My husband and I have been helping his mother after she had a total hip replacement in early July. She has had mobility problems because of a bad hip for quite a while now, and the last couple of years were very bad. I was happy when she told us that she was having surgery, since it was obvious that she was not happy and having the bad hip was not a healthy situation for her, either.
While my husband and I were aware of her surgery, she did not let either of us know that she did not really have many people enlisted to help her afterwards, so it was a bit of a shock to find out that our involvement was going to be more than just a ride home from the hospital and a few errands here and there. We honestly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into after she got home. Since then, it's been daily visits for my husband and weekly visits for me. Prior to her coming home, we had to spend several days boxing up items in her home and cleaning up. She initially told my husband to "clear a path" for her in the home, but after seeing the conditions she was living in (borderline hoarding situation), it was clear that we couldn't just leave it that way and just push stuff aside. Her sister helped us a bit and cleaned out the fridge, which was packed with expired food. My MIL had probably not cooked a meal in the home in several years, and she had told us previously that she was eating out at least once a day, mostly due to her not being able to use her kitchen. We thought this was just mobility, but it was also due to all the stuff in the kitchen, which obscured the stove, sink, counters.
Her sister was helping initially, but apparently they had some sort of a fight, and her sister decided to no longer help her. I can't say I blame her because I know my MIL can be demanding, and she and her sister already have a strained relationship. A friend has been helping her with doctor's appointments, but my MIL claims that her friend is a bad driver and that they are nearly getting into accidents all the time, so she limits where she goes with this woman..
Fast forward to now, which is about 6 weeks after the surgery. Her house is fairly clean and relatively tidy, mostly because she can't buy anything else (most of her hoard was craft supplies and kitchen items), but there are signs of her not wanting to do anything but the bare minimum. She bags her trash, but expects her son to take it out. She's not getting her own mail (when he comes over she asks him to bring it in). She wants him to water her flowers (something she IS capable of doing and has done after surgery). He knows that and did refuse to water the plants because he felt she was avoiding doing anything for herself.
He has to clean her cats' litter boxes daily, as she supposedly hasn't been cleared to bend. She has 6 cats, which means the boxes HAVE to be scooped. Plus, the boxes are in her bedroom! We have to do her grocery shopping, as she was cleared to drive, but doesn't feel that she can do that yet. We also do her laundry, pick up prescriptions, etc. She asked me to wash her hair a couple weeks back, and that is where I drew the line.
The worst part is that there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. She seems fairly content having us do pretty much everything for her. She has admitted to not doing her physical therapy exercises (formal PT is over) anymore, and she is only walking around her very small home. She has yet to go for even a short walk down the block! My husband asked her about it, and she is afraid of falling if she walks and thinks walking around the home is "good enough".
She is only in her early 60s. I'm afraid she won't get any better, and then we're stuck taking care of someone forever. My husband is resentful of al the work she's been having him do and doesn't feel that his mother is really wanting to get better. I don't understand why someone would have the surgery and not want to do all they can to get well as quickly as possible!