My husband and I used to love entertaining. Dinner parties with 4-8 people were fun. We had a house large enough to accommodate two dozen friends and family for major holidays. And we were an outstanding cooking team. We usually had to gently push the stragglers out the door at the end of an evening!

Then 12 years ago, he started his decline. One of his many chronic, incurable conditions is severe IBS. Because we had to allow our house to go into foreclosure and we went bankrupt paying for his medical costs, we now live in a small apartment. It's easy to hear the noises coming from his bathroom, even through two closed doors. By the way, Texas, where we live now after spending our lives in Seattle, has little to no assistance for folks like us. Neither of us are veterans and we make too much income from disability insurance to qualify for Medicaid. So. No support system.

My soon-to-be son-in-law's birthday is on the same day as a major Jewish holiday this year, and his dad, whom I haven't met yet, is coming to celebrate his son's day. So I invited them for a special dinner. Now I realize, for the umpteenth time, that our situation makes others uncomfortable. Even if my husband isn't on the toilet, just knowing somebody is in the other room, suffering, and physically unable to walk in and sit at the table, and occasionally needing me to excuse myself to go in to help him with something, makes guests --and me-- feel awkward.

My daughter lives nearby. She has a lovely apartment. I know, because we gave her all our nice furniture, artwork, most of our serving ware, kitchen ware, etc. The last time I was in this kind of position, she and I decided to hold the dinner at her place, which worked out nicely (despite the fact that I was anxious the whole time about leaving my husband for so long, and we both worried that he might hurt himself or otherwise need me). I guess that's what we should do this time too. But it makes me feel disappointed and useless (I do the cooking, but still...) and even more isolated than ever. This situation is why I don't ask any potential friends over either --which is why people always fade away from my life pretty quickly-- because I can never reciprocate at my home, (and I'm too poor to go out to activities that cost money, or to restaurants).

Am I clinging to yet another aspect of my former life that just isn't possible anymore? Or is there some way I could pull this off?

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I hope you’ll find a way to make this happen. You need the social time and the distraction of having something else aside from the daily drill to focus on for a bit. Call it a mental health boost! You say it worked out nicely last time at your daughters home, so that can be the plan again. Enjoy the planning, cooking, and the evening!
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For sure. My husband had a stroke when he was 53. It’s been downhill since, and now at 68, he is bedridden. I do everything for him but feed him. He can’t travel even though we have a power chair and a portable lift. He panics and freezes up and we wind up shouting at each other. It’s just easier (and actually gives me a break) if I go by myself.

My son and his wife enjoy having “doings” like it sounds your daughter does as well. My DIL is a fantastic interior designer. She could put a bunch of cow pies in the middle of the family room and make them look wonderful.

We certainly don't have the media’s idea of the perfect retirement, do we?
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Perhaps, before issuing your kind invitation, it would have been a good idea to ask your daughter’s opinion of where the party should be held. Party prep involves special cleaning and decorating, even for small get-togethers. If she works, that may be difficult for her. I am in the same situation. My husband is bedridden. We are nearly bankrupt, but like you, also “too rich” to qualify for much helpful aid. My daughter lives in a tiny condo and is less than an enthusiastic housekeeper, working 2 jobs and with 2 special needs children. My son lives in a large, beautiful home and he and his wife enjoy entertaining.

We lived in a beautiful, large house too. I had a butler’s pantry filled with party cookware and dishes. We entertained almost monthly. That’s all over for us now.

I never make any suggestions or “hints” to my son for parties. It’s always his idea. If it’s at his home, like you, I go alone. If it’s here, he comes to help cook and usually brings the food as well.

its not easy to give up an active social life. It’s just one more unfair thing about the caregiver life. We are pseudo-widows, you and I.
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Pseudo-widows. I've never heard that description. But it's certainly apt. Thanks for your validation. My daughter and I are close, and I know it's fine with her to do it at her house. She works hard as a nurse, but no kids yet, and she's a tidy person. And I can just go in while she's working, and do everything, then make sure it's all put away and cleaned before I leave.

But I'm sure you know it's not the same. One more thing to work on accepting. I guess, at 46, when my husband was first starting to have symptoms, I thought I still had time for a good life. Now at 58, it's finally getting through that it's just not going to happen.
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