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She's been with us now for 5 weeks. This was supposed to be temporary for a few days, while my FIL made the home "livable" for her. It is not safe for her to be there. It is cluttered and filthy from pet "accidents" and her own accidents. She is not able to care for herself or clean up after herself. He is not making progress there, but no one (including my husband) seems to be willing to make a plan for what is to happen next.



She is getting very comfortable in our home. I am still raising a teenage son. I don't feel like I got a chance to voice my opinion on any long-term arrangements. I have been the one to take her to her appointments, help her with dressing, make her meals, etc. I work outside the home, so between my husband and I, we try to sneak home on our lunch break to check on her. She's on oxygen full-time now. We do have some PT, OT and nursing staff that come in a few days a week.



I feel bad that I don't want this situation. I keep voicing my opinion on deaf ears that she needs assisted living. I feel trapped because she is not my mother, and I can not make any decisions for her. I do not know where I could even start, because I don't have access to any finances or even her health insurance information.



I feel like we should contact an attorney. I love her, but I'm quickly resenting the situation, my MIL, my in-laws and my husband.

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First of all, if your MIL is crapping and peeing herself, is on oxygen, and is not able to take care of herself in any way then she's invalid.
She doesn't belong in assisted living because they can't provide the level of care she needs. Your MIL belongs in a nursing home.
So here's what has to happen. You talk to some of the nursing staff that comes to your house. You tell them that she has to be removed from your home and placed because you will not allow her to stay. They will get a social worker on it who will find placement for her. Then have a meeting with your husband and your FIL. Speak plainly to them so there is no misunderstanding.
Tell them both that MIL must be out of your house and living elsewhere by a certain date. Let them know that the visiting nursing staff who comes is aware of this and that they can help find her a social worker and placement for MIL
Tell that husband of yours on no uncertain terms that either his mother is out of the house by (this date) or he should speak with a divorce lawyer because you're going to.
I don't want you to think I'm being harsh or that I'd ever disrespect your family because I wouldn't.
But, your husband is acting like a real S.O.B. and so is his father. It sure sounds to me like they made a plan behind your back and tricked you into becoming MIL's caregiver. Since you legally cannot make decisions for MIL, the family has backed you into a corner. They are expecting that you'll just accept your role as caregiver to her.
Your husband and his family have to be convinced that you're serious about MIL leaving.
This post got me to thinking on the past. I loved my first husband very much. He was a good man and a hard worker. He was also an alcoholic. He wasn't violent or mean when he drank. He never missed work and never drank on the job. I couldn't live with a drunk anymore though. I told him that either he got sober or we were through. He tried but couldn't do it. So we got divorced. I didn't take him for anything. It wasn't a mean divorce. I had to go though, and you may have to also. Otherwise your husband and his family will always take advantage and will never have any respect for you. You have to make them respect you. Start with you don't try to 'sneak' home anymore on your lunch hour to check on her. You stop dressing, feeding, and taking her to appointments. No more bathing or cleaning up 'accidents' either. You do nothing for her. As in zero. Your husband and his family will have to figure it out.
MIL is not as you've said, "calling all the shots". She's a needy invalid. She's not calling anything. She will go to whatever arrangements are made for her and that's the end of it. So make some. Work with those nurses coming to your house. They can help.
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NDDIL1 Aug 1, 2022
I will make sure I am there when the nurse comes tomorrow. Thank you!
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He isn't lost for what to do...you are doing it. Tell him he has two weeks to figure it out then you are done. You will not lift a finger or spend a dime on MIL. You did not agree to the current situation and HE needs to fix this NOW. So what if he gets stressed. Let him go to work late and get in trouble. That might be the wake up call for him. As long as you pick up the slack there is no reason or need to change. Honestly....stop being reasonable about this. You will not be able to enjoy the wedding if you are stressing out about MIL....and there will be no second chances for that memory.

He does know what needs to be done, he is just avoiding the fall out figuring dumping this all on you as the lesser of two evils. You don't have to get mad, or leave....just stop helping. Trust me, when he has to deal with this on his own he will man up and make the needed decisions. Don't fall for his 'we are a team' crap. If you were truly a team he would be taking your feelings into consideration already.
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You are trying to be 'kind & patient' when in reality, the whole idea was to get MIL into your home so YOU could become her caretaker all along! Stop guzzling beers and crying in the garage and set down YOUR rules now because you've been sold a pig in a poke, my friend.

Barb is right: DH needs to understand how SERIOUS you are about getting his mother OUT of your house and taking your LIVES back now! What's he gonna do about it? Give him a time limit, say 30 days, to get mom back home or into an Assisted Living apartment, or you will be moving OUT. Show him that you mean business. You love him but you also love the life you had before MIL usurped it. He can't have it both ways. He hoodwinked you into taking his mother 'for a few days' which is now morphed into FOREVER.

Sorry bub, no pub.

Ask him how he's planning to fix this mess he's created for all of you?
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sp19690 Aug 1, 2022
I think a month is a month too long. Mom needs to go back home and they can work out what to do from there. And when I say they I mean husband and his sister not the wife.
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?!?!?
Your sister in law did what - ?

"I feel selfish, I feel bad for being irritated when my SIL came over last night with a big box of my MIL clothes and just hung them in the closet."

You know that scene in Private Benjamin where Goldie Hawn narrows her eyes and goes "nnnnot, so, fast..."?

It is put your foot down time. How many other family members are skulking around looking shifty? - there's DH, stepFIL, SIL, and who else?

Family conference, agenda, item 1 - MIL does not live here and is not going to live here. Item 2 - reclaiming the house (for FIL's benefit, too - how is it any better that he is living in filth and disorder, without support for his chronically ill wife?). Item 3 - setting up services.

These then result in further actions *with deadlines attached.* And DH signs off, in blood if need be.

Fer cryin' out loud...

And STOP feeling sorry for him when he gets stressed in the mornings. Welcome to your world! He'll have to get up earlier is all.
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Maybe you could make the transition to a nursing home the same way she made the transition to your house. Tell her that you have to have some work done and everybody has to be out for a week. Put her in the nursing home “until the work is done” and then that’s it. She stays there.
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Reply to Caregiverstress
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XenaJada Aug 7, 2022
This is the way
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NDD, we've got another poster on here right now whose MIL moved in "temporarily". She is now dealing with what sounds like a some permanent physical damage from trying to lift her MIL.

An elder who is in need of extensive personal care is simply NOT a DIY project, especially not if you work outside the home. Either she hires help (at her own home) or she gets care at a facility.

You are not your in-laws' (or parents') retirement plan.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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You are enabling this situation to continue by helping.

Stop "helping".

Start saying, "this is YOUR mom dear. YOU need to be the one helping her with her personal care."

Your actions will speak louder than those words that are falling on deaf ears.
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NDDIL1 Aug 1, 2022
I've been doing that, stepping back and making him get her up and make her breakfast, etc. But I see how stressed out he gets, too. We are both late for work most days, from just the added obligations. We are a team and I hate not being a team player. But, stepping in and being a team player, implies that I am on board with this, and I am not.

I feel selfish, I feel bad for being irritated when my SIL came over last night with a big box of my MIL clothes and just hung them in the closet. It's like when she is with us, it's "out of sight, out of mind" for the rest of the family.
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@NDDIL1, 
So many red flags waving from your words, even if you don't realize it. My take-away from all you've written is that you are cheating both your kids out of a good relationship with YOU. 

Get rid of MIL today, she has a home and a husband and a daughter, plus your husband who is her son. Let them sort this out from HER home, not from YOUR home. 

1. You wrote "My daughter is getting married in about a month. I don't have my dress yet." How does your daughter feel about the reality that her mom is dramatically involved with MIL rather than excitedly and lovingly helping the bride-to-be? If I were your daughter i would be terribly hurt that I come second (or even farther down the list) to MIL. 

2. "I'm nearly out of PTO at work." So in the lead-up to daughter's wedding you might not be able to help her at all since you won't have any personal time left? Nice.

3. Your job: you mention you and husband are "...late for work most days" due to these new obligations caretaking for your MIL. How long can you even keep your paying job if you show up late most days? If I were your workmate I would be fed up and angry that I unfairly have to pull your weight when you mosey in to work late daily because MIL demands your attention. And if I were your boss, I would have already placed you on a PIP, warning that if you don't rectify this immediately you will be fired for cause. So, in actuality you might not need to worry about using up your PTO from point #2, since you might soon be unemployed and thus have plenty of time to care for MIL. 

4. Regarding your son: "is there a lesson here on how to treat others, a way of modeling being kind to others to my son?" You are modeling perfectly to your innocent son that neither he nor you matter at all, only MIL matters and that everyone's life needs to revolve around her selfish insistence to be cared for at your house. He is learning the eye-opening lesson that he doesn't matter so much to you, and you've even mentioned concerns about money. How lovely that money you may have earmarked to help him get a good start in life will instead be soaked up by MIL's selfish wants and needs, which are apparently paramount in your extended family. That's the lesson you are modeling for your son, and if you don't see that, I feel sorry for your boy.

5. "SIL came over last night with a big box of my MIL clothes and just hung them in the closet." Pack those clothes up right now. Put them in your husband's car and tell him TODAY, not in a month, to take the box and his mother back to her own home. The whole family of MIL expects you to just roll over and play dead, then give up and become the permanent feces-clean-up personal assistant and maid and medical-appointment driver and cook and housekeeper to MIL. Thats what you are right now, and SIL and MIL and FIL have no intention of changing the dynamics to help you. 

6. You mention that when you get home you try to steel yourself by first crying in the garage, and/or guzzling beer before heading inside the house to start tending to selfish MIL once again. This is so unhealthy and unfair mentally and physically for you.

In conclusion, for every day you let this situation continue, you are dumping on your daughter, your son, your job, and on yourself. All of you deserve better than what you are getting right now. Please save yourself and your nuclear family NOW! 

I send good wishes to your daughter, I know she will be a beautiful bride, and she deserves a happy healthy smiling mother in the wedding photos with her, not an exhausted worn-out red-rimmed crying-eyed woman who had to guzzle beer to get through the day. Please save yourself and your nuclear family NOW!
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Reply to BeenThroughThis
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I just walked into this conversation, and agree with pretty much all the advice about the parents.
We're caring for my 87YO stepdad, who married my mom (she died 3 years ago) when I was about 40, so never really got to know him and he needs care due to dementia. My husband was taking his side and acting like the stepdad's feelings are the only ones that mattered, and that just isn't a good way to stay married.
Hubby is a great guy who is caring and not easily stressed. I was very resentful that I had to suddenly give up my life, big house, and freedom to care for someone who didn't appreciate it. He can't because the dementia means, well, he CAN'T understand. But Hubby knew.
I finally had to give him a taste of what it would be like if he didn't want to take my feelings, and our relationship into consideration, and just knew I couldn't live like that anymore. It hurt horribly.
I went to our room (not even a whole bedroom), packed a small amount of clothes and some meds, and didn't tell anyone. About an hour up the road I texted that I was going to stay with a friend who lives 3 hours away with poor cell service in the area.
I couldn't take it any more, and I don't want you to get to that point. You have to take care of YOU or you have nothing to give anyone else, including that teenager in your house. Show him how a strong woman handles being trampled on, and let him know it's not ok!
It's a hard conversation to have, but if you don't want to be miserable and jobless, you NEED to have it. Make it clear that MIL needs more care than you can give. I ended up with my dr upping my blood pressure meds to FOUR times what it had been, and told hubby the situation can literally kill me if it doesn't get better. I'm not dying for this guy, and you shouldn't be expected to either.
Best of luck and I pray for your health, because it's clear nobody else has thought about what it's doing to yours.
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CTTN55 Aug 8, 2022
How did you become responsible for your stepfather? Doesn't he have any biological family? What would happen if you hadn't stepped in?
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Sorry to be brief here but who could possibly want this situation! Why should you feel bad about that? She has taken your home and your previous hopefully positive home life and made you hostage. Why is it up to you to do everything for her?

My husband and I are both only children. Our mothers were widowed and divorced. When it came time that they no longer could manage living on their own they went into AL. They came to accept it. We visited, took them out when feasible, brought them to our house etc. We just did not turn our lives upside down. I hope you can impress upon your husband (who should already realize this) that you cannot continue to be the doormat they have turned you into.
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Seekingtruth123 Aug 16, 2022
Good job! Sounds like a very reasonable situation. I will take heed of this as 'that time' with my parents is imminent!
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