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My husband lives with his parents and takes care of them. His mom has Alzheimer's. She hasn't left the house in 8 months and he couldn't get her out for a doctor's appointment (which I recommended he make, because his mom's condition is getting worse, including falling down and hitting her head, swallowing difficulties, and other things). Mainly, I'm curious what, if anything, has worked for other people. If I suggest anything to my husband, he says I'm being judgmental.

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Rose, that is really good news. I hope you get him back soon.
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I have an update to report. (I'm the original poster.) I talked to my husband a little while ago. I called him; he never calls or emails me first. I needed to ask about a financial matter. I was hesitant to ask how things are going but I know he does seem to like to tell me about things, as long as my reaction isn't "judgmental." So I just asked, "How are things?" He told me that the doctor's appointment has been rescheduled. A social worker and APS representative stopped by unannounced. I'm not sure why (there are a few people who might have initiated that, not including me) but I'm glad it happened. FIL seems on-board with the appointment and hospice evaluation. I'm glad that the situation seems OK there, but still sad that I in essence don't have a husband. But that's something I can't do anything about, either. Anyway, thank you for all the moral support, and I love this website!
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Babalou, I had moved to Florida and been there less than a year with my husband and 2 boys when my mother fell ill. After months of going up (to DC) and back, I finally moved into the house and came home most weekends. Mom passed within the year and Dad fell apart. All in all it was almost 4 years before we could get things together, find a house and move the family back up here. Now my family has been together again for a few years, and my brother is away from his home, living with Dad. You do what you have to do.
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Yes, Rose, it sucks. Your husband seems to have drunk the Koolaid of the narcissistic parents. So, you can only change your behavior. Your move is the next one.
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My husband provides companionship to his mother and father. My husband goes grocery shopping and does chores around the house. He changes his mom's diapers. He cooks. My FIL needs the help but also resents needing it. When my husband is not there (very rare; it's quite the ultra-diplomatic mission for me to figure out how best to ask him to come home to see our daughters when they're home from out of state), his father freaks out. My FIL definitely thinks he and mom are much higher priority than me and our daughters (their granddaughters), and my husband agrees. Yes, it sucks.
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Rose, I'm asking why your husband is still there irrespective of you. If FIL criticizes him, mil won't comply with going to docs, what is he doing there? What earthly good is his presence doing (I'm really asking)

Do you have a therapist you can work this out with? Please don't think that I'm suggesting that you are in any way at fault. It's just that sometimes life throws us crazy curves, and I think you've gotten a doozie.
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My husband told his family that he wants to spend more time with me, but that assertion is, at the least, highly debatable. I think he's afraid to defy his dad and that he doesn't actually want to spend more time with me because I'm occasionally "judgmental" (e.g., I sometimes get upset because of my husband's long periods of unemployment, during which he has, for the most part, refused to look for work). I've told him that if he quit working for his parents, I'd support him financially until he found something else, and he said that quitting would be impossible. Have I said that he's very passive and indecisive? Those qualities are OK in certain situations but not in the one he's in now.
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So why is your husband still there?
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FIL is agent on MIL's power of attorney. FIL is, if anything, even more resistant than is my husband to getting MIL to the doctor or otherwise getting assistance. He thinks services should be free. (They have a reasonable income, too high for Medicaid, but FIL is paying $30,000 per year in premiums for a life insurance policy on MIL's life. Seriously.) FIL is not a nice man. Husband gets along better with him than do his siblings, all of whom live out of town. FIL thinks everything my husband does is wrong but because husband is only one who's helping, he can't afford to be without him now.
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A person with your MIL's condition needs to see a medical doctor. That's clear from your description. When a person is resistant to seeing a doctor, it is challenging to get them there, but usually, it's doable. You might have to be clever, creative, diligent and insistent, but it is normally possible.

I assume your husband has Durable POA. Any thinking person would be on board with getting MIL to the doctor. So, since your husband is not, then he needs to get out of the way and let someone else do it, before he gets in trouble for neglect. I'm sure you know all of this. It's disturbing you husband doesn't get it. I worry there is something causing him to be in this denial.

From the way you describe his attitude and behavior, I'm not sure there is a way to do what needs to be done and prevent him from being annoyed. So, I would decide to either stay on his good side or actively try to help his mom get help.

You can anonymously report her to Adult Protective Services. That's an option.

If he will allow you to get her to the doctor, then you might tell MIL that you have an appointment and want her to go with you to see your doctor. Set it up in advance. You can read here how to do that. Say anything that works, she probably isn't able to process that it might not make sense. You can also say that Medicare now requires a vaccination and she has to get hers from a doctor or that there is cash rebate for all seniors in that area if they get their blood tested for measles. Actually give her a gift card to prove it. Anything that would work. Once she gets to the doctor, things normally fall into place and maybe she can get Hospice involved if it's time. I wish you all the best. What a tough spot to be in.
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Rose I see two problems here.
I The difficulties your husband is having with his mother.
2 The relationship between you are your husband..
For the first just step back and if you feel the situation is bad enough call APS.
For the second I would recommend that you see a good therapist and try to evaluate your relationship going forward. passive agressive is really impossible to deal with alone. Blessings
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Rose, what would happen if he simply came home (to you)? What is he doing there if he can't get her medical care to assess her needs? Are they going to call 911 when she aspirates?

Difficulty swallowing can come from so many different sources and be so dangerous. If he's there and HE'S competent, it really does seem as though he's leaving himself open to charges of neglect, when in fact none is intended. Far better, I think, to leave and tell APS that these two elders are vulnerable than to have APS come after him. Tell him it's not you be judgmental, it's that evil Babalou!
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Rosered6, I think it may be time to get your state's Adult Protective Services to step in and help your husband with his parents' situation. His response to your question about helping is especially disturbing, because it is both an implicit threat of violence and a cry for help (even if he was "kidding", that kind of dark humor can be a sign of a very deep depression). It sounds like he's at the end of his rope, and so are you. You can talk to your state's APS line yourself, or ask the family's priest or your husband's former therapist to make the call on your husband's behalf. Since your MIL is in such frail health (swallowing difficulties can be very serious), the case could be made that by not taking your MIL to the doctor, he is neglecting their needs. I truly hope everything works out for you, and for them.
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Babalou, I especially appreciate your comments. The situation is very frustrating. A few times when I've offered help, as in "How can I help with your parents?" my husband has responded, "Shoot them." I contacted his former therapist, explained how depressed my husband is, and asked the therapist to call him. I contacted the family's priest, who visits once a week, and asked him to keep talking to my husband. I contacted one of my husband's siblings and gave him enough of a nudge that he decided to visit. I've send many, many links about services and information. It's not clear that my husband reads anything I send.
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Send your husband a link to this site. Perhaps he'll gain some insight into how to deal with his mother. It does sound like hospice is the appropriate call at this point. Perhaps send him the contact information for a few hospice organizations in his area.

I'm not at all sure that I understand what he means when he says you're being judgmental. Does he think you're suggesting that he's not doing right by her? Ask him how you can help, if not by offering suggestions for how to get her better care.

And get him to a therapist when you can.
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Thanks for all the responses. Here's a bit more information: my MIL still talks but she makes no sense and I don't think she understands anything that is said to her. I'm sure she does not understand that she is having swallowing problems. She sleeps much of the day. Her walking is getting worse. She is incontinent. But she still is able to express her unhappiness by being physically resistant.
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My husband is very passive (sometimes passive aggressive), especially when his dad is involved. I think that FIL is a hindrance to getting medical help for my MIL.
I have done a POA for myself and my husband is not my agent. I figured out a long time ago that he is not someone who will make decisions unless he is forced to by someone else. In the case of my MIL, I don't want to push too hard; even my "oh, have you thought about doing this" comments are received as judgmental.
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Your husband is living with his parents? And you're not? Do you want to talk about that?

The next time mil falls, I would suggest that 911 be called. That way, the emts can check her out and transport her if necessary.
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Getting a doctor to come to her would be ideal, wouldn't it? Perhaps the Agency on Aging could tell your husband if anything like that is available in your area. As Jessie says, hospice comes to the house, but I don't know if MIL is ready for that.

This is a common problem, and perhaps there are some good ideas out there. Many people have certainly dealt with this.

When my mother lived alone I would sometimes show up to take her to a doctor appointment and find her in pajamas. "I'm just too tired to go," she'd say. "Well, you can be tired at the doctor's office just as well as here. Do you want to wear this red shirt or this white one?" and I'd just bossily get her dressed and out of there. Later she lived with my sister, who was usually able to get her to a doctor, but often had struggles about other places, even places Mother loved, like the beauty shop.

Now Mom is in a nursing home, and she absolutely loves that she can get her hair done every week without leaving the building. Even the few times she has had to go elsewhere for medical care they wheeled her chair right onto the van. She never has to struggle into and out of a car. That can be difficult and apparently disorienting.

Does your father-in-law encourage his wife to go to appointments? Is he a help or a hindrance?

I agree with the need for MIL to be seen by medical professionals. I hope your husband can make that happen for her.
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Rose, you can hope an ER trip becomes necessary then have the evaluation done. Or maybe since swallowing is an issue, could she be coaxed out to see if doc can prescribe something to help?
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Jessie, excellent suggestion! And many times it just becomes impossible to get them out to do something they would like to do! And go to the doc?! The large majority hate going, feel like it is a waste of money, on and on and on.
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I have suggested having my MIL evaluated for her eligibility for hospice services, but wouldn't she need to see a doctor first? I agree that having someone come to the house would be great but if they can't get to a doctor at all, I don't know if hospice will be able to be enlisted.
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Rosered, since your MIL is having swallowing difficulties, do you think she may be at a stage she would qualify for hospice? If she were on hospice, medical help would come to the house. She wouldn't have to go out to the doctor. Medicare covers hospice. Maybe they would be open to this. They may be able to make your MIL more comfortable.
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