My mother is 92 y/o and 73 lbs. with dementia and macular degeneration lives with me downstairs in her own apartment. I have a degenerative upper motor neuron disease and cannot ride the stairlift to see her. She comes upstairs and I have lunch with her. I usually read any mail and the Bible to her and check her out physically. Before I was so disabled, I promised my dad before he died that I would not put her in a NH and would take care of her. My siblings are out of the picture, so the brunt of the caregiving is relegated to my husband who is caregiver for us both. The strain is showing on our marriage. I feel so guilty! I’m torn between my promise to my father and my marriage. I know that she needs more stimulation, but lack of finances make MC impossible. Suggestions???
To be blunt, you and your mother are killing him slowly. When he dies, what's going to happen to both of you? Now that I make you feel more guilty than you already are, let that guilt be the motivation to do something to change the situation for all 3 of you for the better.
First, take the death bed promise you made to your father and throw it out the window. Your dad had zero, zip, zilch idea what it would take to take care of 1 disabled woman, let alone 2. Death bed promises are emotionally manipulative, unreasonable, and unrealistic.
Second, have a serious heart to heart talk with your husband. Let him know you care about him and that things need to change so he can have a life besides being a caregiver.
Third, search for a good attorney specializes in elder law who can help you finds ways and resources to help all of you.
Be open to the idea that even you may need institutional care eventually, not just your mother. When our health fails us, we can't stubbornly say that someone else has to give up their life so that we can stay home and be taken care of till we die. That's the height of selfishness.
I am unable to even fathom the level of narcissism and selfishness which is the parent who would see their child give up their life, livelihood, neglect their own family, and often lose their marriage to the endless care needs of an elderly parent. I find this absolutely disgusting.
You are under no obligation to your dead father. Your mother belongs in a care facility. You are unwell yourself and it is not fair to your husband that he has to be his MIL's caregiver. He should be the person who comes first in your life. Not your mother.
Both of us have told our son many times that we do not want him to take care of us in our old age. That we do not want him, his future wife, or their kids giving up their lives for us.
We told him that we may grow needy and clingy in our old age and that's why he should listen to us now while we are still young, strong, and in our right minds to decide for ourselves.
I do not want my son to ruin his life and become a slave to me or his father. I can only hope that he will place us both if needs be.
The worst that can happen might not be divorce, but his having a massive heart attack or stroke over caregiving for two.
Deathbed promises such as this are not intended to be kept, especially when they put the burden of care onto someone else. Your promise to your father was that you would always 'take care' of your mother, I'm sure, and that you would not leave her to rot somewhere, sick and alone. That was my promise to my father on his deathbed, and my husband's promise to him as well: that he would 'take care of your wife, your daughter & your granddaughter for life.' Period. HOW that care would be provided would be determined by the level of care required by each person, obviously.
Your mother now requires a level of care you are no longer physically able to provide. If she is not financially able to afford Memory Care AL, then apply for Medicaid on her behalf so she can get proper 24/7 care in a Skilled Nursing Facility. You will be honoring your promise to your father by seeing to it that his wife is properly cared for by teams of people working round the clock in order to do so. Not leaving it up to one tired and overworked non-family member who's been unfairly designated to do so based on a deathbed promise made long ago when your father had no idea his wife would need THIS level of care and management.
You are worried about feeling 'guilt' for placing mom in managed care, yet neglect to consider the 'guilt' you would feel if your husband were to die from all the stress these duties are causing him (God forbid). Keep that in mind as you make decisions moving forward. The statistics are ugly about these kinds of things, truthfully, where the caregiver winds up dying before the patient they're caring for. #Truth.
Best of luck saving your marriage AND your mother's last days/months/weeks on earth. Keep in mind that advanced dementia and old age is no 'fishing trip or llama farm' for ANYONE, under any circumstances, by any stretch of anyone's imagination. We wind up making the best of a bad situation, and leave the rest in God's hands.
Why are your siblings out of the picture?
What happens if your H gets health issues because of his caregiving for two?
Time for a facility for your mother.
Were u healthy when u made that promise to Dad? If so, you aren't now. So that promise is out the window because you can't care for Mom and DH did not make that promise. And its not fair to him to be caring for 2 women, one not his wife.
These death bed promises are so clouded by emotion, a LO does not have to live in one's house to be "Taken Care" of.
Apply for Medicaid for your mother, bite the bullet and move forward for her & your husband.
Your father made a selfish request, one that you are unable to keep.
The choice really is: Place her or lose your husband he cannot keep this pace of caregiving up, he will break either physically or mentally.
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