After 30 years of being wife /carer, I’m tired. My husband was diabetic before we met. Didn’t take any of it seriously, drank heavily, smoked. My role as wife has always been the carer. He’s now reg, blind, has copd, heart disease, some fluid on brain, poor mobility, dementia. I do all care, assist with wash, dress, shower etc. I do all blood tests, injections / insulin. Count carbs in food accordingly. We did have a little care help, but government have now moved financial goal post, so we can’t afford help. I’m doing job of nurse, but I’m NOT A NURSE. No time for me. I can’t be ill, no time for friends, family. I just feel what about ME? After 30 years, I’m thinking of nursing home permanently, but the guilt holds me back... why?

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Why? Because you are afraid that it somehow makes you fail as a wife.

It's very important to realise that your key duty as a wife is to do what is best for your husband. And while there are certain people who will bang on about "in sickness and in health", and make you feel there is some kind of perverse virtue in continuing to suffer as you are, these people are overlooking the practical fact that several highly trained people working as a team can provide *infinitely* *better* care for a man in your husband's physical condition than one exhausted, untrained, heartbroken woman.

Be a good wife to your husband and find the right nursing home. Then you can also get back to being a wife who loves him rather than dreads him.
Helpful Answer (42)

Sonia, I’m sorry you’re in this situation, and I’m sorry your husband has refused over the years to do anything to help himself and his health. You’ve done an admirable job in caring for him. It looks like the time has come that your own health is going to soon decline if you don’t make a change. Where would your husband be if you weren’t available at all to care for him? If you make the decision to have him move into a nursing home, you’ll still be caring, you’ll be having professional help in the most hands on portions of his care, and you’ll be able to watch over him and ensure that he’s comfortable and well taken care of. As it is, you’re worn out and not at your best to care for him. I wish you blessings as you move forward
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Women particularly are "taught" from an early age that we are the caregivers, the nurturers.
Even wedding sickness and in health..until death.....
But when it gets to a point when your own health is at risk, when the person you have loved and cared for, took those vows with does nothing to care for you back (and taking care of his own health in a way show disrespect to you as well as himself) you need to put yourself first.
(Isn't that what they tell you on an airplane?)
Placing him in a Nursing Home, Assisted Living or Memory Care if his dementia is to that point, will allow you to become his wife again not his nurse, caregiver. He will have care 24/7, you can not do that. He will have trained professional people to care for him, almost no one can afford that at home!
And unless you have a house that will accommodate his continued decline you may have to do that if he remains at home.
Do not feel guilty....he should feel guilty being the cause of many of these problems.
Do not feel like you have failed...he is the one that has failed in caring for himself, he could have made his life better.
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Well put Country Mouse. As my Mom once said, when they get old you get old too. With all that is going on with your husband, your are not mentally or physically able to do it anymore. There is nothing wrong with that. You first need to look at your finances and see if you will need Medicaid now or in the future. A skilled nursing home is what ur DH needs. Assisted Living is not equipped for his health problems. You then can see him daily and make sure he is well cared for. Be someone the staff is glad to see. Believe me, I asked questions and asked if certain things could be done for Mom but I also made the Chas aware that I know how much they do for little money.
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My heart goes out to you. You do deserve a life that gives you time for your own needs to be met. I so agree with others and actually you are doing a kindness to him to move him there for the constant care he needs by skilled individuals. You would be kind to yourself to then allow yourself to be a loving companion. You are suffering from compassion fatigue which is a real syndrome and if you’re not careful could become seriously ill both emotionally and physically. That my dear is not being selfish and guilt should play no part. I imagine the guilt is coming from this imaginary role society puts on us that a wife should be able to sacrifice and do it all. Women are good at that and it is not healthy. What is healthy is to know your limits and to take care of yourself.
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Tbone52, reread all the answers in this tread as if they had been written for you. I'm pretty sure they would have been if you had posted the question first.

I promised my husband that I would never abandon him, that I would always be his advocate, I would always be with him often, I would always see that he had the best care available. If it ever came about that the best care was in a care center, I would continue to love him and be with him often.

Sonia and T, if I had made that promise to either of your husbands they would be in nursing homes by now. Doing your best for someone has to include acknowledging when your best isn't the best available under the circumstances.

Don't ever abandon your husbands. Don't ever drop them off somewhere, wave goodbye and never look back. If you do, you deserve to feel guilty. Act honestly in love and there should be no room for guilt.
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You have given your husbands well being more importance than your own. You have to understand that your life has great value. It’s time to let him go. The nursing home will take great care of him. Move forward and start taking care for you. Live your life, find out who you really are and embrace the journey.
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Oh Sonia, I am so sorry that you have been in a one-sided marriage for 30 years. I can not fathom what some people think while destroying themselves and the ones they profess to love. You have honored your wedding vows and deserve a medal for caring for all of his self inflicted health issues. I personally believe that you (me or anyone) can not care about someone more than they care about themselves. If they don't care, they make your care of them as hard as possible, creating anger, resentment, bitterness, frustration which in turn makes us feel guilty. Ugly, vicious cycle that only the caregiver can stop. You have reached your stop sign, you have no reason to feel guilty, easier said then done, I know. I personally had to keep reminding myself of all my dad's choices that led to the consequence of being in a care home, I wasn't nursing the anger, hurt, etc. I was keeping myself from eating myself up with guilt, it is a hard decision to make for another, not something I wish on anyone. Unfortunately some of us have to do it. Your husband may have a fit or meltdown or be just fine with it, with dementia you never know. He will learn to adjust and so will you. You deserve to have a life outside of caregiver, 30 years at any job makes you eligible for retirement. If you can afford to get the help of a qualified elder law attorney to help get the financial aspects of placement all in order, Medicaid can not take away your living but if you don't have someone that works on your behalf they may take more than they should, we get sued and prosecuted and they get a oops, guess the person helping you didn't understand. So protect yourself, if you need financial aid. Do your research, go look at facilities, have a meal, talk to staff and residents, find out if you can have a copy of the activities list, hang out for a while to see what's what. Then make your choice, doing these steps will help you know that you did the best you could to put him in a good facility, that will take care of his needs.

You can do this, you have been a good and faithful wife and now he needs a village to care for him. You can see him as you choose, when and if you choose. Be kind and gentle to yourself, this is a big change for both of you. God bless you for all you do for your husband.

Please come back and let us know how you are doing. We love to help and hear success stories, rants, vents...whatever you need to do. You will get support for your decision and the rough spots that are bound to come. Hugs and love to you in this hard trial.
Helpful Answer (10)

I agree with all these thoughtful people Sonia. I’m still going to put in my 2 cents. I think that’s all I have left.
I cared for my wife with advanced MS, and her now 105 year old mom. Wife for decades and gma for 16 years. Couldn’t continue with it physically, and didn’t want to emotionally. They desperately didn’t want to go in a home. My wife was depressed and quiet, gma asked why I couldn’t continue and cried. My heart hurt, yet had no choice really. It’s now been 3.5 years after. They see it as their home now. They smile, they’re happy, and it’s special for all of us when I get there to spend time. I try to visit daily if I can. But sometimes I play hookey and like it!

After caregiving for so long, something happens to your mind set. I think, for me, I had to justify why I had to continue. I had to find a reason that compelled me to do things I had never done and never wanted to. The thought of putting them in a home went against the reasons that made me ok with what I was doing. I don’t regret those years but, I felt like a traitor of sorts. Our daughter helped immeasurably with her compassion for us all. But sometimes, you find situations that don’t have the answers you want, to make you feel okay. Some things, like caregiving, leave you with unfixable upset and guilt. It was part of the process for me. It’s been really tough, but much better then it was. I needed to take that step, and not second guess myself as I did. You’ll hurt before you feel relieved, but you will feel relief. I can’t tell you what to do, I can only offer up my experiences gained after 35 years of MS.
All of us on this site have pain and experiences we didn’t want. So here we all are, on a helpful site of caregiving people, who share their pain and offer up, in hopes it will help someone.
My heart truly goes out to you. It will work out, and you need to believe that.
Didn’t mean for this to be so long...sorry.
Helpful Answer (10)

Even nurses get burned out. He made himself a burden with a lifestyle of body abuse and dragged you along for the ride. As an adult we all must face the consequences of our decisions.  Your issue may also be financial. He has to be on Medicaid. So unless he's already on Medicaid that's another nightmare to deal with. If he is already on it, then nursing home will be smooth.
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