Taking in mil who is a very healthy DEPENDANT

luvmypetsJune 14, 2011

My mil had moved in with us when in rehab they determined she could not live alone. We all sacrificed a lot (i gave her my sewing room & bathroom. We have 2 1/2 bathrooms my dh & i shared one with our 2 daughters, was not easy! Turns out she is not happy here (you can't possibly please this woman.) We thought well if your not happy (we were not either) we will find a nice assisted living, which we did after a year, she is not happy there. It costs a lot of money, money we certainly could use & there isn't much left has a little ss & pension but her health ins. takes up most. Do i dare take her back for financial reasons? We could lose our house right now. We thought why not pay us? My dh agrees, & it is his mother. As i mentioned very healthy will probably out live us both.

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"...she is not happy here..."

"...she is not happy there."

This is actually somewhat typical. I suspect she's not happy because her life has changed and she can't change it back. Going from independence to dependence is always a bummer. People react to it differently, but facts are facts and reality is what it is. It requires a mental adjustment with behavior to match. "Mental adjustment" means personal accommodation....some subjugation of personality and desires to the emergent situation....and to others who have no choice but to participate.

From what you've written it sounds as if your MiL has all her marbles and she's just cranky. Do I have that right? If so, maybe this is a good time for "the talk"....by which I mean laying out the new boundaries and obtaining her acquiescence or, preferably, agreement and consent. Things can't be the way they used to be and she has to do her part. Her caregivers must be accommodated and she must accept her part in it. She needs to shape up if it's going to work. She also needs to acknowledge -- as you should -- that your family has priority and if she's unwilling or unable to accommodate this new reality, things are going to be worse for her, not better.

You all are limited by your assets and by your personal/emotional tolerance. What a new balance might look like, I can't speak to, but surely you and your husband can decide what you can manage and what you can't. If MiL is unable or unwilling to cooperate in whatever that might be, your family's needs must come before MiL's and other less-expensive-than-before alternatives will have to be pursued.

Are there any other family members you lean on to help you?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Asolo speaks the truth. If your mother-in-law was unhappy with you before and is unhappy in assisted living now, there's no way she's going to be content moving back in with you. It may make the most sense financially, but you & your husband have got to accept the fact up front that she will not be happy. How will that affect your lives and is it worth it? Only you can answer those questions.

If you offer to take her in again, you definitely must have that "talk" Asolo mentioned. First of all, if she's going to live with you, then her legal papers (POA, POA for Health Care, will, etc.) must be in order. Secondly, you need to set boundaries. Examples: What share of the bills will she pay? What rooms are off limits to her? How much chauffeuring will you tolerate? What are her kitchen privileges? (I know that last one sounds strange, but as the elderly age, their manual dexterity, eyesight, and memories diminish. Lots of kitchen accidents are possible.)

Keep in mind that if she pays you for your care giving services, then you are her employee. She may get even bossier & crankier. Are you willing to hear, "You HAVE to do it because I'm paying you!" several times a day?

This is a serious step and needs a lot of careful thought. The financial assistance might seem like a good idea now but will it five years from now when she's older and her health begins to decline?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 4:25PM
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I know this sounds cruel, but why are you paying her bills. She can pay her own way as long as she has money. When she runs out of money, then she goes on medicaid. I don't think Medicaid covers assisted living. She needs to be in a care home and there are a lot of good care homes out there. I don't understand why you would risk losing your home.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:18PM
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thank you for your input. No there is no one else my dh is an only child. Her brother is still alive, but not well enough to take care of her. He should be in assisted living as well. But refuses to leave his deteriorating house. May have to call soc ial services soon. What a mess. He is in his late 80's she is 92 1/2! Life does go on & on.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 11:57AM
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I agree, talk to your Council on Aging, Social Services at the hospital and get some legal advice. If she cannot pay, medicade will help, but ONLY if you stop paying. That could hurt. Like Shambo stated you need to get all the legal stuff done NOW, be firm and get legal help. Talk to her doctors, make sure you and your husband can make the decisions and if your daughter is of legal age, it might not hurt to include her.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 10:24PM
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