I don't mean money, but that, too, gets strained). Your job into raise those kids. Don't be afraid to put them first.

That said, I lived the advice about how much you already do without a manual. It's true. But don't underestimate how hard this road is, that you're considering traveling. There's a reason people don't get it until they live it. Don't let someone else's guilt about what to do now rule your life.
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I don't think we're supposed to let ourselves go down to keep someone else up. We should know that if a situation is not working for us, its ok to make a change. There are many resources available as mentioned in many of the Post above, I hope you find the one(s) that bring restoration to your lives.
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Thank you for your support. I just am not ready to give in and find a nursing home that would really care for her. I am too afraid of the outcome. I think moving her right now out of her environment would kill her. I know my brother would not want her going into a nursing home but he isn't here but twice a year. He is coming for her birthday in May (if she is still with us) and maybe he will feel differently.
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Nursing home, Everyone including the kids are feeling the streee in the house. Make the decision and follow through.
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Leslie, no one opens their home to a disabled parent because we think it will be trendy, or fun. Talk to your husband about what would happen to dad if you don't step up to help. Look at the world through your spouse's eyes. Then take a look through your father-in-law's eyes. Is it a huge imposition on you? Yes. Do you have a tremendous amount to learn through trial and error? Yes again. Will it strain your marriage? Not if you all do it for the right reason. You are taking on your FIL to help your husband. He should appreciate this a lot. The gift you give your husband should bring gifts to you; not presents--love offerings. Putting the love in your marriage front and center, if everyone does the work, will improve your marriage, your quality of life, your husband's and your father-in-law's. It's a huge job, but it has a huge payoff. I know. I've been giving care, assistance and/or support to my disabled wife, mother-in-law, mother, step-dad and oldest brother for 17 years, and it's the hardest, most brutal, best thing that ever happened to me. Good luck. God Bless You.
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LesleaJ, there is no easy solution to this dilemma. I am only 34 years old. I home school two children ages 6 and 7 and have been taking care of my husbands grandmother now going on 3.5 years. To put it nicely. It has been HARD!!!! It has taken a huge toll on me, my kids and my marriage. I have had very little to no help at all since we got her. Since I stay home while my husband works out of the house so he figures I can handle it with no help. Since she is a woman and he is a man I heard excuse after excuse that its hard for him to help. So, I virtually go little to no help from him. I have done everything for his grandma from getting hit, scratched, cursed at for showers, changing diapers, taking her to the bathroom etc. I've cleaned bedroom floors and walls soiled with urine and feces. I mean it has been hard. For a year now, I have been struggling to keep things together. My house is a mess, my health is a mess, I am now (which I was never) over weight and suffer with depression. I don't even recognize myself in the mirror. My husband is also a runner and avoids issues by gaming on the computer for hours so I feel lost. My advice to you is get your husband to help now while it is still early. Get him to understand just how difficult it is and that you either need his full help and support or you can not do it. It is JUST TOO HARD TO DO IT ALONE! Soon you will become isolated (resentful & bitter) and only be a caretaker of all of those around you while no one will take care of you. Please be careful look after yourself because no one else will. If you don't you will not be well enough mentally or physically to take care of anyone then what good will you be in the long run anyway once you are burned out. By the way, this can really really mess up a marriage. Trust me I know. Please seek help from your family, hired help etc if you are gonna go through with this. It is a very nice and noble thing to do but it should never be something you tackle on your own. I repeat. IT SHOULD NEVER BE SOMETHING THAT YOU DO ON YOUR OWN. It takes many hands on deck to care for a sick person and your husband should be one of the 1st people to sign up for the job. If he refuses then I would highly consider refusing as well. As with time it WILL put a strain in your marriage and in your family. I know...I am now living with all of the consequences of trying to do it all on my own. Bottom line if at all possible take care of his father home but NOT with out help. I am sorry that my thoughts are all over the place in this comment but I run on very little sleep and in the middle of trying to type fast so I can go back to home schooling and grandma. I wish you all the best and pray that you can have peace in whatever you decide to do.
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I totally understand, My mom lives with me and I take care of her but she is my mom and is not paralazed, my suggestion is this is to much for you with having children, look into applying for medicaid for him and place him in a nursing home where he can get the care he needs, will keep you in my prayers
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Leslea...I think you know what needs to be done...you're just not sure how to get there. Your FIL is requiring more help than you think you are capable of providing. The need of attention by a caregiver is only going to increase. You are yelling "uncle" now. Caring for him is too much for you...with probably no hope of improvement in the future...and will have adverse effects on your family.

Therefore, I'm going to suggest that you give your husband an update. You've tried it and it not only is more hardship than you expected, but will require more time and physical attention as his father declines. I salute you for your compassion and time & effort you've put towards this situation up to this point. I think it's time that you share your thoughts that you've expressed here with your husband and let it be known that something needs to be done, as the current ways aren't working out and won't in the future. You think it would be best for his father and your family if care was provided elsewhere.

Begin the process of investigating nursing homes or rehab centers. Perhaps a doctor or organization which focuses on senior citizens can make recommendations on what he needs and who can provide it in your area. Start the discussion with your husband and take it from there in exploring what needs to be done to get your FIL in a more appropriate atmosphere....for your FIL's care and for your family.

Your husband needs to step-up to the plate and make some decisions about and for his father. It is an important decision that he shouldn't put-off or ignore. (As long as you're doing the back-breaking and stressful work he doesn't have to face it!). The time has come for him, and his siblings if any, to deal with it. You can assure him that you will help in anyway you can...footwork, paperwork, phone calls, etc,

Start the discussion now because once you present your views to him...it may be weeks before your FIL could be moved. (By the time family members, doctors, insurance companies/medicare, nursing homes are consulted.) If your husband doesn't hear you or doesn't want to consider other care, then you have to put your foot down.

Here's something else to consider as well. I'm not going to beat around the bush...I think you need to think about this. You say you have 4 children at 10 years and younger. Have you considered that your children's grandfather may die in front of them...in the same house where they are being raised? Should that be a concern?
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If you FIL was in the service, they can help you. They will pay you or a home he is in. But you will need his discharge papers, birth certificate and a form for his doctor to fill out. It does take 6 to 8 months, but they do prorate it. I believe there is a site on this website. Good luck.
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Just wanted to put in a good word for nursing homes. Of course they are all different - my mother is in a lovely one. They have activities all the time, residents can dine in the dining room. And there is entertainment almost every week. They have a concierge who goes around throughout the day to visit residents and ask if they need or want anything. I believe this service is only in nursing home chains. But it is such a plus.

She also can attend religous services on site. Nursing homes of the present are not nursing homes of the past. After visiting different ones; some are a lot nicer than others. Just need to research first. These are difficult decisions and not easy. You have to take into consideration, your own health and that of your family, especially if children are home. My MIL lived with us until she passed with alzheimers, incontinent - adult diapers - are a lifesaver and walking problems. So I understand all the problems that go along with caretaking in the home. Just need to make decision that is best for all concerned.
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golfqueen.......from the sounds of Mom's symptoms she should be in a skilled nursing facility. Are there any in your vicinity that you would consider? You should first start looking at homes, then take a tour of them and talk with the Administrator....find out what programs are available, etc. Also find out about admittance criteria. Most homes have so many beds that are private pay, some that are public assistance such as Medicaid, which is what you will need for Mom. Each state has their own criteria for qualification. The home will usually have someone who can help you with the paperwork. This whole process doesn't have to be a long drawn-out affair, but you will need to get busy to find a suitable place. Unfortunately not all homes are equal. I wish you good luck in your search and let us know how things progress.
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Smiling -- your kids didn't come with an instruction manual either.... or your husband... any other part of our lives. You've put your finger on something basic: we're stretching all the time. That's the good news. Sometimes it's incredibly hard. That's the bad news. Take it one step at a time, chip away at solving the details with stuff like the advice you've gotten here, make the best choices you can in the moment -- the individual moments that come one after another and not all at once (thank heavens!!) -- and keep breathing. Best to you.
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Leslea.....deciding to keep a family member in your home or whether to place them outside the home is a big decision and unfortunately if you decide on the latter sometimes a bit of guilt will try and enter into that decision and that is something that you need to be aware of and prepared for. The benefits in keeping them in your home versus placing them will help to make a decision and I found that writing everything down..pro/con...clarified things. Every single one of us were not prepared for the actual care giving....my husband and I both have medical backgrounds.....and after 2 years it was too much on me physically as I have a disability and we placed my mother-in-law in a nursing home. She has Alzheimer's and was a fall risk and it was a fall that prompted her move. I found that it was and still is okay to place in a nursing home. It doesn't mean that you have failed....it means that you care enough about your loved one to see that they have the best of care available. It isn't easy to care for someone in your home, especially when you have children that need you, and the elder care will impact your family to a great degree. There will be time spent with the elder that takes you away from a family function, time spent with doctor appt and the list goes on. And yes, it does have an impact on one's marriage. If both partners are not committed 100% to the care giving then there will be conflict. Take a look around this website....there are a myriad of helpful articles and comments and you will see that there are a lot of stressed out care givers......others say they don't have problems........so you are not alone in wishing for a "care giving manual"......unfortunately no one has yet to write one that gives the real facts. Regardless of which way you go with the care giving....additional help will be needed. If you think Medicaid assistance with finances will be needed then start the paperwork now as it can take several months to get approval. And just as something to file away....if you go the Medicaid route start making copies and document every single penny of fil's money that is spent on him. You will need to account for that....each state has their own guidelines for Medicaid eligibility. I'm sure you will make the best decision for all concerned.....Good Luck!
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How can I place my Mom in an assisted living facility when she is legally blind, hard of hearing, unstable in walking and has a swallowing problem. She has to have her food cut in tiny pieces and soup pureed. Her caregiver now blends her cream of wheat to make it very smooth. Anything that has peices in it she spits out and goes YUK.
She now thinks she is not in her own home and her dementia is getting worse.
We are running low on funds and don't know how much longer we can pay the 24/7 help. Keeping her with me is not an option.
Help!!!!!!!!!!!
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He is in adult diapers, but sometimes refuses to wear them, insisting that they are wet, and will take them off. The people previously taking care of him had 2 homes in 2 different states and could not afford to pay for their other home and the one they took care of him in anymore, so they took off for their other home in a different state. Lately, his mind seems to be worsening, almost seems like alzheimers or dementia, and his mobility has worsened considerably, to the point where to move him takes every bit of strength i have. Dgrey, my husband is the same way, facing any conflict or difficult situation, he tends to run from leaving me to deal with it. I have made a doctor's appointment with his regular physician so that I can discuss the issues we have witnessed since he has been in our care. We also have a friend coming twice a week to help me so that I may care for the children and do housework, and to relieve me from my duties assisting his father. We are still trying to determine a way to get medical help from the outside though. The bathing process is difficult because of his low mobility, and lately he has only been eating a few bites at supper time, and an Ensure drink around lunch time. I think my biggest concerns are what life is going to be like for us, my husband and I, and our children, and the damage that all of this could do to our relationships. Do any of you have any advice on that subject?
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The walgreen brand of briefs are excellent. I have my gma on a schedule, I take her to the restroom every two hours. I have to turn her then anyway. Do you have a lift or is he mobile? Caretenders are an excellent resource. I feel for you, I too have young kids. I miss them, she takes up so much of my time. How are your babies handling this? It may sound mean but, you have to put him on a schedule just like your toddler. Many nights she argues and says that she is not going to bed @8:30but, I put her there anyway. Mind you, the Tv is on in her room, I am not cruel.I enjoy reading with my daughter, catching up with my son and saying our prayers together. It is the only family time we have left But, I have to turn her at 12, 3am and then up at 5:30 getting everyone off to work and school. Groundhog day!
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In hindsight, it really was too much to take on, wasn't it? Adding a person who needs fulltime care to the household without adding more caring capacity is extremely stressful.

But there was no manual, you didn't really know what you were getting into, and he's there now. Now what?

One approach would be to place him in a long term care facility that is staffed around the clock, and where the caregivers do it in shifts, not 24/7, and they get time off and vacations, etc. They've also had training and lots of experience. It sounds like FIL will need Medicaid to pay for such care. You and your husband can start the process of applying. If you do go this route, be sure your whole family visits often, calls, the kids send homemade cards and silly jokes, etc. If you don't have the burden of day-to-day care you may actually be able to form better relationships.

The other approach that could work would be to keep him with you, but arrange for additional in-home help. Again, it may be necessary to apply for Medicaid or some Elderly Waiver program meant to keep elders out of nursing homes and in the community when possible. Any income he has (SS, pension, whatever) should go toward his care. If that is not enough (as it often isn't) seek financial aid.

A place to start piecing together an instruction manual is to talk to a medical social worker -- perhaps at the hospital or rehab where he was treated for his stroke, or by calling the senior services agency in your county.

Good luck to you.
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I am the caretaker for my father-in-law too. Adult diapers would help a lot, but bringing up the topic and getting an old man to wear them is difficult.
I have found the most taxing of it all, is the wear and tear it has done to my marriage. My husband is not the type of person to prepare, plan or face a difficult situation.
Knowing what I know now, I never would have agreed to do this. I applaud you, esp.,, with small children. You should be proud of yourself.
Is your FIL able to make sound, medical decissions? Does he drive? What is his personality like?
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First of all, why isn't he wearing adult diapers? I would think that would fix the problem of bladder control. Is there a reason he's not able to live in an adult foster care home? They're usually cheaper, and the care is more one on one. Also, if that's not gonna happen, then you're going to need assistance of some sort. Why did the other family member 'not afford it financially' anymore? Did they foot the cost of his care themselves? See, I think that if someone is taking care of someone with those problems, then there ought to be money for extra hands in helping with whatever needs to be done. This is gonna wreck your marriage Lesle if you and your husband don't sit down and make a plan. Get yourselves on the same page, you're all in this together. Good luck.
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