Why is my husband sitting around waiting for FIL to decide about his care during our well earned vacation?

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Hi all - I guess all I am looking for here is your opinion, and to help me see something I may be missing?


We have had FIL with us for 2 long years now (I know not as long as some of the troopers on this site), but long enough for me anyway... Hubby and myself do not get away often, but have decided we absolutely have to have a vacay, away, by ourselves. FIL is not mean like some I have read about, but is a narcissist, has PD and is a stroke patient. The last time we went out of town for a couple of days to visit MIL out of town (they are divorced), we vetted a wonderful AL care facility in our town. When I say vetted, I mean vetted... I went over there 4 different times, and even took him to visit and meet others prior to his stay. They matched him up with other residents who had similar interests, etc.


Afterwards, he tells hubby in private that next time he prefers to just stay home. Well, next time came, and I made hubby do all of the advanced meal prep. etc., that it took to try to be away for 2-3 days. I do the meds....


NOW, due to increased risk of falls, etc., and the length of time, he absolutely cannot stay home. We cannot prepare enough meals in advance for him, and it simply does not make sense.


So hubs was pushing and pushing me to find a place to vacay, book it, and make the plan. Well I have, and it is 23 days away. I told hubs over a week ago that he needed to talk with his Dad about respite care at AL, or at least the alternative would be qualified, vetted "at home care", via a couple hours a day, or meals, etc.


Well here I am... waiting... I asked hubs yesterday if he had talk to FIL, he said yes, Dad would "think" about it, and let hubs know what he wanted to do... WHAT THE H_____. I had begged him not to give him a choice in the 1st place, but he just can't bring himself to make his Dad do anything he does not want to do. SO here we are..... I asked yesterday if FIL had said anything one way or the other.... nope nothing.


I had pre-arranged for a home health professional to come to the house to meet with him, make an assessment, etc., just in case that's what he decided. That was this morning. I cancelled the appt., I don't think it is fair to waste her time coming here, when he won't even make a decision.


I am going to pledge to myself, that I am NOT going to ask about this again... I am sure hubs will not want to miss a vacation, but he needs to realize that care decisions cannot be made at the last minute, and people are not just waiting in the wings to be called. I cannot believe he is just sitting here waiting for the King to make a decision. I am at the point that I almost wish it to be too late for find care/facility openings when and if he "does" decide, and I can enjoy a vacay right by myself.


Is it just me????!!!!

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His care is only going to get worse..sounds like it to me. Vacation while you can because eventually you won't be able to. you are lucky you can find a respite care facility and is a reminder what awaits him permanently if he refuses to participate in his own care. It is important to retain a sense of your own identity and not be this shadow whose sole purpose in life is to attend and care for this loved one. Eventually they will lose their bowel and bladder control and just go and you have to clean them. You have to keep a bowel diary because they can get impacted as little as two days. It is a very depressing and highly stressful experience to have to give your loved one an oil enema because they cannot move their bowels. Caregiving can be a very lengthy soul-destroying process punctuated with a considerable amount of stress that never goes away..seven days a week and it starts the moment you wake up. I know. Caregiver for 10 years with my mom who now has end-stage Alzheimer's. I have no life of my own. None. Unless you want my fate, go on that vacation and start thinking about a long-term facility.
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Reply to cetude
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sidelined Sep 7, 2018
Hi Cetude - thank you so much for your response and sharing. 
You are right on many counts, and I am SO sorry you have been working with this for 10 years! 
You are right, it is "soul sucking" and only gets worse.  I would dare to say that you may agree that, at the very least, it takes a really strong foundation to even contemplate taking on this long term task ---  AND I don't have that.
We know that long term care will wipe him out completely with what little finance he has left, and we worry about what happens then; however, the toll it is taking on our lives cannot be measured, and I truly fear I may not be able to find my way "back" after all of this. 
Sometimes the damage is just too great.

Stay tuned as I will update - but in the meantime, I am wishing you the best and asking for Blessings to come your way in your journey and much needed relief.  Please take care of yourself!
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Sometimes, the black and white facts are needed to jump start things. One option would be to do what you need to to get home health care set up as an option. Find out what the deadline is to make a reservation for both AL and the home health care. Give DH this information on the three options - AL, home care and if no decision is made in time on these two, Option #3 is DH staying home with FIL.
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Reply to Linda22
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sidelined Sep 5, 2018
Thank you Linda! Very useful suggestions and ones I will be implementing.

it may be chi,dish or immature on my part, but I feel like I have done the work, and made it clear that the FIL care is in his court. Now I wait.... I guess I just feel that if it is important enough to hubs he will figure it out. I know he truly wants, needs and deserves this vacay. However, like anything that directly involves in him having to address things he deems “uncomfortable” with his dad, he sidesteps, and refuses to have the conversation. This will be interesting because of the fact that he really wants to go away and was the advocate for pushing for it... that is the difference now. Other issues have been my asking hubby to discuss better hygiene, etc. hubs makes sure his dad’s meals and tea are Johnny on the spot, and I am thankful for that, unless he is working, then it’s me. I work from home, which is a Blessing, but not when you are living in what equates to a depressive encounter with FIL everything single day.... no breaks. I have offered and offered to arrange for senior days out or Silver Sneakers exercise.... nope.... now I know that he is Very very limited with use of his extremities and balance, and I do feel really bad for him, as he used to be so active....
anyway, did not mean to write a book in response to your response! It is therapeutic to get it off your chest, thanks!
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Make your vacation arrangements and go. If hubby does his job and comes with you, great. if not, enjoy the vacation by yourself.
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Reply to careinhome
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sidelined Sep 7, 2018
Good morning!  Thank you so much for your response.  I can truly say looking forward to responses on this forum has been a lifeline for me.

You are right, this particular task is his to do and he is squirming about it.  So, I guess it will depend on just how much he wants to go on vacay.  Like you said, I can always go by myself, and honestly that probably would do me a world of good.

Thank you again, and best wishes with the issues you may be dealing with.
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I agree. You are going on this holiday, whether with or without DH. At this point, it's his problem, not yours.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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sidelined Sep 4, 2018
Agreed! Thank your for weighing in!
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Tell FIL time’s up. You want an answer immediately or you will choose for him. If he doesn’t like your choice, too bad.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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sidelined Sep 4, 2018
I like your answer!!!!!
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Sidelined there is nothing childish or immature about wanting a solution to this problem which must have been hanging over your heads for some time.
Does DH have POA for his Dad or is he still considered competent.?
Don't wait for something to happen because it isn't going to. "Like Father like son" and FIL doesn't have any skin in this game.
You have two choices. Confront FIL and tell him you will be contacting the AL place today and making reservations for the day before your departure. If he wants other arrangements he can make them himself (even if he is not capable and knows it)
Start making plans for the things you will enjoy doing on this solo vacation. Include things you know DH would enjoy and don't hide these plans.
Think of a friend or relative who also needs a break and would enjoy sharing the trip. If He/she is also a caregiver to a not very demanding loved one suggest they stay with DH and FIL while you are gone. That might just get DH to put his boots on PDQ.
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Reply to Veronica91
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sidelined Sep 5, 2018
Dear Veronica - thank you so much for your feedback and insight! 
FIL is still competent, but granted me full POA so that I could handle his affairs, etc.  AND you are right, FIL has NO skin in the game - as long as he has his creaky-a____ recliner, remote, cookies, he's good.

This is quickly boiling down now - It is not going to be easy to find short-term respite care, and after much debate (with myself), I have made up my mind I don't want someone coming to the house that I don't know.... so this really leaves hubs with two options - either respite care outside the home, or he stays here too. 
I have warned him that he is not to ask our grown son to stay here because he runs a business and is going crazy all day and some nights.  Plus, this is NOT a real solution - FIL needs to understand that he cannot simply sit here and act like nothing is going on.  How very selfish - I swear I believe if hubs told him that he would stay home from vacay because of these reasons, he would not blink....
So, like you said, I may be enjoying this one alone, or partially with our grown daughter, who is expecting in lives in the same coastal town where the vacay is planned. 
And, you were totally right, like father like son......  sits around with their head in the sand, waiting for whatever, then gets mad if you plow ahead and make plans.... not this time.  This is one of the FEW times that the end result does not really affect me, so therefore, waiting them out will be interesting.... I am NOT saying one more word about it - I want hubs to feel the heat.
Thanks for letting me rant!
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Is your Father-in-Law a vet? If he is , then you can call the VA where you are and request a stay for him, which will be a NH that is contracted with the VA. I did this for my father when I was going through what you are. Hope this helps!
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Reply to nthpokt
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sidelined Sep 7, 2018
Hi there, thank you for the info!  I will call our local VA office, as yes, he is a vet.  I will see what may be available.  Thank you so much!
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I understand your embarrassment over it, but honestly, I promise you, you do not need to worry about "wasting" the HHP's time. It can't be a waste. Either the appointment will go well and the booking will go ahead, or the HHP or you will decide it's not a match. Either way, making sure that everybody's happy with the plan is the whole point of the exercise, and if not booking as a result weren't a possibility there'd be no point in doing the assessment at all. So rebook!

Your husband is trying to respect both his father's feelings and his autonomy - his right to decide whether he'll stay in respite care or not. Check, check, quite right in principle. However. Your FIL, while his feelings must still be regarded, is passing the point at which he is capable of assessing a situation and making an informed choice about how to handle it; and at *that* point it is unfair to FIL to place responsibility for the decision on him. If DH really wants to treat his father kindly he shouldn't put him in that position.

In your place, I think I would get DH and FIL in the same room and paying attention and tell, not ask, them about the assessment. Book and proceed. If FIL has any substantial objection he can then speak up (and you must listen, just in case it is a valid one, though I can't offhand think what that might be); but the chances are he won't.

Start the process, let it run, assume FIL is going into respite and DH is going with you; and with any luck you'll find that FIL prefers to comply (and grumble about it, but that's okay, he's allowed) than to go to the trouble of resisting.

DH doesn't want to be high-handed with his Dad and I respect that. But when it starts to become impractical and onerous for all of you, it's time to adjust.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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sidelined Sep 7, 2018
Hi Countrymouse - WOW, great insight and thank you for seeing this from all sides.  I agree that hubs does not want to come off "rail-roading" his dad, but like you said, when it gets to the point of being too onerous, then it has gone too far. 
FIL simply does not want to (not that I would either, really) acknowledge that he no longer is the strong athlete he once was, and that falling, etc., would be lethal.

I know this, I cannot continue to get myself so worked up about this, this task really is in hub's court and he wanted it that way.... So, I guess we will see what he does with is.

I may be on a solo-vacation, but I think will need it!

Stay tuned, and thank you again for your outreach and time!
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I feel for you. And applaud you for sticking to your guns. It should be interesting when you start to pack and he realizing you are only packing your stuff. Please be sure to let us know how this turns out.
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Reply to whaleyf
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sidelined Sep 7, 2018
Hi Whaley - Thank you for your response.  Yes, will be interesting, and I am absolutely sticking to not saying another word.  I can find the way to the beach right by myself! 
It is sad that hubs cannot see that all of this unnecessary added stress, makes vacationing not so much fun.  When you are exhausted (mentally) by the time you get there, what's the point! LOL

Stay tuned!
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I have told my Grand kids...Grandma's house..Grandma's rules....
Your house...your rules. (your husbands as well)
Tell FIL that you are going on a vacation. He has 2 choices
1. Someone to come in.
or
2. He goes to a "resort"
He has to choose. Give him a date that he has to give you an answer if he does not choose by that date you get to choose.

At some point you have to take options away and just make the decision as to what is best for everyone. Making choices can be difficult with dementia of any kind there can be a "fear" that the wrong choice will be made.

Keep in mind if you have your vacation planned and scheduled if he ends up going someplace they all may require certain medical tests before they accept him. So most likely he would have to have a TB test, up to date vaccinations so this may take time.
Enjoy your self.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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sidelined Sep 7, 2018
Hi Grandma - thank you so much for taking the time to respond, and for your helpful information!  You are so right, hubs gave him the choices, and he has not responded.... in hubs dept. so we wait....

You are SO right about pre-planning at respite AL care.  As I have indeed come to find out TB tests are required (and thank you for bringing that up), as well as other physical updates, and analysis. 
With that said, we are T-21 days from "leaving" and I don't think hubs understands that preparations have to be made now, this is not a vacay that it 6 months away....
I am prepare to go right by myself if necessary; however, if all goes on the path "they" normally take, it will be stressful right up until the last minute, then hubs will be in the car like a "puppy" happily awaiting the trip, and I will be tearing my hair out....
Stay tuned, and thanks again.  Best wishes on what you may be dealing with!
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