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She has three able bodied sons close by, (my husband included) no daughters, and a mildly incapacitated husband. She is 86, her husband is 87. They do not have means generally nor to pay for care services, will NOT tolerate putting her into a nursing home under Medicaid under ANY circumstances, and so dad and sons elected for family care in the family home upon discharge from the hospital following a recent terminal diagnosis (Lung Cancer Stage 4) where no additional medical intervention was advised or could be tolerated they said; she was basically kicked out of the hospital as not deemed fatal within 6 days to qualify for inpatient hospice stay. Estimates of her mortality range from 1 week to 6 months. She is now covered under Medicare "level 1" Home Hospice (which means a nurse 2 x per week and an aide 3 x per week, both for an hour or less each visit ) for the time being, which still leaves a lot of care responsibilities to the family. A prior mild stroke 6 months ago and various other health issues have left her incontinent for some time even before this diagnosis. Recent additional issues (including partially collapsed lung, etc) have now also left her bed ridden with the incontinence. She is regularly needing a diaper change in bed for urine or feces as she is eating pretty well and otherwise doing pretty good at this time!


The boys are dividing 12-14 hours a day "on call" in the home to help their mom and dad. The 2 other daughters in law are also pitching in with diaper duty when visiting. I am not willing or comfortable with the diaper duty, have requested to help in ANY other way at the home ( shopping, cooking, serving, cleaning, etc) but am definitely feeling judged as unloving/uncaring because of my boundary regarding her most personal need. Am I wrong to resist diaper duty? Wrong to resent my husband for also expecting this help? Or is my husband/inlaw family wrong to expect it and equate this resistance with a lack of affection for her or them on my part? Please don't tell me " it gets easier".....I did it for my own own mother at her end of life, but this is not my mother and she has her own children.

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I do not think the family should expect you to change dirty diapers. No you are not wrong to resist such a personal task. I taker care of my 98 year old mother and have no problem changing her or anything else for that matter but I certainly would not want to change another persons dirty diaper other than my own family. You are being kind to offer to help in other ways. Sick to your guns and refuse.
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Missawanna Jan 8, 2021
oh thank you EB! I do so WISH I could feel differently, and maybe I will before this is over, but right now I am so stressed out at the expectation, which horrifies me, I can hardly sleep. Your answer will help me get some rest. Peace and blessings to you.
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If her husband and children have determined that they will only accept home care, then it is on THEM to provide the care. They should not and cannot force you to comply with THEIR wishes.

You are not a bad person, nor a bad daughter in law. You are allowed to set boundaries for yourself about what you are willing to do.

Anyone who tells you differently is just plain wrong.
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Missawanna Jan 9, 2021
Barb, thank you thank you most sincerely for your response. All of the profuse thanks I have expressed to all other responses apply to you. Everyone is helping me to accept that I am still a child of God, a good person, with a good heart, and will continue to offer to do all that I can abide. I am, and it is, good enough. Everyone needs to feel this way and find their own way accordingly. But oh, self doubt is a powerful thing -- and so is good old catholic girl guilt, which I have PLENTY enough of to last a lifetime!!!
Peace and blessings.
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I am a Nurse Practitioner. Before becoming a NP I was an RN...and cleaned and changed patients’ diapers. However, I would not feel comfortable doing the same for my in-laws or parents. My in-laws have an adult daughter who refuses to give any physical card to her father. My father was physically, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abuse. My mother was complicit in her silence and acquiescing to my father, rather than protecting me. My siblings are aware of this, and support my objections. I find it hypocritical that family members expect a female member to care for incontinent families members, and give a free pass to themselves. Do NOT feel guilty. Just say, “NO!” Suggest admitting her to assisted living or skilled nursing facility. If necessary, have all siblings split the cost. Demand your husband support you. You ABSOLUTELY have every right to refuse doing anything that is offensive to you. Stand your ground...call their bluff... do not change your MIL’s diapers and do NOT allow these selfish family members to project their guilt on you.
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BurntCaregiver Jan 13, 2021
Absolutely right Conflicted55. It always falls on women to do the dirty and disgusting work of caregiving the diaper changing, feeding, and washing. Saying no is not wrong or selfish.
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The family is in the wrong here, for forcing MILs care on everyone rather than hiring caregivers at this stage of the woman's life. Penny pinching is an ugly thing. Please don't blame yourself for refusing to do it. I could never....I don't have the stomach for it nor will I apologize, either.
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Missawanna Jan 9, 2021
Thank you lealonnie.......we are of like ilk. I thank GOD there are those in this world who have a "calling" for this caring. I told my husband, I never in my life had any urge to be one of them. Peace, thanks and blessings to you.
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My daughter is a nurse and she told me she will not be wiping my butt. I think toileting was the worst thing I had to do for my Mom. Really, I didn't enjoy bathing her either. Just such a loss of dignity. When she went to an AL, I always allowed the aides to do it. I would even tell them when she needed a change. She was paying big bucks to have the care. And while I had Mom, she went on the toilet. Don't know what I would have done if I had to change her while in a bed.

No, ur a daughter in law. I don't feel that is your responsibility. And if your not comfortable with it don't do it. As said a catheter can be inserted.

I think doing what your willing to do is enough.
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Missawanna Jan 9, 2021
Thank you JoAnn29 for your kindness and sharing and response. Every thanks I have sincerely given to every response applies in kind to you. I thank GOD for guiding me to this forum and am looking into how I can support it, if not from a caregiver perspective, than financially or some other way. What a lifeline for those of us drowning in our own self doubt!
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Well, if you're wrong then I was doubly wrong, because changing diapers was the one thing I was not willing to do for my own mom, never mind MIL.

Look, we each have our own "no more" points when it comes to caregiving. Mine was "diaper duty". It was also washing mom's "private areas" when I gave her a shower. I would do everything else, but she was responsible for her hygiene "down there". It was just not something I was comfortable doing. And it wasn't the "eww, gross" factor; I cleaned up after enough accidents that she had. I think it was the knowledge that by doing that aspect of caregiving, then the parent/child dynamic would have been irrevocably changed, a change I fought against tooth and nail.

Now, in your situation, what I don't get is if you're showing a "lack of affection" towards you MIL by refusing to change diapers, what does that say about her sons who, I am assuming, aren't willing to take up that aspect of caring for mom? And if the sons ARE doing diaper duty normally, but then foisting it off on their wives when they happen to be around, well - that's just wrong on so many levels. I think this is more about 3 brothers comparing what their wives are willing - and NOT willing - to do for THEIR mother.

Stick to your guns, you don't have to prove your love for MIL to anyone.
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Missawanna Jan 9, 2021
Oh notgoodenough, I so appreciate your sage experience and advice and perspective. You are so totally are hitting the nail on the head. The boys ARE doing diaper duty but when the wives visit to pay respects or keep their men company there is this pervasive tension in the air of "you are an equal part of the family" ( see my other comments below) by the boys (AND actually the dad especially) and being "honored" by the other 2 DIL's of the clan......This family is VERY old fashioned also, and I DO feel there is misogyny at play, with the men ( boys and dad) feeling this is "natural women's work" (since we all changed our own baby's diapers! TOTALLY DIFFERENT).........I do think I have disappointed my husband, and I think you are totally right I am also being "stacked up" against the other 2 DIL's by the boys AND frankly their wives (who I feel enjoy making me look like the black sheep of the clan again, as I have always been). I told my husband right at the start " I'll take my demerits, I am not going to do this. I will do anything else." But nothing else seems to matter to them, not my baking/cooking or offers to help in every other way.
From all of you, I feel better accepting that " so be it." Thank you thank you for reading, responding and listening. It has made all the difference to my aching heart <3
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Please don't feel bad about stating your care limitations. Changing a baby's diaper is one thing...and an adult's is truly another. I realize other people may see this differently and that is fine for them. I have cleaned up my dad's adult accidents and managed disposing of his briefs. It was difficult for me. I cannot put myself in that situation again on down the road with others. You're not alone.
Warmly,
Sunny
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You are not wrong. Don't let anyone make you feel bad or guilty.

Diapers/bathing was the line in the sand for me with own mother. Actually, a line in concrete!

BTW, I don't want my kids or even my husband to change my diapers if I'm unfortunate enough to need them.
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Missawanna Jan 9, 2021
Mollymoose, yesyesyes. This issue prompted me to speak to my only child ( a son, now 25) to emphasize I will do all within my power to have funds and resources available to hire professional help for diaper duty if/when my or my husband's time should come! Or perhaps he will be lucky enough in his worklife to muster the same for us on his own. My parents always emphasized the same to me as I was growing up, and DID. When my mom ended up bedridden in a 24/7 skilled care center at her end of life for 18 months, we used over $100,000 per year of her savings for her care. I DID change or assist on diapers, only very infrequently when the skilled care would not respond soon enough for my liking or only 1 aide was available, etc. I was thankful beyond measure we could oversee her care daily but did not have diaper duty as a regular chore. Thank you my momma in heaven!!!! And thank you mollymoose, we are "muy simpatico" on this issue.
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NO WAY are you responsible to change your MILs diaper....and you certainly are not a bad person....i dont blame you for stating the fact that you cannot provide this service for ur MIL. Dont allow them to try to guilt you into this either....you have offered to help in many other ways...
please take care of yourself and the other family members need to do the same. Our elders sometimes are so dang stubborn about not wanting to go in to nursing home....at least now you have hospice, and they can provide service to you too...ask to speak wth social worker or chaplain....or you might want to talk to a therapist, they can give you answers that you can apply and just hang in there......all the caregivers on this forum have walked this path, some for 20 years., they will provide you with heartfelt compassion and empathy. Liz
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Missawanna Jan 9, 2021
cherokeegrrl54, I am sure feeling the heartfelt compassion and empathy and thanking GOD I somehow stumbled on this forum and received such quick and caring responses like yours. My aching heart is mending because of all of you. Bless you and keep well.
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Oh good heavens! You are NOT a bad DIL! The fact that these people would expect that of you speaks volumes about them. Everyone’s expectations are out of whack there. I feel bad because my husband fixes breakfast for my mother who lives with us and he takes care of her cat while I do all the ‘not nice’ things for my mom and still have to work full time from home (he’s retired).
People should only do what they are comfortable with, if that. Resentment can build if family is pushed. Expectations need to be leveled. God bless you for posting here.
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