Anyone else ready to run away?


I have talked to a few of you and long story short my MIL has vascular dementia. I have 3 kids a wonderful hubby. We have a family business and it takes up a lot of husbands, brother in law and FIL time. 3-4 days a week (today being one of them) I'm home with MIL (live right next door) my oldest two are in school til 330 and have 18 month old with me at all times. Its only 11 am and I have already cleaned up yes, coffee, pee and poop out of the floor! I have cried and ready to run away. its very stressful when trying to keep the two separated ( son likes to play but MIL thinks he is trying to hurt/hit her) and when trying to clean her up which I have to do often my son cries because I leave the room for her to hear the instructions I'm giving. If its not quiet its more confusing. I'm stressed to the max. Hubby and FIL are at our business and BIL says he has stuff to do. Well so do I! My house is up side down, I have laundry, dishes, bathrooms All have been neglected this week because of crazy schedule. How much more can a body take. And I'm not sure how much more I can man up and take it. People tell me to tell THEM to help. Its hard when there running a business and BIL has "other" stuff to do. I'm the one in the middle. What's going to happen when I loose it and leave. I hate being that way but I don't know if I can take being ran over much longer. I feel used!

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"Taking care of business" and "working" are code words for avoiding the problem. Don't you DARE let your hubs & FIL off the hook that way. That is helping them avoid their responsibilities, which is nice and convenient. When something inevitably happens to YOU (back injury, nervous breakdown, hospitalization) are Husband & FIL going to keep "going into work"? You have to go into work every day too - it's called child rearing and it is FULL FLIPPING TIME work. I have seen men do this for the 20 years I've been in corporate America and it makes me angry. Why do they get a hall pass because of "business"? It's avoiding a non-preferred activity, assuming that us women-folk don't mind. Well we do.

They have you mistaken for a skilled nurse, housekeeper, personal attendant, medication nurse, activity coordinator, kitchen prep, meal delivery, and housekeeping. These are all full time jobs people get paid for at the NH. And they get to go home at the end of their shift! Where is your relief?

Hubs & FIL don't know what to do or where to start. I'm cynical, so I wouldn't count on them for support, help, guidance, or anything else that will help you out. If they could, they would be doing that already.

YOU have to call in the troops, step out of the way, and stop assigning yourself to these tasks. Oh there's nobody to do it but you? Yes there is. You have to call them. The doctor can write orders for in-home care. The doctor can have a strong talk with dad & hubs that mom needs 24/7 supervision and it can't be you. Call mom's doctor and request a phone call with him/her where you can explain your crisis. Use the word CRISIS.

Call the county agency on aging and say that you are in crisis - this is a real crisis by the way - and say that you can no longer provide care due to exhaustion and your own young children. You need a social worker STAT. Don't talk yourself out of it. Don't talk it down or diminish it. As women we naturally want to look brave, suck it up, and handle everything. Stop doing that or you won't get help.

With dementia, look ahead and plan the next step beyond in-home care. At some point that won't be the right answer any more, and you don't want to wait until the next crisis to start figuring it out. This means touring facilities. FIL & Hubs need to figure out the financials or make you power of attorney to do it. I would refuse to though. This is where they can actually help out - with the money and paperwork.

So many people come here and want change and help but won't get out of the way so it can happen. Things may have to get worse for your MIL before they get better, so STOP running in to rescue. If she stinks, FIL needs to figure out how to get a personal attendant in there to do bathing and hygiene tasks.
Helpful Answer (11)

I was ready to walk out of the house and leave my 2 bedridden parents alone. I was going to pack up, walk to my oldest brother who lives just next door (land given to him by dad and used that land to build a house and a 2 story duplex apartment) and tell him that I quit and you take over. Older sis told me that as my parents' caregiver, by walking away, I would get in trouble for elder abuse / negligence. So, I stayed put and decided that death was the only way out.

Since you cannot get help from the family, then it's time to have a family meeting and discuss hiring a part-time caregiver for one or two days a week so that you can have 'off' days to do your personal stuff. Yes, their business might be struggling, but so are you.

FYI, they ARE using you! You are the FREE babysitter. Therefore, insist on getting days off from caregiving. If they refuse, can you go on strike? So that they all learn what you go through? I'm sorry, but I've read this same scenario over and over on this site. You may want to try hopping around and see what others have done.

One poster finally got fed up after her husband refused to take her seriously. She packed up, took their young son and went back home to her relatives. Hubby got angry, gave her ultimatums, she refused. Then he started begging her to come back, the guilt trips. She refused. After a month without her, hubby, grown up daughter and SIL finally saw what she did for her husband's mother. Both hubby and SIL found an NH (nursing home) for their mother, and she moved back in with hubby.
Helpful Answer (9)

FIL *does* want help, Kristi (sorry to contradict you so flatly). The thing is, he expects you to provide the help, free gratis and for nothing; and the upshot of that is that the costs all fall on you. No such thing as a free lunch; no such thing as free home assistance, either.

So the principle is established: to care for his wife, FIL requires help. The next question is, where is that help to come from? The current situation is that it all comes from you. That is not acceptable; that is what you need to change; and it is indeed up to you to identify alternative resources and get them tapped into.

Although, actually, it isn't your responsibility to do that - it's your husband's and his brother's - but it is in your best interests. Research local options, get them round the kitchen table, formally hand the problem over to them and wash your hands of it. It's one thing to take your fair share, another to be taken for granted as the family's bottle washer, granny minder and general factotum. Enough's enough.
Helpful Answer (8)

I remember your previous post. Nothing is going to change if you don't change it. You can't run away because you have kids but there must be some options that would help you. I think I suggested the last time that you look into hiring a caregiver for your MIL. A few hours a day or a few hours a week. Your husband and your in-laws are doing what they have to do (running their business) and now you have to do what you have to do.

Taking care of kids and taking care of your MIL isn't possible to do all at the same time. Someone is going to get the short end of the stick. Maybe your kids. Definitely you. You need to make a change.

This is a great place to vent and you'll always find support here but how many times can you vent about the same thing and continue to not make any changes to improve your situation? And I agree, you are being used. And taken advantage of. No one....NO ONE....should have an 18-month-old baby on one hip and a MIL with dementia on the other hip. You have to abandon one to care for the other and every day you have to make decisions on who comes first, your baby or your MIL.

And none of what I've written has included anything about how you are managing all of this. Can you really manage all of this? I don't think so. I don't think anyone could or should.

Where is your breaking point? At what point do you have to reach before you make a change?
Helpful Answer (7)

Good advice above - there are many organisations which can point you in the right direction to get more help and support with your MIL. So now for a mischievous suggestion: how about 'twisting your ankle' and going to bed under doctor's orders for a week. The men of your family are doing what men traditionally do: imagine that family stuff is a walk in the park. Seriously: they are busy, true, but the point is that they think they are busy and you are not. Not really busy. Not with anything important. Then something happens that means they have to mind the baby/get the kids to school/look after granny for ONE DAY and their change of attitude is a wonder to behold.

It's a matter of education. They don't understand how much pressure you're under, not because they don't care but because they are clueless. Have fun planning a little lesson for them :)
Helpful Answer (7)

You are going to have to learn the word, "NO!" You are spread way too thin, and you will end up having the disease or heart attack if you do not learn to say no, help yourselves. God helps those who help themselves. Help yourself sister caregiver!
Helpful Answer (7)

I'm always AMAZED that so many women look after their husband's parents. And -- with all due respect to the wonderful men who are caring for their wives -- it's usually women, isn't it, who do the majority of the caregiving.

I don't give a hoot that my in-laws are "family". They are, thankfully, healthy. But if they weren't, I would NEVER make it my 24/7 job to change their diaper, feed them, or argue with them about their distorted version of reality. Especially at the expense of my relationship with my own family. I guess your husband's family thinks, "She's already at home with the baby. She can keep an eye on Mom."

You need to put your foot down. No, really. You're not doing your own kids any favours by being so worn down by the MIL. Because the other people in your family behave like ostriches with their head in the sand (yes, your husband is included in this tirade), you'll probably have to look into a couple of options for them: at home care, adult day care or, better yet, a retirement/nursing home. Then, after you've given your husband (and/or the rest of his family) these options, drop the mic. Boom! Out! Seriously. Tell them you've had ENOUGH, and you can't do it for one minute more. The ball will be in their court. Do it.
Helpful Answer (6)

Kristi, show the men folk these comments. Then say, "I'm giving notice".
Helpful Answer (6)

kristi27, do you anyone who personally had items stolen from the house from a professionally trained Caregiver? Guess this stereotype goes into the same column as any professional who comes into one's home who one might think they will steal you blind, like the nurse, the housekeeper, the painter, the electrician, the plumber, the carpet cleaner, next door neighbor, kid's friends, kid's friends' parents, etc. Shall we put a moat around the house and add a dozen security cameras. Oops, got to be careful about the guys that install the security cameras.... [sigh]

This so much sounds like my parents, they don't even trust the mailman so they have their mail delivered to a post office box.... hmmm, wonder who puts the mail in that post office if not a mailman???
Helpful Answer (6)

Kristi, no one is telling you to leave your husband. We are telling you BOTH to leave, along with your children, a situation which has become unsafr, for mil and for your children. You are enabling your FIL ' S denial and/depression. It seems to me, that because mil ' s doc assumes she is being cared for, you need to let him know in the strongest possible terms that you are no longer able to care for her ( you as in you AND HUBBY; please detail for the doc or her incontinence, lack of recognition of family members and the like. These are symptoms, not complaints. You need to emphasize to the doc or that her needs are beyond what you can cope with and that the feces strewn environment is unsafe for your baby. Don't worry about the confidentiality piece. You can tell the doctor any information YOU have, he just can't tell you anything. Please do this tomorrow. And keep in touch here, you need to do this for mother in laws dignity and comfort.
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