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My 74 year old MIL is delusional. She's accused us of stealing her money, cancelling her burial insurance, leaving her alone, and other things. We live with her because we lost our house in 2013 and have no way to move somewhere else. She named my 20 year old nephew with Tourette's and ADHD her primary caregiver and he can't even remember to check his school email. She hordes her dirty underwear and tells her social workers I make her do it. She's absolutely convinced every social worker who comes to see her that we're the cause of all her problems and they refuse to interview us. She's verbally and emotionally abusive. I'm afraid she's going to file a police report one day when we haven't done anything wrong. If I offer to quit my job to take care of her she gets mad and tells me I'm stupid. I tell her that's the only way I'll have time to take care of her and she suggests I should cut back on my sleep. (I only get 4-6 hours a night because she crashes around the living room in her power chair at 2, 4, and 6 AM at least three nights a week.) She specifically asks me to do things for her, then gets mad when I do them and tells me she never asked me to do those things.

I have no idea what to do. Her doctor won't listen to me, her social workers won't listen to me, her brother won't listen to me...It's live on the streets or live in fear of being charged with crimes we didn't commit. My husband, her son, has fibromyalgia and he gets the worst of it. She berates him and tells him he's not really sick when it's all he can do to get out of bed some days. If anyone has any suggestions I'd appreciate them.

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Virginia get out NOW. MIL is not accusing hubby or nephew of bad things, she has focused her anger at only YOU. Get out before she tells the SW you are abusive and you find yourself behind bars. Just you, out, free.
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It's not that he's not standing up to her. He's just as fed up with her as I am, and he takes a large portion of her abuse as well.

The nephew lives with us because he's in school. The MIL raised him his whole life and sheltered him badly so my husband and I have been trying to teach him life skills but it's been hard because the MIL refuses to see him as an adult. He understands that he has to go live his own life. He will have his associate's in 3 semesters, so it won't be that long. But he really cannot live on his own yet. He has no resources of his own whatsoever.

Tomorrow morning I'm getting the ball rolling for section 8. But it can take several months. There is not a shelter around here who will take all three of us and if I leave the nephew with the MIL he'll never have his own life, just be stuck taking care of her for the rest of hers.

We're getting out, but its a weekend and my hands are tied. I'm doing everything I can to research options while everything's closed. When things are open tomorrow morning I can get more answers.
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Get out period. If you have to go to a shelter, go.
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VirginiaDIL - Why is your nephew living there? It sounds like he is not welcome either. You need to let him know it's time to move on and stand on his own feet or apply for section 8 himself.

If your husband is satisfied with the current situation, you need to apply for section 8 by your lonesome. He may be perfectly happy to stay with mama instead of with you.

Get the ball rolling. I'm sorry, but selfish old people do tear families apart, and you don't deserve to be abused by anyone. She is abusing you, and by your husband not standing up to his mama, he is abusing you psychologically as well. If you are ready to leave, you can contact an abused woman's shelter for advice.
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My husband is currently filing for disability but he does not yet have it.

The social worker did not come. The MIL called her and told her that we'd had a fight ( I was standing right there listening to the whole thing) but we had come to an agreement and for now everything was fine.

What was that agreement you ask? I literally must do everything around the house and for her by myself. If she sees my husband or my 20 year old nephew who lives with us help me, she loses her mind. In return, we have to be out no later than Thanksgiving next year but sooner is better. The social worker refuses to speak to me.

I do not have POA, nor can I get it because I'm the daughter in law. I am looking for work in another town where the rent is cheaper. (My job is also very toxic and I was trying to find something else anyway. This just changes my focus of my search.)

Since the fight on Friday night she has asked me twice if I've found another place for us to go. I've been up until 2 AM the last two nights, and if I go try to sleep she crashes around the living room until I get up and do whatever it is she wants me to do. It's like she knows when I'm trying to sneak in some self-care.

I'm exhausted and it's back to work tomorrow for overtime. I feel like the prisoner of a histrionic hobgoblin in a power-chair.
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You said her doctor won't send her to a neurologist???? Does your insurance require a referral? Because if it doesn't find one that specializes in memory disorders or dementia, and make an appointment ASAP! My mom has gone through all of the stages of Alzheimer's. She is now dying from it, so I've seen all of the stages and what you are describing with the accusations, paranoia, meanness are all part of it! Especially the early moderate stage. At this point many people, who rarely see, her would not know she has dementia. I hate to say this but MANY doctors are really poor at recognizing Alzheimer's and are even worse at understanding it and that could be what is going on with her doctor. So don't wait for him, do get the appointment for her yourself, and for your husband (though it sounds he needs a psychiatrist more). Being accused of stealing or abusing her (from an undiagnosed person) can easily get you and your family in a lot of trouble, that's why the urgency. Once properly diagnosed you can at least get her some help and start protecting yourself. Blessings to you, Linda
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Leave. Is your husband on disability?

How did it go with the social worker Saturday?
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My mom acted the exact same way; I did not have POA and she vented her venom on me. After one calamitous night at the nursing home where she was getting rehab (after a 2nd hip replacement that went terribly wrong) I went over the POA, called the local Behavioral Hospital, told them she had the strength of 5 men and as the person who lived close by without POA I could not live like this any longer. The liaision at the Behavioral Hospital called my sister the POA and got the ball rolling. After 4 days in a locked ward mom's meds were adjusted and the combativeness ended. She has since passed on and now I am dealing with the same scenario with my dad, 94 yrs old and still at home where I am the full time caregiver. Good luck. Fasten your seat belt and try above all to seek serenity, company with others and peace. This is the hardest thing you will ever do.
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You poor dears. There is great advice here already, but let me add two cents' worth. Do get a tape recorder and start recording, but secretly if possible. Do treat her dementia with agreement rather than arguments. "Yes, Mom, you're right, and we will do that as soon as I have time, dear." They forget.... But there is peace for a short while if they feel validated in that moment. There are medications that can even out her behaviors, and it sure looks like she needs another doctor. I bet there is help to find one somewhere at a dementia-care center. Trick her into going. Tell her anything to get her into the car and out again at the doctor office. Worth a try, anyway. We just lost my 92-year-old Dad, and the last few years were awful as we tried to convince HIS doctor of his problems with dementia and psychotic behavior, but I finally got help by writing the doctor a letter with all the details, then scheduling an appointment with him, without my dad there, to discuss. Good luck, and hang in there. But yes, do find another place to live. When something happens, maybe a fall, she will go into the hospital and you do not have to bring her home. The hospital social workers can find her a rehab placement and living placement after that. YOU can refuse to take her home on the grounds that you cannot provide the care she needs.
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Virginia, most SWers are not totally stupid and they may not fall for it. Some are not so savvy about elder issues though, so contingency planning is certainly in order. I'd seriously consider an abused women's shelter..but besides all that you may at least have tenancy right s and be entitled to some notice.
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I appreciate everyone's answers but she informed me just now that she's kicking us out. She's got a social worker coming tomorrow (on a Saturday which I don't understand) and this social worker is absolutely convinced that we are harming her in some way. What my MIL told me was that the social worker told her she qualified for in home care but not with us there and it was either give us a small loan to leave or take us to court to make us get out. I could hear some of the phone conversation and my MIL called us "her problem" and she was waiting until after Christmas but now she needed to get rid of us.

So now we're going to be homeless. If the social worker doesn't bring us up on charges too.
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She has dementia or psychosis, or both, and either one untreated means she should not be in charge of your life and your decisionmaking. You might try getting photographic and audio recorded evidence that would back up your version of what is going on, but if you can't do that, then you do need to get out of there after letting social services know that you do not think she can take care of herself. You did leave her alone and it was considered a mistake, which given her incapacity is understandable (also understandable why you needed to get away!), but the other specific accusations should be provable that they never happened.
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Since the social workers are already convinced by her that you are the "cause of all her problems" they should not fuss if you move out! Notify them you are going, and get moving!
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Who are the social workers? Inform them that you are leaving permanently. Of course they will "suggest" that you shouldn't leave! If you leave, the state and county have to step in and do what you're doing for free. When they "suggest" ask what the penalty is for not. Let the state take over if she's not cooperative.
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We don't know if she has dementia. Her doctor refuses to do an assessment and refuses to send her to a neurologist, saying nothing is wrong with her except she's in pain. We went on a two week vacation last year. While we were gone, she accidentally killed one of the kittens, fell out of her wheelchair, broke her leg and had to have surgery and no one called us because she had her brother listed as her next of kin.

Before we left she arranged to have people come and look in on her every day. She refused to give me the numbers of these people. When we got back the social workers suggested we shouldn't have left.

It just goes on and on. I'm calling BRHA on Monday. I'm not sure at this point even I'm sane after everything we've endured.
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I would figure a way to get out too. Stay calm and make a plan. Plan A and Plan B, if that doesn't work out. Be smart and get away.

I'm not sure what's going on with your mom. Does she have dementia? Maybe others don't see it yet, but it does start out with that kind of bizarre and ugly behavior sometimes. Sadly, if that is what it is, she will go downhill. Often something drastic will happen and you'll be needed to step in. The irrational meanness can suddenly turn into someone who is frightened, confused and childlike.
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This is no longer about mom being happy, it's about VirginiaDIL and her family being safe from prosecution. Mom's behavior is very typical of old people who are starting to show signs of dementia. If the family stays longer, they could be accused of abandoning an elder in need (neglect).

Probably the safest place is affordable housing. If your husband is depressed and "not up to" the challenge of getting the POA he's also not up to the challenge of defending himself from elder abuse charges in court. In your own home there would be no evil prison guard waking you guys up at all hours of the night like Mom is doing right now. Go apply for housing today, and don't bother telling Mom.
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Get on the list for section 8 already! Why should you tell her anything, she's mentally ill!!!

Get your husband to a psychiatrist who can prescribe antidepressants meds if he's not on already! Get out of there!
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Babalou, no...we do not. Its my understanding that my husband could get it, but he's so depressed he just doesn't have the wherewithal to do it.

If we tell her we're going to get section 8 she gets all pouty and defensive and begs us not to leave.
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Yikes! Get out of Dodge by sundown!! Don't quit your job! Get on the list for affordable housing in Bristol VA at brha.com. Save yourself.
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Does one of you have POA?
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