Was it too much to take on, there is no instruction manual for things like this?

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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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