Our mother is a healthy and spry 85 and the primary caregiver for our father who is in declining health. He is at the point at which our mother's safety and quality of life is at risk. She does not want to hear about outing him in a home but it must be done. We would love to hear suggestions about how to handle this.

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You could start with letting her know that she takes wonderful care of your dad but some in-home help could make it work longer. Stress that if her health goes downhill she may not be able to help him at all.

If she tries in-home care but doesn't like it or won't try it at all, the idea of them moving to assisted living together is another good idea. Also, many new living arrangements have "graduated" care so that if they moved into the same home or group of homes, they may eventually have to separate to different care units but she'd still be close to him. That gradual change may help her adjust.

She married him until "death do us part" and many of the older generation can't separate out that this promise sometimes means that what is best for the spouse may be hiring help in caring for him or her. If need be, ask for help from both of their doctors.

Work with her your mom. Lend your support as suggested. This is a very difficult decision for her so give her time if this isn't an emergency. Stressing your dad's needs and her own health may eventually help her make this decision.

Take care,
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As long as your Mum feels capable of looking after her sweetheart, let her continue to do so. When it gets too much for her, in her own eyes, then she might feel differently.

Hearing people talk about forcing other people to do things they don't want to do always gets me edgy.

I too am an ancient looking after my disabled sweetheart at home. I shall do so for as long as I have breath in my body and strength in my joints and muscles, and none one had even think about trying to stop me.

Just because we are old does not mean we are automatically turned into gibbering idiots lacking the ability to make up our own minds.

Leave them alone unless you are helping by putting your hands on to do some work for them.

You say: " ... She does not want to hear about putting him in a home but it must be done."

Must it? Who says so?

You need to either cut bait, bail, row, or jump ship. If you cannopt assist them directly in practical ways, then get your 'must be done' attitude out of their lives and make them happy.

Sometimes people just do not understand the strength of true love.

Your parents cared for you when you couldn't care for yourself, as a baby, infant, and young child, so it's time to return the love. However, it must be done in a way that does not trample their feelings, rights, and wishes.

Hug them for me.
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If your Mom is "healthy and spry 85" and she is willing to continue to take care of him, by all means, let her do so. You state "she does not want to hear about outing him in a home but it must be done". You don't give the particulars of your Dad's "declining health". Is he just aging, getting forgetful, abusive, have Alzheimers or other dementia diagnosis, can't feed himself, dress himself, does your father fall? You give no particulars so there is little to suggest.

Remember, your parents (like mine -- my mother is 85 now, but was 80 when my father passed) are of a generation of "till death do us part, in sickness and in health". Their mindset is to take care of each other no matter what. Of course, she "does not want to hear" about moving your Dad to a nursing home (if that's what "must be done"). Would Assisted Living help? Can they afford that? Assisted Living is private pay. Would home health aides be a consideration?

You say your Mom's "quality of life" is at risk. Does she think that or is that your perception? I hope I'm not sounding mean but I'll give you my personal example:

My Mom's hearing was/is horrible. She had and currently has hearing aides in both ears. For the last 10-15 years, my mother was constantly "yelled at" by my Dad as a normal conversational tone. It was distressing to me that whenever I went over there to visit my parents' home, my father was always "yelling at" my mother. It was very frustrating to him (and to me now) to have to constantly repeat things to her, gradually upping the volume with each repeat so she could hear what we were saying. I have coped by making sure my mother is looking at my face BEFORE I speak to her so I only have to say things once so she "gets it". My father was not so patient. My brother, who lives with my mother, is just like my father (short-tempered, frustrated, and constantly "yells at" my mother). To the outside world, this definitely looks and feels like elder verbal abuse. Can my brother work on being more patient? Of course. Do I call him out about his yelling and behavior? Of course. Does he change his behavior? No.

My mother chooses to live that way. She lives in her own world (hard of hearing and just plodding along) getting by. Do I think her quality of life sucks? Perhaps, but again, she chooses to live that way and I have no right interfere. She adamently refuses to discuss this situation and just shrugs off my brothers "meanness". It's heartbreaking to me but again, her choice. It upsets me that my Mom lives this way but I am trying to "let it go".

If you have attempted to discuss your Mom's living situation with her and she is not at the point where she wants to discuss such a life changing move (putting her spouse of many years in a NH and perhaps her living alone), then you must respect her wishes. It's unfortunate. My Dad would NEVER discuss his feelings or anything related to his health or how to make his or my Mom's quality of life better. They lived like they wanted to live.

Sometimes, it takes an "incident" such as a fall or hospitalization to bring one or both parents around to the realization that they can no longer live safely at home without assistance. As I have stated previously on this forum, people of your Mom and Dad's generation are stubborn, self-sufficient individuals that don't want to believe that they can't take care of themselves or each other any more. It's difficult to convince them otherwise. All you can do is support them as much as you emotionally and physically can until there comes a point (an "incident") where a decision must be made. Then generally, a physician or social worker/discharge planner (in a hospital setting) can really get the ball rolling. Sometimes it takes an "outsider" to get through to elderly parents that something's got to give.

See Chicago1954's answer. She stated her Mom "went when she could no longer live alone at home". Perhaps that was determined by her family or her doctor, a hospitalization, etc. But I'm sure it had to be determined when there was a trigger point of some sort -- a fall, not thriving, etc. It's hard for our parents (and will be for US, too, when we get their age) to give up control of their lives to others. Would you want others to tell you that you no longer can live at home or take care of your husband? This is scary for them (losing control). The worst thing you can do is YOU make all the decisions, alienate your Mom and/or Dad, and put your Dad in a nursing home, especially if there are other viable options. Remember, your Mom's quality of life is how SHE perceives it. It's so hard. Believe me, I know. Take it one day at a time.

Good luck and let us know how you're doing.
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My aunt and uncle ( he a WWII vet) lived together; she had serious heart issues, he had dementia. She fell, broke her hip and he did not report that anything was wrong to adult children who lived not too far away. He dragged her around on a throw rug for three days. When one of the children visited, they called 911, Aunt had surgery and went to rehab for several montha and then RETURNED HOME to even more demented husband. Aunt was able to be convinced that they needed 24/7 aides to assist. Fortunately they had enough money to sustain this for many years, with one adult son living from time to time with his parents. My uncle would regularly fire the aides (they knew to come back in the back door), run screaming into the street when he saw war news on the TV (he thought he was back on the Burma road) and threaten family members with bodily harm. The police became regular visitors. But they stayed together at home until my aunt passed away. Then uncle was moved to memory care, and when he became too agitated and at times violent to be managed there, to a VA hospital. He died about two years after my aunt did. Was this a good situation? No. Is it what we would have done if it was my parents? No. My cousins felt they had to leverage, and their parents, having been separated for all those years during the war, were not able to be separated again. My aunt was 96 when she died, so it's not like this horrible quality of life shortened her life span!
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Your question brought back memories for me, and I hope that my experience with my parents is helpful for you.

I had this situation with my mother who lives in Texas, who at the time was 75 and has a heart condition. I can remember coming home to visit and my mother looked like she was at deaths door. She had been trying to take care of my father by herself, and my other siblings who lived 5 miles away (i myself was living in NYC), were allowing her to do so, and my mother has always been the " I don't want to bother anybody" type of person.

I can remember sitting her down and having the "talk". We talked for some time, and the main thing I expressed to my mother that there was no doubt that she loved my father, and in this instance the best live she could show for him was to get and provide the best care for him that she could, as she was not capable of handling my father by herself. And with that we BOTH sat down and planned what we were going to do, and we made all the necessary arrangements. And of course you must show her, as I did, that she was not "failing" my father, and that she is not and will not be alone.

And yes, it is never an easy decision to make, but the time comes where it is a necessary decision to make.

God bless you and good luck!
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go ronniebray.
the aged are twice smarter than the dolts trying to push them around .
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Hi! My mom is 95 and is in a NH. Believe me, no one could have told her anything. She went when she could no longer live alone at home. The problem that you have is that your mother is risking her own health, caring for her husband.

We don't know the promises that they have made to each other. Perhaps she would consider moving to assisted living, with him.
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my mom did it took care of my stepad unti;l he died. She did put him in a home and they didnt take good care of him and he gave up and died tehre. Your mom if you did that would also give up. Help her out or get someone to help her, Thre are orgganizations that come in help the elderly get one of those. Sheh will be lost without her husband. So try to get someone to come in an d help her or you help her. After all they took good care of you. I take care of my mom now and she is in good health. oh there are also assisted living homes where your mom and dad can live together and shse can still be with him. In marriage it is till death do you part. Do you remember your marriage vows I do. Those vows to elderly people are so important and you would be making her break that vow. Try understanding her and put yourself in her shoes and how would you feel. She loves your father very much, don't break her heart. its her opinion that counts and not yours . You are not his caregiver. She by giving up and doing this is breaking Gods vow and covenant.Help her pout in the house. Watch your dad while she goes shopping. Help her around the house or hire someone to come in to help her if you cant.
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Great suggestions/advice above. A little more detail may be helpful however- "declining health" covers a wide territory. Are there mental issues where he is a danger to himself or others? Are there mobility issues that are becoming worse where home modifications or assistive products could be the ticket to help them cope longer? Did their doctor say a nursing home is the best solution? I work with many seniors and totally understand the emotional/financial desire to remain at home as long as safely possible- a geriatric care manager might be a perfect aid to assess the situation and review all available options. My prayers are with you.
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If your mother wants to keep your father at home, consider getting a live in aide to help her with the caregiving. She would still have him at home with her and apparently that is what they must have discussed and want.
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