Caring for mother-in-law, who doesn't live with us and lives independently (if you want to call it that) in her own home. Weary.

I read another thread on here about the frustrations that come with caring for in-laws, but it was dated. So didn't know if it would see any activity here.

My husband owns his own business, and as another posting read, team work, I suppose. He has to be free to "earn a living", so, by default, the caregiving falls to me, daughter-in-law. I guess I just need to vent.

There is a sister that lives several states away (husband's sister). She is retired, she comes periodically and generally stays a few weeks when she does come. It has been 4 months since she's been here this time. She needs to come with more frequency in my opinion. I try to understand how hard it is to upend one's life and have to come here for several weeks, and care for your mother. But it doesn't satisfy the reality that gets dealt with here on this end.

If I could wave a magic wand and resolve this, mother-in-law would go live with her daughter. Daughter doesn't necessarily "want" mother-in-law to come live with her, (mother-in-law can be cruel to the husband). But the daughter has tried to encourage mother-in-law to come live with her, simply because I think, it would be a more manageable situation for all. But mother-in-law, heels dug in, does not want to leave her home. No one will fight that I don't suppose.

Mother-in-law suffered a stroke, oh about 14 years ago. It left her with balance and mobility issues. Those issues have worsened through the years, as she ages (she is presently 87). She has had several, dozens of rounds of PT through the years. It helped some, but the fact of the matter is, she is aging and becoming more and more frail, as it happens. She has been advised by all the healthcare practitioners to use a walker. She is so unsteady and even complains that she feels like she's going to fall, "ALL" the time. She has a walker. Does she use it? No. She opts for her cane, everytime. I have asked her, since I seem to be the one more on the forefront in it all, why don't you use your walker. Her answer doesn't even make sense. "Oh I use that, I do. That's how I carry laundry back and forth or whatever my dog needs or whatever." That's not what I'm asking. Fine, use it, and the seat on it, to carry what you need, but don't just use it when you need to carry something, use it ALL THE TIME like you've been advised to do. But she doesn't, won't.

She is going to fall. It's not "if", it's "when". She is going to. She wobbles as she walks with that cane, and sways and goes backwards and catches herself. She has fallen a couple of times, but no serious injuries "yet". It's coming though.

And in case anyone wonders, is she a candidate for a SNF or ALF, she isn't. She has no resources to pay for such. Her home is reverse mortgaged and she has no long-term care insurance. None of us have the resources to pay for such care.

Yes, she can get on a list of Medicaid facilities, one might suppose. And maybe that's what should occur. But see above, heels dug in, she does NOT want to leave her home. She wants to stay in her home "independent", if you want to call it that.

No one, not her son (my husband), not her daughter that lives several states away, will fight that notion. Instead it's just piece mealed together here, as far as her care, and what/when I can do for her. That leaves me resentful, it takes away time I could spend with my own aging parents (live locally also). Fortunately, as of yet, my parents, while they are aging, they both have significant others and aren't in as poor health as my mother-in-law, and so for the most part, they do relatively okay. But mother-in-law, her needs are many.

The most recent of which is the following. We had found some time back, that she wasn't eating adequately. I'm aware that's a problem with the aged. If you ask my opinion, her mobility prohibits her doing so. Though, I do question even that, to some degree. When we found she wasn't eating properly, she was also getting sick, a lot. When she gets sick, it's usually weeks and weeks of diarrhea and stomach upset. Sometimes culminating in dehydration, further weakening an already pretty compromised aged person.

So *meals on wheels* you say? No, in her younger years as a service project through her church, she used to help prepare those meals and she has a real disdain for same. Won't even hear of it. No, she'll do okay, just listen to her, she'll manage, no she's fine. So she continues on, not eating properly. She gets sick, repeatedly this vicious cycle goes on. We found a program that will deliver senior meals and hot fresh meals. But they left town, they were the only ones in town.

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When it got to the point that you are at Mom called a family meeting. Anyone not attending was told they would have no say in the decision.

In advance, my Mom announced that effective the end of the month she would NOT be the caregiver for MIL.

She told everyone...figure it out. But after 10 years, she was quitting.

Suddenly...the family figured out how to arraign for a NH and rotation of family members to be with MIL each week to she moved.

See, once everyone had to be hands on...suddenly it was OK o put pressure on MIL to enter a NH. Until they had to deal with it weekly...they were fine with letting the situation continue the way it was.

This family has gotten far too comfortable with YOU doing the work. Now, let them figure out how it will work from here.

Thank you for the input. You summarized in a few paragraphs, the sum of what I experience. A lot of anxiety as I see the situation deteriorating, and nothing in the way of her two biological children, pushing back just as hard as she digs in her heels, that things can't be status quo as we move forward.

A great example of recent interaction between myself and my sister in law. Her several states away but very much engaged in her mother's well being, from afar. (She does come here, don't get me wrong, she does come here .. and when she does, .. she does everything but breathe for her mother). When she isn't here, she is on the phone with her mother, typically 3 or 4 x's daily .. and any urgent need(s) are addressed .. either by sister in law contacting me or her brother.

I had encountered an elderly woman at my church and she'd recently had some home health care practitioners assigned to her, subsequent to a recent hospital stay. She asked me, as we talked of mother in law's inability to eat adequately (mobility issues, .. that's my opinion, as her impediment). This elderly woman from my church, is on a walker. She has a husband who is just as aged, but helps her, at home. But she went on to tell me that they had assigned an "occupational therapist" to her. The job .. mostly, as she described it, .. the occupational therapist wanted to help make sure she can navigate her home safely, but also that she can adequately care for herself, be that bathing, or fixing herself something to eat. She asked if we'd checked into having an OT assigned.

We have not. This was all news to me. But from what was described to me, it sounds as though that would be beneficial to mother in law. She struggles with mobility. It's my observation that her stamina (of course, she's 87 yo), is not good. Likely, that is in part, . because it's such a struggle for her to stay upright (using only her cane, won't use her walker for reasons that aren't clear to me). Likely that wears her out, just trying to get one foot in front of the other daily, to let the dog in and out, to go to the bathroom, .. to take a load of laundry to the hamper, .. to go brush her teeth, you name it. For younger folks, . these things are 2nd nature. But when you have to literally give it everything you've got to plant one foot firmly and the next foot, without falling. I would imagine it's exhausting.

It's my opinion that an OT might prove beneficial. I relayed the above dialogue to my sister in law (who is very engaged in her mother's well being). Her response: "You know mom, she's so stubborn, .. she probably wouldn't agree to that". My response to that: "Have we asked?". Her response: "No, .. I hadn't ever considered that as an option, but you know how she is .. you get PT set up and she goes along with it long enough to shut us up, then when no one is present any longer for the PT visits, she sends them packing .. and tells all of us, she just isn't up to it ... and off goes that part of any care team .. I just know her, .. she will fight that, she doesn't want anyone coming there".

This is how the dialogue goes. But I'm expected to be front and center, to help. I get disgusted and frustrated, .. I see this, as you said, .. more upfront than the two bio kids do .. being on the forefront of it all. I don't have this issue, not yet, with either of my parents. But I would hope that when my day comes, I would be more forthright than either her son or daughter seem to be able to muster.

"You want to continue to stay in your own home, it's going to be on these conditions, .. we are going to set up PT .. you will see it through to it's conclusion until you are released from what they deem the appropriate course of care, same for OT .... and same for a home health aide ... and if you won't agree to that, then we will be looking for options where you can be safe".

That's about how I'd like to think it might be stated if this were my parent.

As to the upcoming birth of the twin g'children and my stance that I will be front and center on that issue. I have stated it just as plainly and as many times/ways that I know how. Even going so far as to tell my husband and his sister, .... that they both need to be of the mindset that should mother in law become ill or needy in some way .. the 911 phone number is on speed dial and I will use it. I won't be going there, to attend to her, not when I have a daughter who is recuping from a c-section and bringing home twins and already has a 4 year old that I dearly love, and will need attention also.

IMO, there are two capable adults here that should be taking the bull by the horns .. and their failure to do so, isn't going to make it my problem.

All I can do, going forward here is wring my hands with worry that mother in law will somehow stay well, at least long enough for me to keep a lid on things with my daughter. That .. I find infuriating and frustrating, that I should have to be that concerned. This is not my mother!

I had to put limits on my mother's outings (I'm her driver). She gets taken to Mass once a week, to any medical/dental appointments and ONE shopping trip/week. She groused a lot about only one shopping trip/week, but has come to accept it. So there's an idea -- she gets ONE shopping or lunch or whatever outing a week. She needs to start learning that there are limits. 

If you take MIL to a lot of doctor appointments, I know it would make it very hard to say that you couldn't stop somewhere on the way home that she wanted to go. My mother doesn't have many medical appointments, but you can believe that she's always angling to get an additional stop at a store on the way home. (And yes, I do allow these add-on trips, but I do tell her what time it is -- she doesn't wear a watch and has NO idea how slow she is and how much of my time she takes up -- the other week it was 1.5 hours to get through the grocery store with not a lot of items!)

I'm not a pet person, and wouldn't do pet care (including vet visits) at all. If there is a mobile vet, that is who should be used. If the dog is old and sick, it might not last long. NO ONE should take her to get another!

I've been thinking about your dilemma a lot today. I'm no expert, but I do have some thoughts. There are some real straight-talkers on this forum, and I hope they chime in, too.

Your SIL and your H are taking the easy way out and not challenging Queen Mama's dictates. To their credit, they do get involved. But you are left being involved the most, because you are the one right there.

If your MIL allows a housecleaner in, would she allow more help? Suppose the doctor ordered some home health care? Would she let them in?

I'm concerned that as your mil becomes more frail, that she will need more help. That will involve heavy physical labor on your part. Will you want to lift her from wheelchair to toilet? Lift her into and out of a bath or shower? Change her Depends?

DO NOT back down on your plan to not provide any help while you are helping your daughter after she has her twins.

Sooner or later, you MIL is going to have a fall that will render her incapable of living alone. And that is the point where your H and SIL have to insist on facility placement.

If they don't, YOU will end up being the one who provides the daytime help because you will be perceived to be the one who has the time. And that you DO NOT WANT.

She does do her own laundry. Stays in PJ's most days. Too much effort to get dressed, unless she has somewhere to go, a doctor appointment perhaps.

She does get diarrhea .. and when she does and there are accidents, she has .. at times thrown the clothes away .. saying they are too soiled to even be able to do anything with. PJ's mostly, underpants. She does have adult diapers that she deploys at times when there are flare ups.

If there are messes .. and there are, .. she generally cleans it up. But, .. when one of us is next there, it's almost always apparent she missed some places, and so we will clean it up, either my husband or myself.

Or if it's a particularly bad bout, my husband has been called upon to come and clean it up, and he's done so, many occasions.

I have an extremely weak stomach for such things. I can't even deal with pet excrement without gagging and creating my own mess by throwing up.

Ok wow- you did need to vent- lol. Many times it's the stress of being sucked into the vortex of their craziness that is overwhelming. I've been having panick attacks . They call and yell and bark orders. Threatened to take NH to court. They have the NH social worker so scared she agreed to take them to see their house to make sure we haven't stolen anything. My 84 year old FIL can use his text on his phone and he sends messages with !!!!!. He just bought mil her own phone online and it was delivered to NH. Now you have her with mid stage dementia able to call. She doesn't know how to turn off the phone so when it goes to message we get an earful of their interaction . He yells at her and says what did you tell them that for? They don't need to know ..... He is a big fat bully. He is a liar and a manipulator and has lived for years on credit cards and never intended to pay them back. Lived two years without paying a mortgage and got away with that. No one even foreclosed. She's been hoarding junk mail and now we've been stuck driving 180 miles on the weekends to go through her mess. Plus my kitchen is half demolished as we were going to redo it ourselves- already been waiting 5 years . Do I complain? No. I just have anxiety attacks. So I hear yeah. Not to mention my own mother is stubborn as heck too.

Does she do her own laundry?

When she has diarrhea, does that result in messy clothes? Messy bathroom? Who handles those cleanups?

She's also an avid reader. But with her arthritic hands, holding a book became a problem (she does have a Kindle, but doesn't like it). We got her a stand, .. looks kinda like a miniature bookbag . has a cushy smushy bottom to it, . and you can stand the book up on it, thus free your hands. That helped.

But there are also trips to the library in the above, .. that's on me. To get her there.

Mother in law has a housekeeper that comes 1 x, every-other-week, funded by daughter that lives several states away. The housekeeper changes her bed sheets, blows off the deck outside (leaf debris and sticks that gather from shade trees that overhang). She vacuums, mops the floors, dusts, cleans the bathrooms.

Mother in law does shower on her own, though she doesn't do so but every few days. She doesn't go anywhere or do anything much, but stay at home.

If she needs groceries, I go get what she needs, she tells me what she needs, and I go get it, and bring it to her home, and put the items away for her. If she needs anything from a specialty store, from a department store .. that's me, I go get it. If she needs something from a department store, say Bed Bath & Beyond or the like, we will generally go by there, on one of the outings when I have her for a doctor appointment. If she needs something from a hardware store, that's generally my husband that handles that.

As for daily living, .. she manages, though it is an all day affair most times, simply because she struggles now to write a check .. can't remember how to write at times .... has to struggle if, for instance, she is to write an "S" letter, has to stop and think about it .. and then make a concerted effort, arthritic hands, brain slowing, etc. It takes her a long long long time, to sit and pay any bills she has. She has very few. When she needs assistance, as she sometimes does, if there is an amount in question as to a bill, cable TV for instance, . she will usually consult with her daughter, and her daughter will try to handle things via phone call, for her. Too hard for her to navigate the prompts and so forth with phone systems and calling anywhere these days to dispute like a phone bill, or whatever. This is at her insistence, wanting to remain independent. Her daughter has offered, and they offers stands, to this day .. to take over her bill paying. She won't hear of it, wants to remain independent and do all she can, on her own. It's a struggle for her her.

There was a recent issue/question with regard to her pet insurance ... and that, I took over and got to the bottom of it for her.

When there are doctor appointments (and there are many), that's me .. I go get her and take her to said appointments and usually do most of the talking as I'm knowledgeable as to what meds she's on, what her health history is. If there are rx's .. I go get them.

If there are any problems that crop up, .. most recently, a piece of fencing in the b'yard that blew over in a windstorm .. my husband handles that, .. as fast as he can, which usually isn't fast enough to suit someone who has nothing to do with their time, but look at the broken fence in the b'yard .. vs the person who is to fix it, works for a living.

She fixes herself some breakfast each morning. Usually that's a bowl of cereal (she prefers that), and maybe a banana cut up in it, or some strawberries. For lunch, .. she may eat a half a sandwich that she prepares herself, .. or whatever leftovers I've brought her way. And for dinner, .. as said previously, if you ask her what she had for dinner (maybe we should quit asking), she says she just ate a cracker and a handful of grapes. Usually by that time of day, her motor has conked out, .. any motor she had. She does nap daily, after lunch. But her stamina is nil.

That about sums up her daily living. Her outings include, whatever we can do, as to taking her out to lunch/dinner, which we try to do occasionally. That's it. She doesn't belong to any social networks of any sort, such as a senior center, or a church group or neighborhood organization. Her outings are, whatever we can do for her, my husband and myself, .. and doctor appointments.

Dorker, it is the grown children who are so physically and emotionally exhausted whenever one's parent(s) insist on living "independent" in their own home. What is wrong with this picture???

Oh how I wished I had taken more control when my 90+ parents insisted on staying in their house, on their own.

Make a list of everything that you do for Mom-in-law, now cross off half the items, now cross off a couple more.... stick to the list. Learn to say to Mom-in-law, "I am sorry, I can't possibly do that". I know it won't be easy, but enough is enough.

Too many times we are enabling our elders to remain in their own home when we know it is too much work for them. It would be different if they said "yes" to cleaning crews and caregivers... nope, nadda, never.

Then we sit back and wait for something to happen. I was on pins and needles the 7 years my folks were living in their house.

My comments were related to the day to day - not the dog emergency - which was great you helped her with. It was an emergency, not the norm. I'm talking about daily living - food, cleaning, etc. Why do YOU have to do it and do all of these other things for MIL? MIL needs to assess and decide - you are just helping her put off tough decisions - at some point they will have to be made.

Who does the housecleaning for you mil? Or does she do her own?

It sounds like your mil is living in unsanitary conditions.

Interesting take on things. Saying that it's up to me, to decide what I will and won't do.

Let me give you a great for instance of how I get pulled into things that make me resentful and maybe you can give me a better example of how I stay out of it, thus not resentful.

Recently mother in law's dog became ill (the dog also is aged). The dog is a wonderful companion for an aged/frail mother in law. A mother in law who, in a lot of cases, is wholly not engaged anywhere else. She doesn't attend a church, or a senior activity anywhere, or a neighborhood coffee clatch or any other such thing. But she is "engaged" with her dog. The dog is her baby, he is her life.

The dog became ill, throwing up, diahrrea, .. urinating on the floors (carpets). She tried, her insistence, .. for the first few days to stay after this herself. This person who is so wobbly she can barely remain upright, now bending over on the regular, to clean up dog vomit and so forth. This went on for a few days .. her thinking perhaps the dog will get better.

Finally, inside of a few days she was so worn out, she was past going .. past the point of even being able to get up and go herself, which we saw coming and tried to encourage the dog be seen sooner, before it wore her out to the point it ultimately got to.

By this time, she was so compromised, in having spent a few days in the dog's care .. it was now being asked of me, by sister who is in touch with her mother for wellness cks (via long distance/phone) at least 3 x's daily .. and by mother in law. Would I come get the dog and take him to the vet and would I communicate with the vet on her behalf .. she just isn't able to do it.

I did so. Came and retrieved the dog .. and took him to the vet.

The vet rx'd some medication for what he assumed was perhaps a viral sorta thing and sent us on our way. I did try to encourage and the vet was on board with this notion as well, .. perhaps it would be better for mother in law (he is very familiar with mother in law, the vet is .. and her compromised condition) ... would be better perhaps in the interim that they keep him, board him for a few days and nurse him back to health as he is making messes everywhere .. with this vomitting and so forth.

No, no mother in law couldn't bear it .. no .. that's her baby.

Back home to mother in law the dog went. Against my wishes, against what the vet also thought might be best .. at least in the case of the dog's owner who is severely compromised in her ability to care for an ailing pet.

My mindset about all of this. I was a little put out with it all, but okay. My feelings somewhere along the lines of .. well okay .. this dog provides her the only means of engagement anywhere in her life .. and it's a vital part of her daily existence. I'd rather not have to be on the forefront of petcare .. I no longer own any pets. Did for a number of years but have launched my kids and no no longer have pets and am not eager to jump back into petcare/responsibility. But okay ....that was kinda my mindset.

So back to mother in law's we go with the ailing dog. I tried to encourage that she leave the dog outside more .. rather than inside, which is the norm for the dog. We live in a wonderful climate this time of year, it's not too hot, not too cold. She has a completely privacy fenced b'yard .. and so it's not like any harm can come to the dog. Go outside yourself some, .. and sit on your deck to keep your dog company, but leave him outside more than you normally do, that will cut down on the messes you are having to clean up. No, of course not, she couldn't do that, that would be like me asking her to leave a child outside.


Her dog has been known to, in years past, .... for reasons none of us ever understood, .. he would go into her shower ... and urinate ... not routinely .. but he's done it, and defecate. Sounds gross. But in a case like mother in law .. where her mobility is such an issue .. it's not as bad as it sounds. At least it's easier to clean up than would be the carpet in such cases. No, it'snot something that the dog did routinely .. nor was he ever trained to do so .. so we don't understand how that ever came about, but he would, on occasion, use her shower.

She was struggling at night, particular at night .. with the dog's needs. Remember she has some pretty marked mobility problems. The dog needing to go out at night. It wasn't incontinence in that the dog unable to hold his urine/etc. It was that she couldn't get him there, to the outside fast enough.

I encouraged that she make his bed in the shower ... if she won't leave him outside more .. lessening the messes he makes .... then at least, at night, when you go to bed, rather than have him in your bed with you (where he routinely sleeps) .. put his bed in the shower, .. then at least if he has an urgent need as to urination or other .. he is in the shower, and we all know he has familiarity with using that space for same.

NO .. she could never do that to him. He wouldn't understand why he is now relegated to the shower for bed. He's used to sleeping with her, in her bed.


So okay, .. then you will continue to be awakened ... 3 or 4 x's nightly .. and of course, if you can't get him out fast enough, then there will be messes in the floor/middle of the night, to attend to.

As it wore on the dog's vomiting ceased, .. the diarrhea ceased, but the urination/frequency of same .. still present and a big problem for someone with mobility issues. So now we are several days into the medication regiment and the dog's condition has improved at least to the diarrhea and the vomiting, but the urination and frequency of same .. still an ever present problem. Waking her at night 3 and 4 x's nightly to go out, .. daily .. needing to go out with MUCH MORE frequency than would be normal.

Her worn to a nub, an absolute nub with it all. Unable to function practically to care for herself, much less her dog.

Back to the vet we go .. or rather me, with her dog in tow. The vet then decides he needs to run some tests on the dog. Tests that were this a normal setting, someone with no mobility problems, . you'd bring the dog in at 7:30 in the AM, drop him off, and pick him up at 4:30 in the afternoon.

That's far too much for mother in law to navigate ... even on a normal functioning day .. much less her having been made so much worse by the dog's illnesses.

So I again spoke with the vet and asked what were his thoughts about keeping the dog .. rather than take him back to mother in law at this moment and bring him back to you tomorrow morning (which would require that I go get the dog and then go retrieve the dog for her), what were the vets thoughts on .. how about I just leave him here right now, .. we will pay for boarding ... so he's here for you to begin the tests with him first thing in the morning ... and he will spend the night here .. and the day tomorrow .. and I will come get him at the close of business tomorrow to return him to mother in law. The vet thought that was a splendid idea and said that considering mother in law's inability to care for the dog .. he wasn't above towing that line himself, .. that the dog needs to stay overnight.

So I went back to mother in law's ... explained to her that the dog needs testing .. and will have to stay overnight .. and throughout the next day .. and that she should use this time to rest .. that she's been at this now for over a week, this incessant clean up business and need to go out so frequently and is worn out, .. please use this time to rest.

Mother in law understood the need, and was as okay with it as she could be. That's her baby remember .. it's like a child to her.

So the next day came, .. time for me to go get the dog ... I talked to the vet again (the rest results wouldn't be in for another few days). At my urging, the vet agreed to keep the dog another night .. (I knew this wouldn't be popular with mother in law .. but she can't keep up ... keep after this dog and her so weak). The dog stayed an additional night ... and I went the next morning to retrieve the dog and return him to mother in law.

Remember whatever is wrong with the dog causing this frequency of urination .. it's not cured, .. we are still going to have this problem .. til we hopefully zero in on, thru testing, what's going on. So I'm now returning this dog to her .. condition still present. But at least she's had two days of rest now, .. and nights.

The above, .. a situation where, at least in my view .. but I'm certainly open to suggestion here, Lord knows I am. One gets pulled into something that makes them resentful. What was I to do in that situation, tell her no .. I'm not helping with your dog .. you get to the vet the best way you can ... hope that works out for ya.

And if you are wondering, yes I've suggested that perhaps she find a mobile vet that will come to her. Oh no, no of course not. The vet she likes and is familiar with is the only suitable option.

The above a situation that breeds resentment. Where it's so easy to say, well it's her pet, her life, she is of sound mind, let her figure out how to resolve this. If it were only that simple.

And it was right behind all of the above, that mother in law then fell ill, no big surprise .. then requiring one of us stay there around the clock to keep her from getting worse.

I'm open to suggestions here.

How many hours/week do you spend on caregiving?

You will be caregiving this woman as long as you allow it. Your "out" will be when she inevitably falls and lands in the hospital. That is when your husband clearly states to the medical personnel that his mother lives by herself and cannot take care of herself. Then she will have to be placed in a facility.

If your mother in law is of sound mind it is up to her to bridge the gaps between what she can and can't do. You can't expect sister in law to come more. If i were you - i would decide what i can do cheerfully and willingly and then the rest is up to mother in law. She doesn't want meals on wheels - then she finds an alternative. She doesn't want someone in to clean or help - then she lives with the consequences.

You and you alone are putting yourself in the situation where you get resentful and angry. So don't. You are all adults and mother in law can make good or bad decisions as she wishes - but you don't have to be the one to step in and fill the gaps so she can stay independent. It is going to get worse not better.

My mom only gets $700 month social security and she is able to find senior living - where she has an apartment but there are vans to go to doctors, groceries, etc. It is tied to her income and not as glamorous as some senior places, but there are places out there for your MIL.

Just to continue on further. That company, the one that provided fresh meals, they left town. There is no other service locally, other than meals on wheels and see above, mother in law will not hear of it, wants nothing to do with MOW.

If it's of any interest, mother in law won't let anybody come ... we've had PT .. she utilizes briefly, but ends up sending them packing. Not because she is mistreated or doesn't like the therapist .. or some other like-reason. It's simply because it's just too much for her to manage. She has days, a lot of them, .. when it's all she can do to navigate to feed her dog, . and maybe pour herself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Much more than that, is more than she can manage to deal with. Having anyone "come" to her home, be that a healthcare worker, be that a PT person, .. period ... she wants no part of it, and see above MOW fits that bill also.

I'm very frustrated. My husband (her son), nor her daughter that lives several states away .. neither will dig in their heels just as firmly with her. She wants to continue to live "independently" and so by golly that's what we do, piece mealing this all together .. as best it can be. But that means that me, .. daughter in law, is on the forefront of all this, a whole lot more than her two biological children. She has a son that lives next state away but he and and she do not speak .. and haven't in several years .. thus he is no one that has any part of anything at all to do with it. Nor can he even be called upon for monetary contribution, he wants nothing to do with the entire family (borne out of a dispute with his mother). Unfounded, and ridiculous, .... but it is what it is. So there is only her son .. which is my husband, .. but he has to work, .. he can't be on the forefront ... that would be me. Her daughter, lives several states away .... so she isn't on the forefront like I am .. she does come, .. periodically ... but she isn't here day to day.

I get very frustrated with it all.

The meal delivery service we had in place, .. it was .. in the end .. very/enormously helpful in that mother in law was eating better, .. and not getting sick as frequently. The pattern had been, she is not nourished adequately .. and she would fall ill. When she gets ill, it's generally weeks and weeks of diarrhea and upset stomach. She has Diverticulitis and so that gets aggravated quite easily. Usually culminating in some dehydration .. and so there is generally a need that one of us stay with her, to make sure she drinks adequately and doesn't eat the wrong things (yes she will eat the wrong things .. she can have horrible diarrhea ... and vomiting as her condition and find it acceptable to go eat some pickled okra out of her fridge or a glass of OJ, which only makes things much worse). She is to be on a soft/BRAT diet in these times, and she knows this .. but follow through on her part, ... absent. So it usually means that I stay during the daytime, .. ergo .. putting my other responsibilities/life on hold .. stressing me out. Husband stays at night .. this around the clock care .. so that she won't eat the wrong thing, so that she will stay adequately hydrated.

Why don't we send her to the hospital? See above, ... this woman .. she wants to stay in her home ... dug in. She won't go. So call an ambulance .. we've done that. She tells the rescue personnel she does not want to go to the hospital, .. they won't force her ... and so maybe .. maybe just maybe .. we can get her transported to the outpatient unit .. there they will IV her and at least get her better hydrated, .. but she's right back home again, .. and not eating right .. and not drinking right, etc etc etc.

This meal service we had in place, .. did a really good job of negating this vicious cycle of above. But that is no more. That service vacated our local area .. and so there is no other service, other than MOW. I have suggested .. to all involved, mother in law, .. sister .. my husband .. my granny .. when she got up in years (granted she lived in another state) .. she went daily, to the senior center, where a meal was served. That was generally my granny's one and only hot meal per day and that sufficed as far as nourishing her. She might eat a little snack of some sort for breakfast, .. but then she'd make her way to the senior center, and there were activities for the elderly, they were able to engage with others .. there was a hot meal served daily.

Mother in law won't hear of that as an option, and see above, .. as to my frustration, no one will dig in their heels as firmly or more, than mother in law and demand she do so. She won't hear of it, she wants nothing to do with a senior center and all those "old people".

We just went through about a 3 week bout (the meal service ceased beginning of April). Within a couple of weeks, she was sick, dreadfully sick. And so we've just been through a bout of that, .. 3 weeks.

It frustrates me that sister ... her answer to the above is, "Well I guess she'll have to go back to eating the frozen meals from the grocery store".


Said with much disgust and smirk. That's why we went with the senior meal delivery, she had a freezer full of frozen meals .. she wasn't eating them. She'd call it sufficient, night after night after night, to have a cracker and a grape .... and that's fine .. periodically, but not as part of a regular staple of a nutritious diet.

She would weaken and become sick .. and the vicious cycle would go on and on and on. We finally engaged that meal service, and it did seem helpful in that mother in law didn't get ill as frequently. But that's no longer an option.

I'm frustrated that no one will dig in their heels with mother in law. I do take food when I cook, .. I don't always cook though. I have other responsibilities that take up my time. I help with our business we own .. I volunteer at our church ... I have a 4 year old grand daughter that I look after while her mommy works .. her mommy is expectant with twins .. and her mommy fatigues easily, so I take care of 4 year old to give mommy some respite. When I do cook dinner, I always make a plate to set aside for mother in law. Mother in law lives 20 minutes from me. Taking it to her become the next task. I take her a plate of food, and visit with her for a couple of hours, do any mundane chores she might need seen to, etc. Then 20 minutes back. It does have to be factored in, when you consider the other hats I wear in my daily life.

Her son, my husband, he goes over and visits also. Will fix things that break around her home.

Mother in law needs help with things like going to the grocery store ... she needs help with things like doctor visits .. so I transport, and generally act as an advocate and ask questions, etc.

I guess it's just a rant/vent. If I could wave a magic wand, .. she would go live with her daughter. Daughter doesn't necessarily relish the idea .. as mother in law has been cruel to her husband at times (her husband suffers from bipolar disorder, and has for decades .. and is heavily medicated as a result). But daughter has said she will take her, and has tried to encourage her mother to come live with her. I think it would be a whole lot easier to manage, rather than this piece meal situation .. if she would agree to do so. She won't.

Many frustrations. Most recently, .. I have been as upfront and out and loud as I can be about the fact that my daughter is expecting twins, via c-section .. July .. and as we know .. twins can come earlier. I will be placing that situation as my first priority. Period. There is no discussion on that topic. That is how it is going to be. My daughter, the mother of the 4 year old, will need my help as she recuperates .. and the care of twins and a 4 year old, and that is where I'll be. Period.

I have said that as loud and plainly as I know how to say it. I had encouraged that sister be here .. to care for her mother perhaps end of June and into July.


Sister has a son who lives on the other side of the world, .. literally ...he is an engineer and has a great job .. living in some middle eastern country with his wife and kids. They don't get to visit the states often .. but guess when they are coming. Right smack in the middle of all this.

I had encouraged to sister .. maybe since he makes such a good living, .. maybe just this time, instead of them flying to where you live, .. maybe they fly down this way ..and rent a condo for their stay in the states, .. that way they can see you, you can see your g'children, but you can also be present in case your mother should be needy.

No, no that can't happen. He likes to come to where sister lives .. it's where he grew up, ... he can visit with friends there .. he can see doctors/dentists that he is familiar with .. there. So no go .. on them coming this way. I find that I live with such dread that mother in law will get sick and needy and sister back in her state where she lives ... and not here to be on the forefront of it all, and me.. trying to keep a lid on all things caretaking .. with a daughter and newborn twin grandchildren .. and a sick/ailing aged mother in law. I have literally cried with worry over this.

Especially since we are now seeing that mother in law is back to not nourishing adequately and has fallen ill already .. one time. The cycle, .. the vicious cycle of her not eating properly is what sets that in motion .. and we've seen it .. experienced it. Thus the reason we started the meal delivery service, which did help. And here we are back at square one, mother in law not adequately nourishing . but by golly she's going to live in her own home .. and she's not going to have MOW come, she's not going to go to the senior center .. and sister (her daughter) thinks it adequate to say "well she'll have to go back to eating frozen dinners, just heat them in the microwave". She won't do it, doesn't do it. The cycle continues.

I'm not sure what the difference is between heating up what was delivered to her as a cold meal .. from this senior meal delivery service .. she as able to heat that in the microwave ... but she doesn't seem to be able to get a frozen meal out of the freezer and put that in the microwave. I don't get that. I've all but given up trying to understand it, .. that and the issue with why she continues using a cane when she is so so so unsteady and wobbly and has been advised by every healthcare practitioner she encounters that the walker needs to be her *go to* .. 100% of the time. I've given up trying to understand her refusal to do so.

I find that I am resentful.

As I've said to the sister in law .. on more than one occasion. How long are we going to let her continue to call the shots here. She won't let home healthcare practitioners come, she won't allow PT to come .. she won't allow MOW to come, .. she won't allow that we make provision for her to get to the local senior center daily .. yet we know she isn't eating properly and she will fall sick time and time again .. and require that she go get IV fluids and be accompanied and babysat .. as we nurse her through it, how long .. how long does she get to call the shots and demand that no, .. she is going to stay IN HER HOME and live independently, when she is NOT living independently, she is being propped up .. a LOT .. by me, and I'm a daughter in law here .. who in some cases has to sacrifice my own life in her care and am growing resentful of it.

I hope someone can chime in and offer some commiseration or advice or something. I'm very frustrated.

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