I am 80 years old and in very good health. I help lift him from bed to chair and vice versa. I help shower him, shave him, cut his hair and nails, etc. He wears depends all the time and I have to help him stand so I can remove the depends and put on clean ones. He is so very heavy. He is a very loving man and really appreciates all I do. I alone, care for him. I would love to hire someone just to come in about 10 AM to do all this. (Bed sheets need changing almost every day, he wets through) This morning at 3 AM he called me to help change him and the sheets. ...So if I hired someone to come at AM each day I wouldn't need her (or him) because I already attended to all his needs. This happens often.

What do I do? It is really getting tiresome. I only leave the house to shop and only for an hour or so. He cannot walk to go the bathroom by himself and many times when I came home he had already soiled himself. He feels terrible. I do love him. Married over 60 years now but I'm beginning to think he needs to be in a facility and this is breaking my heart. His doctor agrees and tells me not to feel guilty. But I do. I would be very lonely without him but I know I cannot keep doing this. I may have a few good years left and I would like to venture out on a trip or have some friends. I am confused. Any suggestions out there?

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I’m so glad you’re looking into how to make your situation easier and better!

At any pharmacy, you can buy large disposable pads that can go on the bed or anywhere he might sit. Also, there are waterproof washable pads that can be bought, for example on or That way, you won’t have to change the whole bed every day. Ive also heard about personal pads that go into adult diapers to absorb more of the urine. Maybe this would make leaks less likely. Others can advise.

I suggest asking his doctor to order Homecare (short term physical therapy/OT/ nurse). They visit the house and can advise you better on how to improve your current situation moving your husband around and likely on incontinence issues.

I also like the idea of scouting out long term care where both of you can live together. You might make some friends who are in a similar situation!

To give you immediate relief, I highly recommend hiring an aide. We have an aide come in 3 days a week for 5 hours, and he does laundry, dishes, cares for my husband (for example incontinence issues, moving him around, preparing a snack), and sits with him so I can go out for errands or to do something for myself. It took a while for my husband to trust the aide and it was strange for me, too, but now it’s a lot better. I’ve found it to be a relief to be able to leave the house.

Best wishes.
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My Husband was over 6 foot and weighed well over 200 pounds so it can be done.
There is a GREAT tool you can use called a Sit-to-Stand. A padded belt is placed around the person needing help and the belt has loops. You attach the loops to the arm of the Sit to Stand and have the person grasp the handles and place their feet properly. You then either pump the handle for the manual one or press a button on the electric one. The arm of the machine goes up and the person is standing. You can then easily change them and you can also transfer someone from a chair to a bed or to another chair. The Sit to Stand is on wheels so you can move the person from one location to another. (should not be used to move the person in place of a wheelchair)
I also suggest you switch from Depends type briefs to a Tab brief so you do not have to remove pants unless you have to if they are wet.
And when I was using Tab type briefs on my Husband I put them on "backwards" so the tab fastened in the back. This allowed me to use his body as resistance to get the brief to fit more snugly so there was less of a chance of leaks.
Another thought you might want to check with Hospice to have them determine if he is eligible.
You will get supplies and equipment like I mentioned above as well as a CNA that will come in a few times a week to bathe him and order supplies.
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For good or for bad, I have spent a great deal of time in residential care facilities and also with very dear loved ones who have been cared for at home.

I hope you will be able to take some measure of reassurance from a personal observation I've made that a loving marriage can continue in this kind of separation, and even change in some very sweet ways for the better when both of the spouses are freed from the burdens of ongoing physical care.

It is very helpful to be near to the facility, if you choose to give that a trial, and to have as sturdy a set-up for transportation as you can arrange.
If you choose to seek in-home help, you need to be assertive about consistency. I recall how personally difficult it was for me when I’d depend on having someone come, then not show up..

If you choose to physically continue living with him, such situations may require more visiting and researching, but they can definitely be found. Trust that there is a solution, ask for recommendations from his physician(s), concerning his specific needs.

You are smart, and TOUGH, a good combination for decision making. YES, you should certainly travel and enjoy the pleasures you’ve waited to have the freedom for, and do so with confidence that your dear husband is receiving ongoing high quality care when you are temporarily away from him.

Most of us who post here have a pretty clear sense of the ambivalence you are feeling. Be confident that those feelings, as well as the other feelings you are experiencing, are placing you on the right path.
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Wow you are a wonderful person, and wife, and I'm glad your DH appreciates all you do. I'm a little worried when I hear you are lifting him here and there...even if you are a strapping amazon that's not good for your back (just ask any nurse).

Yes as Countrymouse has suggested transitioning together to a senior community that has everything from independent living to hospice may fit your bill. You can have an apartment and your DH can be in LTC but you'll be close and know the same people, and still keep a good eye on him.

Or you can also consider an in-home service like Visiting Angels (I mention them because we have used them for years and love it). If you get the right "guy" angel not only can you get help but your DH will have a companion. My aunties just love their companion.

Your DH may not like the idea of moving as that is a huge change, but if you read the many other posts on this forum, there comes a point that the solution needs to be for both, not just the person needing care, or you will get injured or burnout. This site has many many great ideas, answers and supportive people so check back when you need more advice. Wishing you many years together and a solution that brings you both what you need!
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Well, noting that you have "a few good years left" - may they be many! - and hoping that you are prepared to consider a shift of gear, I'd suggest you look for a continuing care facility or community that will accept you and your husband together as a "going concern." This will give you the support you need to continue as your husband's primary caregiver, combined with the freedom and peace of mind to take time out and to lead your own life.

Is that something you might be interested in, do you think?
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