My father-in-law is 79 and lives alone. We are his only living family. My husband works two jobs, I work full-time, and we share the care needs of our special needs child. We basically have no time in our lives for breathing, much less elder care.
I'm going to sound like a real jerk here... It's not my intent to be heartless. My FIL smells of old urine. Really, really bad. He has a catheter... I think it may leak in his clothing and he doesn't do his laundry for weeks at a time. He's not the type of person who would be receptive to being told he stinks. My own father specifically asked me to let him know if he ever becomes a smelly old man! FIL emits an odor that can be detected from several feet away. He visits me in my place of business and offends customers with his smell. They've mentioned it.
My husband outright refuses to discuss the problem with him, and I feel like I would destroy my relationship with FIL if I brought it up. I have an extremely sensitive nose and weak stomach, and the man, because he is lonely, sits right next to me, sometimes for an hour or more, making my gorge rise. I'm pretty sure I'm gaining extra weight because I spend that time stuffing my face with strong-smelling soda and snacks so that I don't actually puke.
Ok, so you now probably think I'm the biggest jerk in the world. I'm not. I love my FIL. I'm near tears writing this. He has never been anything but kind to me since the day he met me more than 25 years ago. Which is saying a lot, because he pretty much hates the world. He's a classic grumpy old man. But to me, he's a sweetheart.
He is quite healthy for a 79-year-old. His only medical complaints are slightly elevated blood pressure and urinary incontinence due to prostate cancer treatment (the cancer itself is long gone). He's also very hard of hearing even with hearing aids. So IF someone wanted to tell him he smelled, they'd have to practically scream it at him or write it down. Based on his family history of longevity, I expect him to live another 20+ years, and perhaps even live on his own for 10 or more. He's not ready for a nursing home by any stretch. He drives himself around and takes care of himself well, except for the cleanliness issue. My great-grandma had a catheter as long as I knew her. She never smelled, so I'm pretty sure the issue is hygiene-related.
On the loneliness front, we've encouraged him to go to a senior center, he says they're full of boring old people.
My best idea yet is to scrounge up enough money to hire someone to come in and clean for him weekly and do his laundry. But I'm not sure how receptive he would be to someone, a stranger, being in his personal space, handling his underwear. I have an awesome helper that helps me out at home every couple weeks because my own life is overwhelming, but she doesn't speak much English yet, and FIL would definitely not like her (back to the "he hates the world" thing). I can't exactly put out an ad that says "bigoted old man needs WASP maid."
I guess I'm just looking for some advice as to how to deal with this situation that doesn't involve me or my husband doing his laundry and cleaning up after him, and which takes his "special" requirements into account. My husband is a saint, but literally has no time.
How would I even broach the subject of hiring household help for him without insulting him??
Thanks for sticking with me through this long, disjointed post. I really am not the heartless witch I feel like I've made myself out to be. :(