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Thread: Advice needed

  1. #1

    Advice needed

    Hi,

    My wife and I have a dilemma regarding her father. Over the past 10+ years his health has continued to decline and he is now basically immobile. He has the following issues: Diabetes, MS and had a triple bypass a few years ago. His Diabetes was diagnosed years before I met my wife. During the years people have pleaded with him to take care of himself and watch his sugar levels. His response was typically “well, whatever happens to me is my own business” or something to that effect. Prior to his decline in health he was somewhat abusive to his wife and continues to be so today. My mother in-law is currently his primary caregiver, and frankly we are more concerned about her now.

    As his health declined he would refuse to get any help or do anything proactive until it was way past the point of being effective. The Diabetes has take its toll on his extremities and he cannot walk and uses a scooter and an old 50+ pound wheelchair they got for $50 somewhere. He runs my mother in-law rag get and refuses to pay for any help to assist her in her duties.

    She enables him and still lets him make the decisions. Many people have talked to her about getting help and have told her that she holds the cards, however she refuses to change. They are both in their 70’s and the amount of labor and stress he puts her through is not at all good for her. There are four children, my wife and I live in New Jersey; everyone else lives nearby in Michigan.

    My question is, how do we effect change in the situation before something happens to my mother in-law? Are there out-reach programs that we could call in for assistance? We have had people come in before and he tells them point-blank that he is self-sufficient while my mother-in-law stands by and says nothing. She is so victimized by him that she doesn’t know how to speak up on her own behalf. Basically we need that get someone who they will listen to but before that, we need to help her realize that her life doesn’t have to continue to be this way.

    Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Nothing will change unless your MIL stands up to him and tells him she cannot do it alone anymore. She may have to give him some type of ultimatum to get to that. This could include moving out unless he gets a PCA in to do the care he needs, or insisting that he go to an assisted living or nursing home facility. You can certainly support her in this, but you won't be able to make the change yourself. Unfortunately she would not be the first meek spouse worked to death in a situation like this.

    My dad was my mother's primary care giver (she has MS and is tetraplegic) until he was 78. He was tired, cranky, and depressed all the time. My sister and I had been trying to get them to hire a PCA for years, but he always pleaded the $$ (and that was really NOT a problem). Finally, after my mother had a fall, two fractured femurs, and a 6 week nursing home stay, we convinced them to get an attendant. My father still (at 86) does the cooking and home management (except for heavy cleaning) and runs errands and drives, but the attendants do my mother's range of motion, bowel and bladder care, showers, dressing, and most transfers. They also installed a ceiling track lift that allows my father to easily transfer her when there is no attendant present. They are both happier with this arrangement, and my dad only gripes occasionally about the costs. We have told them both that my sister and I would help with the costs at any time if that should become an issue. I use this only as an example of what can be done. Obviously every family is different.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
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    Welcome Beachfire ....... I'm sorry you're faced with this dilemna ! I hope people close to your location will have some suggestions for you (which is where??) .... I'm probably a little too far away to be of much help. Although we can't control the situation in every case ... we can always offer support and options to the people involved ...... recognizing when enough is enough is a difficult thing to manage! I wish you the best !



    Here is a helpful reminder for you in the mean time .....I've recited this prayer to myself many times .....

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.


    Obieone
    ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi


    " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
    Jane Siberry

  4. #4
    I had the same problem with my parents except my mom did everything. I live in NJ and contacted the Senior Outreach Program. They now get meals on wheels and an aide comes in 4 days a week. They also send out a nurse at least once a week. My Mom is 87 and my Dad is 83. Takes a load off my mind because I don"t want them driving.I have enough trouble taking care of myself.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    I think KLD stuck upon an excellent idea in her post. Obviously your mom and dad come from the time of 'we'll take care of our own.'

    Technology could help them. A ceiling lift (very expensive as ceiling/walls need to have adequate support) or hoyer lift sounds like an excellent place to start. Could they sell and move to an accessible condo or something? Would they consider that?
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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