I have been reading a lot of the caregiving posts online this morning, but I've not seen much about what you do when it's not your elderly parents but your spouse who is aging. My husband is 67 years old and retired. I am 62 and still working full time. My husband's health has had its ups and downs for the past 15 years. However, over this past year it has become progressively worse. He was hospitalized two times in April and now has home health services. The doctor, visiting nurse, and home health care nurse all said that he has to go into assisted living as soon as possible. We live in a big, beautiful home that has stairs and is full of stuff. Because my husband can no longer make decisions or help me, I have to juggle my full time and stressful job with moving him, getting the house ready for sale, and getting rid of the stuff we won't need anymore once I find a one level home for us. The housing market in our city is pretty good right now, but come fall, it will tank. The one level home isn't available yet. It might be before our home sells, but I can't sell our home before we have the one level home (it's in a retirement center). We have four cars, so I also have to sell two of them. We also had rental properties, which I also need to sell.
There's a lot to do, and I'm overwhelmed. I have been crying on and off for a couple of weeks. I have been waking up at 2:30 in the morning now for a couple of days. I just read something about dementia and the long goodbye, so I just started crying again. My husband has a variety of health problems, including a mood disorder, Parkinson's, NPH, and colitis. I can't do nothing. That's why I'm in the pickle I'm in now.
Three years ago, my husband got very sick and was in the hospital for 2 weeks and a nursing home for a month. After he came home, I told him that we needed to downsize and move to a home with only one level. Well, you can imagine. He said, "We're not moving. You'll have to take me out of this house feet first!" So we stayed, he got worse, and now we have to move.
I've been changing my husband's urine collection bags morning and night, cleaning up messes (both bowel and bladder), helping him dress and put in his hearing aids, tying his shoes, picking him up when he falls, managing his many medications, and trying so hard to keep his schedule on track. Even with the hearing aids, he has trouble hearing me sometimes. When I say something and he doesn't answer me, I presume he hasn't heard me. So I repeat what I said, a bit louder. Often, he snaps at me, "I heard you! Give me a chance to answer!" He isn't violent, but he gets angry and impatient with me.
Is anyone out there going through this with a spouse. Any advice? "War stories"? I certainly can't be the only one out there?