I'm curious how others have dealt with a similar situation. My wife is disabled with mild to moderate dementia, long-term (49 years) type 1 diabetes, and a whole host of other physical and neurological ailments. We are both 70 years old. I'm in good health and have been her caregiver for more than a decade. Her health situation is slowly, but inevitably deteriorating. She had a serious fall last year resulting in bleeding inside her skull, and while I did all the right things (ER, hospital, doctors, numerous safety devices post-fall, post-hospital rehab, etc.), I've been mercilessly criticized by her sons (one in particular), at the time and post-fall for not looking after their mom properly.
This even happened in the ER itself when I notified them of her location and of what had happened. Note that neither son has ever visited more than once a year during our 25 year marriage even though they live under an hour away. (One doesn't even know the way here without me providing directions.) Once when their mother was in a physical rehab facility for 3 months, they never once even visited her. My own children (3 of whom are local) love my wife and help frequently. Until the falling incident, while I was disappointed in their lack of support, I'd never exchanged even a cross word with the stepsons. My wife won't say anything to her sons to let them know they are hurting her and me. She just can't bring herself to do that. I've tried several times to mend things with them, but it's been completely fruitless. So now I just choose to avoid as much contact as possible. I'm curious what others may have done in a similar situation.
I consider myself luck. I have a wonderful step-daughter. We are both on the same wavelength when it come to my husband's well being.
Hoping you and your wife the very best!
Wishing you and your wife the best.
Hugs to you and your wife. Remember, to take some time for yourself.
My husband and I dealt with the same challenges with his sibling while we were the primary caregivers for his mother who lived with us, but your situation sounds worse as you're dealing with more than one.
From your comment regarding their lack of their prior concerns; "Note that neither son has ever visited more than once a year during our 25 year marriage even though they live under an hour away." my first thought is perhaps deep down they're dealing with their own guilt, and in turn they are shifting the blame onto your shoulders - coming out in the form of criticism toward you and your efforts. It may be too that they are just not emotionally available to realize they haven't cared, nor have the desire to be involved.
With my own situation, what I came to grips with over time; is that I figured my husbands sibling was possibly just not emotionally cut out to deal with the situation, and harbouring her own guilt she displaced that onto my husband (and I, but mostly toward my spouse).
By now you've realized that the best offer you will get from your stepsons is advice. Your wife is unable to voice her disappointment, and you are not obligated to them, other than trying to remain civil. These part-time sons, or perhaps, seasonal family members, ALWAYS know what to say. Their words can be hurtful. So, you can calmly tell them they have succeeded in that respect, however, when it comes to your wife, actions, not words, are helpful. I had two brothers, whom I loved, but didn't like...the younger one has since, found reality. The stepsons have no say, unless their mother's care is part of their day. If their hands ever had to provide ANY personal care for a full 24 hours, they wouldn't be so judgemental. I'm guessing that they feel as if they're not going to inherit anything, so, why should they pretend to care? You and your wife can honor those feelings by leaving them some sound advice,"take care of your elders".
Remember, you are taking care of your wife, they are not taking care of their mother. My parents are gone now, but I sleep well...my brothers will never be able to make amends. Their regrets are already made with their indifference.
So, continue helping your wife and don’t worry about her sons. What is goes around comes around to hunt your step sons. Think about hiring an in-home agency and hiring an extra caregiver because since you’re in 70s, you’re going to get worn out quicker than you think.
I'd tell the stepsons to let me know if they want an update. If they don't ever initiate then don't bother. Your doctors, relatives and friends can see the good job you're doing so you're safe. That said, keep good records in case you ever need them, as mentioned in the comment above.
What can you do? Nothing, to change the behaviors. What can you do is to realize that they simply feel powerless, and they are. You cherish those close to you that think you are doing a fine job, and leave it at that.
I agree that you should still update them by email preferably of their mom's status. If ever a time they decide to accuse you of hiding things about their mother's health, you have the email trails as proof that you did tell them.
As for the one who constantly criticizes you.... As long as your family, friends and the medical community knows that you've been doing your best, then take note of their opinions... For years, people have criticized me for not doing more for my mom. I cried a lot because I paid attention to their opinions.... I tell you this much, when my bedridden dad (5 years from stroke) was in the ER, the ER doctor was amazed how his whole body's skin was in very good condition. No rashes, no bedsores. She was very impressed with me. So, as long as those people important to you think you're doing a good job, then ignore the steps.