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Hello, I would be very grateful for any thoughtful suggestions people would have about my situation, let me try to summarize it briefly: I am a man in his 50s who lives in Europe, and my elderly mother (she is 87) is in the US. She has been in the hospital and is now at the point where she will have to go into a nursing home or assisted living situation. She has run out of money and assets, and I am funding her while trying to get her into Medicaid. I have to go app every 3 months to the US to try to deal with my mother's situation. I am a successful professional and have a demanding job. I have been married for 25 years, and my marriage is not in the best shape. My wife resents the attention and time I spend on trying to sort out my mother's situation, and we frequently argue about it. We have tried marriage counseling, but it didn't really help. I am sure I have not been a very good husband the last few years, but I simply can't ignore my mother's situation, I feel guilty about being so far away from her, and feel responsibility since I am the only one in the family who can help her financially. The stress of flying thousands of miles to the US every few months, keeping up my professional committments, funding my mother and dealing with the logistics of her situation (paying bills etc), and then arguing about the situation with my wife often make me feel exhausted and depressed. I don't want to feel sorry for myself, but wish I had someone who could give me some moral support in this situation. I have considered leaving my wife, but am not sure I could take the added strain of a divorce in addition to everything else. Anyway, I am sure there are many people in much more difficult situations than mine, but any thoughts or suggestions people have would be appreciated. Thanks to all of you!

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You can hire a geriatric case worker to relieve you of some of the responsibilites of your mother's situation. Can you hire someone to take care of your professional and husbandly duties?
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Traveling every three months to see your mother in the U.S. seems very reasonable to me. Perhaps you could just tell your wife that you will continue to go to the U.S. and that it is the end of the discussion about it. In addition, if you feel you would be happier not being married, I would not put it off for more than a year, as life is too short to be in an unhappy marriage. I had known a man who planned to leave his wife of about 30 years; he was miserable, then his wife came down with a very serious form of cancer, and he could not leave, as obviously his wife was distraught about the cancer. He didn't have the heart to leave her with her diagnosis. Please don't want to long, if you feel the marriage cannot be salvaged. You sound great, and I admire you so much for caring about your mother, as my sister lives 20 minutes driving time from my mother and she sees our mother about twice a year (mostly on holidays) and rarely calls her. You are doing the right thing by visiting your mother, and I'm sure your mother greatly appreciates seeing you!
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Short of cloning yourself, you can't be in both places. You have to make a decision to move or stay. If you need to continue to work, then you have to stay in Europe.
If you like or love what you do for a living, then you have to stay. If you give a hoot about your marriage, then you need to stay. If you have a high powered job with prestige and are used to having people "do", then you are not going to be at all happy dealing with getting nightgowns and Oil of Olay at Target for mom or spending your afternoons at the NH. Find a tiered facility that goes from AL to NH and has a hospice and get her in there private pay and be very specific with admissions and social services that mom needs to transition to Medicaid and private pay is only for the short term. In theory, mom should be able to stay there forever. Then as others have said, get a Geriatric Case Manager. If there is a medical school with a gerontology program or a university with a graduate social work program that has a elder speciality, call to find what is available in your mom's area. A good NH or AL will also have names. You want someone who is tech savvy so she can Skype her visits with mom to you or use Google Drive to deal with real time items or decisions. At my mom's NH, the case managers seem to be BSRN or MSW who worked at NH, then switched to case manage. They get paid about the hourly wage of a RN, about $ 35 - 50 hr.

Nowhere is all this is there any mention of what mom's wishes are or what her health situation is. 87...she could live another decade.

BTW I'm in your wife's corner on all this. You made an adult decision to marry her and live in Europe and make your life there. It's not like your in the military and this is just a posting. That is where your life as a couple is and where she see's your joint past & future to be. You all are probably looking at retirement and have talked about plans once you all retire and she does NOT see it as a three-some. You married and committed to her and not your mother.Could it be that she is especially mad as the man that she fell in love with and married is not the momma's boy that it seems you have become? If my DH did this - no matter how much I love him and want him for my love bunny - I would clean his clock financially in the divorce and get a real pit-bull of an attorney to do it. My goodness, it's one thing to be left for some perky tit hot mess of a 30 year old but leaving you for momma .....that's way beyond the pale in insulting.Make a decision.
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Just a thought, if your wife resents you taking care of your Mom, will she be there for you when you need care?
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if your wife isnt helpful with your ailing mother it isnt likely she would stay by your side if you became disabled. i always envisioned caring for my wife thru whatever life tossed at us. during my first hepc treatment i found myself sitting in the bedroom floor trying to massage the pain from my own knees. it felt like someone was slowly pulling the marrow from them. wifey laid in bed scowling at me and contemplating how miserable her life was. at that moment i realized our marriage was in trouble and she was a poor investment of my work , love , and energy. i usedta rub her head for hours to try to relieve her headaches. wtf ??
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sounds like a separation might be in order, as your being married for 25 years and no support in this terrible situation from your wife, I would say she does not deserve you. Separating, at least gives you both time to think & not have to deal with a divorce while trying to sort out your mothers care needs. Have faith, just walk away from the arguments with you wife over your Mother, you do not need that extra stress. She should have been with you on some of the trips back to the US, just out of sheer caring for a sick elderly Mother-in-Law. take care.
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Agree with above posts. Don't make marriage decisions while you are in the middle of getting mom situated. One thing at a time.

Can you make the next trip a little longer and have your wife come too? Even if she goes to visit friends, her family or just sight see?

Do some advance research, find a senior services near your mom and ask for some referrals to trusted elder care advocates, omsbudsman or case workers. Call them or Skype and get some of their references. Check out some local options for AL or memory care whatever is warranted for mom. Then visit 2 or 3 at your next US trip. An elder care advocate can do a lot of leg work and manage your moms care for a fee, but certainly that may be a wash $ wise if it saves you a trip or two. Line up the apps you'll need for your next trip, the ALs, moms drs (you'll need a thorough and recent work up before any facility will accept her as a new resident, visits to care center, etc.

Do you have family or trusted neighbor or friend that can help with some of the leg work or arrange and be present for some of these face to face mtgs or visits? They could help and report back to you long distance in the meantime.

Also be sure to keep your wife informed on your plan, progress you are making, etc so that she can see all that you are doing and moving your mom to more secure circumstances so she can be less dependent on you.

All you can do, is do your best, if spouse doesn't appreciate or can't rally some support during this strenuous time, then she has some decisions to make.

Don't let her guilt you...don't have regrets about your mom. But understand and do a little soul searching that you can't continue to monitor and manage your moms continued care needs long distance overseas all by yourself. Her needs will eventually escalate and you need the energy and mental strength to be a good son, good husband and good employee.

Good luck on your journey. Don't get overwhelmed, one step at a time...
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And I thought I had it rough traveling from Little Rock AR to Pgh PA every 4-6 weeks for three years. I used a geriatric case manager for a doctors appointment once, and it went so-so. My family was generally supportive, which helped too, but still I am an only and most of it fell to me to really deal with. If you can temporarily cut back at all on professional duties it will be good all around. I faced a couple of occasions where I was "it" at work, other colleagues were away, and things happened that I desperately needed to GO take care of. Being late for clinic because your mom is getting moved to hospice was one of the worst feelings I ever, ever had...Let me add my prayers for your marriage too, and also comment that if one counselor did not help, another might. Maybe find one who has just been through a long-distance caregiving ordeal themselves :-)
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If I read the situation right, you want to be there for your mother. You want to be there for your wife. You can't get your wife on board, and you fear the man you will become if you abandon your mother. The stress is killing you, and nothing gets resolved. Your between a rock and a hard place, you need help. Your a professional and understand the value of expertise. Go to an expert, a shrink, therapist, whatever to determine what you want out of this situation, then act.

You mention you have family in the US. Do you trust one of them enough to pay them to assist your Mom, to take the day to day stuff off your hands. It would give you some relief from the guilt. Have you considered a geriatic case manager, I can't think of the proper term, they handle medicare, and cut through the bullshit. You don't say what state your Mom, lives. In Pennslyvania each county has a council on aging, most states do. . Find yours, google your county or parish gov't. Then look for the equivilent council on aging. They will help you get the people you need. Good luck, I admire your strength and courage. Most men would have run for the hills, your a good man. You make your Mom proud.
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I agree with one of the posts that sugested that you seek help from a financial agency that can help with medicaid, medicare and also with the placement of your mom in a LTC facility. All of this could be done without you having to come to the US. About you mom coming to Europe. Here's the problem, If you having problems with your wife about you caring for you mother now, how is she going to feel if you bring her there?
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Not faking feelings through the marriage - Just being nice enough during an attempt to revive the marriage that she might feel like trying too!

I agree that if a marriage is all faking that's no good, but being 100% honest about our feelings at all times would doom any marriage.
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I'm sorry...it sounds like you are in a tough spot. Your wife should be a lot more understanding of your situation - it's sad that she's not. If this were her mother, she would probably feel very differently. Once you apply for medicaid, your mother should have been assigned a worker - you SHOULD be able to do a lot of that over the phone instead of having to fly here every few months. I assume you don't have any other relatives here in the states to help you out? Have you considered moving your mother to your current country, or is that out of the question? I disagree with "faking" your way through your marriage - what a horrible way to live. If you aren't happy together, then either go to counseling & fix it or end it - life is too damn short to fake your feelings. JMO.
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From personal experience I would agree with the last post. My Husband was an Over the Road Truck Driver and I saw him 4 days every 4-6 weeks for three years. It was a difficult time ,and I did threaten to leave. But he loved me and our kiddos and came home. Even after he switched jobs it was difficult for awhile. His approach to get me back was wooing me like he did in college. He listened to me rant and let me cry when I was frustrated. All of this was years ago and we have now been happily married for 16 years! Remember one thing always, love is a commitment not just a feeling. Sometimes even when your not feeling the love, it is still there it just needs some nurturing. Would it be possible to relocate your Mom to Europe? Is there a trusted friend here in the US who could help with arrangements for your Mom? I would definitely seek out some help.
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First, to lighten the load on you, can you get help from a Geriatric Case Manager? She would be able to relieve you of some details.

It is always uncomfortable to be pulled in several different directions by career and "competing" family members. Certainly every woman feels this, and so do men who try to be good husbands/fathers/sons, not just good providers.

This probably wouldn't be the best time to start to get a divorce. So how can you improve things in your marriage? Step 1 is to ASK your wife. Maybe go out for dinner or a long walk, and tell her you know she's not happy. Ask her what part bothers her most. Let her tell you, and DON'T say, "Oh, that's silly!"

Her first comment may be that you spend too much time taking care of your mother. Admit that it may be true, but ask her what she thinks you should do. Does she dislike your mother? Is she afraid you love your mother more? She may just need you to tell her how much you love HER, even though you have to be away. She may be pleased to have a long relaxed weekend with you once a month, with no mother and no work.

Ask her what she thinks you should do differently with your mother. Listen to what she says, rather than defending yourself or rebutting her. Remind her that you would put just as much effort into taking care of her if she needed it, because you are a responsible and loving man.

Because you are trying to salvage your marriage, if necessary then FAKE your feelings of love for her. Think of the young woman you did love years ago, and love her and talk to her, not the unhappy woman she is now.

If you can get her to agree to a course of action, she will be on your side, not against you. That would be worth a lot. Best wishes.
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There are agencies that will take care of things for you (for a price, of course). There is one near me, for example that will do a full assessment, bring in help and accompany the senior to doctor's appointments (nurse) and communicate the results back to you. Does mom have any income? Does she qualify for veteran's benefits (herself or from your dad's service) That might ease up the finances. The paperwork is another story. You say you are the only one who can help financially, that is huge. Can someone else sort out the paperwork or selection of an assisted living or nursing home?If the rest of your marriage is good, explain to your wife the steps you are taking to remove yourself (somewhat) from the situation. The stress of care giving can be unbelievable for the family member and his/her spouse. Good luck
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