Caregiving to husband and MIL. Any advice?


My husband had a stroke last May and I had to quit my job to be with him. Now his mother needs care and my husband is the Agent for Financial and Healthcare for her. She fights us every step of the way. My husband has had me doing all of the work on his behalf. However, I can't care properly for 2 people. Hubby's doctor just informed him that he absolutely shouldn't be his mom's Guardian and that I absolutely can not be a CareGiver for two people. MIL has Dementia, early stages. Hubby is suspected to have early stages of Dementia from his stroke last year. I cannot mentally or physically do both. MIL lives in an apartment 20 minutes away.



Thank you rocketjcat, we did all of that in 2012 before he was ill. We set up an estate, did the POA papers and Living Wills. We keep an open conversation going with our children...his and mine to keep them updated on his/my medical and health status.
Unlike Hubby's mom, we are very open with the kids.
I think that was the hardest ... yet best thing we ever did for our kids!
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to Val3rie

If you believe your husband is in the beginning stages of dementia, while you’re at the attorney make sure you have all paperwork regarding your husband, medical directives, will and possible POA, up to date while he is of sound mind, if you haven’t already. It will make things easier later on.
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Reply to rocketjcat

Val; kudos to you and your husband for your good planning.

MIL will have a public guardian who will look out for her interests. You can visit from time to time, but please don't wear yourself out. She made her choices.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

I'm so glad you can recognize your limitations and that the doctor has backed you up! Of course you can't take care of two people. No one can. But people try and they run themselves into the ground and it destroys their life.

It seems that MIL will have to move into an assisted facility or nursing home. The problem will be how to get her there. Since you said that she fights you every step of the way I wouldn't count on her to be amenable to this solution. You can discuss it with her, hope that she sees the logic in it, but don't count on that. You may be in a situation where you'll have to wait until she has a fall or an illness and needs to go to the ER. Once in the ER you can summon a social worker and get the ball rolling for MIL to move into another place. If she won't go looking at places with you, go alone. Pick out something you think she'd like. But when the time comes, be ready with a destination for MIL.

While you didn't say, I'm assuming that you go over to MIL's on a regular basis to take care of things for her. You don't have to do that. Your energies are better spent caring for your husband. If MIL needs that much help she can hire caregivers. Offer to help her. But continue to cut back the time you spend assisting her.

Get in touch with the attorney who handled the guardianship. Find out what you and your husband have to do to have it revoked. Is there someone else willing to be MIL's guardian? Another sibling? But not you!
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Reply to Eyerishlass

“Never” can be a very long time. It can also be a very changed thing. People who say they’ll never move or never be in a nursing home really are in denial or have no clue what all could possibly come their way. Sounds like you’ve done a great job meeting with social worker and getting services started. I’m glad you’ve made hubby your priority and wish you the best in his care
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Reply to Daughterof1930

Update. I just met with the County Social worker. Because of the dementia diagnosis, she will be able to get some assistance through the county Dementia/ALZ program. Right now MIL agreed to a Medi Alert bracelet and 4 hrs a week with Helping Hands. MIL refused to pay for any in home service if it is out of pocket.
The county has some money allocated for this program, far we are trying to set things up.
MIL has stated that she will never move until she is dead. Ohhhkay.

I have had to cut back on time with MIL as I also run our farm and it is spring time.
I have set up an appointment to go back to the attorney who did handle the original paperwork. She will file guardianship papers for us through a third party.

MIL 'knows' there is nothing wrong with her and that she is just fine 'thank you so much!'

SIL sent us a letter of resignation and my husband will have to resign also.
MIL has requested to have a 'competency' test.
She has great days and terrible days, just like my husband.

My husband is a veteran with disabilities along with COPD, post cancer, and post stroke. His VA doctors feel he has lost a bit of capacity for cognitive thinking. This is the reason I cannot manage his mother and him at the same time.

I hate to say it, but MIL may have to come under that 3rd party Guardianship.

I am not looking forward to that conversation.
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Reply to Val3rie

I just watched my Mom die after 9 years of caring for her in our home. She had done her work on her Advance Directive and that was hugely helpful. However, her final weeks were in a care home, with an admission to the hospital while I was away from the facility despite her DNR, followed by hospice care on her return when we should have started it before they sent her to the hospital. Of course, it was all very draining, but the MOST draining was knowing that I let circumstances take over and rob Mom and me of the quiet and peaceful dying process we had worked toward together. It wasn’t totally wrong, but it wasn’t nearly right either. And Mom had a traumatizing hospital stay and we ended up with almost $1000 of costs her insurance declines to pay - costs that never should have been incurred because of her DNR. Apparently ours was an out-of-hospital DNR (which i thought included the nursing home), but they insisted that was reason enough for them to have to cover their own butts by sending her to the hospital despite the fact that Mom’s intention, plan and desire was quite clearly NOT to go. So 2 points to this rant - (1) no matter how well we plan, if we step out for a minute others may take over in ways that are infuriating; and (2) I sometimes wonder if Mom would have been better off without my intervention. She was found on the floor of her apartment, unconscious for 3 days 10 years ago. Had she had a DNR then, she could have just peacefully transitioned into the afterlife. Instead, ambulances were called, resuscitation was provided, she spent time in rehab and was never again able to live independently, which had always been SO VERY important to her. It sounds heartless, but is anything but, when I speculate, “would she have been happier ‘not leaving her home until she died there’?” Do we sometimes need to hear what they are begging for — “I’d rather die here at home than lose my independence”. Do we really do all of this for them, or do we do it for us? Sorry if this is a downer, but I’ve been wrestling with these things for the 2 months since Mom’s death, hoping I can find a way to make it easier for my son if we reach a point where he has to make decisions about me. How do we continue to hold life sacred while simultaneously having some standards about the quality of life our interventions will actually be able to offer? Bottom line, I haven’t found any right or wrong answers - only a series of frustrating paradoxes. But I think I would prefer to die quietly in my own home and be discovered after I’m gone to all the frustrations (and even the happier times) we put Mom through for those last 9 years of her life. I’ve just turned 70 and while I probably have another 30 years in me, I’m also at a point where death would not really be such a disappointment to me. Particularly since my husband was just diagnosed with mild cognitive decline, and it looks like I’m back on that path. It’s true, aging is no place for sissies!
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Reply to lindabf

Since you got State agencies involved, it’s out of your hands. I would back off. Plus she has a daughter. Nor would I talk with your husband about his mother. Outside stress triggers dementia to move forward. One lady I spoke with had help coming in to the house for her husband. That triggered him. He wanted no part of strangers in his house! He got combative. Stress of any kind can put them into a place they might not come back from.

If you have telephone conversations about Mom, don’t let your husband hear them. Backing off from Mom’s needs is the right thing to do.
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Reply to Rosemary44

I’m curious why did SIL resign? Is she not able to provide care?
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Reply to Harpcat

NO, you cannot do it all.

When I was attending my DH and my Dad, i moved Dad onto the property. Even 3 miles away was putting a strain on me. Back then, my DH was in good condition so it was easier to help my father.

You are only one person and we just don't stretch that far.
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Reply to RayLinStephens

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