She is 97 years old has been in the nursing home for 6 months. She was living alone until she broke her hip. She underwent surgery, but was not able to start walking again. She was showing signs of dementia before the surgery, but it is worse now. Some days she is totally out of touch with reality. She was very unhappy when she was first in the nursing home, so he thought we should go every day for a while until she got adjusted. We live only 10 miles away so that that is not a problem. She is still not happy and is not going to be no matter what. We are both 72. I have RA, but it is well controlled. He had an aortic aneurysm repair a year ago and recovered well. But now that we are in the stressful situation of dealing with her on a daily basis, his blood pressure has gone up and he is now on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. He has also been sick for the last month with colds, sore throats and congestion. I'm sure it is all stress related. I can't get him to stop going there every day. I go with him just to make the visits easier for him because I can handle the stress better than he can. I've just come off of 8 years of helping with my own mother. We have fallen to a pattern of going right after lunch every day and now she is waiting when we arrive and if we get there later, she starts with "Where have you been?" And so on. I am beginning to resent having to plan my life around these visits. It has been 6 months since I have had a whole day to myself. If this is selfish, I'm sorry, but I like to do my own housework, shopping and want to be involved in church activities. I thought about telling him we could alternate our days going, but I really don't like going to see her by myself. She wants me to take her somewhere and I can't because she is in a wheelchair, she is heavy and I can't handle her. Plus she would want to go the bathroom somewhere and I can't handle that either. He can't take her anywhere either because he is not to lift more that 50 pounds and she is a dead weight getting her up and down. At the home, she does not want to participate in any activities. I think we need to back off going every day so she will decide to do things and not sit there and wait for us. She has a cell phone and on the few days we did not go due to doctor's appointments or something we had to do, we would tell her we were not coming and she would call asking where we were. I don't want to refuse to go with him because I don't want to add to his stress. His brother also goes to see her every day, but he only stays a few minutes. We stay about an hour and a half and she still tells people we don't come often or stay more than a few minutes. She does not have anything really wrong with her physically so I am afraid this may go on for a long time. I tell him she is killing him. Maybe not, but it IS dominating our lives.
1) People with illnesses should not bring their germs to nursing homes where the patients have compromised immunity. You said:"He has also been sick for the last month with colds sore throats and congestion."
If his brother is also going, schedule every other day, going on separate days.
Did you both visit daily when she lived alone? Isn't she basically "living" there now?
An outside caregiver can be hired to go on the days you cannot go.
Meet with the director, ask how to change your Mil's expectations of a daily visit. Start by getting her to meet you in the community room, this will get her out of her room. Does she have a roommate? Hubs should not be going in there sick.
If it boils down to you not going, save yourself first. You are amazing that you have done this for so long.
If it is recent, then he is likely suffering from anticipatory grief.
If it is not recent, then he is emotionally enmeshed with her as seen in fear of not keeping her happy, feeling obligated to visit every day and feeling guilt for not keeping her happy or seeing her every day.
Either way, he needs to see a therapist.
She will never adjust if you go every day. Talk to the activities director about getting her to participate more. Take a vacation. Really.
It sounds like he's having what is sometimes called anticipatory grief.
Every day may or may not be too much for MIL but it is obviously too much for the two of you. Cut back.
Good answer! There is not enough information, but is it possible her husband could be suffering from the f.o.g.?
Joanne, The f.o.g. is fear, obligation, and guilt.
I'd also suggest that both of you read up on dementia. There are great books and the alzheimers werbsite has info on all dementias. Memory loss means that MIL doesn't remember that you were there yesterday. My Mom greeted me one day with 'gee I have't seen you in a long time!" I had been there the past 5 days! LOL Great ideas above too. Good luck and keep us posted.
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