Dear Abby | Mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s keeps couple tied to home
Dear Abby: I have been married 35 years. During the last six years, my mom died, my dad moved in and then he passed away at 91. Dad traveled, including to see my three siblings, and had a girlfriend. Three years ago, my mother-in-law, who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, moved in.
My problem is with my husband. Because his mother can’t be left alone, we rarely go anywhere anymore. And even when we are out, he’s glued to his phone. When I try to talk to him about it, his answer is, “I promised I’d never put her in a nursing home,” and, “Honor thy mother and father.”
We have been to counseling. It didn’t help. We are in our mid-60s and in good shape. I would like to travel before we won’t be able to anymore. His mother is almost 90 and has no other health problems, so she could live five or six more years. I feel he should put her in assisted living so we can get on with our lives again. I’m tired of taking care of others, and I want to “retire,” too. Am I selfish for feeling this way? How do others deal with this? – How Much Longer?
Dear How: I have mixed feelings about your letter. Considering that your father moved in with you and your husband until his death, yes, I think your attitude is selfish. That said, Alzheimer’s patients need constant supervision, and it is possible that in the right kind of assisted living situation, your mother-in-law could be doing better than she is. The Alzheimer’s Association is a trusted source of information, and you and your husband should be getting help from it. Find it online at alz.org. The toll-free phone number is 800-272-3900.
Dear Abby: My daughter is marrying someone of a different faith. She doesn’t want to invite my husband’s first cousin and her spouse to her wedding. The spouse is openly racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic, and the cousin doesn’t contradict him.
My daughter is inviting people of different faiths, ethnicities and sexual orientations. She does not want to share her wedding day with someone who is filled with hate for her other guests and for her fiance. What is your opinion? – On My Daughter’s Side
Dear O.M.D.S.: Because someone is a relative does not require the individual to be invited to every family function. However, if your husband still insists they receive an invitation, he should follow up the invitation with a phone call detailing what will be expected of guests regarding civility and decorum.