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Do you ever wonder if you can “find” your way back after caring for a live in family member? I am seriously concerned the damage can’t be undone. In my case its my FIL. I’ll spare the details of all of the reasons I do not have any respect for him, but can tell you that it has a major impact on our relationship. Yes, I have talked to hubs about how I feel many many times.... we finally hired an in home service to come out once a week to get him to bathe and change clothes, this was the first week..... after she left I was so disappointed, when I had been very clear about the need for thorough bathroom cleaning. She did everything else wonderful and took the trash in the bathroom out. I looked in there this morning and see that she only swiped around the inside of the bowl, leaving the sides and around the floor a mess. Maybe I’m too picky but when you clean a toilet it is too to bottom inside and out.... I was wondering why the bathroom still smelled so bad. After I checked out the toilet itself, I had the awesome discovery of finding FILs underwear in the trash full of poop. I am so disgusted and worn out. The “benchmark” for removing him from our home (according to my husband) is when he cannot toilet and or needs to be hand fed. This has so sucked the joy out of my life that I worry things may never be the same between me and my husband. I know we will not just “spring right back”, and hell for that matter, we may go first! I am beyond depressed and feel hopeless....so sad.


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Ssidelined, If that's DH's line in the sand, then why are YOU the one on poop duty?

Fil's bathroom is now DHs job. Hiring help, supervising help and cleaning up surprises.
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TaylorUK Jul 9, 2019
Absolutely agree.
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I will tell you first hand that it is not easy to "bounce back" after caring for your LO, living in your home for a long period of time, in our case it was my FIL, 13+ years in our home and he passed away from Lung Cancer on Hospice (also in our home) for his final 12 weeks.

First off, as you know, the mental and physical and sometimes financial effects of caring for your senior parent, especially if they are difficult (ours wasn't too too bad), however he did have NPD, which became more apparent as the years went on, but I will say that the lack of intimacy definitely took its toll, as just the fact that we knew he was "in the next room" kinda, well Definitely did put a damper on what was previously a healthy sex life, and remember, like most of us sandwich generation, we had only just launched our youngest of 4 kids out into the adult world, so what should have been the best years of our lives enjoying ourselves traveling and not having to answer to anybody else's problems, was now restricted by having a parent to worry about, even if only it was about serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then as the years passed by, we were essentially shackled to the home, not able to leave him more than an hour or 2, or struggling to take him with us (which he never wanted to do) and then as his illness progressed, Never being able to leave him at all. You just never know what the future holds in caregiving!

Then once he did pass, just the sheer exhaustion, the situational depression and grieving process took more time than you could imagine. It was then that we were up against the decision to stay in our home with the constant memories of those difficult days and his death having occurred there, or sell our home, to downsize, thinking about our own future and that of our kids who are now busy adulting and having their own children, as we definitely don't want to be a burden to them, as we had had it, that is for sure!

So we sold our home, bought a Manufactured home in a 55 and over community, and we Love it! It's only been 3 months we moved in, but our kids all think it was a good decision, we are very comfortable and still, it's only been almost 2 years since losing our last remaining parent and we are still "recovering".

It takes a long time to get over losing a parent, and whether or not you can Ever get back to your previous life, hmmm, my guess is Not, but you can find your "New Normal", and redefine what you wish your life to be going forward.

Unfortunately, what you cannot get back is time. The time I especially miss is the time that missed seeing my Grandchildren as much as I would have liked, as it was especially hard taking my FIL to places like their baseball games and school activities, so we would often split up, not being able to enjoy those activities together, it was hard enough taking him to the occasional holiday evening, but those are the things that we give up as Caregivers.

No matter how your Caregiving days come to an end, you do the best that you can, and that's all we can do, but I highly recommend that you do not wait until things get too difficult, and they impact your life YOUR RELATIONSHIP beyond repair.

Sometimes you must take matters into your own hands and make changes so that the difficulties of Caregiving don't ruin your life beyond repair, whether that is getting your parent into an Assisted living situation or Nursing home, get your parent into Adult Day Care or get help into your home to make your life easier, do not wait until a crisis! I reccomend you do your homework Now, and have a sit down chat with your spouse and your elder, and be very Frank about your own needs for the betterment of your family life, even if that means that they won't be happy about it, as your life and that of your families must come first! You Matter!
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sidelined Jul 7, 2019
Hi Stacey, wow what insightful feedback. It makes my head spin to think about having him here 13+ years. I am sorry that during the years you and your husband should be able to spread your wings and enjoy the hard earned fruits of your labor, you were stuck at home. Thank God we are not there yet. I Pray to the Lord that I will not be a burden to my children. You can’t help but be resentful of them and their lack of planning or consideration for the family they are destroying. I realize that some families are very close and while far from easy, they may not harbor these resentments.

Wishing you and hubs a long happy life, enjoying your children and grands, in your new home!
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Long ago when my hubbys Dad stayed with us I had the same exact issue. Poopy towels, clothing, etc stuffed in hidey holes. Just disgusting,

hubby kept just saying I was exaggerating. One day I could find no clean towels. With 3 bathrooms, believe me I had A LOT of towels.

went into his bathroom, the smell just about knocked me over.

i was so mad...went straight into our bedroom where hubby was still in bed and told him that he needed to get up and get that mess in his dads bathroom picked up and cleaned up...because I was exaggerating.

Hubby cleaned it all up and made an appointment that afternoon to move Dad to a NH. dad moved that same week.

Funny how it is no big deal to hubby as long as he doesn’t have to deal with it. For months it was my problem...but the one time he had to deal with it, boy he jumps right up to get Dad moved.
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disgustedtoo Jul 9, 2019
Make them walk the miles and miles in your shoes... likely won't make it around the block!!! If he said anything about the issue after clean up, I probably would've thrown the "exaggerating" back at him! ;-)

EEEEEwwww... just EEEEEuwwwww!!!! THAT would be it for me, if I had taken anyone in...

(other than finding some solid poops in a plastic bag that previously held multiple pocket tissue packs while looking for her hearing aid, I don't know that mom does this - she went from her condo to MC - I was not up to caring physically or otherwise and brothers wouldn't know what to do! They haven't reported it to me if she has.)
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It's been 7 months since my father left my home for LTC, and about 3 months since I basically resigned all caregiving duties. I'm still recovering. I was his caregiver 4 years and he lived with us for 2 1/2 years, while my husband and I were also trying to raise our 4 children (2 of whom have disabilities). It takes its toll, especially if the person is a difficult personality, so it takes time to get back to some semblance of "normal". Since your person is your husband's father, make sure hubs is doing a good portion of the caregiving. If toileting was a line in the sand, enforce it. Poopy underwear in a trash can is not acceptable behavior. My dad would make mountains of soiled pullups in the bathtub, or stuffed behind the toilet. And they don't stop it even when talked to nicely or yelled at or anything.

Once your FIL leaves, be prepared for a honeymoon followed by a downtime. I was so ecstatically happy when my father was officially out of my house. I slept well, enjoyed my kids, felt so free. That lasted about 2 weeks, and then it felt like the world crashed down. Only in the last couple weeks have I gotten back to pre-5 years ago feeling like a good mom, good wife, taking care of business, lower anxiety and depression. Take the time.
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busymom Jul 9, 2019
Thank you for being open and honest about your feelings. More people need to know that there is a toll when it comes to taking a loved one into their home, particularly when there are other family members who need care. You sound like a very loving, caring wife, mom, daughter. There just isn’t enough of you to go around to all those who need you, so you were wise to see this and get your dad where he could receive the care he needs and you could breathe a bit more freely.

Some people can care for a loved one in their home, but not everyone can. As we learn our limits, we do need to set boundaries and do what is most important. Your husband and children should be your priority. Your dad while he may not voice it, should be aware that your family should come first. When you said your vows in your marriage ceremony, you were leaving your parents (to some extent) and joining your life with your husband. He and your children then became your priority. It doesn’t mean you hate or abandon your dad (and you haven’t done that).

Having children with disabilities is also huge. I applaud you for seeing their needs over the needs of your dad (who can be cared for by other loving and caring staff).

Take care of yourself and your family. Visit your dad when you can (include the kids as much as possible, since this is a huge learning and loving experience for them, too). Go on a weekend retreat with the hubby, if able. Maybe get a manicure or massage for yourself. Rest when you can. You're doing a good job!
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I think that honestly it may be time for placement. It sounds as though you are unable to move away from the caregiving and it also sounds like the care is substandard. I don't hear a whole lot of good things about care often enough. But this isn't working, and the answer is not taking this FIL into your home. I think the answer now may be that this isn't working, and it goes past plan B to plan C.
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TaylorUK Jul 9, 2019
I often think that we do not hear about good care on here, because if our LO are in good care we don't need to be here and probably aren't - so its only those who struggle to find good care or are dissatisfied who are here and making negative comment.
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Time to start finding alternatives and present them to your husband and say “pick one”.
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sidelined Jul 9, 2019
Agreed!
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Without being too longwinded. I almost feel relieved my mom is now is a NH. No, the care is not great, but likely better than could offer at home. She is on a feeding tube I would need to change at least once a day and could not rotate her in the bed alone. With dementia as she has, no verbal communication at home would be tough. She sleeps most of the time and would require more care than before.

I do not believe I could find an aide to help me with her care if even at any reasonable cost. My life was strained before and needed an aide to stay with her before I could go anywhere. This has lifted and I can see her every other day so I think she knows who I am and am there to hold her hand and talk to her.

I truly was at burnout stage before and now the burnout is clearing her house out on my own knowing she is never coming back and doing so while she is still living.

Hard on the heart, but just have to face reality.

Prayers and strength day by day is what I have.
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sidelined Jul 9, 2019
Prayers to you Ernie. It sounds like you have been a good and dutiful son!
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Amen, and I did make him go retrieve the trash can package. Disgusting.... thank you for taking the time to respond !
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TaylorUK Jul 9, 2019
Well done you. Husband has to be really involved in the care to see for himself the issues.
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My aunt died 3 months ago, and I no longer need as many hours of sleep, and am feeling better.  But my health is not as good, and my husband's is worse.  After bemoaning all the things we never got to do together, I am just beginning to move on to 'our new normal.'  It sounds like it is time for FIL to move into more care.
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If she is there to bathe and take care of your FIL, they aren’t there to clean the toilet for you. You would have to hire a housekeeper for that. Does your FIL have any money because you can hire someone more than one day a week and if he doesn’t, Medicaid will pay someone for I think 15 hours a week. If he was in the service they really have great benefits as far as in home help. My MIL had Alzheimer’s so she went to a great VA hospital paid for with all private rooms, and then she got a check around 350.00 a month to buy diapers, hair done, etc and that was 12 years ago.
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busymom Jul 9, 2019
If there are any VA benefits to be had, just note that it may take months to a year to get the process completed. We’ve been working on this for over a year for my uncle. He just got his first check to help with some expenses, but the amount still isn’t correct. Today my husband met with someone from the VA at the facility where my aunt and uncle live. Hopefully, that will enable a larger sum to be provided for their care. They will soon run out of money if they stay in the AL facility where they’re currently housed. If they can get larger benefits (which we know they qualify for), it will allow them to stay where they are for a while longer. If my aunt goes first (she’s under hospice care currently), then we may have to move my uncle (the war veteran) to a VA facility (which around here is not that wonderful).
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