My 97 years old FIL (retired, very fit farmer) has attempted taking his own life x2 this year.

His wife died 8years ago. She was a stay-at-home wife and did everything for him as his mother did.

After his wife died, he remained independent, driving, shopping, visiting friends, friends visiting him, plus family calling. So he has kept busy, but still he says he is lonely. To me, this loneliness is missing his wife as he has plenty to do and other of people he sees.

He has dinners delivered and likes to make his own snacks.

Yet, he is still lonely.

He is very difficult to spend time with as he talks loudly non-stop. If you try to speak to someone in his presence, he gets upset that someone else is talking and not giving him a chance to talk non stop!

You can't watch TV with him as again he talks no stop and puts subtitles on plus what he wants to watch on TV.

If you go upstairs for a break, he complains you are never there for him.

He has tried to kill himself x2 in 6 months as he doesn't want to get to 100. He refuses to go into care and wants to go home soon from the hospital.

I feel he has fooled the psychiatrist into thinking he's happy now and won't try to kill himself again.

When he comes home he will no doubt have his same routine. Bath and whiskey every evening and grandson who calls x2 weekly evenings to just sit and drink with him.

My husband and I had a trip booked for 2 weeks away (before my FIL became ill) and it is paid for.

The bottom line is, I don't think we'll cope mentally looking after him 24/7, even with a break of few hours here and there.

I'm thinking of going on this vacation by myself while my husband stays with his father then we don't lose our money from the holiday, my sanity, or my marriage.

I'm sure my husband's family will see me as selfish but I feel it's just self preservation.

My husband says little, but I know he won't be happy with me leaving him for 2 weeks.

Am I being heartless? Especially as a retired nurse and others expectations of me?

Find Care & Housing
No not at all. Go ahead on your vacation. Husband will see how difficult it is. Maybe hire home care attendants to help during this time away. Then you can keep them after vacation too. However, you might be facing very angry stressed out husband when you get back home…Happy vacation! Hugs 🤗
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to CaregiverL

He’s attempted suicide. This is different than a threat with no action. He’s lonely and hurting and shouldn’t be living alone.

One of my friends from high school struggled with loneliness and depression and he most likely had bipolar disorder. He attempted suicide but we got him to the hospital in time to save his life. The next time he attempted suicide, he succeeded. He refused psychiatric meds which he desperately needed.

Personally, I would take his attempt’s seriously. He shouldn’t be alone.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go through with your previous plans. If you want to reschedule, you could try.

I would do all that I could do to have others look after your father in law while you are away on your vacation.

My uncle with advanced cancer tried to kill himself while in the hospital. So sad. He was truly angry at the nurses who saved his life. He slit his wrists with his razor blade. He was so tired of suffering.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

The fact that at 97 he can still drink is remarkable. He should have a live-in housekeeper/companion. This could help him. If he does not need to go into care, he shouldn't.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver

It sounds like there are 2 separate issues here.

1. You have a vacation booked and paid for.

2. FIL seems to be in crisis. Has the hospital indicated that he can't be released to go home without full time care?

These two issues are not ENTIRELY unrelated, but...

Your DH says to the hospital "I agree, dad shouldn't live alone. What do you all see as the correct level of care? My wife and I will be out of town for 2 weeks; we should get him set up in a care situation so that there are no emergencies. What do you suggest? We can re-visit when we return if necessary"
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

While I don't think your husband's family's thoughts about whether or not you're selfish should come into play, I DO think you need to consider your husband's feelings in this.

If positions were reversed, how would you feel if your husband left you to go on vacation?

2 suicide attempts in 6 months is nothing to blow off, in my opinion. But I personally have lost too many friends to suicide - including one just this past October - that I admit I have a somewhat skewed view.

I also think that, after having been a widower for 8 years, to put his attempts off on just "missing his wife" is somehow too "easy", if you can understand what I'm trying to say. Did FIL suffer from depression before these attempts? You say he's 97 and was a farmer, and he doesn't want to live to 100. It almost sounds, to me, like he's suffering more from the feeling that he is no longer "useful"; I'm sure his missing his wife and being lonely aren't helping the situation, but I don't necessarily know if that's the main impetus behind his attempts.

Was FIL admitted after his first attempt? If so, what was the care plan once he was released, and was it followed? Has there been any discussion with his medical people about a care plan going forward now after this hospitalization?

Insofar as your question about being selfish - I don't think selfishness is the real issue here. After all, selfish is really in the eye of the beholder. But - how will you/DH feel if you go on your vacation and FIL attempts again and - this time - is successful. You say you're concerned with your marriage not surviving skipping this vacation - will your marriage survive if you go and FIL is successful in a third suicide attempt? Or will any ensuing guilt eat away at the foundation of your marriage causing it to erode away?

You're really the only one who can make the decision here, because I'm sure there are details that we aren't aware of. And I'm not even necessarily telling you "don't go"; but I am cautioning you to take all possibilities into consideration in order to make an informed decision rather than an emotional one.

Good luck whatever you decide.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to notgoodenough

This is a very hard tough time. Go on your trip. This situation will be waiting for you when you get back. You might not get another chance to go on vacation together again for a while.

Try to have a happy holiday.

I’m going on a 7 day cruise on Monday with my husband, daughter and grandkids. Hopefully there are no health crises with either of my Paré between now and when the anchor goes up on Monday.
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Reply to Hothouseflower

How much of a good time will you have going alone on a vacation?

How angry will DH be that you went without him and left him in 'crisis' with his 97 year old father who's trying (but not succeeding, conveniently) to kill himself?

Is it worth the fallout for you to leave DH, knowing 'he won't be happy' for 2 weeks?

I think you aren't being 'heartless' here, just sick & tired of this whole charade your FIL is playing. "Trying" to kill himself but somehow winding up at the hospital twice? A person who truly wants to die WILL die, and not wind up at the hospital twice. The man either has dementia going on or is manipulating the two of you to the Nth degree, and your DH is falling for it.

If this were me, I'd look into canceling this vacation and see if you can rebook it at a later date w/o too big a penalty. I always took trip insurance when my folks were alive and had to use it once when dad fell & broke his hip & we had a trip to China & Tibet scheduled. Don't ruin YOUR marriage over one vacation, that's my suggestion. Stay and work this out or try to get DH to see the light and go WITH you on the trip. But he may be feeling to worried and guilty to do that at this point, IDK.

I agree with the others who recommend that FIL should not be released back home to live alone at 97 and 2 suicide attempts under his belt. He needs placement and another psychiatrist to evaluate him PROPERLY.

Wishing you the best of luck with a very difficult situation.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Insist that you and your husband go on the vacation together. You're not heartless, and being a retired nurse has nothing to do with what you're now expected (wrongly) to do for a very sick person.

Get another psychiatrist for a second opinion. Push to have dad admitted to a psychiatric facility. People with mental illness have a cagey way of fooling everyone that they're okay so that they can continue with their plans to kill themselves. I know two people who did this, leaving their survivors to deal with guilt beyond imagining and grief that lasts forever.

There's no way family can deal with this level of illness. He is seriously ill and doesn't belong at home. I hope you and your husband have a wonderful vacation.
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Reply to Fawnby

Lizy, you and husband should take the vacation or try to reschedule. Often you will lose your payment for cancelling but, rescheduling usually doesn't cost anything.

If the doctors have determined that he is fine to go home alone there is nothing you can do or say to change that. Only when it is determined that he needs 24/7 care can the unsafe discharge change him just being sent home.

If your inlaws think you should step up and be his caregiver, ask them for the schedule they have compiled for themselves and you will see if any open slots are convenient for you. If they aren't helping their family member, which cares what they think of you doing the same.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

I am with Funkygrandma here. He should not be released to his home. Twice in 6 months attemting suicide is serious. He needs supervision that you cannot give him. And, I would not have him move in with you either. Explain that you cannot be there for him 24/7. At his age, he needs to be somewhere safe. Do not let them talk you into homecare. As soon as you walk him out those hospital doors, you have taken on the responsibility. They may point u in the right direction, but they will not help you.

Take that vacation.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29

You and your husband should both take the vacation. It’s not selfish of either of you. Your lives don’t stop because your FIL is unhappy. It’s not unusual that “happy” is over for him, that’s no one’s fault, and there’s little your presence can do to make that better.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Daughterof1930

Funky grandma is right. This is a ploy for attention and if he really wanted to kill himself he would have. Talk to the hospital he is in and tell them he lives alone and is too far for anyone to just pop in each day. DO NOT agree to take responsibility for him. Take your vacation. I repeat take your vacation. Who cares what others think.

My father was like your FIL. Talked non stop and wanted to be entertained 24/7. His mother was even worse. And she would stage accidents to get attention. My father fell for her antics all the time but he was sure surprised when I caught on pretty quick when he started doing it.
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Reply to lkdrymom

His "attempts" at killing himself are actually just a cry for help and perhaps even attention, as if he really wanted to die he would have succeeded the very first time he tried to kill himself.
Since he's still in the hospital, tell the social worker that he is an unsafe discharge and that he lives alone, and they will have to find the appropriate facility to place him in.
And then you and hubby go on that much needed vacation, and have a great time. Life is too short and there's no reason that you have to put your life and fun on hold for this man.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to funkygrandma59

The two of you should go together. Dad can get by with either other family help or he can go to rehab or respite for a couple of weeks.

Before you leave let everyone know what you are and are not willing to do to help. Establish firm boundaries, clearly defined now.

Who cares what they think?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to gladimhere

From your profile: "I am caring for my father Colin, who is 97 years old, living at home with age-related decline, anxiety, arthritis, depression, hearing loss, mobility problems, and urinary tract infection."

You are a retired nurse, and fil lives 40 minutes away. What have you and H been doing for him before his hospitalization? Why was he hospitalized? Has H suggested that it's time to move him in with you two?

You've only been married for 5 years. As Barb asked, were there expectations that you would become his caregiver? He was already 92 then, right? Did you agree to this?

Have you (and presumably H) been the only ones who have visited him? What about other family members? Who is his POA/HCPOA?

What is his financial situation?

Do you think H and family are going to try and bully you into having him move in with you as primary caregiver? Are you planning to stand up to them, and insist that you are not the solution?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to CTTN55
JoAnn29 Dec 24, 2022
He is in the hospital for a second x suicide attempt.
He is still in the hospital, right?

Who holds Power of attorney?

That person needs to speak to discharge planning. Tell them "this man lives alone with minimal support. We cannot provide full time care for him. Is this a safe discharge?"

What do YOU think about the "expectations" others have of you?

Did you agree to care for him when you got married?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

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