Author Topic: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?  (Read 6158 times)

FarmFam

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Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« on: November 03, 2014, 05:46:43 PM »
Doesn't life kick us in the ass sometimes!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I finally registered and put up a case study.  I made some cuts and were happily looking to getting FIREd up.  Last week, my father-in-law (62 years old) has a stroke.

The situation, besides the stroke part, is that his wife is not a useful person (stating that as nice as I can).  She doesn't do anything for herself.  Her husband would get home from work and cook while she watches soap operas all day.  She is on disability for an injury to her back due to work over 15 years ago.  She also has diabetes and if her husband doesn't tell her to eat or makes her food, she won't.  He also gives her her insulin shots.  He also took care of all the finances.  And now he had a stroke and can't use the left side of his body, talk, and is having some delusions I think.  He needs someone to now take care of him.

My husband and his brother has been taking care of both of them.  They have been in the hospital all day and night.  My husband comes home just to take a couple of hours to sleep and then goes back again.  His father has had good documentation and they have access to all kinds of information on his laptop to help them with his health and his finances.

As luck has it, I have also been home sick with a cold and fever and haven't been able to be much help.  I have been taking care of the kids in my condition (mothers never get sick) and am coming on here to get some advice to help.

The finances:

His father has some credit debt due to use during unemployment that he had.  I don't have exact numbers at the moment.

He now has a good job though and they are applying for the short term disability.  He currently is using PTO.

He also has student loans in payment at the moment.

They have a mini van with car payments.  (I know, I told him a mini van is not a good choice for an elderly couple, but his father wanted to have room for their kid's family when they visit.)

They live in an apartment on the second floor.  I suggest to my husband they try to change to a first floor.  He called and they will charge somewhere over $1000 for the change.  They live a ten minute drive from us.  His brother lives a few states away about 8 hour drive.

His wife, my DH mother, stopped driving years ago and let her driver's license expire.

He has no savings or retirement. 

They have made very bad financial decisions all their life and still.  We keep telling them to shop at cheaper grocery stores, eat healthier, stop smoking, stop frivolous spending (buying expensive curtains and bathroom decorations on their JC Penny CC because they have visitors coming), but they never listened.  They are very stubborn, but now we are responsible for them!

On a side note and rant, I would tell my husband that we really need to save for retirement and make better financial decisions because I don't want to end up like his parents, I wanted to be like my grandmother who did the opposite of his parents.  And before this, he is always trying to pay for stuff for his parents, and I would say we need to take care of ourselves.  Now, I don't know what his financial behaviors towards his parents are going to be.  We can't pay for their bills and their financial and health mistakes!  If we do, we will never be able to retire ourselves.  At the same time, I am feeling guilty because I feel like I am acting like a cold hearted selfish bitch!  I am an emotional wreck.  I don't know what to feel!

Does any one have any advice that can help us?  I honestly don't even know what to ask.

One question is, should we apply for SSD or SSDI or whatever those are now, or should we wait to see if he recovers back to his normal self.

Is there options for the student loans?

Is there some insurance that will pay the credit card payments that employment may have that we may not know about?

DH and his brother seem to be very optimistic of the situation and his progress, but I am concerned that they are in denial.  The delusions he explained to me don't sound good and he didn't even tell the doctors about it and I think it is because he wants to keep thinking his father is improving.  The doctors don't know about the delusions.

My husband and I both work full time.  His brother works full time but can also work from home.  My husband can sometimes work from home.  His brother's wife is a stay at home mom with a little one and two in school.

Sorry about the rant.  I need help/advice.  Maybe a bottle of wine!

bogart

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 06:02:21 PM »
I'm so sorry to hear about your FIL's situation, and that you are dealing with this.  My dad had a stroke about a decade ago, so while his experience may have been very different from your FIL's, I have some idea of what the experience can be like. ( Although my dad was also a very bad planner, he and my mom were divorced (so it was just him affected), he was old enough that he was already getting SS retirement and on Medicare, and I had already figured out where to draw lines about how much I would/wouldn't help him.  So -- he was in better shape than your FIL in terms of non-medical things, and I was in better shape than your family in terms of the psychological/emotional aspects.  Just to put my experience/circumstances in perspectve.)

Are you at all able to take time off work?  When my dad had a stroke, not only were there doctors giving information about the likely progression of his situation, but there was a social worker at the hospital who was able to give some information.  It may be worth looking into this and trying to schedule a meeting.

My dad was released from the hospital to a nursing home for physical therapy (etc.), which was covered (3 months worth, as I recall) because he had Medicare -- available only once you are 65+.  You may want to find out what kind of rehab (if any) his existing insurance will cover.

GL to you.

BreakingtheCycle

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 06:05:46 PM »
The only thing I can recommend is talking to a therapist.  It is very important to learn to set proper limits and boundaries in this situation, to know when to help and when to say no, how to contribute and how to protect yourself and your needs.  A good therapist will really be able to help you and your husband figure out how much to help and what to say and how to deal with whatever fallout (i.e. anger from parents when you won't rescue them from all of their bad choices) occurs!

deborah

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 06:06:47 PM »
Tell the doctors about the delusions immediately - it shows that another part of the brain was affected, and they need to be treating that quickly - these things can sometimes be fixed if they are treated quickly.

I know people who have had strokes and been able to go back to work just quite easily. You just need to see what the outcome actually is.

FarmFam

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 06:36:05 PM »
Thank you for the advice.  I will look into my work who has a therapist available.  My husband said he told the doctors about the delusions, I called him right away after reading the feedback.  They said it is mostly when he is tired and that it is the brain trying to reset.  He is also going to talk to the social worker at the hospital.  They already spoke with her and she had said something about a nursing home that may be covered with the insurance but my DH and his brother said no way.  The nursing homes here are really bad.

BreakingtheCycle

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 07:37:22 PM »
I really feel for you, I'm sorry you're going through this!  I worry about feeling obligated to help care for my aging parents as I'm an only child.  They've been less than generous with me though and we have a strained relationship (not related to their lack of generosity) so we'll see how things play out!

neophyte

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 09:33:42 PM »
And before this, he is always trying to pay for stuff for his parents, and I would say we need to take care of ourselves.  Now, I don't know what his financial behaviors towards his parents are going to be.  We can't pay for their bills and their financial and health mistakes!  If we do, we will never be able to retire ourselves.  At the same time, I am feeling guilty because I feel like I am acting like a cold hearted selfish bitch!  I am an emotional wreck.  I don't know what to feel.

I'm really sorry about the situation you've found yourself in and all the stress it's causing. My boyfriend and I went through some sort-of similar issues last year with his mother's health problems and her debt.  I felt like I was in that same position of feeling like I had to put my foot down and say enough was enough we couldn't help anymore but that if I did that I was the world's biggest, self-absorbed bitch ever.  Not being married and having separate finances, our situation was obviously different; but to be honest, it's still causing problems in my relationship.  I should have put down my foot and refused to keep helping months earlier than I did.

I think you are doing WAY better than we did in identifying this early on.  Definately look into that therapist to help you and your husband get on the same page from the get go.  You definitely need to decide how much you are willing to help out financially - which might be not being able to help out while you are still on debt paying down mode; I think that's ok - and also how much time you are willing to spend on helping them out by running errands, driving them around, etc.  Living so much closer to them, you and your husband will probably be the ones they call on for all the time intensive things. Refusal to do that will probably mean facing anger and disappoint from them as well as your husband's brother, but you need your own life and your own time to take care of yourself and your family.

Unfortunately, my boyfriend's mother isn't in the US, so I don't have any practical advice to offer about dealing with disability or medicare/medicaid or anything. Hopefully you father-in-law makes a speedy recovery and gets back to near 100%, and this also serves as a wake up call to his wife and she starts getting her shit together.  If not, it sounds like you might need to rethink your stance on the nursing home; but perhaps visiting nurses would be an option. The social worker at the hospital should be able to provide you with some resources or contact information for groups that might be able to help. You might also have access to some resources through your work. I know my employer provides some sort of advice network with resources about caring for aging parents and help in dealing with insurance and social security and any other programs they may qualify for.

Good luck.


FarmFam

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 09:45:25 PM »
Well, I am so happy I had all your feedback before my husband came home.  I had to say no and reading your feedback ahead of time gave me the confidence to do it.

I offered that if his father is moved close to my job I can pick up his mother and bring her there and bring her back home after work.  DH then said, wouldn't it be easier if she stayed here with us so you don't have to pick her up.  I didn't say this out loud, but in my mind I yelled "Hell no!" 

I told him that I don't want her to stay with us because I wasn't going to be her servant like his father was to her.  He said well if you are cooking for the family, wouldn't you feed her too. And then he went on to say that she would feel uncomfortable going through our kitchen.  He knew exactly what I meant but seemed to be pushing for more details. 

I had a great example but didn't want to bring up the past.  When I had my first child, I had a c-section and she was supposed to stay with us to help me while my husband worked.  Well, he ended up calling me from work and telling me to get out of bed to cook for his mother because she is diabetic and needs to eat.  I ended up ripping my stitches to get up (because I didn't know how to properly get up by myself) and I am reminded of that event every time I have a little pain in that area 15 years later! 

Well, she has no problem sneaking into my kids school snacks when she is here (although she has diabetes).  I caught her a couple of times.  I don't think she is uncomfortable, she is lazy!  And I am not going to baby her, she is an adult.

So there is one boundary.  His mother is an adult 100% capable of taking care of herself, and I am not going to.  I also told him if his father ends up at the other hospital, she is going to have to get her driver's license again and drive herself there.

Sorry for the rant.  I probably should really see that therapist asap!  And I will also see as @neophyte said to see what other resources my employment has.

Spondulix

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Re: Father-in-law had a stroke! What to do?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2014, 12:32:42 AM »
Go see the therapist. My in-laws are having issues right now, and just having an outside source that you can talk to (without feeling guilty or concerned about expressing your feelings) is indispensable. The best advice my therapist has given so far is to focus on being my spouse's friend, and following his cues on how to handle the situation (vs putting yourself into the situation). My DH freaked out when I told him I was looking up the costs of senior living apartments and nursing homes, when in actuality he really just needed a hug and dinner.