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My husband with cirrhosis, cognitive issues and mobility issues was in the hospital for a UTI and is now in rehab. It is a relief to no longer be a caregiver and have some time for me, but I visit him every day and all he talks about is how he can't stand it there and wants to go home. I try to change the subject, but invaribly he goes back to how he hates it there. He has only been there one week, not sure how long he will be there. I understand his unhappiness. He sits in a wheelchair all day except for therapy sessions. He has fallen twice while there because he was trying to get out of his wheelchair. It’s a dreary place, but the staff seems nice. My question is how to cope with his complaints and his wanting to go home. I feel sorry for him, but am so glad when I can walk away.

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There is no way to cope with it. There is no way to make the end of life things that are difficult better. There is only living through them, and that's what you are doing. My brother would complain over and over again that it was worse than being "incarcerated" and I am certain that's what it felt like to him. Not everything can be fixed, not everything can be made nice. That just isn't life. Try to see his complaints as simply his complaints about not liking what the end of life is doing to him. Don't take it on as something you can/should/must fix. Because honestly, the sacrifice of your own life to all this will not help anything. I would make it clear to him that there is absolutely nothing that you can do about all of this. Tell him you are sorry about that, but it is a fact. Tell him you love him, and wish things were better for him now, but you can't fix it. So sorry for the pain you are both going through now.
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Harpcat Jul 9, 2019
Excellent answer and very truthful
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My wife is in the 4th SNF since her stroke 10/30/2017. Guess what, they are all the same! ( In her eyes). After all this time, she will be coming home within a week. After being within a couple of hours of death several times, after being told that she will never walk again, after all her complaining, she finally realized that if she is to come home, she has to cooperate with the rehab staff. No, "I don't fell like it today", "come back in an hour" , no more unnecessary trips to the hospital.
This rehab was her last chance to improve. In fact she is now off Hospice and is able to walk with a hemi-walker. This after over 600 days in either the bed all day or in a wheelchair all day.
Guess what she still complains all day every day. She calls many times a day to tell me a staff member looked at he wrong, smilled a fake smile, refused her medication request,
None of these places fell like home, but for her to come home she had to decide to work it.
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LorraineDe Jul 9, 2019
My advice is to not answer the phone every time your wife calls. Let those calls go to VM and call her back when you want to listen to her. Set a timer for the call, listen, say little, don’t argue. Change the subject she is complaining about to YOU! Just for a few minutes. When the timer goes off tell her you have to go and will check in tomorrow. Tell her you love her and to have a nice rest of day, evening, or sleep. Don’t enable her!
Have you given any thought to her going into a NH: Assisted Living or Nursing Care? If finances are a problem see if she qualifies for Medicaid. If she does start the paperwork ASAP. For my Mom It took me over a year of constant calling, emailing, texting to finally get approved for either in home care or NH. She is on a list for a Medicaid bed in the same NH as my Dad who is in AL (89 and doing well). I took care of both in home for a year! It about drove me crazy-especially after my knee replacement! My daughter was helping me for ten days; before, during, and after surgery. She also at 28 took care of Grands!
I have cared for Mom for over 8 years. I retired early 7 years ago (widow) to do caregiving for both parents. Hospital visits galore, falls, illnesses, doc visits and on and on. I neglected myself.
I’m 66 and decided three weeks ago that I want a life! I no longer WANT to take care of Mom 92, with Alzheimer’s, medical issues and double incontinence! LOVE HAS IT LIMITS. I want to be her daughter again and enjoy that relationship. I miss my kids and grands (NY) and I miss me!
I wish you the best and hope you are able to get relief.
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My step father and his wife are in AL, in AZ. He is 90 and has everything under the sun wrong with him, and is totally deaf, in a wheelchair and diapers. She has Dementia or Alzheimer's. They are in a real nice place, which runs about 6K per month. All they do is b*tch, whine and complain about what is not right especially the food, they have their own kitchen, so I say cook what you like, they bristle as their monthly fee includes food, and they are too cheap to buy other food. My brother and I live in Fl, so, we are now moving them here. We are going to have a sit down with them as we do not want to hear this constant b*tching, we are going to explain that regardless of their minor upsets, this will be their new home. If they want to complain between each other fine, but we do not want to listen to it. If there is something legitimate we will address it, being closer will help us manage this situation. They act like little spoiled brats, not adults, it has worn us down, they are fortunate to be able to afford to live in such hi-end homes, unlike most who are in state run facilities.
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Lostinva Jul 9, 2019
Good luck with that! My mom would b*tch if she was hung with a new rope! I’ve learned that no matter where she was, temporary or permanent , she will complain. It’s her nature & some are like that. Her mother, on the other hand, never complained & was pleasant till she took her last breath.
Are they going to live with you or have you found a facility? I would suggest visiting once a week & when they start complaining, get up & leave. Hopefully they’ll soon get the message. It’s hard, I understand, wears you down but stand up for yourself & your sanity. Keep us posted on their move.
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If it weren't for chronic, non stop complaining, my mother would be totally mute. In fact, my 61 year old husband had an emergency pacemaker implanted on July 4th, so I spent my 62nd birthday in the hospital scared to death that he was going to die. Mother called tonight to "see how we are doing" and spent the entire time complaining bitterly about what the PT is not doing for her in the $6400 per month memory care suite she lives in. Yep, she told me what a bad mood she was in, but hey, hope your hubby is still alive. Enjoy your free time while you have it, that's my suggestion, and limit your visiting time with him. I disagree that you should hurry him out of rehab.....they will give him more PT and OT THERE then you can give him at home. Plus it gives you a respite from the toxicity.
Best of luck!
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Is your husband cooperating with PT and other therapies while there? No one really likes rehab. When he says he hates it, I found it did no good to try and be positive about it as that is basically discounting their feelings. They want validation and empathy which equates to being heard. So just agree and say you understand. Encourage him to participate to be released sooner. Can you get other friends, a pastor, the chaplain etc. to visit with him?
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How long are your daily visits?

It's only a mental trick to play on yourself, so it can only get you so far, but when you go in set a timer on your cellphone to remind yourself of how many more hours/minutes there are to go before you do get to walk away. And, if appropriate, make it a bit shorter?

Or, go when there's something happening - assist your husband at lunch, or attending therapy, or push him to join in with any activities that are going. Having other people around, busy with whatever task is on hand, might dilute the negativity.

This is hard, I sympathise. What's the forward plan?
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My mother never, once, EVER COMPLAINED about her life in residential care.

When she first entered, there was a bit of a sense of strangeness, then when a new building was built, she sat very quietly after being transferred, adjusting to the change of surroundings, FOR ONE DAY.

In retrospect, I think she was alert enough to realize that her “new” life was far more pleasant and attractive than the home where she lived by herself after my father died OR the home I tried to make for her with me.
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katiekat2009 Jul 9, 2019
This was my experience with my mom, as well. We were luckier than most!
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I discussed this with my mother’s dr. since my mother didn’t complain, she just had literal screaming fits of anger. The dr told me pretty much every resident there complains to their family but as soon as the family goes home is fine, enjoys the socializing, events etc. We did find a nice place for her with plenty of things she can do, a good patient to staff ratio etc. But after a few months her previous independent living facility and now her assisted living facility became home and when she wants to go “ home” that’s where she means. But she still complains , sometimes I think from a desire to make us feel sorry for her.
If your husband needs a facility after rehab, check them out personally . You don’t have to go where someone suggested.
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I would tell him the harder he works on his rehab the sooner he will be able to come home. If he continues with all the complaints I would suggest you limit your time there, Tell him you want to visit but do not want to constantly talk about how much he hates living there. At that point the decision is his, if he continues with the complaints, limit your time there.
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disgustedtoo Jul 9, 2019
Ditto telling him to work harder - he has to practice what they teach him during his therapy sessions, listen to warnings about getting up, etc. He needs to understand that if HE doesn't put in any effort to "move out", he will have to stay there or move to a permanent facility, NOT home.

When he starts complaining, repeat that you understand how he feels, but that he needs to WORK to get better so that he CAN progress. If he continues to just complain, leave. You don't have to stay to listen to the broken record. If you do this enough, he might "get it."

If he doesn't comply at all, start looking for a permanent place. My understanding is that even though Medicare pays for 120 days, if he is not progressing, that will be reported and could get him "bounced" sooner. You might need another place sooner rather than later!

Relish your new-found freedom!
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I know you are loving that time to yourself, but don't allow them to keep him too long. You will see a decline. This is what happened to Mom and she was pretty much into her Dementia. She too was stuck in a wheelchair after walking around her AL all day long. Then they told me she would never walk with a walker unassisted. Really! I told them I don't know how she can improve when she sits in an uncomfortable wheelchair all day long. Going in, I told them there was no money past the 20 days Medicare paid. So they needed to do what they had to by then. She was there 18 days. I swore she would never go again. They could order therapy at her AL. By the way, she got back to the AL and with her walker she was going all over the place.

Rehabs are dreary places. Worse for those who have no idea where they are. I have told my DH that if its requested I go to get my strength back, I am not going. I was told for every day in a hospital, its 3 days of therapy. My Mom should have only been in 12 days.
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