Widowed FIL driving me mad(4 Posts)
I?ve been reading through some of the board posts re elderly relatives and am looking for some advice.
Me and my DH are both only children, with one surviving parent between us.
The three deceased parents were all cared for in their own homes with help from us. This has taken it?s toll over the years. We have had about 10 years of substantial input into our parents care and support.
To be blunt, I now feel totally burned out with putting the needs of others first and am sick of the sight of my FIL. He is 87 but is in very good health and manages to live independently. I wouldn?t mind, for example, doing his housework or whatever, but he is adamant he can manage and his house is like a new pin.
It is the amount of time we feel we have to spend with him that is getting to me. He and his wife lived their lives around each other, with no friends and no interests. When MIL died, we expected to provide a lot of emotional support and had no problems with this. We would visit every day, take him out on trips and have him round for meals. We hoped that he would do more for himself as he adjusted to the loss of his wife. Two years later, he hasn?t and he doesn?t.
We have cut down visits to every other day as spending so much time with him is unbearable. He will only talk about things on his own agenda, has no understanding of modern life (and by that I mean anything post 1970s), will eat nothing except ?good old British food? etc etc.
We have investigated all sorts of clubs, classes, activities and have been surprised at the amount of things open to him. He will not take any of them up.
I am beginning to feel that, after two years, he really needs to take some responsibility for filling his own time, but feel guilty at the thought of pulling back more from him. I wondered if anyone has any advice? We would never leave him short of practical help should he need it (he doesn?t) but, as things stand, I feel that he is sucking the life out of me.
How hard a situation to be in,
How active is he? could you get him to come along to local activities with you,or volunteering he may feel he has lost the ability to socialise, he might need handholding,
there was an interesting study in Sweden (I think), where they found that people who were in the process of getting dementia, were much more at ease in the type of surrounding and social setting that they had occupied when in their 20s and early 30s, so even if they had gone on to a much higher standard of living, when the start of dementia set they were happier in a place that reflected how they lived much earlier in life,
the study was carried out by health care providers who were looking at ways to improve how senior people were responding to their care homes,
He sounds like he is in a small comfort zone, If his wife only died two years ago, he will still be deep in grief, has he been depressed?
could you mix it up a bit, could he come to you, how often does get out and about?
Did he go to church. Can you tell him the church is looking for more male congregation and he is needed there, then they might visit now and again, someone might even pick him up on Sunday morning and drop him off.
So that's one day less for you to fill! What about a handy man to do the garden once a week. If you find the right person that is another day you might have off.
You sound like a really kind and lovely person, but I am not surprised you are feeling at the end of your tether. Are you sure that he needs you to visit as much as you do? Perhaps he is content to potter about on his own. Does he have a pet? When you visit can you just go round when there is something on the TV that you both like, then you can be spending time with him with less chance of him driving you crazy.
You certainly shouldn't feel guilty for not visiting all the time.
I think his personality sounds extremely similar to many elderly men I know and I don't think there is anything you can do about it .
Best of luck with whatever you choose to do
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.