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I consider myself part of the sandwich generation - not because of my age, but because of my circumstances. My husband and I are in our late 20's. We have 2 children who are only 17 months apart - the youngest being only 7 months right now. My father-in-law lives with us - he is 81. He is quite a challenge to live with. I cook and clean for him, and also do his financial papers (pay bills, organize papers - he's in a lot of debt that we only recently became aware of). Since we've lived here (3 years) he's become increasingly dependent and we've watched him deteriorate mentally. He still drives (which is very scary), but he isn't able to fix food for himself and usually needs reminding to change his clothes and to shower. He is a very unpleasant person - very negative and bitter - especially toward the government. He's had 3 failed marriages also which obviously adds to his bitterness. I am a stay at home mom, which provides me with much contact with him during the day. He drives me nuts - most everything he says is negative and he rarely seems to listen to me. He is incapable of helping out with the children. I am just stressed out. It's hard living with someone who you are expected to do so much for when you really don't have any real feelings of love for them. - I love him only in the way that I am concerned for his wellbeing because he is my husband's father and my children's grandfather.
I can't talk to any of my family or my husbands family about my challenges I face in this situation, because they just can't understand. No one seems to realize how much this man's condition has deteriorated and that he needs a lot of looking after. I wish that I could find someone in a similar situation.
Original Post
Hello Inlaw/Mommy

Welcome. You are definitely a remarkable exaple of the sandwiched generation of caregivers. Caregiving has no limits as to age, nationality or whatever.

Fortunately, you seem to be quite mature and aware. This is a great plus for you. You do have many choices as to how to handle this situation. You will have to gain his support so that you can present all the information necessary to both sides of your families for support and understanding.

You can communicate with your husband and begin to research the options that you have.

Does your father in law have Alzheimer's. What is the diagnosis from his physician. Is he depressed? If so, are there medications that can balance his emotions.

Do you have the option of placing him in an assisted living facility or even in one of the homes of other family members? Can you all take turns caring for him in your homes if his diagnosis is not that serious at this point?

Can you get some support offline, some counseling?

Another option you may have is to shift your perception of him. Try to understand that perhaps his negativities and misfortunes are a part of a disease that may have gone undiagnosed for many years. Some where in side this man is someone that has not been able to express himself or heal his own emotional wounds that he has held in. They have ruled his life. Having compassion and understanding may shift your energy a bit so that you are not as stressed. See if you can connect more on a soul to soul level. If this is not possible, then you must secure support from your husband and your father in law's physician(S).

Unfortunately, other family members may be into denial. They are not always able to cope with this deterioration process. They see him at times when he may be putting on his best behavior. You live with him and experience him on a daily basis.

Others will respond to your post as well. This is just to get you going...more or less food for thought.

Let us know how you are doing. You sound as if you are very special...there is work a head...You will be able to move through it.

Richest blessings to you

Gail

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