I'm ashamed to admit that I am bitter! How do I not get bitter about giving up my last 5 years?

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My background...
I am 27, my husband is 33, we have a 4 year old daughter and a 75 year old grandfather. My husband and I met 5 years ago. We were the typical young couple. Only he and I in the house, we would come and go as we pleased. Shortly after meeting we found out we were expecting. About 7 months into the pregnancy we got a call from my husband's great aunt saying we had to come get his grandfather because she was over him. So we did. At the beginning it was fine having him in the house. He could be left alone while I worked, ran errands, or we had datenight. About a year later we noticed small things... name trouble, wandering, no money management at all, etc. He was never happy and I spent most of the next few years driving him from our home to his sisters. Whenever he got bored or mad he threatened to walk so I drove him to keep the peace. Fast forward to 2009. My husband took a job in Louisiana and we moved. He stayed with his sister against our wishes. Then about midnight one niht she told him she had moved his stuff into a broken down truck and we needed to get him. So we did! I noticed immediately the change. He was moody, had barely any memory, called me by my husbands ex's name, wandered, cried, lied, refused meals. All in all pretty bad. I took him to get checked out and he was givin meds that I found out he was flushing instead of taking.
We now live back in TN and its horrible! I cant work because he cant be left alone or he will walk to each neighbor and tell another story to each of them. He spent $800 of his SSI on lottery tickets that he couldnt understand to actually know if he won. He hides my computer. Refuses food. Refuses bathing. My husband works about 14 hours a day so it is mostly me with him. A week ago things got the point that I started looking for help! I got him enrolled in an elderly program but it will be 4-6 weeks until I start getting help.
My question is, how do I not get bitter about giving up my last 5 years? He is so rude and mean to me when my husband is gone but when he is here, he is different. I feel like I am raising a 4 year old and a 75 year old the only difference being, he can say screw you and walk out the door.
Maybe I will feel better after simply putting my feelings into words but I am struggling with all of this and thought maybe a group can help! Thanks in advance!

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Have to agree with most posts. Your husband needs to become involved in gramps care. I understand he doesn't want him to go to a home, but you can't and should not have to do all. Perhaps your husband needs to set up some rules like daily bath time, time outs in his room when he is rude.
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Where are grandfather-in-law's parents or are they both dead? Since, this is your husband's grandfather, he really needs to take the bull by the horn and find a nursing home for this man for his dementia is only going to get worse and worse. Does your husband or someone have durable and or medical POA for grandfather? He obviously cannot manage his own business in a business like manner and probably would be evaluated by the doctor as incompetent. That unfortunately leaves you or someone needing to get guardianship for the man for his own well being.
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Amanda,I just found this site but can definitely relate,my mom has dementia,we tried different solutions but after a stay in the hospital we finally put her in a nursing home,altho I took care of bills,etc,I never got poa so had to get guardianship of mom to make decisions for her,it has been a long nightmarish process,dont wait,get this taken care of before its too late...as to the past 5 yrs,just try to let them go,will keep you in my thoughts & prayers...
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Caregiverathome, we are still wrestling with learning how to be caregivers of my Dad. I have learned so much from my daughter's insights. She sees things with a distance and clarity which is remarkable and so useful.

I also want to echo what harpster77 said... Amanda, you haven't lost five years, even if they didn't unfold the way you imagined. Not much in life DOES! I hope you keep finding pockets of time to festered and have to yourself. I hope your husband can help the family start to draw boundaries, as it's his relative, and this guy seems to behave better around him.
There is a side benefit to your kids for this, and I want to point it out. They are learning this is a family of love in action, and unconditional love at that. Just because they are bitty doesn't mean they don't get it. Blessings to you all...including anyone reading this!
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I had to grin when I reread what I just wrote, because memories of our earliest caregiving reminds me that we thrashed around a good bit in our attempt to learn how to be a family with one of our moms living with us. It wasn't a smooth process because it was so new and no one in our family (or that we knew in those days) was familiar with family caregiving dynamics. At first, we were pretty hit-and-miss in our attempts to figure things out and deal with our stressors. I wish we'd had people to talk to who just understood what life was like and could encourage us. So hang in there, Amanda! We'll definitely encourage you and share any ideas we may have! You and your husband are not alone. ~Joan
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Amanda, I wanted to touch on the subject of having a care receiver living with your family, like your gf-i-l (gfil) lives with you and my mom lives with my family. Because it's my mom (I'm an only child, so there are no options for her to live in anyone else's home), I truly try to listen to my husband when he talks to me about his concerns or problems with having a parent live with us. Early in our marriage, my husband's mom lived with us for about a year, then moved nearby as our family grew and we needed room for our children in our small home. His mom was a near-daily part of our lives for about 20 years following. In those days, I appreciated that my husband would listen to my stressors and that we were able to work through the caregiving as a couple. A couple of times we even went to counseling together to help with our stressors as caregivers. Currently, I attend a local support group and try to implement at home the things I learn there. I talk to my husband about what I learn, what I'm trying to accomplish, and why. I also listen to our daughter when she makes observations and suggestions, as she understands our situation quite well. Bottom line, because the care receiver is my relative I try very hard to be sensitive to my own family's comments and concerns. My husband, daughter, and I have family meetings as needed about how to handle this and that with my mother, and I try to make sure they know I hear them and am trying to respond to their concerns in positive ways. There's a very fine balance when a care receiver lives with a family and not just their spouse or one child, because the whole family dynamic is affected. Open communication is one key, and working together toward solutions is another essential factor in family caregiving. It can be bumpy in the beginning as everyone gets used to the new dynamics, what their role is, what their obligations to each other are, and how to work together as a team under the circumstances. If there's a good caregiving group or a good family counselor in the area, it might really help you and your husband find the solutions you are seeking.

Blessings,
Joan
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I am not disregarding at all how difficult this must be, and the other good advice given. My post is to re-emphasize what someone else said: You have used the last five years to care for a very difficult man plus do all the other things you are responsible for. I would not call that "lost," although it certainly is not what you would have chosen for those years. You spent five years being caring, responsible, loving, supportive, helpful (to your husband and daughter as well as to your gf-i-l). That is five years of accomplishment under difficult circumstances. The day will come when you will be able to look back and be glad that you did your best to do the right thing, even though it was so difficult.
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Hubby definitely needs to step up to his preferences of "keeping him at home". I love the idea of a voice activated taperecorder.....I too have trouble getting folks (doctors included) in believing my own Dad's abusive behavior.

Power Of Attorney (POA) doesn't stop them from stupid financial tricks, but it can help you get reimbursed, or setup autopay on certain bills. My father won't let go of his house on reverse mortgage, but he can't live it in alone anymore, and won't tell the mortgage company the truth. It took me at least 6 months of digging through Dad's trash to figure out the MTG company name...and even now, they still believe Dad's lies! (a few more returned notices should help my case).

Know your limits....and stick to the boundaries. Tell your child Gramps has sicknesses that make him seem scary, but he's more scared of himself than you are. If you lived well, you can die well. Those who haven't lived have a hard time accepting death - or any loss of mobility.
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Amanda,
I've been reading your messages and feel for what you are going through. One thing to try to remember, and it isn't easy to do, is that at this stage in your husband's grandfather's dementia, it is almost impossible to have a "realistic" conversation with him. He just won't get it. He can't think through things logically, and so, unfortunately, that puts the responsibility on you and your husband to make the decisions that are best for you and for him, regardless of what he says he wants or doesn't want. Keep telling yourself you are doing your best, and don't get sucked into the guilt and resentment; that IS easy to do.
All the best to you. Keep writing-it helps.
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Excellent counsel Orange, I wish I had known this several years ago.
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