My wife has been the primary caregiver to her parents for the last 2.5 years. They used to live independantly in an in-law suite with her brother. Her brother did very little regarding making sure they were healthy. He would look in on them but other than sticking his head in their door that was it. Mother in-law has dementia and can no longer cook, clean or take care of herself. Father in-law has a mutlitude of chronic issues and has many UTI's due to the catheter. Last October whilst my brother in-law and his wife were in the UK, my father in-law had a fall in the driveway that landed him in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks.

Then rehab for 1 week. We moved them in with us at that point. Fast forward to now nearly 6 months later. We are fried. We know we are fried and can't do this much longer. They need constant care and it isn't getting any easier. My wife's brother and sister do what they can but it isn't much because they don't live with us. We do hire outside help for the days my wife has to go to work but even then we have to deal with all the things that go with caring for elderly who can't care for themselves. This includes on a number of occasions having to clean up my father in-law after he deficated himself because he couldn't get to the loo 15 feet way quick enough. Both use walkers though my mother in-law not consistantly enough.

We know we need to have the discussion of they need to move out to an assisted living facility. However, they are very stubborn and we are struggling to figure out how to even begin the conversation.

Any guidance?

Side note, we live in Southern New Hampshire on the Massachusetts border with Haverhill. There are many assisted living and nursing homes in the area. At this point though they don't qualify for a nursing home due to their fianancial situation.

Your in laws qualify for Skilled Nursing care paying for it themselves! They sound like they're well past Assisted Living now, to be honest. I was in charge of my parents finances as POA and tried mightily to keep them OFF of Medicaid and OUT of second rate nursing homes. So I used their money to keep them well cared for in AL, forfeiting my "inheritance" by doing so.

Tell your in laws you simply cannot care for them any longer with their myriad needs and they'll have to move into Skilled Nursing now. When their money runs out, THEN you can apply for Medicaid if they're still alive.

"Putting a bullet in your head" is no way to deal with an elder care issue. Tell your wife to have this talk with her parents and then get busy moving them out.
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Reply to lealonnie1
CharlieSue Mar 7, 2024
I absolutely agree lealonnie, they are past AL.... My mom managed, with many helpers, to stay in her home until she could no longer walk, and definately had dementia (diagnosed), then off the NH with MC. She's much better off, and often has lunch with other ladies in the dining room, went to the chapel service yesterday, where I found her when I showed up, and goes to crafts and stuff. They take very good care of her and it always smells good there.... if you're careful, a NH can be a very good thing.
I have been a caregiver for family and do it professionally. I know about that fried feeling and not just taking care of elderly people.

As far as being able to tell them gently, there is no easy way. You just sit them down and tell them. Your body knows when it has had enough! Listen to it.
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Reply to Scampie1
BurntCaregiver Mar 11, 2024

You're right. Sitting them down and just speaking plainly is really the only way.
Sit them down for The Chat.

Dear Folks, your care needs have increased - therefore your CARE needs to be increased.

My wife & I are happy to help you find the EXTRA care.

We cannot provide it all ourselves.
We are two people who work. You need a BIGGER team.

Keep the message simple & focused on their CARE needs.

Reasearch places. Make a shortlist. Choose one. Take them on a tour.

I was told it can take at least SIX times to have The Chat until it even starts to sink in... That's with an average stubborn elder. Those who are very stubborn or cognitively impaired may not ever fully understand. Still, it must be done.

Basically, people live at home, independantly, until they can't.
Some families are able to lengthen the independant stage by providing the right fit/smaller home (as your Wife's Brother did). Then extend the semi-independant stage with daily care (as you & your Wife have done).

It's a process of downsizing really.

This next downsize will be to AL. Have the meals provided & assistance for personal care they need. They will LET GO of many things to do this. But also GAIN activities, socialisation.

They are dependant now. Let that sink in for your Wife & yourself.

It is a crushing blow for elders to realise this (many caregivers choose not to spell it out for kindness sake).

Decoraring their room with their favorite items can bring a sense of *home*.

Really, that's what most want I reckon. A sense of *home*, somewhere to feel safe & to know they are loved. ❤️
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Reply to Beatty


Get them moved into a facility and get your life back.
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Reply to olddude
DaveC11 Mar 7, 2024
LOL. I know. I'm living this failure. The funny thing is when we ask the siblings to help, we have to manage them too. They give us the "just let us know when you need anything" line and it just infuriates me. I said the other day that if there were a gun in the house I would take it with me on a walk with the dogs in the woods and put a bullet in my head.
See 3 more replies
They have savings in the neighborhood of six figures as well as social security for each and a pension. There's no need to "qualify" here - their savings will pay for their care. Go look at some of those care facilities in your area. You'll be glad you did.
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Reply to Fawnby
KaciNC Apr 7, 2024
And that money will allow them to move into a nice care faclity.

I never understand all the trying to skirt around it because that never works.
You are going to have to be absolutely honest that this is not working for you and your wife, and that you are not going to continue in home care. That you will assist them with finding facility for themselves but that this isn't up for discussion or argument. That you understand there will be anger and grief around this decision, and accept that, but that this must be started now with a search for a facility.

You have a right to your own life. They won't be happy. That's OK. There are many times in our lives that we aren't happy. Unhappiness and grief and disappointment are a part of life. You didn't cause this and can't fix it and throwing your own lives onto the funeral pyre is not going to help your parents or help you at all.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

You can change the plan.

The plan you THOUGHT would work, doesn't.

They use their money to pay for their care.

Sit down with them.

In your hand, you have brochures, or websites of 3 Assisted Living places or appropriate facilities.

Tell them that they have 30 days to make a decision about one of them. You agree to make the three appts and provide the transportation to visit.

Tell them that in 60 days, they will be moving there.

Tell them that otherwise, you will be selling your house and moving away.

You can do this.

Your sanity is worth it.
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Reply to cxmoody

Can approach the discussion as:

“We love you both too much to have only us helping you. You need better help than we can reasonably give, and you deserve to have the best care possible. It’s time you get the 24/7 care you deserve.”

This will frame it as “we want the best for you” as opposed to “you’re wearing us out and I can’t take one more day of cleaning up your poop,”
I mean, not being able to make it to the toilet in time can’t be fun for your FIIL either!
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Reply to LoopyLoo

DaveC11: Ten years ago I had to move in with my late mother in Westford, MA (very close to Haverhill) when her blood pressure plummeted. She was also resistant to facility living. I understand burnout as do many of us here on the forum. I said to my mother "I'm only here until xx/xx date then you'll be going to assisted living; I am an elder myself at 67 years old."

Your parents are not going to have a choice if either of you drop over from exhaustion.
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Reply to Llamalover47


Start looking at facilities. Choose one. Tell your in-laws the truth, that this situation isn’t working out for anyone.

It’s not working for them because they need around the clock supervision. It’s not working for you and your wife because you are exhausted and deserve to go back life as it was before caregiving.

Look at it this way, your wife is their daughter. You are their son in law. Being caregivers for them robs you from being family members.

Most people don’t like to go into a business relationship with family. Caregiving becomes a full time commitment that is best run by a professional staff rather than family members.

As you said, when family members take care of their parents they quickly burn out.

Let me ask you something. If you were in their shoes, would you rather have an entire staff at your disposal to care for you or would you rather have family members who are burned out?

I don’t feel most people are capable of doing their best when they are fried, even if they have the best intentions. They are running on fumes.

I know what I would rather have. I will not ever ask either of my daughters to give up their lives for me should I need caring for in the future. I want my children to remain my daughters.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

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