My husband and I have family members we are responsible for. The husband has dementia, and the wife has been declining in health while caring for him for years.
We're trying really hard to get them to open up and try professional helpers. The husband is afraid of outsiders taking him away, and the wife keeps saying they don't need it. They do! She's aged about 20 years in the past two years, and we are very scared for them.
While she is starting to talk more about his condition she seems to be having a lot of trouble gripping with the reality of it. She does everything he asks of her—even when it is expensive or dangerous. When we talk alone with her she breaks down a lot.
We had been visiting them every other week, but cannot see them right now because of quarantining (our kids are just out of school the next few weeks).
I am afraid between the potential of illness—along with a potential injury (there have been a couple with the wife already) causing a big emergency. She'll most likely get really hurt/sick to the point she's incapacitated...or we will lose her.
We tried having gentle-but-assertive conversations with them about their needs and the future, but plans/changes are moving forward very slowly. She'll let us take her to places and meet people, but takes no initiative to reach out to them on her own.
The husband needs 24 hour care. If she was hurt/injured/dead, letting the husband move in with us (what she seems to expect we'll do) cannot happen. He can be very aggressive at times (which I know now is the condition—not him) and he is BIG. We could easily get hurt and have little ones we still care for.
That aside, we are not in a position to be able to caretake. We both have to work and we are raising young kids. We live out of state, and we are the closest family
As the quarantines came about, I came to realize I want us to prepare for the worst. Even if our family doesn't get the Coronavirus, I believe the wife will probably be hospitalized very soon as I have seen this before with friends' families and neighbors.
What can we do on our own to prepare if one of them gets sick/hurt/passes away and we need to place the other somewhere safe?
We want to be compassionate, but we need to protect ourselves. Not having a plan could really hurt our own health, marriage, and careers—and then we will be useless as caretakers.
We already have the info for their local department of aging and some resources about homes/hospitals in the area, but we feel overwhelmed by the information. Would love other ideas, and a solid way to come up with a plan. Would it be smart to touch base with a local attorney or some other mediating professional?
Thank you so much!