My husband is his father's caregiver. How has anyone on here coped with an absent spouse?

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My husband takes care of his father, in his father's home. I am not welcome there, per the father in law. My husband fights with him about it and never wins. My FIL has 12 illnesses all are fatal. To name a few, Diabetes, COPD, Congestive heart failure, renal issues, PAD, HIGH Blood pressure, hearing issues, falling all the time at least 5 times in a 24 hour period and falling has landed him in the hospital 2 times and a nursing home in which he walked out of. My husband cannot care for him properly because he works a full-time job and is tied to his father the rest of the time. Honestly, I'm ready to throw in the towel....3 years of this is enough. I don't know what else to do. I have talked to him til I was blue in the face, but his father appears to be his only concern because that's where he spends his time. I am honestly at a crossroads here. How has anyone on here coped with an absent spouse? MIA spouse? I love my husband very much but being alone most of the time and not allowed to go over to see him as his father hates my guts and everyone else's, makes this hard and possibly not worth the fight anymore. My husband knows it is time for a nursing home but his dad is fighting hom every step and they can't get reliable help in the house to care for him and he (FIL)doesn't want anyone there either....my husband is tired all the time from work and caring for his father. His health is starting to decline and I cannot get him to even hear me ...it's a mess.....at the end of my rope..Anyone?!

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Top Answer
Take a step back and a few very deep breaths.

You're right. Three years of this is more than enough, it's ridiculous. And let me be cool and dispassionate about it: what is ridiculous is the notion that a man in full-time work can provide adequate care for a family member as ill and so at risk as your FIL is.

So setting aside your husband's responsibilities to you, he CANNOT responsibly continue to enable your FIL's refusal to accept additional support. It is dangerous and foolhardy.

Support your husband in finding a placement for his father. You can help by researching what's available, visiting possible facilities, finding out what the costs would be, that sort of thing. You can also look for allies: your family doctor, social workers, those involved in the hospital admissions, for example.

Proceed on the assumption that this is a done deal: you are looking for a place, and FIL's consent will eventually be forthcoming whether he likes it or not. Once you have identified a shortlist, you can then work on helping your husband to withdraw his support, which will be easier for your husband if there is a clear, definite alternative care plan.

Try to ignore your FIL's animosity. He's a sick old man with a terrible attitude to everyone, by the sound of it, and I don't suppose he's exactly a little ray of sunshine with your poor beleaguered husband either. Grit your teeth and try to be strictly practical. Remember that you're not competing with your FIL to win your husband. You're on your husband's team, supporting him.
Who " cares" for FIL while your husband is at work?

If FIL is okay all day, then what your husband is doing is laundry, cooking, yard work, setting up medications, etc?

Your husband is making a choice, to help out his dad. An admirable choice, but one which excludes you.

He's made his choice. I think perhaps you need, perhaps with some support from a therapist, to figure out what choice you are comfortable making in this situation.

FIL may have 12 chronic conditions, but none of them are going to kill him tomorrow. Can you do this for 10 more years? Probably not. Your husband's choices are being limited by Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG). Yours don't need to be.
((((hugs)))) And condolences to your family.

Hang tough, JJ.

Hubby might struggle with “re-entry” in the days/weeks/months ahead. His reality has been Bizarro World for years. It’s likely he’ll have a difficult time shutting that off.

Don’t be surprised — and don’t take it personally — if hubby is overtired. Or crabby. Or has unrealistic expectations.

Transitions are tough. Including the transitions that get us closer to what we want.

Keep coming back to AC Forum for support. We’re here for you.
JJ, read country mouse's response again and get busy. When you contact nursing homes, also ask about respite care. When you find a place you like ask if they do respite care as well. If a full blown move doesn't get your hubby on board, try for a period of respite care. FOR YOUR HUSBAND'S SAKE! Hubby can't make a logical decision because he is burned out. The merry go round doesn't allow him to see the forest for the trees.
You don't indicate your FIL's financial situation but outsourcing any possible tasks would help hubby too. Would you be willing to do FILs laundry if it was brought to you? Ditto on meal prep and food shopping. I would try to do everything to reduce my husband's to do list so he can make better decisions.
I am trying to understand your situation. The above answers are wonderful, as usual, but they are based upon your husband agreeing to your doing the research into placement of your FIL, and agreeing to place him into a facility in the first place. The fact that he has agreed to his father banning you from the house is concerning. Agreeing to your finding a place for his dad may well be beyond DH’s ability to grasp. And, it sounds like his Dad needs to be in a Lockdown unit so he doesn’t take it upon himself to leave.

You do need help with this, even so far as calling your local agency on aging. You need someone who has the power to help on your side. Please keep us updated on how this works out.
Your hubs clearly needs to grow a pair. And a brain.

Sorry to be so blunt but I’m a husband also. I just went through 5 years of solo, long distance caregiving for 2 parents. Finally got them in care after bad falls, er, hospital, dementia increasing etc.

Mom hates me now and will hardly speak to me. Thinks she is just fine. She needs 2 person assist to go potty. She may adjust someday or maybe not.

My wife has been supportive and understanding throughout this ordeal but she would have left me in a hot minute if I was the mess your hubs appears to be.

Boot girl is right, this will end eventually, someone will eventually put dear old pops in a facility. Maybe hubs, maybe APS. So I guess you can tough it out, or if you can afford it, move out and come back if and when hubs gets a spine.
Your husband apparently doesn't understand that at a certain point, most of us have make a cold, hard choice between making our parents happy and keeping them, and us safe. It takes real courage to step back and say "I can't do this anymore, dad. Work with me or you're going to have to take your chances on your own or with State intervention".

Buy your husband a copy of Atul Gawande's On Being Mortal.
The easiest way to get him into care, next time he falls, call 911 and have him taken to hospital. He'll likely spend a couple days and you can work with social workers there to get him a placement. If you refuse to take him back they will figure something out. Not perfect but a solution. Clearly his needs are not being met in his current situation.
JJlove, here is something to tell your husband.... close to 40% of caregivers die leaving behind the love one they were caring for. Yes, close to 40%.

Then what?

Hubby's father then goes into a skilled nursing home to live many more years, while you are without a husband, children without a Dad [if you have children], etc.

Hubby has to stop enabling his father to be able to continue his lifestyle, while you and hubby have to change yours. Time for hubby to set boundaries, and to learn to say to his Dad "I can't possibly do that". I know it is not easy as our elders have a way of sending in the guilt forces.
Jjlove,
You can have a life.
If you are unhappy with your husband's actions, withdraw your support.
What you have now is a non-marriage marriage.
Dance away, have a life, buy yourself some flowers, Sees Candies, a new outfit, be less available.
By the time hubs "wakes up", you might not want him back.
BTW, do these things without complaining, explaining, or threatening.

Oh, and get your hair done like Bootshop has said. 

Bootshopgirl, Not sure that I am an old hand at this caregiving as you say.  I think we are all struggling through many issues together.  Everyone has something of value to contribute, imo.

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