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I am new to this site and new to caring for the elderly all together. I feel lost and I need help from anyone who can spare it. I recently got engaged to a man I met on the internet 2 years ago. Although I knew he cared for his grandfather when I met him, I didn't know the details.
His grandfather is an 84 year old widow. I would hate to call him stubborn, but it is one of the best words to describe him. If I was having a bad day I would go as far to say he is lazy, care less and selfish! But I love the old man. My fiancee has been living with, and caring for his grandfather the past 10 years! They are from a broken family so I feel his grandfather relies on him more than usual for that reason alone. My troubles come into play as I am recently graduated college and now have plans to marry and buy a house with my fiancee. But I need to know if I should suggest putting his grandfather into a nursing home. I don't want to come off as the selfish and care less one, or make my fiancee feel like he has to choose between us, but ultimately, I feel he should focus his energy on our relationship and his own interests rather then worrying about his grandpa.
My fiance pays the bills, and then the two of us share the housework, grocery shopping and any and all repairs in his grandpa's home. His grandfathers home is falling apart because he refuses to spend any money for repairs. There is no working shower, running water in the kitchen or working washer or dryer. Luckily there is heat and air conditioning because my fiancee was once a heating and cooling installer and did it himself. Aside from the poor conditions of the home, his grandfather is a real piece of work. He is constantly making a mess; not in one room, but all rooms. Dirty dishes, empty food wrappers, food and drinks spilled and smeared all over the place. Newspapers piled up on tables and furniture. Yarn and tape that he uses for god knows what!
My fiancee also believes his grandfather has stolen personal belongings from him in the past. There is a collection of garbage, stolen junk and cardboard in his room.
His grandfather has poor vision and hearing. He is unable to walk for long periods of time without shortness of breath and pain in his legs and feet due to the fact he spends the entire day just sitting in his chair watching t.v while refusing to see a doctor even when we make the appointments for him. He doesn't even have a family doctor nor will he even hear about us finding him a new one. He believes alka seltzer is the cure for anything. This results in us getting sick from his constant spread of germs as he doesn't practice good hygiene. In fact, he doesn't even use soap. He merely soaks his hands in water whenever he uses the washroom.
Late last year, we had to rush him to the hospital as he had a hernia for so long it became tangled with his intestines. He fought with us about bringing him to the emergency room and refused to allow the hospital staff to come into his home to check on him and help him get back on his feet. He was out of commission for awhile and relied on diapers that we bought and found hidden in his closet. He would make home made diapers out of plastic bags and rags he would find to save money. He refuses to spend a dime on essentials. Tooth brushes, tooth paste, deoderant etc.

Another thing is, he is constantly making up stories about his past, things he sees on t.v and loves to gossip about his family including my fiancee who is his caregiver!!!
Although he is able to remember appointments like the time and day to be ready for grocery shopping, names of his family members, names of television shows and the days and times they run on, I feel if he lived alone his neighbors would complain of an unkept home, loud tv, and mice (from the constant garbage pile up and food being dropped on the floor and such). He cannot make popcorn without burning it, yet he still attempts to cook biscuits and such in his oven. His diet only consists of t.v dinners and pepsi. Again he is 84 and isn't on any medication or diet. I also think he would be in trouble for not paying his bills as I already stated, my fiance has been paying all the bills for the last 10 years. Of, course, we would still take him grocery shopping anc maintain his yard, but we would no longer be doing his housework or helping him care for his dog.
I guess my big fear is my fiancee and I getting in trouble as some people may see his current lifestyle being a result of neglect. The social worker from the hospital questioned his home made diapers and the untidy home that the paramedics reported to be "gross". We try our hardest to clean EVERYDAY. To put food in the house that can be cooked, and he refuses to eat with us. He will not see a doctor and we are told we cannot force him even when it affects our health. I am also worried my fiancee will feel to guilty to move out and start his own life with me and let his grandpa finish his life the way he chooses..

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I agree with jeannegibbs,I didn't see anything wrong in her, or anyone elses comments. Everyone has been more than gracious helping out I think.
I understand its a bad situation, but I also feel bad for the grandfather. Oh I so don't want to get old ! No matter how much work, I have my Mom with me forever, and thank God my husband understands. We make he best of it, it could be us, or a child, regardless we take them in and love them.
best of luck to you.
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Whoa, stl. Please review the answers in a calmer frame of mind. I don't see anyone taunting or ridiculing you. If you are an aspiring writer I think you have used a very creative way to do some research. As far as I'm concerned, no harm done. I have not expressed outrage or offense. All of my answers to you have been entirely sincere. I think that is what you are getting from other posters -- sincere responses to the situation you describe. It is very easy for people to misrepresent themselves on the Internet, as you very well know, and if a few of us have a degree of skepticism that does not constitute taunting or ridicule.

Your story has been taken seriously and you've gotten a lot of different perspectives and advice. Be happy.
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That was a great start, stl. I was married to a man with thousands of empty promises and after 30yrs I finally gave up on him. Don't let that happen to you. Set a reasonable time limit for all these things to happen and stick to it.
My best to you.
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And the saga goes on and on and on. There are no guarantees in life.
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My dad was over 40 (and my mom, too) when both my brother and I were born and my husband was over 40 when our child was born. None of us have Trisomy 21 (Down's). As an older parent, I know a lot of dads who are older than 40 and none of the children have Trisomy 21. Yes, there is an increase in Down's, but not enough to worry about it that much. Even with more of us moms waiting until we are in our late 30's and 40's, the chances are still not as great. Many women used to have the last children their 40's and it was not all that common for a child to be born with Trisomy 21.
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His children and grandchildren are all very nasty from what I hear.The only relatives still active in his life are my fiancee and his sister. We are not moving out because of his behaviour. We are moving out because we want to be married and have kids. We can't do that living in the grandfather's home. And he doesn't HAVE to go to a nursing home. I posted the story so I could find out from others if a nursing home setting might be necessary for the grandfather. If he chooses to live alone, I want to know he will be safe. That is all. :) I hope we will be able to get an evaluation on him soon to find out what is going on.
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How do you think grandpa would respond if he was told that he may have to live in a nursing home (or the like) if he doesn't change some things. Or maybe you and his grandson will move if he doesn't change his behavior? He may be very depressed at the loss of his wife or maybe you should ask the children why they want nothing to do with thier father? Seems strange that you soon to be husband does not know the answer to this. Maybe dementia is setting in?
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Well, I am sorry that so many people find a very serious situation to be of great soap opera like entertainment. But the reality is, not only family members and spouses have the responsibility of caring for a loved one. And I think that it is pretty sad when somebody comes to a message board full of caregivers to vent and seek advice at the same time and has to deal with taunts and criticism. I am 22, give me a break! I am not born knowing how to deal with such a situation. I read each and every comment and with each one, I gained some perspective and saw really good advice. I am pretty wise on my own and could tell I was going to deal with some backlash but to be mocked? That is pretty low. My story is authentic and I have seen other people here with quite similar stories. And it wasn't about how much knowledge I took in, it was what people were relaying to me about being more understanding and thinking about MY future and stepping off my finacee in the meantime. I don't think that gives way for anyone to try and discredit my character. Why would I waste time making up such stories? Is it so hard to believe two people could meet and fall in love and one forgets to mention his grandfather is a little more odd than most? But if being a great story teller or soap opera is what is going to get me some advice then so be it. I am probably the youngest person here and as I said, I have not opened up to these problems with my family or friends so I have nobody else to really turn to. Guess that offends some people here....
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lol ! I think jeannegibbs hit the nail on the head. This story sure sounds like a soap opera to me. You have to be very level headed to have gleaned all that wisdom from this web site. Are you for real??? You seem to have all the right answers now. Good Luck and God Bless.....Give the dog a hug for me.
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As of right now, they only thing we could do for the dog is to get rid of it. Send him off to a good home. Unfortunately, he is not our dog, he is the grandfather's and he would never agree so my fiancee and I try to get it out of the house and into the fresh air and also to the vet's as much as possible. The dog is actually healthy despite his living conditions and the vet sees no physical or behavioural problems with the dog whatsoever. He did warn us that animal neglect was a problem and we should look into an alternative to the grandfather keeping his dog locked up all day. One thing at a time. This is a really messed up situation. As I said, my fiancee stepped out of love, and had no idea what he was getting into or how to handle it. It's hard to change 10 years in just a week. That's why I came to this site to seek advice from those in similar situations. The story is 100% real although it probably would make for a good book.
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In case this is for real, and not a trial-run for a new soap opera plot (and actually even if it is for script or a book) I'd like to suggest that you try to do something for that poor dog, and that focusing on what Grandfather needs includes a medical evaluation. Even if he refuses to follow a treatment plan, at least all parties will know what they are dealing with. And who knows, if it turns out he has CHF and there are some ways he could regain more energy, maybe he'd think that was a good trade off. Or maybe not. The option would at least be there.

Best of luck to you, stl, in your future marriage (or in your writing career)/
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Well here it is:
I had so many people contribute great advice, and many great ideas. So I decided to take the leap! I took my honey for a picnic and everything I've been waiting to say started flowing naturally.
I told him that I loved him very much; and that I was sure I want to marry him, I just don't want to marry him right now. I told him I wanted to do more exploring as a young woman and not as a young bride. I also told him it would give him time to really think about what becoming my husband would mean.
I told him I admire everything he does for his grandpa and that I think he fulfilled his promise to his grandmother very well. I also told him I was proud of him. When he told me how long and hard his journey had been I started to feel bad for wanting out after only a short time (year and 1/2) involved. My fiancee told me how happy he was that he met me and that I was as wonderful to his grandpa as he hoped his other relatives and any ex- gf's would be but failed to be in the past. He also told me his grandpa talks non stop and asks about me when I am not there. Pretty heavy stuff! I was pretty stuck for words right then, but my fiancee continued. He told me that even though it was the hardest, most tiring and frustrating thing he's ever done, he wouldn't have missed such an opportunity to spend that kind of time with someone he loves so much. Isn't he the greatest?
Then I got that lump in my throat. He asked me what was on my mind...and I had to stay strong. I was not going to let all the good advice go to waste. I repeated how much I admired what he was doing but I told him things didn't look so healthy from a different standing point.
I told him that his grandfather might have the common problems that come with old age, or that it could even be something only medicine could help. I told him that although his grandpa was able to get around on his own, it was up to us to make things easier and safer for him to get to. I asked him if he felt comfortable with the idea of cutting back on giving in to his grandfather's 'wants' and focusing more on his needs. We also agreed that if his grandfather chose to eat t.v dinners, we would try to buy the healthiest dinners we could find for him. My fiancee threw in that he would buy twice as much water and hide a few pepsi cans in the back of the fridge so his grandfather would have to take in several healthy bottles of water a day before he could down the pop. I thought that was pretty funny. Creative...maybe a little cruel, but funny. My fiancee and I are going to give it another shot asking his grandpa to allow repairs in the home. We also are going to start 'relief day'. It is our own system to relieve each other for a whole day once a week of any duties involving his grandpa or the home. A WHOLE DAY :) I told my fiancee he could take the first few days for both of us as he truly needs them. Now...for the big finale!

I told my fiancee my goals are to finish my schooling, find a great job, travel, marry, and have kids. I also told him I want to take my nieces an nephews to see the ocean within the next 5 - 10 years. When I asked him what he saw for himself in the future, he told me he saw me as his wife, a baby or two, a nice clean home, and maybe a dog. I asked him how far off in the future that might be and he told me he already thought up a plan.

The plan is to let his grandpa know he will be moving out and into his own house. Then help prepare the home and his grandpa for the move, create a schedule for check cashing, bill payments and grocery shopping with his grandpa. We will both take turns once or twice a week to stop by and check on the house. My fiancee will continue to cut the grass and shovel snow and take out the garbage. He is going to ask his grandfather if he would like someone to come in and do the cleaning. As for the nursing home, he said putting his grandma into one was the hardest thing he had to do until he realized how much she loved it. At home she sat around watching t.v all day and waiting for company to stop in. At the nursing home she played cards and bingo, she made friends and had a number of activities to do. He said if living alone doesn't work out after awhile, he will approach his grandpa with the idea.
I know talk is cheap, things change, and it's easier said than done. But this is a great start. The smaller changes are going to happen first, then the bigger ones will follow. I trust my fiancee means well for all of us and I am going to stick by him and help him any way I can. One thing I told him I won't do is stop living for myself. I reminded him that I am only 22 and just starting out. Some people will say that is selfish, others will tell me it was a smart move. All I know is I accepted one ring from one man and like it or not I got two. Although it has been a mess, it is my mess and I am going to help fix the things I can and work harder to accept the things I won't be able to. And on occassion I will vent and I may extend my Relief Day to several days, but I am going to follow my fiancee's example and stand by someone I love for better or worse. I am not running to the altar anymore but I am going to enjoy the walk.
I appreciate all the comments and well wishes and the great ideas. Hopefully the plans we have so far will pan out and if not we can revise or start fresh. Fingers crossed!

Thoughts on the new breakthrough? Is it a breakthrough? A promise to be left empty? Something that can't be fixed?
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stl, you are 22 while your fiancee is 45. I just want to share one biological fact for you to consider since you desire to have children. Older fathers over 40 have twice the rate of Down syndrome births.
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i wouldnt get married at all . go live with them for a lit while and see if you become thier slavery , then you ll know for sure what you want to do .
good luck .. sounds like a hassel to me and a headache ....
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The first thing I would do is call the social services office and see about talking to a geriatric counselor about the situation. If the grandfather is on Medicaid, you could get a home health worker. The social worker could make a visit and see the condition of the home.
You are not going to like to hear this, but take it from someone with personal experience. There is the possibility that your boyfriend may choose family over you. You need to discuss this with HIM first. Doesn't matter what anyone on here suggest because it's HIS relative and you need to find out where you stand.
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Please post the first draft of your novel on this website! We're all enthralled.
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AMEM!!! marriage is hard enough when there are just the everyday problems, now to add this to it is just stupid!!
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STL: First of all I am not "poor" in any sense of the word.....literally or figuratively. It's been my philosophy to be brutally honest....not as honest as Dr.Laura, but plain ole honest. Call me in about five years. I guarantee that this situtation will not work out. If this couple tries to "make it work:", it will end up in heartache for all involved. My advice ( and no one asked me) is to leave now. Let him find another partner..another girl who will empathize with the situation with the grandfather, who won't be around forever, I might add. Nowhere is it written that one must be married. Marriage, as it states in the spoken vows, should be entered into freely, unconditionally and without reservation. Should I say Amen?
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I agree with Jeane and Piver. No hurry getting married. Be on your own for a while. If you've already done that, Bravo! But still wait to get married. And be sure all these questions are settled in your mind. Marriage is tough and always a work in progress. Fiance sounds like a very compassionate guy and understanding. Talk, talk, talk. And then talk some more. You gotta communicate. Your feelings are just as important as his. If you two really love each other, waiting until these problems are sorted out shouldn't make too much difference. Besides, dating is fun. I wish I could just go back to dating my hubby. Enjoy it a while longer.

My grandmother was a lot like the old man. She was very ornery and didn't like anybody. She cussed like a sailor and her house was filthy. Mold growing on dishes, kitchen table covered with half eaten stinking food and newspapers stacked up for a month. My mom and I would go over once a month and give the house a good cleaning, take her to the store or whatever she needed, listen to her complain about everything and then kiss her good bye and not worry about it til the next month. We called every week and sometimes every day to make sure she was ok, but did not NOT live with her or bring her into our homes. She was toxic. Can something like that be worked out with Grandpa? Could you disconnect his oven and get a microwave for safety sake? No hot plate either. Nothing that could burn down the house. If you bought the diapers would he use them instead of his homemade ones. Does he have an income of his own? could you talk him into giving you two a monthly stiphend to cover those expenses? If he gets lonely could you pay someone to go play cards or something with him? His money should cover that too. So many things you and your man should discuss before you commit to marriage.

Piver....you are one remarkable 83 yr old spring chicken! I wish I could teach my mom to use the computer. And my husband for that matter. Nothing elderly and childish about you. What I meant to say was those with dementia etc can be very childish. You are firing on all cylinders. You and your family are blessed. Taking care of your husband seems to be second nature to you. Bless you for that.

That's what marriage is all about. Take note. Your fiance my be just like his granddad one day and you will be responsible for his care. Learn to be compassionate but firm now. Do what's best for Grandpa, he will be your family too when you're married. It may be living with him or making it safe for him to live alone. There are options. You sound like a smart girl, you'll figure it out.
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I being a caregiver my self for the last 5 years to an Alz husband, think you should let the grandson do what he wants to do. Sounds like he feels the need to care for this grandfather, good Lord the man is 84. I think I would get on with my own life and if its meant for you two to be together then it will happen, facts are facts the grandfather cant live forever. take a longer deeper look at the man you want to spend the rest of your life with.
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I strongly concur with Piver!

You started living with this man when you were 20. That is too young to decide upon who you want to live with the rest of your life. You are not done growing into who you are. Give yourself some time. Maybe this is your one true love. If so, taking some time won't change that. (I married the first time at 20. Big mistake.) You sound very mature. But 20 is too young and 22 is too young.

The man you love is twice your age. That can work out. I would never tell someone not to marry an older person (I did it). But I know that it adds special circumstances. For example, even if you start having children soon (NOT my recoomendation at your age!) Daddy will be nearing retirement by the time they are in high school. When he is ready to retire you will be just hitting the peak of your career. Being out of sync in your progression through life is not fatal to a relationship, but it is something to consider.

He has been married before. So have most people his age. No reason a second marriage can't work better than the first one, especially if he learned from it. If he blames it all on his ex-wife, that might be a red flag. Why didn't they have children? Are you sure he wants children? That is something else to work out. No hurry. TAKE YOUR TIME.

As I advised my grandchildren and now my grandchildren, LIVE ON YOUR OWN FIRST. Get a room. Get your own studio apartment. Share with a roommate you are not on intimate terms with. See what is like to pay your own bills and keep house for yourself and figure out what to do when the toilet overflows or smoke is coming out of the toaster.

Marry him, or not. Learn to live with Grandfather or not. But first. step back and GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME. You deserve it. You have a fine head on your shoulders. Use it on your own behalf.
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In your first paragraph you say, "...but I love the old man." Then your recent post says you almost feel like you never want to see him again. It sounds like you have some very ambivalent feelings about the old guy. He may be a pain in the butt, however, I'm betting he has some good sides to his personality that have snagged his grandson in to stay....and possibly yourself, as well. It's a tough call to make. I'd tread into the area of leaving the Grandpa with great delicacy. From the way you describe it, his grandson really cares about him. You don't want the grandson to point the finger of blame at you if he has guilt about it later down the road. It would be best if you can make it be HIS idea, after gentle suggestions along the way from YOU.
Best of luck to you on this one. Grandpa sounds like a challenge.
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stl: God bless you, dear child. Take it from this 83 year old, happily married for 57 years, grandma, both your finance and you are in need of some counseling. DO NOT CONSIDER MARRIAGE UNTIL YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THIS SITUATION. Don't just talk it over with your finance, get outside counseling.
I advised my children not to consider marriage until they were at least age 26 - it takes a while to mature, even your physical brain is still growing and maturing until that age. My two kids who married before that age are both divorced.
Your finance has a ten year relationship with his grandfather. That means part of your relationship with him is tied up with grandfather, whether you welcome it or not. A not too silly comparison is a boy who has had a beloved dog for ten years and will not part with it, but it sheds and has medical problems and his fiancee wants him to put it to sleep - this is a common problem with engaged people.
You marry for better or worse, in sickness and health. Believe me, neither my husband or I never considered that I would end up being his caregiver when he got Alzheimer's. I care for him out of love and respect for my vows. With love, Piver
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Lots of good advice here. It may be time to share all your concerns and ideas with you fiance....that is where it will have the most impact. It is okay to vent here...but actions speak louder than words.
good luck
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Caregivers first have to take care of themselves. Related or not..you are tired of the bad behavior. Your fiance seems to have been rewarding bad behavior for 10 yrs now. As Dr Phil would say, "How's that workin out for ya?" Grandpa is displaying childish behavior as the elderly often do and you expect him to act like an adult. He can't or won't, but you two can. You gotta be the grown ups here and make grown up decisions. It can be done compasionately. Don't feel guilty about it. If it were a child you wouldn't think twice about making the hard decisions. I'm not saying put him in a nursing home, but something needs to change. This is not healthy for Grandpa or the two of you. It's best to make these decisions before you tie the knot. It will be harder later. Hope it all works out for you.
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I am not thinking only of myself. I am thinking of the three of us. And ANYONE here would be lying if they said for a minute they would not have a single doubt about their future if their husband or wife to be was caring for a parent or grandparent and expected their soon to be spouse to move in and help with said caring. It is not that I don't care for the grandpa or that I don't feel I should be doing it. It's the way it happened. The fact I was not told or prepared for the conditions of what has become MY home or that I was able to make the decision to agree to care for his grandpa. I was just thrown in the mix but do I do it? YES! In fact, I am the ONLY person beside his grandson who care enough about him to not only keep his house as tidy as possible or food in the fridge, I spend time with the old man talking about his past, his wife, his favorite t.v shows. I have a heart and I use it fully. I am aware I could one day be in his position that isn't my point. The point is I want my fiancee to realize WE don't have to live with his grandpa to care for him properly. If he is of sound mind to make the decision not to see a doctor, then he can live on his own. I was explaining my opinion was a nursing home might be safest for him as he still attempts to do things he can no longer do i.e cooking in the oven. So I am actually trying to look out for him...not abandon him and take his caregiver with me. I am not married yet I have the full right to leave without another thought or word, but I haven't so please don't act as though I am a bratty child. I am merely a young woman with an older fiancee who wants to enjoy the married life with the man of my dreams.
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It is hard for a 22 year old to grasp the concepts of a long lifetime of some of us have already gone through plus caregiving. Stl...think long and hard - it's your choice in the end. It seems that if you and your finacee work hard enough at it, you can make the house livable...there will be a time when granpa cannot walk and then you will miss him at least doing that. Take care and good Luck in whatever you decide...p.s....please take care of the doggie as well!
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Grandpa need medication-there are ways to "trick" him into going to a Dr. & you my dear may someday become like him (demented) have heart & stop thinking so much about yourself-gramps isn't going to live forever!
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You're walking in a mine field, girl.
If you are not certifiable, get out of that relationship, otherwise you WILL be be
insane (or feel like you are) in a matter of months after the wedding!
If you insist upon marriage, don't put the house in his & your names & don't mix your assets.
In fact, a lawyer might be the best next stop on your path to ruin, to get advice on drawing up a pre-nup.
And what makes you think grandpa or sonny will agree to a nursing home!?
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How about caregivers pay, the father owns a house. Your fiance should be getting compensated for caregiving. This said, hire a housecleaner during the day and come home to a half descent home. This is a great group here , so many ideas!
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