Had a taste of my future this week. My husband and I are in for a rough ride.

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Last Friday my mother-in-law ran a red light and totalled my in-laws handicapped accesible minivan. She HAD to get 3 bananas on the coldest day for the year. I went to the hospital. She has a broken sternum and was kept overnight to observation. That was the easy part.

All this past week my husband has gotten up an hour before his regular time to get his father up(his father can no longer walk)and gone down at night to put him to bed. The in-laws would not alter their schedule one iota to accomodate my poor husband. On Thursday night I attempted to get him into bed because my husband had a meeting that he had to go to. I simply could not do it. The man weighs 250 pounds and I have scoliosis, 3 herniated discs and tarlov cysts. My husband arrived just in time to keep his father from slipping to the floor. My left leg is still asleep from the pressure on my dics.
Saturday morning I went to the in-laws house to cook a meal for a visiting brother and sister-in-law to which I hadn't been invited.
Sunday I took my MIL to the hospital for some tests. Monday morning when I arrived to help with Dad (9:30a.m.). She said, "I have a Dr's appointment at 10:30 so we need to leave here at 10:20. I hadn't showered and looked a mess (I got up at 6:00 but did laundry and cleaning). I had to run home and get a quick shower, when if she would have just picked up the phone I could have been ready. Then we went to the grocery store.
Tuesday I worked at the only day of work I can get due to moving here to help with Dad (I am a dental hygienist).
Wednesday I ran more errands
Thursday night I asked, Do you want to go to the store tomorrow? MIL said, no, she would stay at home all day.
Friday. In the morning I looked on the internet for new van for in-laws because Dad wants help with that. I was out in afternoon trying to get my errands done when my cell phone rings. My husband calling, Dad wants someone to take Mom to clean out the minvan as it has been totalled. I stop what I am doing and take MIL.
Saturday. My husband comes back from getting Dad out of bed and says. Mom says if you are going to Walmart today she would like to go along. I said, I am not going to Walmart today. Spend a.m looking for more vans. Later in the afternoon my husband goes to Walmart for softener salt and takes his mother. She gets a bag of flour, a bag of sugar and 4 bags of softener salt. What was so imperative about that list of stuff? Why could she not have gotten the flour and sugar at Aldi's which is around the corner from us. Why did she have to go along?
Today, my husband spent the whole afternoon with his father helping him shop for a new van using my in-laws miserably slow dial-up connection. My stingy bitch of a MIL sends him home at 5:00 because they are going to eat their evening sandwich and fruit. She never even gives him a snack. In fact she never even offers us a glass of water whenever we are there. Tonight when my husband goes down to help get his Dad to bed they tell him that they will need him for at least another week.
These people have no sense of other people's time and not much gratitude. The first day it was, thanks for helping. But, now that only a week has gone by it is like they feel entitled.
Well, I am putting a stop to the daily errand business tomorrow. She usually goes out in the late am on Monday and if she calls here I am going to tell her that I can take her at 2:00 or on Wednesday at 10:00. Also, if the getting Dad up and putting him to bed continues for a third week I am going down there and telling them that they have to alter their getting up time. Don't tell me that you have to get up at the same time you have been for the last 40 years. They are moving their time ahead 15 minutes every 4 to 5 days until they are at 7:00 am. if they want long term help from my husband.
We are going to start as we mean to go on. My husband's mother has always ruled her little roost down to the exact minute of every meal, but she is not ruling my roost. just because we default to her. She is getting help on my terms, because I am not going to encourage their self-centered behavior by failing to be pro-active and assertive. I will just have to screw my courage to the sticking place.
By the way not one of my husband's 4 brothers and sister (all out of town) have asked us how we are handling this.
So, I guess this is mostly a post to encourage myself to protect my husband and myself. Here's hoping I stick to it.

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Oh was the driving an issue for my mother. Mom has never driven and relied on dad to take her everywhere. When dad had his stroke he was not allowed to drive for 6 months being on the anti-seizure meds and then he couldn't even be considered for evaluation for driving until he was off the anti-seizure for 6 months after that.

Mom got so ticked off at the neuro-surgeon who ordered that, she went on the hunt for another neurologist to satisfy her needs. She found one she liked, but he took care of things "differently". I wrote the doctors letters about dad's competency behind her back to make sure they could make informed decisions and issue the correct orders for dad to drive or not to drive.

I found out after the fact that mom was so adamant about getting out that she and dad would go out for small errands locally and mom would tell dad how to drive (never driving herself). She told him when to stop, go, turn, etc. Again, I had no clue this was going on until after the fact.

God definitely intervened when one day dad took off in the car with no warning. Mom called frantic not knowing he left or where he went. I went on the hunt for him to all his old haunts. After an hour of searching, I went home to call the police and told mom to call me if dad got home. She called within minutes dad had arrived.

Mom was frantic and snapped at dad as he pulled into the garage. I calmly asked dad where he went. His back was to mom and he looked at me so scared and whispered, "I don't know where I was." He turned to mom and said to her, "I just went for a short drive around the block." Mom believed dad. He just winked at her. OMG... from that day on she took the keys away from dad herself.

I came to find out later that little "idea" of mom's came from their "best" friends (of 45+ years). When these friends were staying with my dad during the day while I worked, I came home one day and saw the wife going to the back seat. Her husband got in the car and she was telling him when to hit the gas, which way to back up, etc. My mother listened to her friend! OY.... I didn't have to do it the Michigan way (I'm from the same state), but God took care of all the rest.

Good for you for setting some boundaries. She's going to have a fit with them I'm sure, but think of the results if you don't have them in place. Which is really worse?

My aunt called me today and she was talking about she cared for her mother for 6 years in her home 24/7. She said that with her siblings she got tired of asking them and flat out told them they had to come help at such and such time. They ended up doing a couple hours each a week, which my aunt said helped. Maybe you need to finally "tell" them what they need to do. Sometimes asking just isn't enough.

You can ease the pain of the future by setting up certain guidelines and get your mindset and care in place first. Set your limits and know yourself to help get the time for yourself you need. It doesn't have to be so miserable. You can definitely learn a few tricks around these boards to help.
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It always inspires me to see so many people who cope by caring and sharing. Anne you are an inspiration to see someone in need of information and determination to help by sifting through an enormous amount of information and posting the pertinent parts. No doubt you have provided support and comfort for those who don't have the time or resouces to hunt down the details or find solutions yourself. Bravo for your kind efforts and selfless heart.

Cat
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Thank you for your very nice compliment, Cat. I see so many struggling, and it is hard, that if we can helps each other out, that's what we're here for. I see your heart and willingness to provide the same service, dear lady. Your posts are heartwarming, endearing and knowledgeable. Thanks for your input, soft heart and compassion.

The future isn't quite so scary with good information, and the help of loving and supportive friends, is it? Blessings to everyone! A
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Anne, you are amazing. I have never seen anyone go to such lengths to make certain everyone has access to so much infomation. Wow.
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That is so sad, but sometimes necessary. Did you hear about the 74yr old woman in the news a couple of weeks ago? She had AD, and was on meds, and was in an accident that killed someone. Someone posted a comment that said they should throw the book at her. They showed this poor old lady in hand cuffs, (as if she could even fight her way out of a paper bag). It was a very tragic accident for all involved, but it was clear the woman could not be fit to stand trial in her mental condition. I sure would hate to be the family members of the woman, who probably knew she shouldn't have been driving. I would not want that on my conscience. I certainly would also hate to have to be in the shoes of the victim's family members.
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The Michigan Department of State, Driver Assessment and Appeal Division also sent my Dad a letter called: "PHYSICIAN'S STATEMENT OF EXAMINATION," that he had to have filled out and submitted before his appointment. It's a six page form, and quite detailed with instructions of the Physician.

They carefully consider this delicate matter before taking away someone's privilege. The letter sent to both Mom and Dad read: "You may have a medical condition that could affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely." They set a date and time to appear and say, "A licensed driver should accompany you to the reexamination." If they fail to appear, their license will be suspended. They also pull a driving record of tickets and accidents.

Once examined, Dad's license was removed. They also sent an "ORDER OF ACTION" letter stating the reason for their determination. It was a crushing letter for my Dad to receive, taking away all future independence. Unfortunately it was necessary due to significant cognitive impairment. Today he can barely walk.
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Try #2. It didn't all print.

What Cat calls DMV is not called that in every state. In Michigan it's called the Secretary of State.

What I posted, but didn't print was that you don't have to give your name, but you would need a Physician to fill it out for you. Their office can do it if you don't want to. The advantage to you doing it, is that you can later call to see where they are at in the process. It can take anywhere from 2-3 months before anything actually happens. In our case, they were slower than turtles, and was a very scary time, because Dad should not have been driving!

You can get the form at any Secretary of State office or download one. It's called: "REQUEST FOR DRIVER EVALUATION," and states: "...the Department of State may schedule a driver assessment reexamination on a driver based on evidence of physical infirmities or disabilities, vision deficiencies, convulsive seizures, blackouts, episodes, or for other reasons that my affect the person's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Please provide a description of an incident or pattern of behavior, or other evidence which you believe justifies an evaluation." The further request: "Explain why this driver should be scheduled for an evaluation. Please be specific."

In the section called: "REQUESTER INFORMATION," it reads, "This section must be completed and signed or the request will not be processed. The Department does not accept anonymous requests. Requests by private citizens to remain confidential will be respected to the extent permitted by Michigan and Federal law. YOUR SIGNATURE IS REQUIRED TO PROCESS THIS REQUEST."

It was a sad day when my Dad had someone take him in for his evaluation, and they removed his license and told him he could no longer drive. But it probably saved a few lives.
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I signed, "Concerned Daughter" because I am, though I also gave them my full contact information, and a Physician's Statement, and asked that it be kept confidential from my Mom and Dad. (That's the anonymous part.) You don't have to give your name
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It is actually better to check with the DMV about taking away the license. Most of the state DMVs have a form specifically for this issue - it may be available on line with instructions in your state.

The DMV will require your name and verification of ID and a valid statement from a physician. You may request that they not release your name to the person you are reporting.

There is a specific process for taking away someones right to drive. The reason that they don't take notes signed "concerned daughter" is that you are essentially making a serious assertion about someones competancy. If you are going to go ahead with it, you must stand by your word and follow your states reporting requirements.

You should do it if you believe that the person is a danger to others on the road, but I do want to remind people that once a license is revoked, someone will have to have options for transportion for this person no matter how the family feels about them.

take care

take care.
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Dear mytripod,

Why not put your mother's meals or snacks on the dinner table and tell her they are ready for her to come and get? When she gets hungry enough she will come and eat at the table like a proper person. After you get her trained to come to the table you can tell her that she needs to take her dishes into the kitchen and place them in the dishwasher or sink (after disposing of the food in the proper manner). And she gets no more food until the snack or meal is properly cleaned up.

Also, have the garden seeded over this spring. Use her money. She can pay for the dog to be walked and you have worked hard enough on a long-standing chore that she created. Sure you may hear some whining or complaining, but after you turn a deaf ear on it for a while she will stop. Think about this like toddler training.

Also, I have a friend who cares for a mother who is quite demanding. Her brother (the nurse's brother) used to come to visit "Mom" once a month and my friend dreaded it (more work on that weekend). Then she suggested that when her brother comes that he stay with "Mom" while my friend and her husband take the weekend off and go away. This has been the arrangement for several months and it has really helped my friend. It has also given her brother a whole new appreciation of what my friend is sacrificing to be of service to the whole family.

Why not have your sister come down and take care of your mother and you and your family can trade houses with her and have a vacation in Alaska this summer? Or anywhere for that matter. Your sisters can help pay for your trip (if needed) since you are performing a vaulable service for them.

Don't be afraid to tell your Mother and sisters that changes are needed if this long-term care is to continue. Caregiver is not a synonym for doormat. I know you probably think that you barely have energy to cope with daily life, much less the struggle to buy yourself some freedom, but it will be worth it.

Your in my prayers.
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