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My husband is 1 of 6 children, having been raised with 5 sisters. Both parents are now using walkers, and Mom is seriously ill--with wounds on both legs that won't heal, no real path to healing, and a staph infection caught at the hospital. (They both are 86.) She's been in and out of the hospital repeatedly since July and had multiple falls. Meanwhile, the siblings got started taking turns traveling to stay with the parents (some driving 4-6 hours) nine months ago. They have rotated to stay 4+ days and transport the parents to endless medical and dental appointments. It started with 3x weekly radiation treatments on Mom's legs, then 2x weekly wound care. (Local siblings drop by, leave food, and drive to appointments. They don't stay over with the folks.) The folks live in a remote spot, so many medical appointments are a 1 hour drive away from their home. All of the siblings have jobs; none are retired. So how can this continue to work? The locals haven't had to take off much vacation time for this routine, but others have. My husband runs his own business and is the only one who can make his own schedule. He's traveled to give care and transportation 6 different weeks since December. But it's not enough for the 2 siblings who live near Mom/Dad. They say he should do more, and should not work at all while he's "on duty" at his parents. (If you're self-employed, you know that's nearly impossible.) They are critical that we're still vacationing, as well. The siblings are all judging and tearing at one another now. I can't believe the things that have been said to my husband, who honestly has gone to huge pains to pull off this personal level of care. He already works too hard and has high blood pressure and cholesterol. I'm afraid for his health, frankly. It breaks my heart (and his) that SOME of his sisters are saying they're disappointed with what he's done. He simply can't do more. There is money available for AL, so I don't know why they've let it come to this. Some sibs are now researching AL close to where the doctors are.



So, my questions: Words of advice/strength for my husband? How can we help the siblings stop judging another and work together? See that this is not sustainable? Agree that people can care/contribute in different ways as they are able? Understand that we plan to continue living/supporting our own life/marriage/children even as we care of aging parents?

I don't know that you can ever get disagreeable siblings to come together and agree on ANYTHING when it comes to what's 'best' for their parents b/c everyone is too busy sniping at the other for who's not 'doing enough' and who's doing 'more' than who. To get everyone together on the same page is often impossible, when you can't even arrange a good time to have a family reunion due to conflicting schedules these days. If I were you, I'd put my foot down about what you're willing to do and what you're not willing to do for the folks, and let the chips fall where they may. Suggest Assisted Living for them b/c they HAVE the funds available, and in reality, having caregivers available 24/7 is the safest route of ALL to take. Versus having family members with no experience, and no real time available to care for these elders, begrudgingly doing what they feel obliged TO do, while not really WANTING to do any of it.

In AL, the staff is paid to do a job and you'll all know the folks are fed, bathed, seen by medical staff, medicated properly and on time every day, etc. Then you'd all be free to work and play w/o the worry of who's doing 'more' and who's doing 'less' for the folks who, in the long run, are suffering as a result of all the bickering.

They need professional help at this stage of their lives and they're not getting it. You and your husband should advocate for THAT, most of all, and perhaps the rest of the siblings will come on board when someone's making a strong case for managed care. I insisted on Assisted Living for my parents, and it was the best decision I could possibly have made for them. My mother wound up living to 95 as a result of the excellent care and attention she got while there, from a loving staff. And I didn't have to totally ruin MY life trying to jump through hoops I was unqualified to jump through in an effort to provide her with medical care I knew nothing about. She had teams of people working 24/7 for her, vs. me, who'd have gotten burned out in short order trying to be chief cook & bottle washer, and failing miserably at ALL of it.

Wishing you the best of luck trying to convince the rest of the siblings to get on that bandwagon and come together for the sake of their parents. And for the sake of their own continued relationships. Quite often siblings wind up estranged from one another after the rigors of caregiving their elderly parents' is over with. All those judgments they passed, all the fighting and harsh words spoken can't be taken back. What's it worth to avoid all THAT?
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Reply to lealonnie1
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CCWargel Oct 3, 2022
Thank you sooooo much. Appreciate your time and thoughts.
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Sounds to me like everyone's at the breaking point and no one will admit it.

I'd say it's time for a family meeting/Zoom call where everyone lays their cards on the table and makes it clear what they can and cannot do, then they come to a realistic consensus as to what to do within the constraints each person has.
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CCWargel Oct 3, 2022
Yes! I hope it can happen. Thank you.
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The clueless one's need to understand that duty to one's minor children, one's marriage and one's own mental and physical health comes first.

Perhaps they don't agree with that way of looking at things. It’s probably worthwhile to find out.

Husband and his sibs need to put on their own oxygen masks before they try to rescue mom and dad.
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CCWargel Oct 3, 2022
Thanks for answering. Appreciate having some support.
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Your in-laws need to realize that what their children are doing will not last. I am surprised that if those who work are taking time off from work aren't being told they need to find a solution because they can't keep taking time off unless they are using family leave but that only lasts so long.
Your husband needs to say "Sister, I am doing the best I can. My business is my livelihood, I have bills to pay. If that is not enough, I am sorry. Mom and Dad have the assets to go into an AL. They need to get closer to resources they need. We children cannot sustain this."

If they go into an AL, find one that has the ability to take residents to appts. Also, there is Senior bussing. I would also see if all the appts are necessary. Drs do milk Medicare. Moms PCP had Mom coming back every 2 months. Probably because Medicare allowed it. Mom was on 2 meds, high blood pressure and Cholesterol. These are not illnesses that you see someone every 2 months for. Even his nurse questioned it. I told her "if he says 'now what are we here for' we will not be making another appt unless she needs a prescription refilled or she is sick". He asked. Other doctors once the problem is stabilized, 6 months to a year is enough. Some things a PCP can handle. If something happens, you go back to the specialist.

Think, this is ridiculous that 6 children, some driving hours, put their lives on hold to care for 2 people. Those two people need to make changes because they can no longer do for themselves. If they have the money, they need to use it.
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CCWargel Oct 4, 2022
Thank you. It’s valuable to see this through others’ eyes for perspective. Yes, right re all the appointments! And thanks for the exact words to say. It really helps.
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People get ugly when they're tired, overwhelmed, and watching a parent decline. It's an ugly, awful process - trust me I know. I guess all I can say is remind your husband he's doing ALL he can, that this arrangement MAY have worked for a while - but that it's simply UNSUSTAINABLE. Having people driving 4-6 hours to be with a parent every few weeks is crazy - how do I know this? 'Cause I had to do it too for my Dad (although I was the only one doing it - no one else was helping). So finally I got to the point where I said ENOUGH. He's moving into Assisted Living because this is literally KILLING me.

I totally feel for your husband AND you. Don't let his sisters give you grief. You're doing all you can. Your husband is doing all he can. I'm sure his sisters are doing all they can. But reality is...people decline and they get worse and will - AND THIS IS IMPORTANT --> CONTINUE to get worse.

Assisted living or a nursing home (probably a nursing home if she has wounds that need care) will be the best option for everyone. Definitely encourage the family to look into this. Your mother in law will do better with consistent care and they can provide the wound care and other necessary medical help 'round the clock which she likely will need in the coming months or years. Also, the sooner she makes the move, the easier it will be. Because every time you move a senior, they need to get adjusted to the new environment and it shakes them up a bit. It's better to move them while they're lucid enough to understand what's happening and to make friends with others and the staff.

Good luck and hang in there!!!
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Reply to Delphi373
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Assisted living is the only answer. You’ve done all you can and your husband’s health must come first. He has a responsibility to you and the kids more than he does to his parents.
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I doubt his parents want their children's lives to become worse because of their issues. If they were good parents, the job of the kids is to make sure they get good care and comfort. That doesn't mean doing it yourself. It's easy to become martyrs in this situation and almost make it a competition of who loves Mom and Dad more as evidenced by their service. Sacrificing your health and wellbeing is not a good tactic. Nor is blaming a sibling for your perception of what they should be doing.

Different people have different skills. Your husband needs to put his foot down and say, "I appreciate that you feel I should be doing X. I simply cannot, but I can contribute to AL or a health aide. This will be my role as Mom and Dad age, but my first responsibility is to my wife and children."
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Reply to TeethGrinder65
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Start searching Now. My in laws too, we’re too busy fighting to
act. I googled care advisors, found a LOCAL company called care patrol.. an independent agency that helps you find a place . They know your needs, availability, cost , reputation, will meet you for tours. Many places have Nurse practitioner s coming in to see patients. You don’t pay for the care advisors service, they are paid by the facility. Get the information you need and have it in hand. ( it doesn’t have to be care patrol, just the name of the franchise I found)

things do not get better from here. I wish you luck, and peace.. I never want to go through the family garbage again ..(unfortunately, I have a SIL and BIL who both want and crave control, so it still continues)
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CCWargel Oct 4, 2022
Interesting! Appreciate the tips! My thoughts are with you. Best of luck.
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All of the siblings should get together and have an honest conversation. He should be firm and concise with his input on the matter. Pointing out that this could literally go on for years. Pointing out that physically and mentally this is very taxing on his health and home life. Suggest that they spend their time finding the best place for their mom and dad so that they can get round the clock care. Some of his sisters are going to be all up in arms about placing mom and dad, but he will need to let the insults roll off of his back. Choosing to run yourself into the ground does not make you the better child. Even once placed, there is still a lot to be done. Managing their finances, dealing with the medical decisions, shopping for clothing and toiletries, filing their taxes, selling off their property, spending time with them, etc... He needs to stand up for himself in the meeting and just say...enough with the name calling and shaming....lets focus on what we can do to improve all of our lives, including mom and dads.
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Reply to Jamesj
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For your husband's "turn" in the rotation, could he arrange and pay for in-home care? Either day or night shifts as needed, or someone to live-in during your husband,'s turn. It could be that he could offer that or nothing..
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