After a 7 yr marriage, 6 years have been exclusively 24/7 caregiving. In 2018 he was hospitalized 13 times followed 4 times by rehab hospital.
Beyond the 4 major health issues of my 89 yr old husband, ( CHF, insulin dependent diabetes, stage 3+ kidney disease, multiple myeloma, delusional, parasitosis, 2 broken hips, shattered pelvis, knee replacement and suprapubic catheter maintenance) ...ongoing dealing with a enabled family of adult children....I am contemplating leaving.
I am 82 and was in great health when we married & he was reasonably healthy. I love him, obviously one couldn’t do this otherwise. I have recently hired relief 12 hours a week .
I can’t seem to take the step to go, but I-know I need to save my life.
Thank you for listening.

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I have had to do that recently. We were together for 24 years and the last 7 and 1/2 years I was his caregiver and POA. Suddenly my 86 year old Loved One lost the ability to walk (dementia burned out that control in his brain) which helped me make the decision to enroll him in an assisted living facility. His adult daughters thought I should bring him home and get a few hrs. of in-home care. I told them I already had signed up for in-home health care but within that week of signing up the legs "went". I asked if they would take Family Medical Leave to help (we are in a different state than the daughters). The answer was "not at this time." I waited 30 seconds and said to them "I'm done." And a few minutes later they affirmed that I knew best. I'm lucky to have that outcome, but I've worked over the years to not expect too much from the daughters - their dad and I are not married but they consider me his caregiver and realize they just keep in touch occasionally. To your point, I am a fairly healthy 75 year old and have given all I can to my LO. Now the professionals are doing the job. After a month in the AL my loved one is content, clean and looking far better than when he was admitted to the facility. I know I made the right decision, at the right time, for the right reasons. I'm working on some health issues of my own and continue building a life for myself. The time I spend visiting my loved one is pure joy, no more struggles to shower, shave and trim his nails, etc.. He's with others to be entertained by, or not. He's happy, I'm relieved. Fortunately, the daughters are ok with all and I text pictures of him to them every 2 weeks or when the spirit moves me. I'm trying to not be resentful as those negative feelings toward the daughters do not help me or anyone else. I made my decision and stood by it. That's where the strength is, not with the daughters.
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Reply to StandstoReason
BaileyP3 May 28, 2021
StandstoReason I admire you that you have made a decision for the well-being of your SO and yourself. It's tough to make these decisions particularly when dealing with extended family, sometimes it feels like you spend years rowing upstream.

I wasn't dealing with a SO rather both parents and the sibs and their offspring didn't visit Dad for the last 18 months of his life nor call frequently. Dad in his final years let my sibs contact him rather than calling them (for a multitude of reasons) primarily because "If I start calling them, I'll never get a call. They'll leave all the calling to me" And he was correct in thinking that way.

Dependent upon whether you want to have much contact with the daughters perhaps you should hold back on sending many pics for a bit and make them come to you. It certainly will give you an indication of how much interest there is in their dad (given that you send pics every couple of weeks I'm making the assumption they don't visit very frequently.)

Good luck to you and rest assured you did the right thing. As I often tell people, putting my parents into LTC was about getting them to safety.
If I were you I would place him in a long term care facility where they have three shifts of folks who can take care of him appropriately.  Don't ask his children, tell his children that you are 82 yrs old and can no longer physically or mentally be a 24 hour a day caregiver.  Give them the name of the facility where there dad will be going and the visiting hours.

It really is that simple.  I promise you that none of his children are going to jump up and say no wait a minute, I will take dad in and care for him...
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Reply to Jamesj
seekingjoy May 28, 2021
I have been caring for my husband (married 34 yrs) in an escalating manner (he has brain cancer) for 15 years.  Last fall I had to put him in assisted living-nursing home care was actually ordered by 2 physicians but as he is just 55, I couldn't do it.  You will wreck your me.  At 55 I feel 75 from exhaustion and yes, it has taken a physical toll.  You deserve to have a life and most importantly YOUR health.  You don't have to light yourself on fire to keep others warm.  Save yourself.  You can still 'care for him' by getting him the best place possible, visiting, participating in care plan meetings etc.  Take care of you because it doesn't sound like anyone else is!
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Reply to onholdinmidwest
TouchMatters May 28, 2021
Hal a loo ya.
Thank you for this response.
You are a living saint.
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Are there any other options? Might he be placed in LTC? Would you be able to visit him there? Or are you saying that this has not been the man you married for 6 of the 7 years and you must move on?
Make your decision, then see a lawyer to advice about separating finances, legal separation versus divorce, giving up POA if you are guardian or POA.
Is your husband capable of being aware of how he has changed? Have you and he discussed this? In a mentally functional person I would think there would be a discussion. If there has not been, then your first requirement is to let him know the truth. That you have really got limitations you were not aware of when you married and before things changed so suddenly, so quickly. That you will be separating (start there) and that his family and he will have to make the decisions about where he will live and who will care for him.
I think only you can make this decision, and I think you SHOULD make it. If you are his POA then draw his family together and tell them the simple truth. Do not expect they will not be enraged. They will be. You will have to have the strength to move past that. They should take on being his POA and his guardian. They can decide about home care versus in facility care for the remainder of his life.
I can only tell you that THIS is what I would do, myself. I cannot tell you what you should do. Expect the world to condemn you, because of course they will. That's to be expected. Then get on with all the move and separation; that will be quite enough for you to handle. I wish you the best. I am so sorry. I hope you will update us.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
Sunnydayze May 28, 2021
As always... your wisdom is on point!
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I don't think it is so much an issue of you deciding to leave as it an issue of you deciding that he needs more care than you can give and how best to get him that care. It sounds to me like it is time for your husband to move to some sort of care facility. I think that will accomplish much of what you are hoping for without you having to leave him. Honestly, I am surprised his doctors haven't already suggested this.
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Reply to graygrammie

Hi, I can relate to what you are going through. I've been married for almost 25 years. We married when I was mid 30's and he was 42. He started having problems about a year into the marriage and has declined ever since. I was his caregiver. I got to a point with my own health issues that I could no longer be a caregiver for my husband. It was ruining my health and sanity. He is now in long term care and will not be coming home.

My advice to you is get your husband in a long term care facility. It's not an easy decision, but you're fighting for your health and sanity.

I hope this helps.
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Reply to jacquiblu2

Alva asked some very important questions. And blended families with adult children are fraught with complicated emotions in these types of situations. Therefore I agree that they won't be happy with you leaving. And ditto to before you do anything definitely talk to an estate planner/divorce attorney to sort out the finances as this WILL BE the hot button with his children. When you are ready to tell your side of the story, it may be best to type it out and read it to them. The shorter the better. You don't owe them any explanation, but I think something is better than nothing: that at your age you aren't physically, mentally or emotionally prepared for the onslaught of his health responsibilities and now you're concerned that you yourself will decline to the point of needing someone else's help. So, who would be doing that? (Rhetorical question for his kids). If they've been keeping in contact with you two they can't deny what's been happening to him. Time will need to pass as they process all of it. I wish you all the best as you consider your options.
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Reply to Geaton777

I was in this same situation. Stuck it out for 15 years. Finally, his medical team told me the only way I would get his adult children (who lived in the same town as us) to help was to leave. The one complication I didn't have was marriage. Due to age difference, we didn't tie the knot. Left in 10/20 & spent the winter alone. Miss him greatly but am moving on with my life. His kids did step in after I left. This is a very hard decision!
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Reply to paulat585

And who are you going to leave him with?

It sounds like he needs to be in a Nursing Home ASAP. Do it for him and yourself!
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Reply to Ricky6

It is for reasons like this that I recommend strongly that the patient decides not to have life-prolonging medical treatment but instead to let go, and they receive support from their families. Better die sooner rather than hang on and see the quality of the life decline so much.

The best gift of love is to let go.
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Reply to kahill1918

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