I have been her caregiver in one way or another for 10 or 12 years but now I must monitor her medicines, oversee her daily therapy for stroke recovery, and make sure all her other medical needs are performed regularly; bladder cathing, regular BMs, bathing, dressing, feeding, staying hydrated, getting ample nutrients and vitamins and minerals, and virtually her every need. Her mind is still clear enough she can understand most what I tell her but memory is gone day by day! She has no emotion when she speaks, of any kind. We are neither spiritual but I am a moral, empathetic person of integrity. She and I have never been close. Our relationship has lasted 63 years mostly... because of my strong sense of responsibility. She wants me close by most of the time except for trips for groceries and necessities. I have devoted most of my retired life to her health and comfort and I sometimes stop and wonder if I will ever get to live again before my health turns south and I join the ranks of the infirm. I seldom get to hold an intelligent conversation with someone, much less spend a couple days at the casino or at the beach or just living! I don't know if I could live with myself to simply commit her, knowing she realized what was happening. Has anyone else faced and resolved this dilemma? I realize this is a deeply personal decision and my reasoning won't be the same as someone else!

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"Commit her"?

What does that mean?

It sounds as though you envision dropping her off at some Dickension asylum.

Consider that SHE might have a better quality of life in a memory care or skilled nursing facility with a peer group and professionals trained in caregiving, rather than a burned out, overwhelmed, aging spouse.

Please start by calling your local Area Agency on Aging and getting her a needs assessment to see what her level of care needs to be.

Schedule a visit with a highly qualified eldercare attorney to figure out Financials.

Helpful Answer (12)

I think you have a skewed vision of Memory Care AL when you use the word 'commit', which is the most negative usage of the word I've ever heard! I did not have my mother 'committed' when I placed her in AL; I did what was necessary for her and my wellbeing, and found a great place where she would get the best possible care imaginable. That would allow me to live my life, and her to live her life with autonomy at the same time. I wouldn't have to martyr myself or hold huge resentment & grudges over 'having to' care for her for the decade plus that she lived near me, either. Caring for her scope of needs was WAY out of my realm of ability anyhow, since I am not a nurse, a doctor or a trained caregiver, I don't know about you.

When I worked as a front desk receptionist in a Memory Care Assisted Living residence, I met many, many spouses who were faced with the same decision you are faced with now: to either place their spouse in Memory Care to save their OWN lives or continue trying to care for them at home when it was literally impossible to do so. They made the tough decision to place them and were happy they did. The spouses would come by to see their loved one daily, some of them, and have lunch or take them out for a drive, dinner at a nearby restaurant, etc. Sometimes they'd just stay in the rec room and watch a movie together, or take a nap in the spouse's suite. It wasn't the house of horrors you've managed to conjure up in your head, nor were they the monsters you seem to think spouses are who make the decision to use managed care after a lengthy time of in home caregiving.

The vast majority of us who have placed our loved ones in Memory Care AL see and recognize the fact that they've gotten better care there, and way more socialization and stimulation, than they would have gotten staying with us at home. With nothing to do and nobody to socialize with.

It has nothing to do with 'morals' or 'integrity' as those family members would tell you, and as I myself will tell you, b/c to suggest otherwise is to suggest that those of us who have chosen managed care have no morals or integrity. I assure you that is not the case, and those that choose in home care are not 'better than' those who do not. It's a personal decision and not one that should be made based on anything but your ability to properly care for your wife AND your desire to do so for X amount of years more. No, you will have no life moving forward, and even less of a life as she continues to deteriorate down the dementia path. Your duties will only increase as she becomes incontinent (maybe dually so), starts wandering, and staying up all night with insomnia.

Wishing you the best of luck with whatever decision you arrive at.
Helpful Answer (11)

Regardless of how close the two of you are or aren't, caregiving is a team sport and you need a team to help you.

I would say that it's time to explore facilities for her. You need a life.
Helpful Answer (10)

After taking Barb’s advice, maybe consider touring a memory care facility.

My Mom’s is beautiful, and there are LOVELY caregivers there.

You wouldn’t be obligated, and you could see what’s available.

In my opinion, you could still be very committed to your wife, as well as live your life.

At the very least, consider hiring some help.

Best wishes to you.
Helpful Answer (8)

You are a very good soul, the type of man that can be counted on. You are admirably loyal and selfless. You sacrificed, above and beyond, and more than enough.

At this point, if you don't make arrangements for the new guards to take your place for all those many hands-on duties, then you will have set her up to perhaps loose her only champion. You are not abandoning her. You are securing help and saving yourself for the both of you. It's time.

There are many great recommendations from the other responders to your post. I can't add anything other than to say please take note and follow their instructions and steps to get help from professionals.

You did good, super good. Now catch a few rays and enjoy the view of the horizon from a beach. Put a chip down for us.
Helpful Answer (8)

My advice as a caregiver for over 27yrs and also a former activity director at a assisted living. Place her in a memory care facility. It will be healthy for her and you.Your life is depending on it.You both deserve it.Just look at reviews interview residents.We become very close and like family with your wife and unlike you becoming resentful for every right reason the care pros will love her and look forward everyday to connect. Much love and strength to you.
Helpful Answer (7)

You need to review the information on Palliative and Hospice care especially for an individual with your wife's health issues. Once you are comfortable with the information speak to her primary doctor to do the necessary paperwork to have your wife assessed for Palliative or Hospice care.
If she is accepted into either program, there are benefits that will not only provide her professional care but will give you the rest to breath easier knowing that she is being helped and cared for by positive people. Take advantage of the services that these programs offer to caregivers because YOU need support and care too.
I'm glad I approached my mom's primary doctor to ease the caregiving my sister who lived with mom needed due to my sister's increasing health issues. At times, mom who had progressive congested heart failure and ad fib seemed healthier than her daughter. We were fortunate that mom did not decline mentally and was still following her stocks daily on CNBC.
I cannot say enough positive things about the Palliative and Hospice care my mom received from these services. The CNA was the same person when she began twice a week and continued with mom when we increased to 5 days a week and transferred mom to Respite care. The nurses were great -- and always available 24/7 either in person or on the phone. The social worker and religious care were fabulous. When the religious care volunteer visited I would leave the apartment so mom would have private time with her for praying and speaking her mind without me in the background.
You deserve to have time for yourself and to participate with others. If not in person, perhaps taking a course or seminar online via Zoom to interact with others would be helpful. You definitely need a break and investigate what is available for you and your wife.
Helpful Answer (7)

Please frame it in your mind as getting the help she so clearly needs, not as a failing on your part. Taking care of her is beyond what you are capable of now. Please start looking for a good facility for her. You and she may be surprised at what you find. Care facilities nowadays are a far cry from the old nursing homes.
Helpful Answer (6)

I'm providing similar care for my husband with vascular dementia and we are only 3 years into this progression. I have been in counseling which has helped me greatly to see that it is imperative that I take care of myself as well. I have a medicare advantage plan and they offer free of charge AbleTo. Which is a counseling program that helped me so much with my feelings of guilt, frustration and fear, and despair as I watch him deteriorate.
I love my husband deeply and I can't imagine being able to do this without that kind of love. You are a person of great integrity. I commend you on that.
But one thing I have learned and am learning is that you absolutely MUST take care of yourself. Please don't let another day go by without starting that process.
Helpful Answer (6)

I did face this dilemma with my husband. At some point you realize that one person is not enough to take care of your spouse. I did the research and found a memory care facility that I thought would meet his needs and explained to him that I could no longer take care of him safely by myself. It was traumatic, but the right thing to do for him (and me.) I was able to visit him every day, but no longer responsible for the exhausting daily (and nightly) care. It is our responsibility to see that our spouses are taken care of, but at some point, we need to pass the baton on to those that can help us do that. It sounds like you have reached that point.....
Helpful Answer (6)

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