Retired and Exhausted

by Red
(Minneapolis MN)

My husband’s 92 year old mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year although she’d probably had it for at least a year before being diagnosed. My husband is retired and I am semi retired. He has a brother and a sister who both still work full time. MIL is now in a care facility but anytime something comes up (fall, dr. appointment, ER visit) he is the one who has to drop everything because siblings are at work or in meetings and can’t be reached.

MIL is now very agitated and ornery and calls us often to vent because she can’t reach siblings. My husband and I own a lake home but can never seem to find the opportunity to get up there.

In the meantime, sister is on an extended vacation celebrating her birthday and didn’t even tell anyone she was going. I have tried to tell my husband that he and his siblings should try to come up with a schedule so that we are not on call all the time but so far no movement on his part.

It’s almost as though he’s resigned himself to being angry and resentful. Well, that is not the way I want to live! We are both in our mid sixties and I’d like to do some things together before we start having health issues.

Instead, every day I think about leaving and being on my own.

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by: Elly

It is certainly worth a try for your husband to ask his siblings to do their part. However, don't be surprised if they say no because they are too busy, have to be at work,... or any other of the excuses siblings use to get out of their responsibilities.

I care for my mom with almost zero help from my sibling. Like you, my parent does not live with me but I am with her 4-6 times every single week. How caregivers do it who have their elderly parents living with them, I do not know. I pray that is not in store for me.

The folks who posted that you and your husband get away when you can gave good advise. I hope you can. It is the only thing that keeps me sane.

Wait it out
by: Anonymous

Please don't sacrifice the permanent (your marriage) on the altar of the temporary. This season will pass. It is a new challenge for both of you, but you can come out the other side stronger.

Ask your spouse for specific requests i.e. Can we plan on Oct. 3 -4th to have some time just for us ? Then inform the facility staff and the siblings that you will be unavailable those days then stick to it. Occasional breaks will keep you connected and sane.

I am the one in our home with the needy parents, one in a facility, one in our home. It is hard and not what we envisioned for these days, but general discontent from either of us doesn't help us , planned times alone do. Hang in there, it will not last forever.

have the conversation
by: Anonymous

have you told him exactly how you feel about the situation - that you will leave if he doesn't make changes? that he needs to choose between you and his mother? If not IMO you need to!

A schedule for everyone to help out is a GREAT idea. And it also sounds like mom needs some meds to calm her down. We did that with my dad and his dementia. I know - many people say "I'm not going to drug my senior with dementia so they're a slobbering mess" but that's not what happens.

You can get meds (we used Seroquel) that will soften their personality and calm the nastiness.

My dad was awful until we medicated him. Then he was ok and "nice dad" came back to us. Good luck to you with the conversation.

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