How do you know when you cannot take care of someone any longer?

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My wife had 2 strokes. 1 in Dec of 15, and another in the spring of 2016. She had 3 seizures, so 5 ER runs. She stayed in a home for 4 months and I've had her at home these 2 years. On top of it she has both apraxia and aphasia. The stroke took out her speech and right side. I obviously have to work. Thank God though as my 2 days off are awful taxing. I am wore down. I am exhausted. None of her family etc. has helped ... whatsoever. It's all me. I run a small business. I can't put her on Medicaid as from what I understand they could eventually assume my paid for home and business. My son is in it with me and I hoped to hand it to him. She is 56 and I am 53. Today is our 33rd anniversary and she doesn't know it. She has a lot of trouble comprehending. Dr's said she isn't going to get any better. We've have 5 different therapists of speech, physical and occupational therapy. No improvement since the first couple weeks. She's always had a temper and a short fuse and that's only inflamed more now with all this. I get through each day. But I am at a loss of what to do and wonder when my health will begin failing me as this is just utterly exhausting and she is just so rough to handle mentally. I feel so bad for and I have busted my ass trying to take care of her. I have to do 99% for her. I bathe, dress, undress her, you name it. I don't know. All I know is I am wondering if I've been running down a road I am just not capable of taking on. 2 years. 2 years facing I don't know ahead of me. Another 2, 5, 10 years of this? OMG, I can't imagine how I'd be able to last. I don't have anyone else to ask. Sorry for dumping, but I need some input and advice please.

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Top Answer
David, you know when it has gotten to be too much when you had written your posting above. Everyone has their "crash and burn" point. Some crash in 2 months, some crash in 5 years. And what if something happens to you? Your wife would probably be placed in a skilled nursing home.

Oh please call your State Medicaid office to see what is the process. What will be the issue with the house and your business. The surviving spouse is allowed to have assets that total a certain amount.

I will let others on the forum here fill in the blanks for me. Just wanted you to know there is help out there for you.
"A lawyer told me to take her name off of stuff but I never took it off the house."

This won't necessarily protect the asset, just because it's not in your name. Talk to a lawyer that is a Certified Elder Lawyer so that you can get a 2nd opinion. (((hugs)))
Having your wife live in a place where she can be taken care of is not ending your loving care. It is keeping her safe, well looked after, and freeing you from the exhausting business of day to day nursing so that you can be her husband when you spend time with her.
We went through this when daddy had Parkinson's and mother was his primary caregiver. His illness wore her to a nub. When he passed (at home, 13 years ago) she never shed a tear. I haven't seen her cry over him, or really even talk about him. I don't know why..partly b/c she was so angry at him for being sick and needing care, when she was the one who wanted all the "fussing" and attention. Now she's in the situation he was in. In fact, tonight my sibs and I are meeting to discuss what we need to do with/for her going forward. A NH is not off the table. She lives with my brother, but her needs far outweigh his capabilities to continue to care for her. I also do PT caregiving, but the 3 other sibs are MIA.

Without support, the constant caregiver grows weary and depressed, and yes, angry.

No one is going to think less of you for moving your wife to a better place for her. You will have a level of guilt about that, b/c you love her...but the "her" you married is long gone, replaced by someone you really don't know. That's so hard to handle.

I'm sure you are loving and patient with her, but you are still so young (relatively speaking!)....what would she have wanted, do you know? Did you ever talk about the "what ifs" and "when this happens"? Many couples don't.

Putting her in a community that can meet all her needs will calm your frustration and probably be better for both of you, in the long run.

Bless you!
Well, wheels are in motion. Per suggestions, I have since had a meeting with my children and laid it all out. I just got off the phone with my sister and mother getting their input and letting them know how bad things have been. I have hidden a lot of the depth of this from most of my family but it's been time to lay all the cards on the table.

I have spoke to the free aid ohio has been they referred to a local edler care. I spoke to one attorney who referred me to another guy and I have a message in there as well as with some elder care place in Ohio. I'll talk to them all next week.

Looking into an assisted living place rather than a nursing home. Left a message at one I found locally.

The mountain I still have to climb is talking to her. I've laid some groundwork with her explaining that I'm exhausted and that I don't if I can do this much longer. I questioned if she's safe at home etc. also. The mountain being the amount of crying, the possible rage I will encounter when taking the next steps.

My assumption is that even if I'm staying on course not dragging my feet as I have I'm looking at 6 months easily yet.

But I do feel a little relief in that I'm doing something. I just know that even when she was in a nursing home life was a chaos for me seeing her, taking care of the house and working. But I need some help and I know I need it soon.

I appreciate all your input and just want to thank you for helping me realize it and begin researching it.
You’ve got a lot of loose ends Dave. You need to ease your mind. First, suggest you get with an attorney and discuss your situation and your desire to preserve assets for you, your business and son in the future.

Meet with your financial advisor and figure out your budget and what you can afford for care for your wife. Is there residential care you can afford? How about a few hours of in-home care a week? Most towns big or small have a local senior center, or center for aging, etc. Go by yourself and meet with them and they can be an excellent resource for financial support, services, care, etc. your wife may enjoy mornings there where they have activities or programs she might enjoy or just seeing people there.

You need help. Don’t feel guilty. Yes you are married, but not everyone is cut out or have skilled nursing ability your young wife obviously needs. Get her in a living arrangement that works for both of you and allows you to still run your business and provide for your family and her care. She may be best suited for a skilled care facility where you can visit but not be burdened with day to day caregiving. Figure out how best to finance that. It might mean selling house even and moving to smaller apt, etc and using some of those funds to fund her care.

For gosh sakes, make sure your financial affairs, will, POA, advance medical directive, long term care insurance, etc are current and notarized and wishes discussed with your son so that he isn’t burdened like you are.
Thanks surprise. Hugs appreciated. This is painful stuff. It's like its the worst day ever, but tomorrow and each day after looks exactly the same. I keep praying believing He has something He's teaching her, me or someone around us but I don't know what it is. Persevere I see. Is it possible to be persevered out? ugh I'm at such a loss...

Ohh, his suggestion a "loving divorce" was you just keep living as normal. You do that only for the legal aspect of protecting assets from medicaid. But again, it's just not a bridge I feel comfortable crossing. 

She was prescribed anti-depression meds but that's on her list of ones she won't take. She hid them from me for a long time and I scolded her that I was afraid the grandkids would come over and find them, She was hiding them all over. I am not sure if it's because they made her tired, or she just doesn't like the idea of them.
Dave, I don't know how you are doing it either. My mthr took care of my father who was similiarly disabled for about 10 years before he had a massive cerebral hemorrhage. She had serious mental problems after, but I suspect many of them were already present, just not as pronounced. You are earning sainthood, the hard way!

Theraputic fibs might help you with the pill taking, or perhaps giving her OTC suppliments like St. John's Wart for mood. But I really feel she needs something - she sounds depressed the way you describe her. Are there any senior center programs she could attend during the day, or a senior's day care? Seems more social than being in the house alone all day.
Dave, has your wife been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia? In my area, post stroke, patients are put on antidepressants as part of the protocol. I would suggest that it's time to figure out how to get her on them, or you're not going to be able to care for her.

I was a sole proprietor for 25 + years. Last year I changed it to an LLC so I could bring my son in 50/50 with me. Her name is no longer on the bank account, but it is still on the house. A lawyer told me to take her name off of stuff but I never took it off the house. Felt like a heel... He also told me to protect assets for my children to get a "loving divorce." I couldn't get to that point, and I knew bringing it up to her was going to mean a flood of tears, questions she couldn't understand answers to etc.

Getting the basic questions answered is a chore and a half. I've learned never to make small talk because she doesn't understand anything and it leads to a stream of questions I can't make out and frustration for us both.

So she isn't technically a part of the business, but she is due to marriage. So my concern would be that my son busts his but for it, I pass and when it would then become his, medicaid would come calling for half of its assets which would leave a break-even business in shambles and out of business. Same with our home. Wouldn't they come after that to recover costs? It's only a 150-200k home, but you wish you could leave somethinng to the kids kind of thing.

I dunno. My heads spinning as has been for such a long time. Glad I found this site and can vent and ask questions I don't know where else to ask.

Thank you for your input and suggestions.

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