My husband passed a little over 2 weeks ago. He was only age 63, but had a myriad of chronic conditions that affected him both physically and cognitively. The last 10 months, in particular, were ... rough.

His 92-year-old father (FIL) is in "Independent" Living.

I'm still in shock over my husband's death, and miss him horribly. But life, and its necessities, go on.

My FIL has dementia. He can only move far enough to get himself in trouble. His delusions cause him to get into lots and lots of trouble.

My 2 SILs have taken to staying with him overnight, every night. Nobody's pressuring me ... but I feel I need to step up, too.

That said, the whole purpose of placement seems to have been defeated. And, to be candid ... my Inner Monster Brat does NOT want to sign up for more caregiving. My Inner Adult, however, wants me to get a grip. After all, this is not the full-time caregiving I'd been doing.

What would you do?

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Could your Inner Adult be persuaded to allow you a little more time for recovery, before you make any significant decisions?

And, besides:

If your SILs feel the need to support your FIL overnight every night, he may be in independent living but he is not living independently according to standard criteria for these facilities. His care plan needs to be reconsidered. And, so, in any case - no, I don't think you should prop up a rocky arrangement.
Helpful Answer (16)

Confounded, I'm so sorry for your very recent loss!

Your FIL's care is something that his children need to figure out. "Independent Living" is not a suitable level of care for someone with dementia.

He needs a higher level of care and the addition of a geriatric psychiatrist to his team. "Stepping up" is only going to prolong the "propping up" stage.

Please take care of yourself. And no, you're not a brat.
Helpful Answer (14)

It occurred to me several years ago that if I attempted to do everything I "really ought to be doing" I wouldn't have enough time or money to do it all. Therefore, I decided I'll just do what's at the intersection of what I WANT to do and what I CAN do, and not feel guilty about not doing anything beyond that or feel I owe anyone an explanation, excuse or apology.

I believed Confounded is absolutely within her rights to take the same approach.
Helpful Answer (13)

Take a deep breath. The last thing you need to do is worry about caring for someone else. FIL has his daughters. They will need to realize Dad needs more care. Like suggested, ask if there are errands you can run. Drop off a casserole. There are things you can do without doing the physical caring. I swore that after caring for my Mom, the only other person I would care for was my DH. It really is too soon to consider caring for another person.

So sorry for your loss.
Helpful Answer (12)

Confounded, with the level of loss you've all experienced, I kind of surprised any of you is standing upright!

I was certain moving my mom, post stroke and post broken hip and surgical repair was going to kill my mom. She thrived and lived for 4 1/2 years there!

What SILs are doing is unsustainable. Don't go there; the sooner they are forced to come up with a better solution, the better.

My mom's Independent Living facility had a geriatrician and geri-psych who had offices on site. Is anything like that available? Also, know that UTIs in elders sometimes present as behavioral disturbances, so pass that knowledge along.

Be well. (((((Hugs))))))
Helpful Answer (10)

Confounded, I'm very sorry for your recent losses. Just chiming in to observe that for nearly the past year you have been consumed with caregiving. Now that it's suddenly gone, it feels "natural" and comfortable to go right back into it. I think your most valuable contribution can be to impart what you've learned to your SILs as they help your FIL, but I think your mind and body need to grieve and rest and you need to reacquaint yourself with yourself and move forward. Helping the helpers may be the best thing for everyone, and they will surely need it. Wishing you all the best for your future!
Helpful Answer (10)

Confounded, I applaud your decision to join Team Monster Brat. The time will certainly come when you can hop on the helper train for your FIL, but not till you are ready and able, with no risk to your own health and well-being. Stick to your guns and heal yourself. You've been earning it for 10 years.
And don't feel guilty!!!
Helpful Answer (9)

Give yourself time to grieve the death of your dh.

You need time to discover what you want in life. I am sure more care giving is not high on your list of priorities right now. This does not mean you are a monster brat. It means you are looking after yourself.

Once you have rediscovered who you are as a single woman, then you can decide who you will share your time with.

A very wise woman told me the old it takes a year to grieve has been replaced by a minimum of a year, but add on one month for every year of your relationship, over 12 years. 30 years=30 months or 2.5 years to find your new normal. It was very true for me.
Helpful Answer (8)
JoAnn29 Jul 2020
Interesting Tot and makes sense.
I'm sorry for the loss of your husband. You are coping with a significant loss and your brain is screaming "no more right now." Take care of yourself and do what you want to do, not what you think you must. My husband died after a 17 month illness back in 2010, and I could barely care for myself for the first couple of years. You cannot manage someone with his level of needs. Your life counts, too.
Helpful Answer (8)

Yesterday was the first day I felt almost human since losing my DH. Today? Not so much.

My SILs are overwhelmed with FIL's care. One of them is freaking out. She doesn't pressure me, but her pain does reach me.

I love them all, but now I realize it's too early for me to take on a new "client." Especially one with deep cognitive deficits.

Although the past 10 months with my husband were the most difficult, I've had to "think for two" - at least to some degree - since his first stroke in 2011.

Time to start thinking for one ... and frankly, I no longer know how (if I ever really did).

I will support them as best I can ... but ... I do believe I've joined Team Monster Brat.

Many thanks to you all!
Helpful Answer (7)
jacobsonbob Jul 2020
"Team Monster Brat"--I believe that would make a great title for a new series of action movies!
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