Lovestinks Asked February 2012

How do I walk away?

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I have been taking care of my in laws for as long as I have been married. I married late in life so I sowed my oats and don't mind the change of life style. It was nice having people depend on me. I never really got along with my husbands brothers because they never really treated husband with the respect he has earned many times over. They seem to be stuck on the "he's just my little brother" attitude, when together we are a very respected business owners. I always put everyone first and me last. 100lbs later my health and marriage is not withstanding the test of time. As time progresses the demands on me are greater. My FIL really appreciated me and was saddened by the way the brothers treat us. He was very worried for my MIL because she is a little off. She seems fine when you talk to her but she doesn't remember what she says and doesn't follow a line of logic...she waits for leading questions and agrees or dis agrees. She doesn't cook, clean, drive, manage money or the house or bath herself. FiL has done that for her since 1989. In 2008 he realized that he had to set up some kind of back up plan to take care of MIL because my husband, myself and my children were really the only family that seemed to "come around". He took me to the bank and had me added joint to all his accounts and told me that when he passed he wanted me to look after MIL with the money. I objected with the idea he was never going away...he insisted. Out of respect I agreed, never really thinking about what I was getting into. I didn't talk about it because at the time it didn't seem important. He passed and as he commanded I took the money and put into a seperate account to take care of my MIL. The brothers freaked. I tried to explain FIL's plan...but as you can image they never listened before why should they now? So like an idiot I stood my ground because I am the primary care giver and the POA. The beginning of the year all went to hell in a hand basket, the family and MIL say they don't want me anymore. So for over a year I put that women before my own family and she spit at me. I agreed to step away. 2 weeks later MIL is not bathed and was out of food. So of course I step in and handled her care. Now, I held off giving back the $ till I was sure that MIL was going to be cared for. She was not. She apologized, but the damage is done. She apologized to me but not in front of the family. Husband wants me to walk away, our business is suffering greatly from this drama and husband is trying to slavage what is left, but with out me, he can't do it alone. There is no communication with the family at all, we are all very unhappy with each other and I will never trust them again. MIL has no quality of life now that I do the least can do, shop, manage the house and medical bills, take her to PT and Dr. appointments, clean the house, do the laundry and bathe her. She used to spend the day with me but I got nothing done. I realize that now, just having the time to type this. I just want to walk away cause I love taking care of her but I hate doing it for the brothers.

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honeycomb Feb 2012
If you have poa for financial and medical then some one trusted you enough to give you that power . The brothers and sisters will be angry but in time they will understand, or not. But thats really not your problem, your main objective is to care for MIL. Do some searching and find an aid you trust. Dont leave her to be taken care of by the family because they have shown you they are not capable. Shes is your responsibility, and I am sure you have figured that out by now. Just reading your story I think you would be hard on yourself if you came to find out she was ill and not taken care of. Maybe its time to find a live in, or a care home for her. You are a great DIL and I would jump for joy if I had some one as caring as you arein my family .
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How soon before Mom runs out of money to pay her 24/7 caregiver should I look into getting assistance?
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Do you still have medical & financial power of attorney? If so, you an do what you want. You've been a wonderful daughter in law, but it's time for you to have a life. I suggest finding a good home for your mom. Even her son, your husband says he's done. If you don't take care of yourself, it makes caring for others so difficult.I do wonder why your husband is not standing up to his brothers & sisters. I have the same problem with my sister. My dad lives with us & I have POA. You are such a loving & compassionate daughter in law. Good luck!
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Fireguy: I read your previous posts on a different thread and at that time you were going through the same situation and had mentioned that the "brothers" had threatened to do things to financially hurt you and your husband. Your husband wants you to walk away from this situation because his mom will not back you up and the brothers seem to be able to manipulate her. He needs you to help with the family business and be by his side. I'm sure he has worries about back lash from his brothers too. As you have stated, your MIL is not capable of caring for herself and she is not capable to telling the brothers to mind their own business. The next time she is out of food, unclean, and living is a dirty house, maybe it would be best to make a call to Adult Protective Services and let them take over.
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Lovestinks Feb 2012
tboyer1,starwings thank you. You are right, I feel better when
i know I do the most I can do. It seems childish I allow people to hurt me. .i have been handling husband differently (not mentioning family at all and focuing on business). I feel so alone, MIL doesn't talk to me. My constant need for validation is getting exausting...cause it's just not there. I promised myself to stick to my lentel dedication and fast everyother day. Perhaps alittle hunger will put things in perspective for me. I can certainly use a "trimming of the fat" if you will. The psych doctor made MIL promise I can bath her 2 a week, and made her promise to agree to socializing (some kind of program). When we left the office she won't let me make a f/u appt. She said she won't listen to him why should she spend the $ on the copay. Exausting I tell you!!!
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starwings Feb 2012
We had a simular issue with my MIL, except for the fact that my husband has no siblings and so if fell directly on us. We live 12 hours away and could not visit often. I noticed there was little in her cupboards and she was acting strange, however, we couldn't get her to move out of her house.

One day we received a call from her local bank. She had been visiting them weekly to balance her checkbook and they witnessed a decline in her mental state and said they would have to put her in assisted living if nothing was done for her own protection. That was the only way she agreed to come with us and has been living with us for over 2 years.

If you could get her to a physician who could declare her incompetent to live on her own, I expect you would have some power to start making some decisions because it sounds like it is too much for you to handle alone, nor should you. When it affects your health and well being it isn't helping anyone because all are affected.

We had to make some adjustments in our thinking with my MIL. She now goes to a day care facility twice a day. This has proved helpful because it is on those days that we have free time. I hope this helps.
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tboyer1 Feb 2012
I understand your quandry. However, if you were willing to do it before adn the reason you do it is because of your love for your husband and his mother then you should keep takingcare of her. FIL entrusted taht to you knowing you were strong enough to do it. You also agreed to do it with him. As for the rest of the 'family' they are of no concern. If you have POA they really can't do anything about it. If you can't physically take care of her look for an adult day care or a community for her to stay in. Ther eare options out there to assist you. The family might argue with you, but at the end of the day it is you who were given this responsibility. How bad do you think you would feel if you did walk away and you found out something bad happened to her because of it? I am in a similar situation and have to keep telling myself it is for a greater good. And I have to keep researching the options for assistance. There are a lot out there you just have to look. Best of luck. I know it is draining. Look for assited living facilities in your area or adult day cares. You won't regret it.
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