Follow
Share

I'm a newbie here and needing some reassurance. My mother-in-law has been living with us for the last 9 years. And I am exhausted. I work full time, am diabetic. I hate coming home to be told what to do and how to do it, and to have her continually bring up my shortcomings to my hsbd. I do her laundry, take her to her appts, take her on weekly grocery shopping outing for her snacks, cook her main meal of the day. She does nothing to help around the house, but has plenty of ideas on what needs to be done. She is physically capable of setting the table, running a dust rag, etc. And I feel like I have no time for myself; then I feel guilty for feeling this way. She is the only parent we have left between the two of us. But my hsbd and I have very little "our time" and the stress is beginning to show. This has been quite the financial burden as well. She pays $300 a month to help with expenses, but at this rate I will need to continue working until one of us dies and I will be really peeved if she outlasts me. It feels like a merry-go-round that I can't get off.
I am a quiet person and she just won't quit talking. I find myself fantsizing about running away or what it would be like without her. But then I feel like a bad person for having those thoughts.
She has isolated herself from friends and family, doesn't call to connect with them, refuses any invitations to go out with us or others.

What is appealing is having her in some sort of assisted facility. We worry about her safety as she has a tendency to fall. We have provided her with a Rescue Alert, but she says she would be too embarrassed to use it.
Wow - this has really been a pity party. Sorry to go on so - I guess i really needed to get it off my chest. Any suggesions or ideas on how you've dealt with similar situations would be greatly appreciated. Until then, I guess I'll just keep keeping on.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
erinsf, of course you matter!!

You are thinking of moving out? Of your own home? Would husband move with you? Wouldn't it be far more logical to move your mom out? Can she afford a memory care unit? Does she qualify for Medicaid? Are there memory care facilities in your area that accept Medicaid? Lots to look in to ... but spending the effort to look in to it seems for useful to me than finding a place for you to live. However, if your husband is opposed to moving his mom out, then letting him handle it on his own may be your only recourse.

She isn't allowed to pay you rent? Huh? My mother pays my sister rent. It is done all the time, with the full knowledge and approval of Medicaid. What statute does this lawyer claims that violates? Are you seeing a lawyer specializing in Elder Law?

I had a personal care attendant help me care for my husband. She got him up, bathed (somedays), teeth cleaned and in, hearing aids in, shaved, dressed, and made his breakfast. She helped him with his exercises, took him for walks with his wheelchair, did puzzles with him, prepared his lunch ... it was an enormous help to me. If you are hiring a caregiver, arrange it so she (or he) does the activities you want done.

But fundamentally the issue is that you are not in a mental state right now to be responsible for another impaired adult. You and your husband need to come to some agreements on what needs to be done and how best to remove her from your home. You can't go on like this. And you do matter.
(2)
Report

Well, you DO matter! Time for a sit down with hubs and put your heads together to come up with a viable and FAIR solution to this problem. Many of us on here have been dealing with this stuff for years, I for one do not recommend it. If I had only known then what I know now I would have had a contract of sorts to begin with. I think you might want to discuss the financial situation with another elder attorney as well. Do not use up YOUR life being angry and lonely and stressed.Think about it, is that what our parents wanted for us when they were in their right minds? I know mine didn't! I also know that mine declined to care for my grandparents when they were old and I stepped up to give my aunts some respite, yet here I find myself!
(1)
Report

I feel trapped. I am trapped. my husbands mother is living with us because she couldn't live with the brother who stole from her. which I fully support. But, I am now the primary care giver. My husband and I have her in our home 24/7. She is 91. She can't go anywhere. She has limited mobility. I plan to get a caregiver but, I will still have to wake her up, feed her three meals a day et al. I am tired. My own mom died 5 months ago....his mom moved in two months after that...not a lot of getting used to my mom dying here....she had cancer for 5 years. it was terrible! Then this summer, dad had a pacemaker put in and for the last three weeks he has been hospitalized over an hour away because of a triple bypass and infections.....weeks to go on that one. I have considered moving out but it costs upwards of 2200 to get a one bedroom apartment in the SF Bay area. I will stay at dads for a bit...but that is a long way from my husband. I am only 46 ...he is 58 and stressed and not sleeping and I don't want this to kill him. I am stressed. I know I am losing years from my life each day with every tear .....and Xanax and Prozac and wellbutrin! Having a caregiver will help a bit but, our home isn't large. So we will have even MORE persons here. I want her gone. We do not have power of atty. But, mom has dementia. We want to put her in a memory care facility but this is tricky. A lawyer we saw said she isn't even allowed to pay us rent?! I AM LIVID, LONELY, CRYING, TIRED, and feeling very insignificant and like I don't matter anyway.
(0)
Report

My mother is law moved out after 5 years and there is now a weight off of my shoulders. I tried to help her but I realized that she was going to live her life a certain way and would not change. I think she wanted to change but didn't have the motivation to do it. We couldn't do it for her. It was driving me crazy living with a person who said one thing and then did another. If it effected only her, that's one thing but it didn't. I was so unhappy. She is now free to live her life the way she wants to, for better or for worse but it isn't under my roof for me to see daily anymore.
(2)
Report

Do you belong to a Church? If not, I would strongly recommend that you look around for one you like. The Lord is the greatest friend, counselor, healer,.... I thought I was going to loose my Mom last spring, scared me right into Church. I've been attending pretty regularly and my life is really changing! My siblings do nothing for Mom. I was so angry. For some glorious reason, I have no room in my heart for anger right now. I hope my heart never changes back to the way it was just a few weeks ago. I wish you peace, comfort, love, and health.
(1)
Report

I don't know how you did it for 9 years, or how anyone can do it for even more than a few months. The suggestions on your question will hopefully help me
(1)
Report

Nope don't feel quilty...you know how many stories are right here on agingcare with the same notion...hundreds upon hundreds. Well there are a few out there that love the burden...lol! I won't go there...they know who they are!
Well geez if this woman is able bodied now and it's sucking the life out of you now....well just think as she gets older and becomes more disabled and dementia sets in...oh boy ...get ready for that...this is nothing to what comes later...take what you experience now and mulitply it...now does it help with an answer? She needs to go to Adult day care or something to keep her busy...or have her help with small chores..or better yet the suggestion of going away for a period of time and letting your hubby deal with mommy dearest will also bring things to light...go do it...say your going on a Christian retreat or something like that.
(0)
Report

WOW! Nice to know I am not the only one who feels guilty. I care for my Mom and Dad in my home and somedays I to want to just run away from it all. I quit my job about 6 months ago, because I felt I was being stretched to far. I really wish now that I would have kept my job. At least I got to see and speak to other adults. After almost 2 years of cargiving I finally decided that I NEED A BREAK!!! In exactly 19 days my Mom and Dad are going to an adult day care home. I feel guilty, because they are both expressing the fact that they do not want to go. I bit the bullet and finally told them it is the adult day care or a full time nursing home. The adult day care will take over as their primary physician, they will be bathed there, fed, entertained, excercised and socialized. I know it will take them and me a while to adjust, but I think in the end it will be good for everyone concerned. Mom and Dad just sit all day now and scream at each other, so at least now when they come home in the afternoon they will have something to talk about. I know all of us feel guilty a lot of the time, but we really have nothing to feel guilty about if we are doing the best we can. I too have sisters and a brother who seem to have forgotten they have parents, they are the ones who should feel guilty. Good luck to everyone here and bless you all for what you do. We don't get the appreciation that we deserve in this life, but I truly believe there will be a special place for us in the next.
(0)
Report

Have you checked into assisted living facilities? They are amazing. Mom will be among people her own age, there is skilled nursing, 24 hour care, activities, recreation, trips, etc. You definatly need some down time of your own. If assisted living is not in your budget, there are many senior centers and home health companies that do a marvelous job. Try to remember that the care giver also needs care. You do need to be kind to yourself, take some personal time. It will make dealing with mom a little more tolerable. good luck to you.
(0)
Report

I"M wondering if your husband helps with his mom. You definately need some down time of your own. Is there a friend or family member that can "visit" with your mother in law, even once a week will help. Are there any senior facilities in your area that your mom in law can go to, to participate and socialize with others her age? Assisted living facilities are amazing, there is 24 hr. nursing, activities, recreation,etc.Many provide skilled nursing and are reasonably affordable. I would suggest that you check out some of these facilites, and maybe take mom for a tour, she just might like it! Good luck to you. Remember, the care giver needs to take care of herself first,
(0)
Report

You are in the right spot. I too am a newbie since my able body mother in law came into our home 4 years ago. I definitely can sympathize with you. There is a serious loss of privacy and personal space and often it isn't fun. You can't image the times that I have wanted to throw the dirty dishes against the wall when it seems no one can unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher.
Don't feel bad or guilty. I still do but it's ok to be disappointed with the situation or frustrated with having to care for others. I know this is not where I hoped I would be at 43 but here I am with my life situation.
You can only be a care provider for so long before it turns bad. I reached a point 2 weeks ago that when I drove up into my driveway, I sat in my car and cried because I didn't want to go in.
I love my mother in law but I really understand that there has to be a balance for her care as well as your's. Running yourself into an early grave will not help her. I am seriously looking into programs and grants that she might be qualified for. I need to do things to keep me healthly both physically and mentally and that includes your husband too. You have to take care of yourself first.
(1)
Report

frazzled28,
I know exactly how you feel where your sister is concerned. My sister doesn't have a clue what is involved in taking care of our mother. She doesn't have any kids. It is just her and her husband and she doesn't work. As you said, she is enjoying every minute of her time while I'm lucky to have time to get my hair cut. Oh well, "it is what it is!"
(0)
Report

janny I don't see in your post anywhere about what your husband thinks about placing his mom in assisted living. It's possible he already sees this as what needs to be done. If your health fails and/or you have diabetic issues, who will take care of you AND her? I have learned over the years to have a thick skin....to a certain degree......yes I still get frustrated with my mil and thank goodness she does not live directly in my house......but I WILL NOT ALLOW myself to feel guilty because she is aging and has problems. Yes I bathe her twice a wk.....I found a solution that works for both of us...no more screaming and fighting her for an hr.....30 minutes from "bath time" to "there now aren't you feeling better to be all clean". I don't make her sit on her ass all day reading the paper, I don't make her refuse the company of others her age..."I don't want to sit around listening to a bunch of old ladies talk"....oh puleeeeze! I have not made her age and I won't take responsibility for that. Yes my husband has asked me to care for her and I will as long as I can, but if it starts to affect my health, then something else has to be worked out. My hubby says he feels some guilt occasionally that he is not being a very good son....but that doesn't seem to make him take some of the role of caregiver. They fight every time they see each other because she is SO argumentative. The agreement we made is that since I retired with a disability....3 bulging discs in my neck....I would oversee her care and not have to attempt another job. Can't do much anyway, can't sit long, can't stand for long, all physicians say no bending, stooping, crawling, no lifting over 20 lbs. Hmmmmmm when she gets to the point where she is bed-ridden someone else will have to be called. I bring in more money now on SS, long-term disability and retirement pension....EMS is not a generous paying career. MIL has done some very generous things for us......when some CDs matured she turned them over to us to pay off our home. My hubby is her sole heir, if he predeceases her, her estate goes to me. My own mother is in a nursing and I don't feel one bit of guilt....she put herself there. What DOES piss me off is that I am one of 5 children.....guess how many of the others see her on a regular basis? None. After looking at this I guess I do have a lot of frustration to get rid of........thank you all for allowing me to do that. janny, please try to take care of yourself first and if that means placing mil in a nh, then so be it.
(0)
Report

I'm on this same merry-hi-round, and today is turning out to be a bad attitude day for me. It's Veteran's Day, no school, my daughter is home, and my day's gonna be spent running to Dr appts. I'm tending. ti dwell that my sister is living her life enjoying every minute of her time, getting her house clean. Cooking for her ADULT kids, and I can't even make it to the grocery store for my family. My hubbie was extremely quiet last nite, and I was out of the house all day long running errands for my parents. Meanwhile, the dishes are piled high in the sink, I have laundry out the wazoo, and 'I' feel GUILTY, about it, yet I can't miss these appts!
(0)
Report

JANNY:

The way I see it, you have five choices: (1) be assertive and take your husband, your house, and your life back; (2) pack up your things and tell your man you'll be back when she's gone; (3) tell that monster-in-law it's time for her to go (doesn't matter where); (4) get divorced; or (5) keep taking s__t from everybody for the rest of your life.

There's a civil war raging inside of you, and your m-i-l is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is that your self-esteem is so low right now that you don't respect yourself or even trust yourself to make decisions because you are afraid of the consequences.

Start thinking about effective ways to free yourself from that self-set trap that's turned you into a doormat. When you're running from yourself there's no place to hide, so you might as well fight for what's yours. But do it respectfully, do it like a lady, and do it with style.

Keep us posted.

-- ED
(1)
Report

lyn, I used to weigh much more than I do now, and when I look at my body I hate what I see. But I have come to admit the sagging skin is MY fault, I'm the one that polluted the body that God gave me, it's all me. If I hadn't lost the weight now, then when I'm 80 and my knees have gone out & I can't move anymore, I would have had to lay it at my own feet. No one else's, especially my sons. Unfortunately there are parents out there that have had a lifetime of blaming everyone else for their problems, I'm sorry that you got yourself one of those. We can pick our nose, we can pick our friends, but we can't pick our friends nose, or in this case, our family. ha.
(0)
Report

I am a newbie here and have found it interesting that the word guilt keeps coming up. I have to ask what do we have to be guilty about? We are sacrificing so much for our parents, and what kind of appreciation do we get for it. GUILT!?! I am sick of being responsible for my mother's health problems. She abused her body, now she is paying the consequences. She is killing me trying to shove it on my shoulders. Can you tell it was a bad day for me?
The funny thing is I'm really not mad, I'm hurt and hurting. I yell when I want to cry.
(0)
Report

It is always easy for people to say not to feel guilty. I feel guilty all of the time so I can empathize with you. I care for my mother who is confined to her bed expect for getting on the porta pottie or the wheelchair for an hour at a time. (using a hoyer lift). I have resentment toward my sister (who does nothing), I have resentment toward my mother (who can't help the way she is) and I generally resent having to be in this situation (which I volunteered to do-go figure!) The only thing that keeps me going is that I know it won't last forever. It sounds like your MIL is still capable of doing some things on her own so an assisted living facility is something to look into if you can afford it. They are pricey. Good Luck and know that you are not the only one out there who is guilt ridden.
(1)
Report

Wow this is very encouraging. My thanks to you all. I am a Newbie to agingcare.com too, I was beginning to think I was the only Nutter on the planet trapped in my own life. In a nutshell, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had an aging parent live with us for the last 18 years. Firstly my Mum in Law and now my Mum.
(0)
Report

If my mother-in-law actually lived in my house I would have slit my throat a long time ago. As it is, her little home is attached to our home by way of a space used as her "utility room", but the door locks from our side. She has no idea her front door key will unlock that door and I pray she never will. I spend a lot of time running up and down the stairs taking care of her....right now it's the simple things....making sure she bathes, giving her meds, etc. If she becomes bed-ridden at some point in the future I will definitely hire someone to come in and help. I just retired after 25 years in EMS and my husband is a physician so we have a lot of options for help. But I will NOT give up my life to care only for her.
(2)
Report

Thanks all for the input. A lot to think about and plan for. I'm not feeling so overwhelmed today - just venting and finding this group has been a great help.
(0)
Report

Janny - DO NOT feel guilty because you want to run away or fantasize about life without MIL. I've seen - and done my own pity parties and your's is nothing compared to that - so easy on yourself, girl. It's completely normal - the fact that you reach our for support is great and means you're still emotionally healthy. 9 years is plenty of time to put in - if you're a diabetic then stress will only aggrivate your condition and you SHOULD NOT - absolutely SHOULD NOT - sacrifice your own health to take care of her - especially not if you have to continue working for a number of years. You need to speak with your husband about MIL moving in to assisted living. If necessary, tell him that your doctor thinks your blood pressure is too high and you must reduce your stress. MIL can have her own little studio and eat all her meals in a restaurant style setting. If she can't afford the monthly rent there are some that will accept medicaide to supplement the cost. Start calling around. The next time MIL begins to run you down tell her that she can always go live some where else - you'll help her pack her bags and boxes.

If you can't talk with your husband then go away for a long weekend and leave him there to tend to momma. That ought to convince him, if it doesn't consider moving out for a bit - on your own. Sometimes we have to push them into understanding what we really NEED and that we mean it when we say "uncle"!!!

and... be careful for manipulation - being too "embarrassed" to use a medic alert is just stupid and she's using it to keep the two of you close by instead of enabling your chance to have some independence. she will only get worse from here on out - i bet if I spoke with you for 10 minutes, I'd find other manipulative behaviors. She's probably running your household. If you're working and contributing YOU deserve more respect and consideration - especially from your spouse...
Best of luck to you. Let us know how it goes and hang in there!!
(3)
Report

I don't see the reason she has to live with the two of you. When people say that they want to 'take care' of their parent, WHY does that always mean the parent has to LIVE with them? I don't get it. To 'take care' of someone can be done in a multitude of ways, the least of which is to actually have that person live with you. Time for you and your husband to sit down together and figure out a different option. Don't expect her to go happily along with you either, you guys have spoiled her pretty good by now. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, this is a good thing for all three of you.
(3)
Report

I know the feeling, and it passed...I have no life now....

Get out while you can......
(1)
Report

Janny, every situation is unique and each of us is doing the best we can. I would say to you to not feel guilty for wishing to have a life of your own. It might be a good idea to explore the possibility of having your mother-in-law move to a care facility, which would allow you to still visit her and give her plenty of loving attention. Having aides come into your home would be another way to ease the pressure on you. It does sound like your MIL would benefit from some socialization with people her age. You will probably get some good suggestions/advice from some people on this site, but my main message to you is to applaud you for what you have done for your MIL, and to support you in not feeling guilty, because you have no reason at all to. Good luck with this.....nine years is a very long time to care for someone.
(1)
Report

I can relate to the way you are feeling. I am my Mom's caregiver and feel like her personal servant. I don't have a life of my own any more. I have thought of putting her in a facility, but I think it would be just as hard. I would have to visit daily and do her laundry, etc. And she would catch whatever is going around, infections, colds, etc. It does feel good to have a pity party sometimes. I look forward to getting this over with and feel guilty about that too! The suggestion to get a night out is a good one. Good luck to all!
(0)
Report

Wow, it sounds like your life is similar to mine, only, the people I'm caring for, don't live with me. I've been thinking that, the better situation for me, would be all of us living under the same roof, but after reading your post, maybe not. I completely understand your feelings, that you feel guilty for having. That's when I do step away for an evening to just be with my daughter and my hubbie. Is there any services that your MIL would qualify for, where someone could sit with her, and you and your hubbie have a date? What about siblings? Does your hubbie have any siblings that could take a few hours ? There's a couple that live across the street from my parents, and they are living with 'his' mother, in her house, they 'take turns' doing things on the weekends, so that they get a break, but that still doesn't give them 'together' time, which is hard on them.
(0)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter