My husband's father chews tobacco and has spit containers; he hacks and coughs constantly because of COPD, and has not bathed in over five years. Are these just disgusting habits or is it dementia?

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My husband and I recently moved in with his 76 year-old father to care for him. He has copd, but thinks he has asbestos; he chews tobacco and has spit containers; he hacks and coughs constantly, and he has not bathed in over five years and he drinks everyday. I suspect he is an alcholic and master manipulator, but says he cannot live alone. I cannot get my husband to address these issues. I have quit my job to care for him, and am beginning to resent him. I believe he is able to do a lot more than he says he can. I do believe he needs assistance, but I cannot deal with his disgusting habits any longer.
Any advice would be helpful.

Answers 1 to 10 of 13
I think the not bathing in 5 years might be a bit past a disgusting habit. What is it that he wants you and hubby are to do for him? Can you get him to a doctor for dementa evaluation and for his respiratory issues? Can you cut off/cut down the alcohol? Can you get a home aide to come in and clean, cook, Meals On Wheels, etc.
While the possibility of dementia due to alcohol consumption certainly exists, your FIL definitely needs both a physical and neurological evaluation. You might state to him that your staying to care for him is contingent upon getting these evaluations.

You need to be careful that he receives the care that he should have or you might put yourself in danger. You could also call adult protective services and request a social work evaluation.

You can't do this on your own. Utilize all the realizes available to you. You might start by calling your local Area Agency on Aging.

Best wishes,

You, as the caregiver, should not have to deal with these types of critical issues, This man needs nursing home care where all his issues can be addressed(and two baths a week!).
i agree with sak9. tell him he will be put in nursing home if he will not take baths a couple times a week. your husband should help you more also. shame on him.

The old man is everything you think he is. Says he can't live alone, yet smells like he wants to be. I just finished eating, and my stomach is beginning to turn from trying to picture -- and smelling -- what you're going through. ... I'm going to barf any second now.

It's HIS father, so your husband either pick up his b__s from the side of the road and help out or you're going to reclaim your life by going back to work where you can actually breathe. Stand your ground my sister. He might resort to emotional blackmail rather than help Dad remember what a little soap and water feel like.

Keep us posted.

Top Answer
My husband has ALZ and he too is 76 years old. Dealing with his contrariness was a real problem until one day out of frustration I informed him that I love him and want to help him but I can't do it without his cooperation. His constant anger and demands that only I could help him, serve his meals, etc. wore me out. I'm 73 years old and I was on the run from dawn unril bedtime with no time for me. That breeds resentment and exhaustion. He seemed oblivious to my feelings but was very conscious of his own. He couldn't seem to do the simplest things without my help. Then I learned he did quite a few things for himself when I had to leave him with a relative while I ran errands, etc. I also realized he was quite the actor and used these skills to keep my attenion totally focused on him. So, we had a heart to heart talk and i told him he needed to realze that I don't have to take care of him, I could leave if I so chose and if he didn't cooperate more and do what he could do to help the situation, take showers more, shave , and try to be more agreeable and less demanding I would seriously consider leaving for the sake of my own sanity. His ALZ is progressing but he does do what he's capable of now and is definitely more cooperative. Putting it simply he had to realize I couldn't tolerate anymore nonsense. The drinking is down to an occasional beer, he's kinder and more considerate. If your husband won't take this bull by the horns you will have to get tougher with him , let him know you're there to help but he has to do his part too. Make some rules and get him to agree or you won't help him and a nursing home may be in the near future. I would tell him that cough could be tb and if it is you and hubby could get it . Make an appointment for a consultation with his Dr, tell him everything that is going on and make an appt for an evaluation/ checkup for your father-in-law. Hubby has to help too or let him know you won't accept HIS responsibility of caring for His dad. Tough love works. Sometimes it's necessary, Medicare pays for an annual wellness checkup. Tell Dad he needs to get it done. Show the love but don't be used. If Dad refuses to go to thr Dr then tell him fine, then you can no longer take care of him. Hold your ground on this and also insist he put a lid on the bottle. That's too much to deal with and your resentment will escalate to an intolerable level. Been there! Lay out a fresh towel, washcloth, shaving gear, and clothes for Dad. Open the shower door, show him the bar of soap and shampoo and tell him he's taking a bath NOW. Not bathing is no longer an option. Then have hubby take him for a haircut. He'll feel so much better after this is done and he needs to know people who don't bathe and use deodorant smell bad and it won't be tolerated. He'll be more receptive if you make it happen and he stops drinking. Remind him drinking daily kills brain cells and he needs to guard against that. Good luck to you.
I think the answers were good especially Ed's. I am very sorry I did not put my foot down with my husband until just before he became very ill and died. This is no way for you to have to live. I would remove myself from that home even if I had to live in a shelter and find a job-listen to me do what I did and refuse to be treated badly-this is abuse from both of them-your FIL may not be responsible for his actions but your husband has no business making you stay in that house, I would call your local office of the ageing and report the sisuation and tell your husband in five days you are leaving that place-believe me any action on your part will be good for you-it will be hard but it is something that needs to be done to save yourself.
Good advice. Don't let that situation fester any longer.
Thanks for the advice.
I am new to this site and it has been most helpful, esp., the feelings of guilt.
My husband did address the bathing issue to my FIL, and his response was, that since he has well water, he cannot tolerate the smell ( it is not bad at all).
I am now feeling as if I am going to explode. On top of my FIL, my sister-in-law, lives with us, and does not help with anything. She has mental problems, but is honestly just plain LAZY!
I am going back to work soon, God willing. The alcohlism is never discussed. The coughing, hacking and spitting tobacco, is past the point of disgusting. The old man wonders and complains why he feels bad all the time. He is malnurished, and only will eat a small bowl of cereal in the morning, loaded with sugar and moonpies for lunch and then starts drinking by 5 pm. I do offer to ccok a hot breakfast and lunch, but most of the time he declines. He usually eats dinner at 8 or 9 pm, after consuming rot-gut whiskey and mountain dew all night. I cook very health meals most of the time, and do not fry anything, and he complains that he needs grease in his system.
My husband has been very good about most things, but we are limited to what we can do.
I am sad to say this, but I do not see myself here next year. I feel as if I have lost who I am, as a person.
There is more going on in this family than my FIL's old age.
I am honestly in REDNECK hell!!!!
Thanks for listening and letting me vent.
My question is, how does one's marriage survive thsi type of turmoil?
Is your FIL mobile, able to get out of the house on his own? If not, don't buy the alcohol for him. Don't buy the unhealthy foods. Cook the food the healthy way that you want to. Don't take him grocery shopping. You came there to help him, not be his slave. And that includes the mentally challenged SIL. Truthfully, it is your way, or the highway--you and/or your husband can leave. There is no glory to being a martyr to a sick, tyrannical old man and a lazy, mental issues woman. If you and your husband cannot stand up to your FIL and SIL and take charge, your marriage might be in trouble. And your FIL won't be any better off than before you two arrived.

I do hope you can find a resolution this situation---soon!

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