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My in-laws are great. They've always taken care of everyone else and are the most generous people I know. But, when it comes to taking care of themselves and their health, they are literally like children. My husband and I don't understand how they can think/do/not do the things they do. They both have serious health problems and they won't accept help and rarely discuss things with us.

What little we do know is that she is down to about 30% of one kidney. She still smokes and drinks soda every day. She's severely obese. She rarely gets out of bed and never leaves the house. She has had several kidney surgeries and it usually takes much longer than normal to recover. She was supposed to have followed up with a surgeon at least 8 months ago and refuses to go to him or any other doctor. She has severe anxiety issues and has been hospitalized a couple of times in the past year for panic attacks and vertigo. She has basically given up and we think she's just trying to speed up her death at this point. She's afraid of surgery and afraid of having to go on dialysis. I guess she thinks death would be a better quality of life. To my husband and I, it makes no sense. He's an only child and the stress of dealing with them is already causing him anxiety issues. He's more than happy to help and more than happy to do whatever it takes, but they simply won't let us.

His dad is a Vietnam Vet. He has severe PTSD, so much so that he has to sleep in a different room by himself, because he has "attacks" in the middle of the night that cause him to lash out violently. He speaks/yells Vietnamese in his sleep and can't remember a single word of it when he's awake. He's dealt with Agent Orange and all of the issues that came along with that. He's had 3 heart attacks, 2 triple bypasses and a stint put in his heart. He is on several medications for all of this. He goes to his doctor appointments, but insists on dealing with all of it 100% on his own. He doesn't retain much of what the doctors tell him or ask him. So, he's not able to do the things he needs to do to stay healthy. He also recently had all of his teeth pulled and the VA is making him wait 6 months to get dentures…so he's on a restricted diet because of that. He's been eating crap for a month now: jello, ice cream, pudding and maybe some tomato soup if we're lucky. He won't let us call the dentist at the VA to try and move his appointment for his dentures up. He won't call either and he just accepts whatever he tells them and doesn't think about asking any questions or pushing back at all. They most likely don't know about all of his heart issues, so they don't understand that he can't be on such a restricted diet.

She's 60 and he's 62, very young. But, they have both seemingly resigned themselves to just dying. It's frustrating to us because of how selfish they're being. My husband has no other family and is close with his parents. Yet, they refuse to think of how watching his parents do this to themselves is affecting him. They do have a warped logic though, that they need to take care of all of their final expenses, so we don't have to, and call to tell him about this often. It's like all they think is that they just need to hurry up and kick the bucket so they can get out of our hair. Obviously this is not what we want or are hoping for.

Any tips on how to get them to see the bigger picture and that what they're doing/not doing is affecting far more than just them?

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This is very sad. They are so young!

I think you are right, though. They know what they are doing. And it is their choice. They do have other options. They have a son and daughter-in-law willing to help. They are eligible for aid. They could take advantage of medical advice. The simply choose not to. Sad.

Have you expressed to them your honest thoughts? Has your husband explained how worried he is that they are shortening their lives and how much he would miss them? They don't want to be a burden to you ... at least make sure they know what an emotional burden their current behavior is. They have a right to know what the consequences are for you. And then they also have the right to make their own decisions.
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We were barely able to talk them into a yard guy a couple of summers ago and we all live in Phoenix where temps exceed 120 during the summer. The yard guy lasted one summer and we paid for him.

It's not so much the getting them help around the house that I'm concerned about though. We help them as much as possible and when they'll let us. It's getting them to take care of themselves. They're smart. They know that eating crap, smoking and drinking soda all day is bad for them. They know that they should go to their doctors and do what the doctors suggest. But they just won't. Most areas of their life are great, except their health and that's a direct result of how they take care of their bodies.
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Both of them are eligible for VA Aid & Attendance if they don't have much in the way of assets. That would get some home care for them. I'm 62 and I think a housekeeper once a week would be lovely. You start with once a week and then increase it as they need it.
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