I would like some input as to whether I am overreacting or if we have a serious problem. - AgingCare.com

I would like some input as to whether I am overreacting or if we have a serious problem.

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This may sound silly to some of you but, believe me, I am totally serious. First, I am off work on disability because of a back injury, so I am limited in what I can do and I don't always have the best outlook because of the pain. My husband's cousin moved in with us about 4 years ago. After his wife died and his only income was social security, he really couldn't make it on his own. He is only 77 but has COPD (still smokes) and has sciatica. He is overweight. He wont follow doctors suggestions or take his medication regularly. He is pleasant enough but limited. I didn't know him before so I don't know if this is just him or if he is in decline. I remember my great uncles. They didn't finish 2nd grade and never went much of anywhere. But they had a great sense of humor, could discuss politics and were interesting people. Cousin will interrupt any conversation and find a way to relate it back to his former home, but his comments are repetitious and boring. He talks about the grocery store there (same as here ) or what Fred Meyer sold that Wal Mart didn't. I could be patient with that, except that I can't have even a short conversation with my husband or friends, ever. But that is actually the least of my concerns. After 3 years of fighting with Cousin, he finally agreed to shower every other day. But, then he will try and sneak around doing it by giving himself a sponge bath and dousing himself in after shave. We installed two handicap rails in the shower but it didn't help. When he does shower, he only puts on clean clothes every other time, that means once every 4 days and he wont wear deodorant. Recently he has become incontinent. He was always bad about cleaning his behind but now he pees himself. I assigned him a chair in the dining room and he has his own chair in the living room, but he will sneak and sit elsewhere when he can. He refuses to wear protection. I bought pads and my husband spoke very bluntly to him and Cousin said he would wear them but he doesn't. He smells. His bathroom is the one that company uses so I find my self cleaning it 3 times each day. I have blankets on the couch and on his chair and I wash them constantly. I cook his breakfast because it is easier and I honestly don't mind because I feed him healthier. He was eating Ramen noodles and cold cereal and breaking the refrigerator doors by leaning on them and breaking dishes. I cook dinner and do his laundry because he cannot get down to the basement or leans on the washer door and has broken it. He pays the power bill but for that he gets his room, all food, laundry, cable TV, etc. I never get a thank you. He still drives but shouldn't. He goes out once a day to the VA to have a drink but otherwise sits and watches TV all day and all evening. We recently took him to another state for a funeral and for two weeks he showered and kept himself clean the entire time. Because of that I don't think he would be considered unable to perform self care activities. When I suggested that the three of us adults chip in for cleaning help, he got mad and said that he could clean. He can't even walk in the house without his cane and uses a walker away from the house. He complains that I won't let him cook or help out but it is more work and stress for me to have him help. I have tried to think of ways for him to feel useful but I now think that it is his responsibility to find things that make him feel happy. He could go fishing, I have suggested water walking at the rec center but he won't do any of it. My family thinks I am being unreasonable and harsh. My husband takes his cousins side because he feels sorry for him and my son says it is up to me to think positive. I am irritated because I think that they are trying to get me to see this situation as normal when I don't think I have to accept someone peeing all over the house as OK. As for Cousin, I have a hunch that ever since we found out that we can claim him as a dependent on our taxes, he thinks that we are getting a good deal. Of course I am doing all the work. Am I over reacting? I can't kick him out knowing that he has no where to go as we are his only relatives. I want to get him into assisted living but I don't know how to do that without his agreeing. I called the county and they said it isn't likely he would be deemed as unable to care for himself. Can anyone suggest something short of kicking him out? Thanks

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We women are our own worst enemy. I wouldn't want that guy in my kitchen or at my table. Does he smoke in your home? I think I would move. When you went on disability what home duties did you stop? You need to get your own health taken care of and get back to work to get away from your men. And how old is your son? I hope you aren't teaching him that a woman is going to take care of him. You have every right to be upset.
I know you don't want to leave your home but how do you want the next 10 years to go?
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I agree with Countrymouse. You're doing all the work and catching all of the flak from the rest of the family (sounds like all guys) for calling a spade a spade. Your cousin sounds like an entitled brat in an old man's body. You're the hired help, keeping the house clean and everyone fed. Start assigning some clean-up tasks to hubby and kids to see how they like it. Let them clean the peed up bathroom, etc. You've put up with it four years, which is about 3.9 years longer than I would have been able to handle. It's time to take your home back!
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It isn't really a matter of whether your husband's cousin could do these housekeeping tasks safely or competently. It's a matter of whether he'd do them at all, his fair share of them, and I think once you think that one through you know the answer. There'd be fine words and zero action.

Excuse my language, but this situation is bullsh*t. The whole of it. I particularly love that 'the family' says you are being unreasonable and should think positive. Maybe if they spent their time clearing up after cousin they might see it differently.

Can you kick him out without your husband's backing? Then do so - but nicely. Help him find somewhere else to live - ask VA to help with that, maybe, would they? - and then bye-bye.

If not, or if it would be difficult or problematic, then you need a friend you can go and stay with for a nice visit. Say a month. And after that, when you say either Cousin goes or I do, let's see if it concentrates the family mind a little.

And don't apologise, and don't feel silly. Your home has been taken over by a slob. Not fair.
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Thank you for your reply. My standards aren't that high. For example, I don't care how the towels are folded as long as it gets done. But he can barely walk so he would not safely be able to vacumn. Once in a while he can cook, when I am not going to be home. Otherwise, he takes all day, so I can't use my kitchen. I try to cook fresh and healthy but Cousin uses packaged everything and most recipes start with a can of mushroom soup. Being lactose intolerant, a lot of what he cooks upsets my stomach. I am not trying to be negative but when he cooks, I have to get all the pans and food out for him so he can cook because he really can't get around or bend down. Then I rewash the dishes he uses because he doesn't get them clean. After all that, he says "it's ready", leaving me to serve and do the usual clean up. So I am doing most of what I usually do except I have to follow his schedule. It is very stressful. I do see a pattern. He grew up with just an elderly father and I never knew his wife. I am suspecting that he was not raised with much respect for women. He thinks it is my job to do all this for whoever is in the house. It was easier on my back when I worked full time. He does need to keep busy. He has a nice bank account and I suggested that he buy a power chair and go fishing (which he says he likes to do). I told him that I would love for him to be happy and engaged and do things that he loves. But I also said that he needs to quit being in denial about what he can realistically do and what he can't. We all get old, some of us, like myself, are disabled and need to recognize that we can't do what we used to. It falls on deaf ears. My husband won't back me if I kick him out but maybe I need to do it without his support.
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Daisy, I wonder if your brother-in-law was spoiled by his mother and by his wife. If yes, it is very tough to change their ways.

Regarding the incontinence, does your brother-in-law wear underwear? If yes, take away all the underwear and replace with Depends type products.
Usually it takes trial and error to find a garment that will be comfortable for him, unless he likes going commando.

Did you see the pattern regarding showing? When you take him someplace, such as the funeral, he kept himself well groomed. Since he sits at home most of the time, he feels why bother. Oh, I have days like that. As for going to the VA for a drink once a day, that's good as long as he doesn't over do it, but he won't shower for that, does he? Probably doesn't feel the need.

Could he vacuum? Guys like things that make a lot of noise. Even if he doesn't vacuum the way you do or your hubby does, let him do it. Let him cook one or two meals a week to give you a break, but he would need to clean up the kitchen after himself. He needs to keep busy.
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