General Question

butterflykisses's avatar

Should I put him in a home?

Asked by butterflykisses (1376points) December 14th, 2009

I take care of an elderly Step-Uncle. I have for 18 years. He is deaf, unable to read or write. He is 75 years old and in good health. He communicates like a 3 year old. He is the most loveable man with such a sweet heart. His ablity to understand things is very hard due to his communication skills. I have over time learnedhis way of communicating but there are times when we just cannot. It gets so frustrating. Some times I just want to give up. I am only 38. I cannot leave him alone ever. Today was a very HARD day as we cannot communicate about a very important issue and he has stormed off and is outside and will not come inside. It is 38 degrees out. He will come in eventually he is just throwing a fit. I get so worried at times like this, and it is killing me. I have an illness myself. I want to put him in a home, but I just know he cannot communicate with people. He would die. Is this really my responsiablity? Should I feel so guilty for wanting to put him in a home? Is this way to much of a personal choice question? Or can someone really answer this for me? Sorry it is so long…=Z

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22 Answers

chesspiece's avatar

Wow. That’s a tough one. I can understand how difficult it must be to live like that and to make this decision. I wish I had an answer for you. Good luck figuring this out. Hopefully someone else here can be of more help.

trailsillustrated's avatar

you need to live your life. there are lots of really good group homes out there with people trained to care for and try to communicate with people like ths . visit a few of them. You are too young to have to care for him. sorry I sound hard, but, live your life.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Where is the rest of your/his family? This is a decision that more than one person should be helping you with. And you’re sick yourself? No, no.

If all else fails, contact your area’s Department of Health and Social Services. They must have information about eldercare resources to help people in his situation, such as home health nurses and so on. You need outside help!

Taciturnu's avatar

Hi buttkisses. Sorry you’re going through this!

Typically, I think it’s better to keep people at home. They live a more fulfilling life that way. There are exceptions though.

He is a STEP UNCLE. The familial relationship isn’t as close as someone I would recommend to do their best to keep at home. The farther away the relationship gets, the less it is your responsibility. (He’s not your dad or husband or brother.)

The other thing? You’re not in great health yourself. Is it worth it to risk getting sicker?

Being a full-time caregiver is a burnout position. The fact that you’ve made it 18 years is a tremendous accomplishment, and I think you should be giving yourself a pat on the back instead of feeling guilty about what the future may or may not hold.

I assume paying someone privately is out of the question. Does he have children who are willing to take day hours, and he can still stay with you at night? Or anyone else who can relieve you of your burden? If not, then I think you should consider looking around for a facility that you think would suit him best.

Keep in mind that you can visit and take him for outings too. If you think it would be a better transition for you both, you could have him move in, and take him out for the day. Eventually, wean off the time until it’s a managable amount for you.

You have to do what’s best for you. No one else will do it for you.

Hope this helps.

YCLYHO's avatar

im so sorry to hear of your predicament, my advice would be to just go along to as many homes as you possible can, you wont know exactly what care is on offer unless you go along and have a chat. There is also the Social Service Department, get in touch with them and see if they can offer you any respite of some sort, even somebody to come in regularly, so you can go out with a lighter heart. Nobody can really tell you what to do, as depending on your persona, you have to do as you feel is right – im wishing you much luck, and would like to say youre doing a great job!

butterflykisses's avatar

He was living with my family, my step father and my mom for the time they were married. My Step father died and my Mother abused him badly. I left the home as soon as could beause I too was abused. I just took him with me. His family never cared for him beause I guess they view him as a freak. No one ever communiated with him from his family. My step Dad died only three years into the marriage.

I have just always taken care of him. I built my home to accomidate him. He lives downstairs. The problem today was about the dog he has. He has fleas, this year was a bad year for fleas. The house needs treated for them so does the dog. He didn’t want me putting anything on the arpets or the dog. I tried to explain to him I HAD to, but her wouldn’t understand why I HAD to. sigh

I cannot leave him alone because the last time I did, the water was not working right, we get our water from a creek, and he took a hammer to my water lines…=Z he was trying to “fix” them. Destroyed my water lines as well as made a huge mess, he couldn’t shut the water off. caused thousands of dollars worth of damage.

I want him in a home, but I just don’t know. How would he ever ommuniate his needs? He made up his language. It took me years to understand it. =(

Taciturnu's avatar

@buttkisses I don’t mean to pry, but would you mind ellaborating about his communication skills?

YCLYHO's avatar

its natural to feel protective and fearful that others wont be able to look after him, the same way you do, but what you need to bear in mind is the fact, they may be able to make him happier! Its amazing how different people can achieve so much with certain people. It may actually be the ‘making of him’ maybe he needs more stimulus than the life youre able to give him. :) Could you think about a trial period of respite somewhere, contact the social services, theres no need to feel guilty – as i say, he may actually have/develop a better quality of life!

Taciturnu's avatar

@YCLYHO Exactly right.

butterflykisses's avatar

He uses hand motions a very homemade primative sign language that HE made up there is no other language out there like his. Other people would consider it gibberish but every movement has meaning to him. He spoke it with My step Dad. He never had any schooling and both were deaf. My mom is deaf too, she married my step dad because he was well to do. His parents only had two sons they made sure they had something to live on. My Step father was more wordly than my Uncle as he could hear a bit more.. and had a small education.

She ended up with all the money, she took advantage of the fact he had no education and no one could understand their language. Hearing people assumed they were smart individuals beause they did not realize they were actually speaking a language no one else could understand. My mom ended up with EVERYTHING! Nothing I could do except take care of him. He was left with nothing and I was too young to know how to fight what she had done.

Their family did nothing tthey were happy to have SOMEONE to take care of the “freaks”. They thought my mom could actually communicate with them and take care of them. It was rather sick.

Taciturnu's avatar

@buttkisses Well, I can certainly empathize, although I’ve never been in even a similar situation.

It’s clear you love him, and care for his welfare. It is imperative that you care for yourself that same way, and first.

If you move him to a rest home, it doesn’t have to be tomorrow, either. Do some research, talk to some people who work there, and ask for references from families of people who are there. Tell them about the sign language issue, and ask them how they would accommodate him. Then sit on it, ya know?

I used to take care of a man who made up his sign language as well, so it’s certainly not out of reach for other people to learn it.

butterflykisses's avatar

Thank you all for your responses. I have been talking with Hubby about it too, he is torn as well. He can communicate some with him. It has taken him 4 years.

I apperciate all the imput. I will take all your words to heart.

john65pennington's avatar

Please read this answer not once, but twice. you have given him 18 years of quality life that he may not have had, otherwise. but, thats 18 years of your life, also. it is not your responsibility for the upkeep of your stepuncle. you are to be commended for the 18 years of your life that you have sacrificed for him. its time now for a change. its time for you to come “out of the shell of responsibility” and enjoy the rest of life and freedom. a nursing home is your only answer and you need to go for it, NOW. if there is a way to communicate with your step-uncle, there are medical people that will find a way. his safety is now also a concern. walking off from you also has to be addressed. his safety and they rest of his life should be delt with in a nursing home. this is what they do. no guilt trips for you at all. no one else has made this sacrifice but you. your job has ended. clean out all reminders of your stepuncle and attempt to locate the life you left behind 18 years ago. God will bless you for being his keeper.

butterflykisses's avatar

@john65pennington Wow….I am in hit home. You know I can see myself doing everything to get him in a home, everything but telling him. I just don’t know how. I have played it out again and again in my mind. He wouldn’t understand. Moving him from one state to another years ago was a nightmare. Leaving his childhood home behind was awful. It damn near killed him. He wouldn’t eat for days and days. I thought he was going to die. Wouldn’t speak to me, wouldn’t go to bed. It took a long time to bring him around again. He was younger then.

Lord what ifs just kill me. How do I do this to another human being? I want a life so badly! I never looked at it the way you just made me look at it. I can’t get them back. What if he lives to be 100…My husband is already saying the things my ex said…“we never have time away, or alone. ”

Sorry to dump like this but there is no body I can really talk to about it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

That’s OK. That’s what we’re here for.

butterflykisses's avatar

Thank you..again! I think partly I worked in nursing homes…I know what goes on. He wouldn’t be able to afford a home that I want him in, I know I cannot afford it either. Damn this is so HARD! I feel like I am making excuses…am I??

YCLYHO's avatar

no hunni – youre not making excuses, just treading waryly, nobody can fault you for it, its a very hard decision that youre making. I think youve had a lot of very good advice, and now will need time to assimilate it, which will probably happen in its own time! In the mean time, i dont think it would do any harm to put out some feelers, you dont have to commit to anything, and i think it will actually start to make you feel better, knowing there is help out there – good luck!

YARNLADY's avatar

There are many social service and handicap public services. Try to find out what benefits you and he are eligible for. It might include in home care provider and what they call respite care. There are several agencies that will help you evalutate your needs and how to meet them.

rooeytoo's avatar

I was thinking what @YARNLADY said. Isn’t there some sort of Visiting Nurse or something that could give you a break.

I was thinking of a nursing facility where he could have his own little apartment until you mentioned his dog. Most of those places won’t let you take your dog and that would kill me if I had to give up my dog.

butterflykisses's avatar

I sadly never even thought about his dog, His dog is 9, there is no way I could ever do that to him. No way. Breaking his heart is something I am not really sure I have in me.. putting him in a home is one thing..shattering it by taking his dog away too..I don’t have that in me. Nope, can’t.

I thought and thought about it all night, all day today and I built this house not only to accomidate him, but I want a B&B so badly. I figured once my children were gone from the nest I would just move him upstairs with me. That was back then when I didn’t realize just how much I am giving up. Now I don’t want him upstairs with me, I really want my B&B It has been my life long dream. I paid for this home in cash, bit by bit. I almost have it done. It has been a lot of blood sweat and tears getting here…to this point. I don’t want it to be for nothing, for my dreams to slip away.

What if he lives to be 100? Thats 25 years! Lord I am scared to talk to an angency because I am afraid they will just take this decision away from me and take him, knowing I am so burnt out.

I am so sorry to dump..but seeing all these answers again and again and rereading is somehow helping. Things I never thought of, and new perspectives really are opening my eyes a bit more.

Taciturnu's avatar

@butterflykisses I’m glad you’re gaining some more perspective. I’m sorry no one can take away this turmoil, and I wish there were something I could do. I’m always here for an ear though.

butterflykisses's avatar

@taciturn No one can take it away, it was not meant to be taken away, somehow I have to do this, Somehow I have to make this work. I have to get over my fears for him and start fearing for myself. I will eventually have to come to terms with talking to an agency. I will. Just got to get it settled in my head. I need to build myself up too.

Thank you for being here…I may end up needing more help by the time this is over. =Z

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