My husband and I are the only relatives in town to assist his Mom. What can we do?


For the past 5 years I have taken her to appointments, take care of her finances, pay her bills, do her med pour, run errands while working full-time. My husband has recently stepped up to the plate to help out his Mom too. Her other 3 children call regularly but do not come to visit. She is a very emotional woman and is always seeking attention. For the most part, her mind is normal for 83 y.o. She is incontinent, legally blind (vision in one eye), Stage 1 liver disease, COPD from 2nd hand smoke, anxiety & depression, HBP, etc. She does not drive, cook, do laundry, clean her apartment. She can bathe and dress herself. There are aides that come into the home but there is a shortage in our area so after trying for 2 years to get 14 hours of care per week to no avail, we are burned out. We would like her to move into a nursing home where she can get care 24/7. She is totally against it but we are burned out. In such a small community and a remote area , we are unable to hire help. No one is in a financial situation to pay a decent wage to get private care. If we do not pick up the slack then she will not have the care she needs. She really needs to be placed in a nursing home and there are no assisted living homes that accept Medicaid. What can we do?? Her 2 daughters do not help and do not have a place where she could go to live with them as they work fulltime too.

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Wow, what a nice daughter in law you are. Of course, with you doing everything for her, why would she want to change a thing. Your husband should have been helping you all along but that's water under the bridge.

Check out the local care facilities before you speak with her, to see what is available. Then you both need to explain to his mother that you can't continue this schedule. If you feel guilty about quitting, find an excuse. Explain that you HAVE to stop and that you will be taking her to check out the facilities. Explain that she should prepare to move. Do not give in because you'll never get out of it.

This is really hard but stay strong. Good luck.
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Reply to SueC1957

Does her doctor indicate that she is medically in need of a skilled nursing facility? Skilled nursing is something that needs to be scripted by a doctor.

Have you considered looking for an Assisted Living Facility in a less remote area? Near one of her other children perhaps?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

There comes a time when you quit asking and just do what needs to be done.

I had to move my Dad against his wishes but within 24 hours of the move, he thanked me. He no longer had any desire to ever go back to his house. He cried when I told him but thanked me after the move.

Good luck. It's never easy - I just laid it out in simple terms and said to him, "it is time."
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Reply to RayLinStephens

I get the impression that Mom Doesn't have that kind of money. My suggestion is with all her problems a hospital stay in in the future. Where I live in NJ this is how it works. The person is hospitalized. If over 3 days usually rehab is next. Here our rehab and NH are in the same building. So while she is in rehab ask for an evaluation for the NH section. Impress on them that she lives alone and cannot take care of herself. That you and husband cannot take her in. Also explain that there are no services where she lives so 24/7 aide help in out of the question. But make sure it's understood you cannot be her caregiver 24/7. So in the end it wasn't your decision for a NH. The facility can help with Medicaid application. If husband Doesn't want to go along with it then tell him he can care for her, it's his mother. Believe me after a few days of being solely responsible he will change his mind.

I am not a card sender. I try, but usually miss birthdays in the family. My husband of 37 yrs mentioned his Aunts birthday was coming up. I told him I don't send cards. The day of her birthday he asked if I called, in his defense he has an extreme hearing problem. I said no was his Aunt. Really, I love the woman and she is like 5 min away but why is it thecwifevis responsible for everything. I have my own family that he Doesn't ask if I have sent a card. Just a habit I never got into. It seems like you think about it and then before you know it the month has gone by.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Great replies, I’m with you, sue. To emphasize barb’s response, her insurance likely covers skilled nursing visits when her doctor prescribes it. I’d follow this up right away while you acclimate to a plan like joann described. The visits are short, but I think as many days as it takes. And it sounds like she needs them.

Such a shame about her daughters not visiting, and yes it’s about time your hubby joined in. Things are how they are because of your giving spirit. Bless you for that, and it’s time to make a shift. Best wishes to her and to you. 🌷
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Reply to Zdarov

I agree with RayLin. You eventually get to the point where you say “enough”. I’m at that point with bedridden hubby but have no options. We “make too much” for Medicaid but don’t make enough to pay our bills. At the age of 83 and with life expectancies increasing all the time, you could be in this situation for a decade or even more. If you don’t do research and explore your options, you don’t know what they are and you stagnate in place. I agree that even if they are MIA, all family remembers need to be on board with any decisions. To that end, you may want to make sure that hubby has POA and you are on her financial accounts.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I feel I am hitting burnout and I do have care for my mom, except for the 22 hours/week I am there myself. Of course, there is the shopping, phone calls, managing. You know all that. I think you just get to the point where you say, "Enough! I physically and mentally cannot do anymore" and make a change. Maybe it is self-preservation or God just stepping in to force a decision. Clearly you are there. I have no specific suggestions except to say you are at that point, and do what you have to do, knowing you can still care even if you aren't the one providing all the care.
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Reply to tornadojan

Just to add to the great suggestions above, there should be a department of Aging or equivalent that covers your area even though it's remote. Either them or a VNA service (which needs to be ordered by doctor) should come in to "evaluate" her needs and part of that service is often a social worker who can help with options, qualifying and helping to facilitate those things. This is often initiated after a hospital stay as someone mentioned but her PC or any specialist I think can also order it and that will help both take the weight of suggestion off of you and give you a much better idea of where you are, what the options might be and what she needs according to them. The in home visit is helpful because most of the social workers are good about recognizing what is too much to ask of you and or be clear with her about how much you are doing and where she would be without it. You can indicate without having to be hurtful or blunt, what you can and can't take on or continue doing.
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Reply to Lymie61

I wish you the best and i feel deeply for the situation that you find yourself in. I am one of 7 children and the only one providing care for my parent.
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Reply to Lulu835

Where I live, there is a county-wide senior council. They can make a home visit where a nurse and social worker can clinically evaluate your loved one. They can also look at her basic income and from that inform her of available services. My mom started out with meals on wheels and two and a half hours of housekeeping services. At that time, she applied to the Frail Elder Waiver Program. With the occurrence of a hospitalization and rehab, she returned home with a schedule in place where she obtained help during morning hours and at supper from a home health aide...about 20 hours a week. Then a med machine arrived, my responsibility to fill; I helped her on weekends and took her to medical appointments, out to lunch, etc. That worked for three years. When she fell and fractured her hip last year, and subsequently transferred to rehab, rather than discharging to home which the ruthless medicare policies encourage, she was able to stay in the nursing home for two ninety day stints, in order for her to attain the strength to return home. That is what Frail Elder Waiver provides. Unfortunately for mom, other conditions prevented her from leaving, so she then applied for long-term care. She remained in the nursing home for about six more months until her passing a few days ago. Nothing is easy when helping your loved ones through this minefield that is aging and illness, but there are programs and services that are available. Just know though that the wheels turn quite slowly, and timing is everything, so start doing your homework. Meet with a SHINE representative, meet with your senior council outreach people, learn as much as you can, so that you can best help your MIL. On another note, nursing homes can provide respite care (it is expensive tho) but if you need a break and want your loved one to try it out to see the good side of it like Bingo, social activities, crafts, meals that appear, and a handy nurse when your not feeling well, she might not be as adverse to that transition when the time comes.
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Reply to lynina2

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