We are helping care for my MIL. She has Dementia/Stroke, and issues with needing help as well ! It was or seemed to be alright in the beginning, with my husband and I, now all we do it seems is argue over my trying to help him with things thst pertain to his mom? My husband works 14 hr days, then goes to the facility (where his mother is living now), 2-3 times a week to help with his mom needs. I am fine with this for the most part, but lately whenever I offer my help to him he gets angry and refuses? He doesn't have much time to do the "paperwork" that accompanies his mothers financial and professional care. What I try to convey is that, there is a time limit that needs to be met on certain things. My husband procrastinates a lot. So I don't want us to get taken to collections !? His sister passed us that hat already, when she decided that she didn't want to help her mother, she would rather travel!!? Well who wouldn't?! Anyway this is putting a strain on not only us but our son as well. What can I do besides counseling ? We are financially maxed out at this time because we are helping with some of my MIL's expeditures,at the care facility where she is (because she is farther advanced in this illness and needed professional care). We also have her estate to manage the bills for, and up keep. All that and our own finances to pay. I just want to know , are there many caregivers who refuse help? And, Why do they choose to? I can't get an answer from my husband so, I thought I'd ask here? Thank you for your insight....

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Hi Stressed Mom,
This is a tough situation all around. I've read the suggestions already given and am proud of our community for the insight and help they've offered.

I do think 'starting over' is a good idea. Your husband likely thinks he should be a "good son" and do it all. Then he's overwhelmed and can't do any of it. He sees your offer of help as criticism and nagging.

For this reason, the suggestion that you just back off for awhile may work. Sometimes if we just let things happen on their own, people will understand that they do need help. You could say, "I know it seems like I'm nagging you and I don't mean it that way. I just get worried. I'm not going to push you anymore, but I'm willing to help if you need me." Then let it rest.

It’s true that the world won’t end if something negative happens. It may take something nasty for your husband to see he does need help.

If he eventually shows some signs of relenting, then you could offer to help with one specific thing, such as filling out a form. You could say, “Would you like me to fill this out and then you can sign it? If we work as a team, we’ll get through it more quickly.”

Go easy or he’s likely to feel attacked again. This could be a slow, painful process, but what you’re going through is no fun either. Counseling would be wonderful if you can get it, even if you are the only one to go. Otherwise, talking with the social worker at the nursing home may help.

Please keep us informed on how you are doing. If you decide to just let the chips fall where they may, you’ll need to communicate to keep up your resolve. Good people are here to lend support.

Take care of yourself, too.
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I'd drop by the facility myself to see how I can be of assistance. Talk to the staff; keep her company for a little while. He might pop up and either appreciate the fact you still care about his mom or have a fit. If he goes "project" (as we say here in The Bronx when people lose it) for your audacity of trying to help her and him, then he should be man enough to own it; lock, stock, and barrel. If he wants to dump on you, tell him "We're not having this conversation." Go for a walk around the neighborhood to clear your head.
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I can't imagine why anyone would refuse help. Does he take your offers as criticism, do you think? In the stress of his long work days and his mother's increasing care needs he may not be thinking clearly and reacting reasonably.

I think counseling might be a good idea.

What if you just drop the subject? Say once, "If there is anything you'd like help with, let me know. Otherwise I'll just leave everything to you." What is the worst that can happen? He'll procrastinate too long on something and then he'll have to deal with the consequences. The world won't come to an end. And maybe that will change his mind about accepting some help.

Dropping the subject entirely and letting him take the lead on how he is caring for his mother's finances should reduce the stress level in the household and be easier on your son, if you really can let it go. If you stop bringing it up but are tense every time the mail is delivered or stressed out about it without an outlet, that might not be so helpful. This is where some counseling might be helpful.

His mother. His responsibility. Let him do it his way.
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Is there some history to the resentment of you helping? Or does he just feel like he should be able to do it all and doesn't like the implications that he is coming up short? Many people have trouble asking for and accepting help. In your shoes, I would try to start over again and work with the personality of my husband in helping his mother. For example, if something comes in the mail that needs to be filled out, ask him if he wants you to fill it out so it will be ready for him to tend to when he goes to the facility. He can still feel in charge of it if the question is posed in the right way.

Outside counseling is sometimes helpful, but listening to the counsel in our own heads is the most important. We don't know the history or the personality of your situation, but you know it well so should have some ideas on how you can de-stress the atmosphere. If your husband needs to be manager for his MIL, then let him. If you can figure out some ways to give him free time when you and he can relax, that would be great. I can't imagine having to work 14 hours a day. That would be awful -- no time for an outside life at all. I hope you can find a way to help him chill. (When I wrote this, I wondered why he worked so many hours. Is it every working day?)
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Hi Carol, First I'd like to say , I have started doing the same thing you suggested, (as far as not trying to help unless I was asked) so I don't know what the outcome will be yet. My husband was called by the facility this morning, that his mom was taken to the Hosp. because she fell. Maybe this is what is needed? I thank each and everyone for your answers to my question. While I thought of doing the same thing, it was confirmation on what I had planned, that I was needing affimation of. Was I doing the right thing for this certain situation...? You have all been a real help!! God Bless you and Hugs, Lisa
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