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My FIL has been living with us for the last 5-6 years. He has dementia which is worsening. Recently he has become incontinent of urine and stool, having frequent falls and his confusion is worse. He has a caregiver during the day. My husband is burned out and resentful (as am I). He can hardly stand to talk to him anymore. My FIL has always been a very stubborn man and is an alcoholic. Initially we decided to let him have his wine but with all the recent issues I’ve decided to wean him off with his doctors approval. On top of this we work full time and have two kids. I think my husband has incredible guilt about placing him in a home because he knows his dad’s wishes were always to stay home but I think at this point he would get better care in a professional setting. I’ve tried explaining this to him stating we can’t think about what he wants anymore. We have to think about what’s best for him.


My husband is not flat out against it but I’m definitley sensing resistance. I don’t know how much more I can take of this. I literally came home this morning after working 14 hours to him covered in feces, wearing underwear on the outside of his pants, refusing to get bathed because his caregiver took his wine away. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to persuade my husband to see we are getting in over our heads? I really don’t want to be “that wife” that makes him choose between his dad or his wife/family. Despite all of this we do have a good marriage but I feel like I’m at the end of my rope here.

Danielle78, I wish to address your loving husband.
Dear husband:
I have been in your shoes.
I started helping my dad 15 years ago when my mom died. He was in relatively good health, both physically and mentally at that time. As time went on, I had to devote more and more time to help him with the simple things in life and around the house.
After his PCP diagnosed him with cognitive impairment and told me he should not be left alone anymore, I was on my own to find people to help me: my sister lived eight hours away in another state, and my brother’s suggestion was to put him in a facility. Dad asked me to keep him at home as long as possible; I agreed provided that he stayed physically capable/mobile. I had the opportunity to retire early, and since I had no other family obligations, (no spouse or children) I became his full-time caregiver, hiring help as I could to split the days and shifts with me. 14 years later when he entered the late middle stage of Lewey body dementia, I started searching for facilities nearby because my health/quality of life was suffering also: no respite from the situation because if someone needed time off I was the fill-in, constantly taking care of his house/property and my own. My sister, brother and his son helped here and there.
When I moved him to this facility, I was very stressed about how he would acclimate. I needed not to worry, because he never knew the difference. He had plenty of pretty ladies to pay attention to him and he was past the point of knowing if he was at home or not. He is in a safe environment, regular meals, maintenance, housekeeping and laundry provided, and plenty of people there to help him. More importantly, I can enjoy our visits as a daughter rather than being the caregiver, housekeeper, groundskeeper, etc.
You’ve been the loving son; you provided for him as long as you could. Your duty now is to your wife and children. Assess your father‘s financial situation, search for a facility that will fit his needs, move him there, remain that loving son and be the loving husband and father to your family that they want and need. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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Reply to tazlady
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Where was the caregiver when this all happened? Yes, husband should have cleaned it up. Hope you aren't leaving FIL alone. He is past that.

Your husband's priority is you and his children. His Dad needs more care than you can give. It is no longer what he wants, its what he needs. So much will be taken off your shoulders if he goes into NH. He will be fed and clean. You can use the doctors there so no more appts. If on Medicaid, footdoctor, dentist and eye doctor will come to him. His laundry will be done for you. You and husband should be enjoying your kids while you can. FIL has had his life. Time for yours.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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jjmummert Oct 25, 2018
AMEN!
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What does your husband think of your kids being around this - it isn't healthy - feces everywhere. You both are not giving Dad the care that he needs and it is not your fault that you are  not a mini nursing home. Dad needs to be where there is sufficient staff around the clock who are trained and experienced in helping dementia, incontinent patients with their needs.

It is not a good situation for you and your husband -probably too exhausted and burned out to be good spouses or parents, definitely too burned out to be giving dad the much higher level of care his condition is now requiring.

My son might prefer to stay at home and play video games all day but school is in his best interest. Maybe not exactly the same - but you are now the adults in this situation. Do what is clearly best for you all.

you are not putting dad on an ice floe - you will visit, take care of his needs, just not take care of his physical needs - the professionals will.

let us know how it goes.
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Reply to Kimber166
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Good grief, and Blessings to you!  I commend you and feel sorry for you at the same time for putting up with this for over 5 years!  Some might say I am insensitive, but so be it.  1st, cleaning up FIL from bodily accidents is NOT acceptable.  This is just disgusting and would be only bearable if it were your flesh and blood.  You are right, you are past the point that FIL's wishes do not count --- you aren't sending him down to a homeless shelter for Heaven's sake.  And yes, professional care is needed and warranted here.  We too have my FIL living here, and we both work full time - however, I do not have minor children in the house, and can honestly say I would have blown my top if I had (my grown kids get to listen to me gripe all the time)! LOL 
I would encourage your husband to look at this through what is best for his dad, not his personal feelings.  I'm sorry, but we are not obligated to suffer endlessly for combative, mean and nasty family.  You have got to do everything possible to keep your marriage in a healthy place, as well as being the parents you need to be for your kids, who count on you.  If your FIL is like others I have read about on this site, I would guess that his unpleasant behavior is nothing new.  So many grown children continue to have an often well meaning, but misguided sense of what they are obligated to do.  I can only tell you that in our situation, my FIL is on the last step before going into a home (i.e. needing a feeding tube/ incontinence) ...  I flat out refuse to handle this - and like you and your hubs, I can't hardly stand to look at him.  I try to limit as many interactions as possible, which is not easy considering we live in a small, open house where HE is everywhere is seems.  If you can't seem to help you hubs understand, perhaps a counselor on aging or some other type of professional help may be of assistance.  To be sure, I don't think anyone "goes" willingly, but you have to stand strong and do what has to be done.  He will get over it.  Please safeguard your marriage and sanity.  Keep us posted.
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Reply to sidelined
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Others have given good suggestions. My Dad could be your FIL. He is now in a nursing home, has structure, is clean, and after 3 months of adjustments, he is exactly where he needs to be.
We just had a family gathering at the nursing home.
Dad was asking for wine with the meal. So my brother brought 2 bottles of non alcoholic red wine. He had the bottle covered so you couldn’t see the label. It looked like wine, smelled and tasted like wine. Dad was happy. He had not had a drink for 5 months. He never said anything about it except to thank us.
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Reply to PrairieLake
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minstrel Oct 25, 2018
That your family meets at the nursing home and thnks to provide non-alcoholic wine is great, for all of you and especially for your Dad.
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If your husband can't see that this is all getting beyond home care you may need to draw a line.

If he wants dad at home then he can deal with the feces and incontinence issues solo.

I have a huge issue with seniors that insist on staying at home in some one else's house. If he was able to live in his own house and hire all the help he needs then this becomes an option. But he guit living at home 5-6 years ago.

Yes, you opened your home and made him feel comfortable but it is still not his house and he cannot expect to have everyone else compromise their lives for his wants.

It is so unfair to everyone, including dad. Who wants their grandchildren to see them covered in feces, unable to dress properly? Not anyone in their right mind. Give FIL his dignity back and let the pros take care of him.

My grandma was in a NH for 12 years back in the late 70s through the 80s. I know she would have rather died then have us kids see the things we did while my mom tried to care for her at home. That makes me sadder than the years I had to visit her at the nursing home.

I pray your husband sees how the kindest thing to do is not always the easiest.

Ps: if the doctor okays it, most facilities will allow alcohol consumption.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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As I type this I am in my parents half empty apartment 500 miles from home, in another country. I arrived in Canada on Sept 6th from NY to 'check on' my elderly parents after Dad had his second trip to the hospital for falling in a month. Thankfully the caregiver that I had hired had the good sense to insist that I make the journey to their apartment asap. Unfortunately it has meant that I will be away from my life until the end of November so that I can be here to help them acclimate and drive them to doctor's appointments.

My mother had always insisted that she would not go into a home and even though she suffers from dementia now, Dad wanted to honor her wishes. My older brothers who both live 3 hours away hadn't visited since May, one week after I had last visited and as I'm sure we all know the downhill slide for elderly people can be quite significant within a 3-4 month period.

Unfortunately the duty fell on my shoulders to find a home, get them in, clean out their apartment etc, etc. while one brother refuses to speak to me because I could not get them into a long term care facility closer to him. (My brother has always lived in a state of denial. When his MIL had a stroke and required a wheelchair it was his opinion that she wasn't 'trying hard enough to walk'.)

I tell you from my recent experience that it's not easy but it is necessary. Assuming your husband is a reasonable man I would ask him to read some of the responses you will receive and failing that, at least take the time to read the other questions and answers on this forum that are pertinent to your situation. You've got a lot on your plate and I wish you luck and will say a prayer for everyone that has found their way to this forum.
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Reply to BaileyP3
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You say that your husband can ‘hardly stand to talk to him any more’. This makes it sound as though you do most of the up-close-and-personal care. Perhaps your own doctor could tell you that it is damaging for you (and I’m sure it is – you don’t have to be too imaginative). If your husband has to take over more hands-on care, he may see quicker that this has to change. And try to arrive home after your husband!
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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sidelined Oct 25, 2018
Agreed and Agreed!  I would always have something to do after work!
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For everyone's sake, PLEASE put your FIL on a care facility. It does not matter if your husband is resistant right now - but clearly, his relationship has already broken down with his father. You will soon have S***T all over the house with the progression of FIL's dementia when he starts smearing it on your walls, on your cupboards, etc.. Does your husband really want to live like that? Do you want to live like that?
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Reply to dragonflower
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I am so sorry your situation had taken such a turn. I was living in my own apartment and my son was looking out for me from time to time I started having falls and they were causing serious problems. The falls left me with pain in addition to the pain I already have from RA. My mind is VERY clear, but I am 76 and know that I needed to do something that would relieve my children from caring for me. I did not have a lot of money. My falling was too serious to move to a inexpensive Senior apartment. I started looking at Independent living. I was impressed with most of the places I visited. Some were very bad
and I was not sure if they had drugged their residents. But, they were all hanging over their chairs and no one talking I brought my kids into the picture. They were so thankful as they are all very busy with their lives. The place I chose to live in has the option of AL should I need it. My kids and I have collected all my resources, set up a budget and they have committed themselves to adding funds when needed. One of my kids is a teacher and there will be no contribution from her. Their income is so low. I do received SS so I will be making my own payments until I cannot do that anymore. My rent is $2575.00 a month. It is SO high. It will clean out my savings. BUT, my God knows my financial situation. Your father would ENJOY the people around him. Be very selective. Talk to people who live in the "home" and have a meal to see if they have decent food. You will make it, but he has to accept he needs to move now. Tell your husband he is not doing his father any favor keeping him at home
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Reply to Oregongirl
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katydid1 Oct 25, 2018
Oregongirl
What an amazing mother you are!! You have obviously put your children's needs ahead of your wants, as I bet you have their whole lives. They are very lucky to have had such a wonderful mom!! You have also given excellent advice here.
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