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How do I convince the rest of my family that I can no longer be a caregiver?

My mother-in-law has lived with me and my family for 13 years. I have accompanied her to every dr. appointment and hospital stay she has ever been too. I have rarely left the house due to the fact she is bed bound. Although, my husband helps me tremendously with her care when he is home from work and an aid comes 3 days a week, I find if so difficult to find a sitter to come in and relieve me. There are other siblings, although they offer no assistance with their mother. They visit once every few weeks for 30 minutes and go home to their lives. I've become so bitter towards them, also towards my mother-in-law, who doesn't deserve to be disrespected that way. I am just so tired and worn down I want to place my mother-in-law in an assisted living facility, but my husband doesn't want me to. My sister-in-law goes crazy whenever I mention the topic. I don't exaggerate when I say that there is no help being given here. All her sisters and brothers agree with me in that she needs to be somewhere else. Yet again, there are no offers from anyone to help me make this transition become a reality.
Status: Open    Dec 09, 2015 - 07:50 AM

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Dec 15, 2015 - 09:20 AM

Hi Shelly:
First of all,I want to say Kudos to you for being the careigver for your mother in law for such a long time. Caregiver burnout is not uncommon. You may have several options available to you depending on where you live. I would first suggest you contact your county's Agency on Aging. You mother in law may be eligible for several waiver programs that may provide temporary respite for her, and for you. Additionally, you may be eligible to get paid for being her caregiver. Through waiver programs the state can pay you, or another designated caregiver, to provide care. The waiver program will connect you to a Service Coordination Agency that will help you identify the kinds of services and supports that your mother in law, you , and your family may need. They will also be able to provide you with a caregiver to help lighten the burden that you now carry. Stay strong and take care of yourself. You are doing a wonderful job.

Dec 16, 2015 - 12:22 PM

You do not have to convince anyone that you can no longer be a caregiver. Caregiving is an exhausting, emotionally draining, and difficult job, even in the best of situations. Regardless of what anyone else (including your husband) may think, feel, or say it is not their issue or decision. Further, it doesn't matter if or how much help there is for you. You're tired and reasonably so. You have gone above and beyond and they should be thankful for what you have provided to your mother-in-law and to the whole family.

I suggest that you provide your husband with a couple realistic alternatives along with a deadline. After the deadline, make it clear that she is no longer your responsibility or you will automatically place her somewhere. Then, stick to it. If the rest of the family has serious issues with your decision, they can take care of the responsibility themselves.

Feel good and proud of your caregiving role. Don't let them make you feel guilty or ashamed for wanting it to end.
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By vikki15 on Sep 05, 2016 - 10:55 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

People who don't pitch in should NOT get to call the shots. There is some kind of tradition that daughters or daughters in law do all the care while sons and sons in law get off scot free and guilt free; it is great that hubby pitches in, but if you cannot get enough help one way or the other you may have to prepare to vote with your feet. Are you still unable to leave the house due to meds that need given, etc. while you have help? If MIL is in care you can visit and supervise, and maybe have your own life again as husband and wife, instead of devoting it 100% to caregiving.

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Dec 16, 2015 - 12:22 PM

You do not have to convince anyone that you can no longer be a caregiver. Caregiving is an exhausting, emotionally draining, and difficult job, even in the best of situations. Regardless of what anyone else (including your husband) may think, feel, or say it is not their issue or decision. Further, it doesn't matter if or how much help there is for you. You're tired and reasonably so. You have gone above and beyond and they should be thankful for what you have provided to your mother-in-law and to the whole family.

I suggest that you provide your husband with a couple realistic alternatives along with a deadline. After the deadline, make it clear that she is no longer your responsibility or you will automatically place her somewhere. Then, stick to it. If the rest of the family has serious issues with your decision, they can take care of the responsibility themselves.

Feel good and proud of your caregiving role. Don't let them make you feel guilty or ashamed for wanting it to end.
Comments (1) | New Comment

By vikki15 on Sep 05, 2016 - 10:55 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

People who don't pitch in should NOT get to call the shots. There is some kind of tradition that daughters or daughters in law do all the care while sons and sons in law get off scot free and guilt free; it is great that hubby pitches in, but if you cannot get enough help one way or the other you may have to prepare to vote with your feet. Are you still unable to leave the house due to meds that need given, etc. while you have help? If MIL is in care you can visit and supervise, and maybe have your own life again as husband and wife, instead of devoting it 100% to caregiving.

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Answers

Dec 13, 2015 - 09:00 AM

Hi Shellyzz45,
It is very difficult to care for aging parents/in-laws. You have been doing it for a very long time, and the siblings should be very grateful to you.
You mention that she is "bed bound." She may not be a candidate for "assisted living" in that she needs more hands on help. My suggestion would be that you look into it just to know if it's even a possibility. She may actually need to be in a nursing home.
If you do decide to continue to care for her, my suggestion would be to let the siblings know that you need time off on a regular basis and make a schedule for them to come and take over at regular times, including getting her to doctor appointments. Then you can go out with a friend or your husband or by yourself, anything to help you rejuvenate yourself. By letting them do some of the work, they will have a better understanding of the difficulties of taking care of a bed bound person and will agree that a nursing home may be the answer. Even if they continue to be against moving her to a facility, you will have more much needed help.
Good luck.
PJB

Dec 13, 2015 - 10:55 AM

Would it be possible for each of the siblings to take a day and stay with your Mother-In-Law while you go out for a few hours.
This is something that you need to be very assertive about this is for your health as well as getting the rest of the family more involved.
If they hesitate the options you could give is place her in a Nursing Home for "respite" a week or so or as a permanent placement. If they are hesitant with that idea just tell them you are going to take a vacation so the choices are some one comes in either family or a full time paid caregiver or M-I-L gets placed for respite. I strongly suggest you then go on that vacation with or without your husband you both deserve it!

Dec 14, 2015 - 07:57 PM

Hi Shelly, I am so so sorry for your situation and completely understand. I am in a very similar situation; however it is my own mother who lives at home with me and my husband and 7 year old. I have 5 older siblings and 1 younger who is disabled and unable to help with Mom who has Alzheimer’s and dementia. But the others offer almost no help at all. I do have one sister who at least comes almost once a month and will take my Mom to her house for a week or 2 sometimes. The others either outright refuse or make what to me are insulting excuses as to why they won't or can't do more to help. Fortunately for me, my Mom is completely able to get around but her psychological symptoms wear me down to tears and physical stress. She completely refuses to take meds and has high bp and has been hospitalized several times because she hides, and throws away pills even when I'm standing right there she will later spit them out. She can be verbally abusive at times. There are often accusations of me stealing; destroying her property and the list goes on. She has just started to wander which has added a new level of stress to my daily agenda! :) Anyway, I am in the same boat with siblings, they don’t want to help and have even made it impossible for me to get my Mom into a nursing home that could help even though they inadvertently refuse to help out. Right now I am sad and guilt ridden about whether or not to put her into a skilled nursing facility which is the only place that will take her since she only has medicare/medicaid. I know all about caregiver burnout but it’s so hard to put your Mom in a less than desirable place even though it means sacrificing one’s own health and mental stability not to mention the stressors on my child and husband. It is my own Mom and I still find myself resenting her for being so stubborn and still dictating my life even though its inadvertently and due to her illness. I am still struggling with placing her but ultimately I have decided that no matter what anyone else says or thinks of me, I am the one doing all the work that none of them could begin to understand since they've not experienced it first-hand. So with that, once I have conquered my own self-doubt and guilt and worry about putting my Mom in a facility, I won't even consider what anyone of my siblings think about me placing my Mom and I will get the strength to do what’s best for me and my family without their consideration. I am so so sorry that you don't have the support that is required to help you in this situation. Ultimately we have to take care of ourselves because the selfish ones who haven't helped but have so much of an opinion about what we the caregivers should do will always continue to do what is best for their own situation even if it means manipulation of those of us who really do care. God bless you. Pray a lot and I will be praying for you and your family. Tons of hugs love and kudos. You have done more than your part and there is a special glory awaiting you! Do what’s best for you. Blessings!

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Dec 28, 2015 - 06:21 AM

If you or your husband has Power of Attorney over your mother-in-law's health care and/or financial affairs, or if your mother-in-law filled out an Advanced Directive which is better known as a Living Will naming you or your husband as the healthcare agent for her health and finances, then you do Not need to get the advice or decisions from other family members as to what her end of life siuation will be. This means that your husband or you has the ffinal say as to what, when, where, how to make the right decisions for her care.
Bed bound patients need to be placed in a nursing home where there will be 24/7 care for them. You will need to look for any paperwork that she might have signed years ago, in which she would have named a specific person to make decisions for her when she can't.
IF there is no paperwork, then you might need to apply for guardianship or conservatorship over her and when that is done according to the laws of your state, then you can proceed from there. Please get her doctor involved in this. Her doctor can also write a formal directive that she meets the medical guidelines for being placed in a nursing home.
As a retired nurse and caregiver to my husband since 2002, I have his Advance Directive signed by him, plus I have his Durable Power of Attorney.
He is a veteran but he is not qualified for many benefits since the Alzheimer's Disease and the other health issues are not service related. Therefore, I will have to place him in a Memory Care facility, once I get to the point that I can't take care of him nor myself at home. I am 75 and he is 68 and he is progressing more towards the next stage beyond the Mild to Moderate stage. We are both disabled and I do not get any breaks except to drive to the grocery store, run a few errands, then back home.
Now, the ball is in your hands and you need the courage to boldly stand up for yourself and yes, for your mother-in-law and take the bull by the horns. Look up some nursing homes in the area and start comparing prices. Check into what her financial situation is. Then contact the local Medicaid office for your area and see what their procedure is for them to pick up the cost of what they will pay for her to be admitted to a nursing home facility. Then contact your husband's family for an emergency meeting. Using the reports and information that you have gathered, present all of that to the family. If you have been able to find a reasonably priced facility, and if they will have a room available within a 30 day time frame, then let the family know that in 30 days or 14 days or whatever time frame you are given, your mother-in-law will be transported to that facility.
Tell that family that you are done with being a caregiver and you are going to go away for a much needed vacation to rest. Then Do It!
God bless you for what you have done for 13 years.
Patricia E.






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Sep 04, 2016 - 06:45 PM

Shelly: I suggest you review how it happened that your mother in law came to live with you and how you became the care giver. Was M-I-L bed bound at that time or was she fully functional. How did this all evolve.

Does M-I-L have her mental faculties? Can she make decisions on her own?

Who has the power to make medical decisions on her behalf if she can not? I would suggest that person is the one that should (also) accompany her to medical appointments.

Why has the family been what appears to be reluctant to place M-I-L into a nursing home? Who pays for the help 3 days a week when they come in?

Other answers I saw all had good suggestions.

I placed my mother in skilled nursing when it was needed and I do not regret it. I could not provide the care she needed. She was there for 3 years before she passed away. I visited 2-3 times per week and if she was hospitalized, I was there even more. I have no regrets. I have funny stories about things that happened while she was in the home.

Speak to your M-I-L's doctor about the procedures to get her placed in a skilled nursing facility and begin the process. Then tell her kids, that it is happening and if they do not want it, they need to step up to the plate and take a turn at bat. Stick to your guns on this. Do not let them bully you or make you feel bad because you can no longer do this.

Prayers for you and for the others who answered to are in this difficult time.
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