ANt | Caregiver Action Network


ANt Duplay
Caregiver Relationship: 
Living Arrangements: 
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Primary Illness: 

My name is Andy, and my wife is Mickey. We have been married since 1986, and have two children, ages 11 and 13.

My wife's brother died in 2001, which sent my in-laws, Bob and Jean, both 75 yrs old, into mental and physical tailspins. After both were hospitalized for seperate health problems, the decision was made that needed to move into assisted living. Jean had a broken leg and could not transfer to the toilet so she went to a nursing home, Bob to assisted living. Bills were in the $10k per month range, and Jean was becoming a "zombie" in the nursing home. She was not getting better. At the rate money was being spent, they would be broke within a year.

We decided to buy a larger house where we, our two children and her parents could all live. Medically they were fine, but physically, Bob needed a walker and Jean was using a wheel chair. They were also mentally stressed from being seperated after 50+ years of marriage. In M<arch 2002, we all moved in.

We have a care-giver come in during the day for a few hours to help get their meals and assist with baths, etc. We are home evenings and weekends.

We are currently dealing with Bob's not wanting to admit they will never drive again. He is also beginning to have signs of age-related memory problems (he remembers things wrong). Jean is actually very strong, but will not allow herself to "be strong" because Bob's physical condition and ability to walk are failing. She can't allow herself to be "stronger than he is". Bob is also dealing with having to cath himself three times a day. They also do not do anything for themselves, even if they can, if they can get one of us to do it for them.

We knew going into this it would not be easy. Somedays are harder than others. We are stressed much of the time, because they are so demanding. We have found out how strong our marriage is, though. Not every man would cath his father-in-law, when he is unable to do it himself.

Wish List: 
The things I wish most for are: 1. Some sort of counseling to help older people and their care giving families make the transition smoother. 2. Financial aid to help defray the high cost of keeping your parents at home (SS and other retirement benefits just don't cut it). We are saving Medicare money by keeping them at home, but spending our retirement savings. How about some help for us? 3. Affordable, dependable respite for us and our children. In conclusion, doing the right thing is never the easy thing, but it still is the right thing.