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My 93 year old father-in-law (FIL) lives with us, as he fell on Christmas Eve and my husband had to leave the family on Christmas Day, 7 months ago now, to get him from the hospital. My FIL does not remember the fall and subsequent hospitalization and time in AL respite care while he recovered. No other family members will help. I cared for my MIL 2 years ago for several months before she passed away because my BIL and his wife would do nothing to help her, though they were freeloading in my in-law's house.

My problem now is that I need to have surgery on my foot and will be laid up for at least a month and my FIL is becoming more of a problem. He will not change his Depends more than once a day and yesterday there was a horrendous mess and stench in the guest room where he is staying because of a bad leakage. I spent a lot of time cleaning it up. He also does things like going through my kitchen drawers to find something to use as a tool, though I have asked him not to do this. I cannot get my husband to understand that I cannot care for his father, feel like my life now revolves around my FIL as I have to watch him and care for him while my husband is at work. I role my husband that there is no way I can care for my FIL while recovering from surgery. I'm not sure I can take care of myself even, as my doctor has said I will be in a cast and in a lot of pain. My daughter is getting married in a few months and I am helping to plan the wedding as well.

When my FIL was in AL he would not cooperate with the staff, refused to bathe for weeks, complained constantly and kept asking to get out of there. I feel burned out and depressed. My husband wants my FIL to continue living with us and I want him to go to AL. My husband will not force My FIL, though he definitely has cognitive decline and memory loss. I am feeling desperate. How do I convince my husband that I really need to have someone else care for my FIL so I can have my life back and recover form surgery? I get angry at him because he doesn't seem to care what it does to me. He only seem to care about his father, though I wind up doing most of the work. Please help.

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Bess, please find yourself a therapist. You need help in standing up for yourself and practise in saying no to your family, who seem to think that you're a doormat. I would give husband exactly one chance to make this right. Are you waiting for FIL to burn down your home?
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Mom can live at high altitudes with the help of portable oxygen. That is a cop out for that sibling taking her.
My concern is your husband's lack of consideration for your feelings. Has he always been this way? As long as he isn't inconvenienced, things are great for him. When he gets hit with the full time care, it would be different. Can he take FMLA when you have your foot operated on? Just for a few weeks until you get better. That will be a healthy dose of reality for him. He will see just how much care his dad requires. Put your foot down NOW. If you don't, this situation will only get worse, not better.
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You are all right. I need to stand up for myself a bit better. I had not considered that she might sneak in smoking despite the rules. And thank you Freqflyer, I had not considered Medicaid either. Maybe I can find my mother a place in Texas to live with the help of Medicaid. That might also help keep from bankrupting us so we can retire someday as well. I will start looking into AL places for my FIL and talk to my husband about moving him there. Thank you all so much for your support.
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I think that freqflyer is right about your mom and her smoking. Smokers often don't follow the house rules. We invited my MIL to visit for a few days when our first child (her first grandchild) was born under the stipulation that she only smoke outside, not in the house with the newborn baby. This was in July so weather was not a factor. The first morning she got up and went into the bathroom. Moments later I could smell the smoke and see it curling under the door. It was the last time we invited her for an overnight stay. I feel that she chose cigarettes over the health of her grandchild. Secondhand smoke is bad for everyone and especially bad for your daughters with asthma. Why would you jeopardize the health of your daughters in favor of your mother's choices? Start looking for some kind of subsidized senior housing for your mother.
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You are not going to be able and should not even be asked to try to recover from surgery and take care of FIL at the same time. He sounds like he is total care - probably at a skilled nursing rather than assisted living level. One person really can't do that 24-7 even in the best of health. Hubby's denial, which is facilitated by having someone else do all or nearly all the work, needs to come to a screeching halt. He gets home came arranged or you lack your things and kiss him goodbye until the necessary change is made. Consider a marriage counseling session or two; possibly a third party could give it your husband straight and then help him with his grief and distress.
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BES997, oh my gosh, because you were able to purchase a home that has more than enough bedrooms you are then chosen to become the Caregiver.... that isn't fair at all. What if you and hubby decide to downsize once your daughter leaves home?

Sad that your mother refuses to quit smoking.... I hate to be this blunt, I apologize if it comes across that way and to all the smokers out there, this is reality if your Mom does move in with you the smoke smell will still be in your home even if Mom smokes outside as it will follow your Mom back into the house.... on her clothes.... in her hair.... from her lungs when she exhales.... and out her pores.... all her closets will smell like smoke... the sheets and bedspread will smell like smoke.... inside of all the dresser drawers.... and inside your car.

And some day your Mom will no longer be able to go outside to smoke and she will ask to smoke in her room, and every time she opens the bedroom door that smell will go out into the hallway and into the air intake vents, thus everyone who walks through your door will notice there is a smoker in the house.

My significant other's late wife passed at 53 from COPD, and everything in his home smelled like smoke. It is so sad as smoking is a "choice".

Your Mom might have to decide to enroll in Medicaid to find an alternate place to live. I am not sure what the rules would be regarding smoking in independent/assistant living. They probably are all "smoke free".
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@ freqflyer:

My brothers live with their wives and children in small apartments in Los Angeles, as they can not afford any more, so there is no room for my mother there, and my sister lives in Denver, which is at a high altitude and she does not think that my mother could live there with her respiratory problems. My mother is a smoker and we suspect that she has COPD and/or emphysema due to her smoking. That is why my siblings have told me that we have to take care of her, as we have a larger house with a guest room. I wish I could find an alternative, but I haven't yet. My mother does not have any money for assisted living. She lives on her Social Security income and just barely makes it as it is. I don't want her smoking in our house as I have two daughters with asthma, and the youngest is still living with us. Also, my husband and I do not like cigarette smoke. We know it is bad for our health as well as hers, but she will not quit. If something happens to her so that she can not live on her own, I am hoping I can make the case that my FIL has to go to AL to make room for my mother. I hope I can convince her to smoke on the patio and not in the house.

I really do not look forward to the next few years taking care of elderly parents. It really seems like they get all the advantages and I just get all the work. I wind up feeling very resentful that they did not plan their retirement better.
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Your situation is very similar to my mom. Fortunate for her, her FIL (my grandpa) lives in his own apartment with my dad and she can stay in her house for most of the time. When my mom feels burnt out, she sometimes goes to live with her sister in a different city for a while. If you have siblings, you certainly can run away for a few days. Hiring a nanny to help doing the cleaning will help a lot.
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BES997, why did your brothers and sister appoint you to be the future Caregiver of your mother? Good heavens, how I hate it when other family members assume since you are caring for your father-in-law, that you could also be Mom's caregiver. You are right, you won't have anything left to give to your Mom. Other arrangements will need to be made when the time comes.
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Thank you all for the responses. You have given me some courage to stand up for myself and do what I need to do to keep from going insane or collapsing from exhaustion. I thought that maybe I was in the wrong, and should just buck up. I was really concerned that, as my FIL god downhill, I was going to go under. I know that I still have to take care of my own mother one of these days, as she is 81 and a heavy smoker. My brothers and sister have already told me that I am going to have to take dare of her and I was worried that I might not have anything left for her. Thank you for all the support. I really needed it.
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You might even ask your doctor if he recommends rehab for a week or so. It would be worth it to be completely out of the house. I am just setting here thinking....surely your husband is not expecting your daughter to take care of Grandpa!!!

I completely agree about getting a nice hotel with room service and enjoying the time with your daughter before she goes off to college. If you have friends out of town or in town, you might stretch that time after surgery for 2-3 weeks.

BES997 I don't like to sound harsh but your husband is treating you like a slave, not a wife to be cherished, and it is time to stand up like the partner you are suppose to be and say enough is enough! Hubby dearest either hire someone 24/7 to take care of Grandpa or find other living arrangements immediately. This is so wrong!

I also suggest you have hubby read these responses!
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I agree that your husband needs a reality check. Take your daughter and spend a few days in a nice motel after your surgery. You need the quiet to recuperate from the surgery and you won't be tempted to get up and move around too soon and jeopardize your recovery. I think that you are the type that can't stand to leave things "undone" and if there is cleaning to be done, you do it. Leaving your husband in charge of his father for a few days may be enough to cause him to re-think his position on an AL placement.
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Your husband is letting you down. Period. If two people disagree about caring for a loved one in their home, the "no" is louder than the "yes"...most ESPECIALLY when the "no" is from the person doing most all the work.

Ask yourself: "Why am I cleaning up the stench and mess in the guest room? Why isn't his son doing that??" Let it stink. Let the stench fill the whole house. Stop enabling your father-in-law and stop enabling your son. Until you are willing to do that, you're stuck.

Tell your husband, "I'm done." But you'd better mean it. If you fold, you've lost.

This is not your problem. This is your HUSBAND'S problem.

PS -- If you have children, arrange to recuperate at their home. Your husband is being a jerk.
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It's your life. If you want to go back to work, do so.

You're in a situation now where you feel trapped, but this is NOT your responsibility. Your husband and family are the responsible ones. And they're not stepping up to their responsibilities.

You DON'T have to transport him. Tell him you have other commitments. There's no reason why he needs a chauffeur when he can ride small bus. (I know, I have this same issue and it isn't an easy one to battle.)

But this man is manipulating you and getting away with it. I don't fault you; I know how easy it is to be sucked into the caregiving trap - been there, done that.

Honestly, if your husband gets angry because you take FIL to a neurologist, let him get angry. He's just as much an obstacle as your FIL is.

You're going to have to make some tough decisions, and put your foot down on all of this manipulation and treating you like an indentured servant. You're the only one who can do it. Is this the way you want to live until FIL dies? Is this what you expected of marriage? To be a servant to a stubborn old man and his son who doesn't treat you with respect, but more like a hired hand?

If you query whether you should just take FIL to a neurologist and deal with it later, it tells me that you have some fear or anxiety about dealing with your husband. If it's always been that way in your marriage, then there are some more serious issues here. If it's been since FIL moved in, think about what he's doing to your marriage.
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BES997, no wonder your husband won't put his Dad into an assistant living facility, YOU ARE DOING ALL THE WORK !! My gosh, I got exhausted just reading about all the things you do for your father-in-law. You got to slow down, I know that's not easy, but if the laundry doesn't get done, so be it. If father-in-law wants to go somewhere, don't drive him unless it is an urgent matter, such as a doctor's appointment, let him take the senior bus. Serve a frozen pizza for dinner because you were too busy minding after FIL.

Here's an idea, after you get home from surgery go on strike.... no really.... stay in bed with your foot prop up on the pillow and do not move except for going into the bathroom. Your husband has no idea what it is like being home alone with his father and it's about time he learns. You got to stop spoiling them. Let hubby do all the laundry and the grocery shopping, and cooking.... have hubby clean up his Dad after the Depends fails [that alone will be a major wake up call for your husband], etc.

And whatever you do, while you are recouping from surgery, do NOT have your daughter take your place. Don't be surprised if hubby calls on her to help.
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We live in California, my husband's brother has now moved to Florida with his family and my husband's sister lives in Colorado and will not even visit her father. She did not visit her mother when I was caring for her or even come to her mother's funeral. My FIL can not travel long distances and both my husband's brother and sister are irresponsible, so we can't leave my FIL with either of them, even if he could travel the distance.

When my FIL moved in, I told my husband it would be temporary and he laughed it off, saying that at my FIL's age, everything is temporary. My FIL is in a very slow decline and I am worried that he will wind up living with us for a very long time in this declining state. He refuses to use the senior bus, so I have to transport him everywhere (his license just expired and his vision is very poor, so I don't think he will be able to drive again), cook for him, do his laundry, clean the room he is in, etc. My husband has agreed to having some help after my surgery, but then after I heal up, it all goes back to me doing it all. I want my freedom again. Our youngest daughter is in her senior year of high school and I know that I can never get back the time with her. My FIL has enough money to pay for AL, but wants to live with family, which means us. I see him declining and know this is going to get more and more difficult. I want to go back to work after my foot has healed, but I don't see how I can if I have to watch over my FIL all the time. My husband is so stubborn about putting his dad in AL. I feel that his dad will adjust in time and I can have my life back if I can just convince my husband. In home help is not the answer for me. With my FIL's cognitive decline I fear he is going to start wandering or doing other stuff that is dangerous to him or us. He already melted down an appliance in our kitchen and had no idea that anything was wrong. I want to take him to a neurologist for evaluation but my husband won't let me, saying that they just drug up the elderly to get them to be complacent. If I can not get a neurological evaluation for my FIL, I can not show that his mental decline is a problem, potentially a dangerous one if he tries to do something in the kitchen again. He does not remember most of what has happened in the last few years. He remembers his wife and still recognizes us, but most events are forgotten. I think he may have dementia, but can not prove it without a neurologist. His family physician gave him a screening test two years ago and said then that it was just memory loss due to old age, but she did not think it was dementia. I think it is much worse now, tough my husband does not believe me. Sometimes my FIL seems lucid, but his memory is definitely worse than it was two years ago. I just don;t know how to tell if he has dementia or not. He can still read a newspaper and keeps close track of the date and time. He sleeps a lot, which is actually helpful to me, but when he is awake, I have to watch him closely. A few weeks ago he told me he was going for a walk, then when I went outside, his walker was sitting alone in the driveway and he had taken his car for a drive. When he came back he hit the rear of our car, which was in the driveway. I got very upset with my husband for letting him have the keys and my husband has finally taken the keys away, but I am afraid he is going to go for a walk one day and not remember how to get back. Then we will have to go try to find him, hoping he is not hurt.

How long does it take for dementia to be obvious? I want to take my FIL to a neurologist, but if I do it behind my husband's back, he is going to be very angry. Should I just do it and deal with the fall out later?
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There was a post awhile ago by someone in a situation very similar to yours. In her case she ended up deciding to take a vacation to get away and heal herself. She wasn't getting support and was at a critical burn-out point.

I think that given your husband's lack of support, you may have to tell him that you ARE NOT going to any more and WILL NOT take care of FIL after you have surgery, and that in fact you'll be needing help yourself. Perhaps your husband can take time off work to take care of FIL.

Ask your physician if it's possible to script for in-home nursing care and PT for yourself.

FIL's attitude is going to wear you down physically and mentally, and your husband's lack of support isn't helping any. You DO have the right to demand respect in your own house.

One way to force the issue is to start interviewing for in-home caregivers for FIL. There's no reason why you should continue doing what you've been doing, without respect and appreciation, especially when you're recovering from surgery.

It sounds as if the men in this family expect the women to be the clean-up and maintenance crew. Time to put a stop to that.

Tell your husband everything you do will have to be done by him or paid for by FIL with professional care. And don't back down or you'll find yourself with a foot that isn't healing properly as well as major level stress. You could add that it's about time his family stepped up to the plate and that he should discuss with them arrangements for taking FIL, at least while you're recovering from surgery. During that time they can evaluate putting him back in a facility.

Good luck, and remember to stand your ground and don't give in.
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