I married my wife over ten years ago and her Mom lived with her then. She is a wonderful woman; they both are, but Mom's needs have increased over time; she is 85 and needs someone with her round the clock, she has 'age-appropriate' short-term memory loss, walks with a rolling walker and will need an electric cart soon. My wife rarely works her small business, we have no retirement savings (we are 51), our life revolves around caring for her Mom--our life is on hold. We've recently got my wife's brother and sister to help 'coverage' and have started to get my wife some balance in her life, but even scheduling a short visit to a friends house for dinner has become a HUGE DEAL. If Mom lives to be 95 (and we hope she lives that long), we will be 60 with no retirement and will have spent our better years running an assisted-living center. Im at my sits end.

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dinnypat, I really admire what you and your wife are doing. Gold stars to you both! I also think something has to change, so that you and your wife have a life and have a chance to provide financially for your own future.

I don't know enough about the situation to have a feel for what should change. Why does MIL need 24-hour supervision? "Age-appropriate" memory loss (whatever that is) and needing a walker does not fully explain that. Why can't you go out for a few hours in the evening and leave her alone? My 92 year-old mother has mild cognitive impairment and needs a walker. She lives alone in a senior apartment. She gets a lot of support both from agencies and from family, but she spends large portions of each day alone. I am certainly not saying that your MIL could do that, but it would be helpful to know what impairments make it necessary for 24/7 coverage.

Would you be willing to provide some additional information about MIL's health? That might inspire some more specifically helpful responses. Can she use the bathroom on her own? Feed herself? Use a phone? Understand how to use a medical alert device?

I wish I could sound as upbeat as the most recent post on this thread but I'm more in tune with the gentleman, who along with his wife, cares for her mom. My husband and I have been taking care of my Dad for a year now. He no longer can be managed outside the home. He is too aggressive towards other people and combative with us. It really comes down to a matter of safety since he physically resists any attempts at redirection or direction of any kind really. It's the same at home too but at least I've removed almost everything in the house so that he can't hurt himself. It's overwhelming and scary since we don't have anything much financially to fall back on anymore either as a result of our choice to be his caregivers. Ultimately, I believe that even though by the end of each day I'm also at my wit's end and just about ready to send my Dad anywhere but here...I will be thankful that we chose to do this. It was the right thing to do after all. He needed care, we are his family, I am his daughter, and it wasn't feasible for anyone else in the family to do it. So, when we reach our limit, when we can't safely care for him anymore, be that physically or emotionally, then we will have to let it and him go. It will have still been the best decision. We've lost time together but we are still together [kinda amazing considering all the urine, feces, bruizes (him hitting us ;-0) and no sleep] because we made the decision to care for my Dad together. I've seen a side of my husband I never knew, and Wow! I suspect it is the same with you. Otherwise you would not have married your wife knowing she was caring for her mother! Anyway, I hate to end on a sad note but who do you think will take care of us? In the dementia unit what will they put in my hands, to keep me occupied and content, to substitute for my iPhone?

Welcome to my life. My husband & I are 61 and my 88 yr old dad lives with us. Dad also cannot be left alone he suffers from Alzheimer's, dementia, CHF & other ailments. It's been over 4 mos since my husband & I have been alone. We lost our nest egg (home) when we moved from another state to care for my dad. Have you expressed your concerns to your wife? It's VERY difficult to find that balance when you are a caregiver. But you must in order to survive. We take dad everywhere with us & include him in all our activities. We almost make time for ourselves.My husband will stay with dad while I meet a friend for coffee. I'll sit with dad while my husband spends time alone in his music studio. Caregiving is exhausting, no wonder your wife does not work on her business, she already has a job! Do not project what will happen in 10 years, accept what is happening now. My husband & I have been married for 33 years. We have no family here to help us. My sister is coming to visit tomorrow & we are planning to have a date night while she is here. You cannot change your situation, but you can change your attitude. My husband retired, we moved & 2 mos later he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He is ok now & we learned to accept each day as a gift. Please talk to your wife, make time for yourselves & vent as much as you need to!

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