Help dealing with as disgruntled spouse. Any advice?

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My grand moved in with us after a fall in December. We recently found out that she has mild/moderate dementia. This has come with a whole host of issues from the constant verbalizations of everything she sees, not being able to dress or bathe her self, to her lack of understanding of new surroundings and more. From my research and speaking with others here on the discussion boards these issues are common for this disease.

My father, an only child, and mother are in their late 60's and are in no condition to care or her. They also live 3-4 hours away. My only sibling, sister, is a drug addict and alcoholic. So help from them is scarce.

Having gran move in with us has been a struggle as our lives have changed majorly since her arrival. We also have a young son with autism.

My spouse works from home and I am a stay at home mom. I used to run a small business from home but since gran requires so much care I have had to stop working.


Recently I noticed and my spouse has verbalized and been acting really really irritated. She is extremely snappy and grouchy. I realize we are all under a lot of new strain and stress as we adjust into the new family arraignment.

I try to validated/acknowledge her feelings, without criticizing her. I try to be a supportive wife and mother. I am in no way perfect.

I am starting to become resentful and angry with my spouse over the care/living with us of my gran.

In the past we struggled to make ends meet and my grandparents lent us quite a bit of money over the last 10 years. They never required us to pay them back, in my grandfathers words "I would rather you get it thank the government when I die" Now we are finally on our feet and my spouse has a very good job. We have been able to get our finances under control and start saving. Basically we are like your typical mid-30 something middle class family. Not rich but comfortable.

Last year my spouses father passed away. It was after a long battle with a blood cancer. Between my spouses sister and myself and his wife we made sure he was well taken care of. The sister bearing most of the burden. Any time there was a need of an extra set of hands I volunteered to help. I never said no. This man who I came to love more than my own father opened his home to me when my parents kicked me out and cut me off for coming out and admitting to them I am a lesbian. He let us live with him rent free for 2 years while we finished college and entered into the work force.

When my spouses mother had surgery, new knees, gastric bypass and her hysterectomy I was the caregiver. I did the dirty nurse work. While everyone else was working. Since I had the most flexible work schedule and a child not yet in school it made the most sense. I never regretted or resented this position in the family. To me that is what family is for.

I want to remain supportive of my partner in her feelings but her actions and verbalizations of her frustration are only adding to my stress level in trying to care for my gran. I know my spouse is most angry at my dad and mom about not being able to care for my gran. She has always harbored anger toward them for kicking me out and for how they treated be prior to the birth of our son. It has only been in the last 6 years that I have started to really speak to my parents again. (A new grandbaby can really turn around a family dispute).

Any suggestions on how to help her deal with her frustrations over the new family dynamic? I feel like I have put her family above myself and mine family for good reason. but now that my gran needs help there is lack of support from the person I expected to support me the most my spouse. I of course realize that having a love one move in with you is different than simply taking a day here or there to help family. But we knew this was coming, my gran is 88. She is had been in declining health for about 5 years now, since the passing of my grandfather.

I just want to help my spouse understand what is happening and relieve some of her stress. I guess I am just trying to be the good wife with out feeling unappreciated.

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My mother had dementia and the last few years of her life she became more and more grouchy and nasty, with changes to her personality that made it very hard to be around her, but I lived with her and my father in order to help out. It was very sad and upsetting, so I understand what you might be going through. I rarely suggest counseling, but it seems to me that you're dealing with things that cannot be "fixed", that can only be managed, and if you cannot manage happily then counseling might help. I'd look for support groups to start. Support groups for family members of those with dementia, and autism too. That might be enough to get things to a level where you can live a relatively happy life. I wish you the best.
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Thank you for the advise. My spouse works in her office upstairs.

Prior to gran coming I live with us, we had many arguments about the noise volume at home. With an autistic child at home it is not always possible for my to keep him quiet. She has stated that she can not hear gran talking upstairs.

Grans bedroom and our sons bed room is on the first floor and out bedroom and her office are upstairs. My small business was out of the basement. I have since given up my business and I doubt I will be back to working the amount I was before. We are also have the basement remodeled to provide extra space.

Thankfully my grandparents we savers and money for home remodels for my Grans safety have not be a problem money wise. She also contribute much more than I was making a month to the house hold bills.

Part of my frustrations is when I worked at home I was constantly interrupted by my son and my spouse. Neither of them respected my work space. I have always respected her work space. She has admitted that she never felt my job was as important as hers because I earned less money.

In terms of her being second fiddle, once we had our son he became my first priority. We had discussed this before having a child. I still take care of about 90% of the house hold needs. I still make and bring her breakfast in the morning. I still make lunch and dinner. I am still doing the homework with our son and do all the therapy he needs.

I used to get our son off to school then work until he got home, and then work the weekends. Now instead of me working I care for gran. She need some one to help her dress and bath. She has some mobility, so she can go to the bathroom by herself and fees herself. She is able to do somethings on her own. She is just prone to falls and is very forgetful. That is where the constant verbalizations come in.

Life is never a 50-50 split, of course not. I do 90% of the house and child care and brought in 10% income. She brought in 90% income and did 10% house work. I am not trying to be tit-for-tat with the I helped your parents out not you help my gran out. I was looking for some ways to talk through her frustration issues.

I love my gran and want her to live with us. She was angry and miserable in the rehab facility/retirement home while healing from her fractured hip. She complained non-stop about the staff and food and every other thing. She was more confused at the rehab/retirement home than she is at our house. In terms of my Grans health her doctor is in agreement that living with us is the best for her health.

Honestly I get frustrated with the constant questions that my gran has, and the constant talking. But having a child with autism who constantly verbalizes sounds and phrases it is really no different. If we had a second child, which she had been pressuring me to have for a couple of years now, our life would be much the same as it is now. Babies are as much if not more work that my gran is.

Some times I want to tell her "strap on your big girl panties and deal with it!" Any suggestions on how to talk with her about her mood change with out "attacking" her. We have a good marriage and a wonderful family. I am very close to my gran and want her to remain living with us as long as possible. I know eventually that might not be possible.
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Let's take the "I did all these things for you and your family - you owe me" out of the equation. No relationship is ever 50-50, and we ALL think that we are the ones who sacrifice the most in situations. I raise my hand first:)
One of the biggest red flags that I see here is that your spouse WORKS from home. You don't state how many rooms are in your home or where your grandmother is situated during the day. In your own words, your grandmother verbalizes ALL THE TIME (i.e. noise) and is CONFUSED (i.e. requiring care which stops all other activity). Your grandmother requires so much care that you can no longer work from home. You are first and foremost a stay-at-home mom whose child has autism (my son is 17 and autistic-I too worked VERY part time from home when he was little). Caregiving a frail, demented elder in your home is NOT the same as going to someone else's home and helping out. It is 24/7/365 - you cannot get away from the situation anywhere in your home. You alone physically cannot provide all the care for your grandmother at your house; no one should. So your spouse (child cannot provide care) is providing care at the times you cannot (your parents cannot, your sibling cannot per your own post). I would be cranky too if my job performance was being affected by your change in home situation - in this economy, jobs where you can work from home have the expectation of MORE work being provided (not 40 hours on scheduled shifts). Something may have been said about distraction or late performance and your spouse is protecting you because she knows how important your grandparent is to you.
You are not the only one that is caring for your grandmother if she is in your home. Your grandparents provided money to help you when you needed it - you can likewise help provide financial assistance to provide the SAFEST, best environment for your grandmother. You need the time to provide the care to your child. How do you choose which one you help when both child and grandparent need care at the same time? Your grandmother may live in a slowly declining mode for YEARS. Interventions that will make life altering differences for your autistic child have a limited window - your grandmother would not want you to sacrifice your marriage and child for her. Talk with a social worker, area aging person, etc and find a better placement for your grandmother before it becomes "either-or". Your marriage has a lot of pressures on it already - don't wait to make decisions in full crisis mode. My heart hurts for you and good thoughts headed your way.
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Life is rarely fair. You look at your situation and your spouse's reaction to it and say, "Not fair after everything I've done for your family." Having someone in your home isn't the same as what you were doing, as you said. Your primary responsibility is to your immediate family. Have a talk with your spouse and see if you can negotiate a compromise. If you can't, in my opinion, it's time to make other arrangements.
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Basically it boils down to this. Your spouse is tired of playing second fiddle to gran which often happens. Your spouse also probably resents the loss of income since you are not able to work with taking care of Gran. Gran has mild/moderate dementia plus a whole host of other issues which is only going to get worse. . You have a child with autism which is challenging in itself. Your parents are in no condition to care for gran.

It sounds like gran needs to be in a nursing home with her not being able to dress or bathe her self. Where does her doctor think she should live.

I think you have your hands full of enough with just your spouse and your young autistic child. Ya''l need to have a heart to heart, open, but non-judgement discussion about the reality of the current dynamics and the options before you two as possible solutions.
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