My mother and father in law moved in with us (husband and 2 kids..boy 16, active in sports and academics and girl 14, on the autism spectrum with type 1 diabetes l) early July of last year, unexpectedly..but primarily because we felt it was the right thing to do.
My MIL (77 year old) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2020. She had been caring for her husband, my FIL (98 years old). At that time, he was self sufficient in areas of dressing and hygiene but declining mentally and emotionally..showing early signs of dementia and mobility issues but... still very healthy. In fact , his PCP said his only concern was that of falling.
Last March, We were told that my MIL had roughly 3 months left to live we celebrated her every weekend at our home with immediate family, while converting our first floor den into a bedroom and 1/2 bath into a full (handicapped) bath.. all while working with hospice and MIL to let us know when she was ready to move in.
My MIL’s relationship with my FIL had been strained for as long as I had known them. He’s a male chauvinist with a domineering and very judgmental personally. We just associated this with his age, and ignorance of the “times”. But my MIL had a different view. My husband (post college)!tried to help her leave the relationship on several occasion but she never followed through.
FIL was born in US but of Slovenian dissent. He had been married, divorced with a child before courting my MIL, is his mother’s (and my MIL’s) home town of Slovenia. MIL came here not knowing a lick of English, totally dependent on my FIL (20 + years her senior) she eventually learned English, became a citizen of the US and had my husband. They decided to stay in the US primarily became of my husband’s half brother (who is 20 years older than him). His # 2 priority has always been him, then $$$, then family. She was extremely bitter towards him to the very end. He did NOTHING to try and make amends. It was very awkward for us and our kids but we all started looking at my FIL in a different light.
We’ve done our best to make FIL comfortable (despite all of the inappropriate, male chauvinistic behaviors) but he’s staring to decline both mentally and physically. He had a scary fall in the middle of the night last week that really scared us and quite frankly, opened our eyes to the fact that this game are only going to get harder. He’s 99!!!! We thought we may be able to sustain this until his death but, honestly see no ending in sight. My husband looked at a couple assisted living facilities, close by and has his heart set on the MOST expensive, resort/ 5star in sight. He does have some money stashed from the sale of his home and a couple investments, but only enough to cover roughly 6 years in this extravagant assisted living facility. My husband plans to tell him that it’s covered through Medicare so he does not have to worry about the cost.
The issue I have is that I feel that my husband is only going along with this because of guilt. He does not need anything this extravagant, nor does (I think) he want ...and if you ask my MIL, he doesn’t deserve this. My MIL really wanted to leave something behind for my daughter who will need long term care once we pass. My husband is unwilling to look at anything else, even a new assisted living just 5 minutes from us. I am so angry at him and honestly..I feel like he’s letting my mother in law down in so many ways.
Am I being overly emotional???? I can’t even look at him right now. I’m so pissed.

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Maybe I'm crazy, but your FIL is 99 years old. It's unlikely he'll live 6 years anywhere, never mind in a luxury AL facility! I'd be happy to have him out of my house if it were me, that would be my primary focus. Whether he's been a good father and husband isn't relevant to the fact that he has money that can and should be spent on his care and maintenance outside of your home now. My 94 year old mother's monthly rent in Memory Care Assisted Living is $6500 base not including about $500 of other expenses, and it's cheap at the price because I don't have to do the hands on caregiving! 😁

Chances are good there will still be a decent inheritance for your daughter. And you'll all be rid of the male chauvinist for good. Think of it that way. Guilt is like acid, if that's what your DH is feeling, and what's compelling him to place his father in such an expensive AL. You're unlikely to fix it at this stage of the game, after FIL trained him his whole life, so try to focus on the good that will come out of this situation, which is FIL goes bye bye.

And no, you are certainly not horrible for feeling resentful about any of this. Family dynamics truly suck sometimes, they really do.

Best of luck to you.
Helpful Answer (6)
eanitr May 2021
Thank you, you are so, so right. He was always so selfish and mentally abusive with his money with respect to my MIL. Now that I’m getting a true glimpse of who he is, I’m angry with him. Part of this is, I’m sure, mourning the loss of my wonderful MIL, who we all miss dearly.
No advice..but don't feel guilty for anything. That;s one thing I've learned from this forum. Yes, this caregiving journey is long , lonesome and horrible but here we are all in it together and that takes out the bite out of the horror of all this a little bit. I hope everything works out for you
Helpful Answer (6)

You are not horrible.

Just wanted you to know that I hear you.

This is a great place to vent and get wisdom.
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eanitr May 2021
Thanks! 🙏
This caregiving business is tough😞
No, you aren't horrible. However, as Lealonnie said, I seriously doubt Pops will burn through that cash by living to be 105, especially if he's already declining. Do you expect him to leave money for your daughter's care if he outlives your MIL, or is he going to leave it to his #1 son? I wouldn't count too much on that money being around for your daughter's care regardless of where he goes.

You and your husband need to set up a special needs trust for your daughter's care now. Properly invested, it should be able to pay for her care after you're gone. See a trust and estate attorney to set it up.
Helpful Answer (5)

Overly emotional, no. I think your emotions are very natural.

So when we boil it down: your husband will only consider the very best, 24 carat accommodation for a nasty old man who frankly deserves to be kept on bread and water in the attic and think himself lucky..?

Trouble is, it's the nasty old man's money. If he were a loving and dedicated patriarch, he too would be most interested in ensuring that his wealth were used economically and then distributed among his descendants to achieve the greatest benefit. But he ain't. And it's still his money.

If I were you, I think I would closely examine the facilities on offer and see what your FIL would be getting for his money and of what use the expenditure would be to him. A 9-hole golf course, for example, might look lovely in the brochure but if it adds nothing to FIL's daily quality of life why would he want to ratchet up another $100 a month for it?

I'm sure you can understand your husband's instinct to throw money at the problem - nothing is too good for his Dad. But he (your husband) will probably still baulk at the idea that the 5 star facility is ripping his Dad off, making him pay through the nose for glossy features that won't make him a whit more comfortable.

Have you been to visit these facilities? Because what makes the real difference is the attitude of the staff and especially the quality of leadership. Never mind the decor, go and meet the people.
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disgustedtoo May 2021
I can't click "Helpful Answer" enough times here!!!

Stars mean nothing no matter what's being rated. What might add a 4th or 5th star for some might mean nothing for the rest of us. It is about the quality of the care, NOT what the place looks like. Who knows who is doing the rating? Most are anonymous, so it could be people running the facility that give it 5 stars! WE need to check places, ask questions, and observe, etc and rate it for ourselves, not listen/read what others say.

If husband is hell-bent on doing it this way and won't consider the other place, so be it. It WILL get FIL out of your house!

BUT, on the flip side, we have no idea how long FIL might live. Could he last longer than 6 months? Possibly. Then what? THAT is a question hubby SERIOUSLY needs to think about. If FIL can no longer pay, does the place accept Medicaid? If it's more of a posh place, I'd bet it doesn't. Even more, generally Medicaid doesn't cover AL and if he isn't ready for NH, he may not qualify. No money to pay, there's the door FIL. So, back to your house then????

I would recommend you check the "posh" place and the local less expensive place yourself. Ask a lot of questions. Observe as much of the facility as allowed, and focus on the conditions of the place and the residents. If it's clean and the residents appear clean and healthy, maybe even active, that is what your goal should be. Just paying more money doesn't guarantee better care! Show him what you learn and take him to see the places and the residents for himself. This is esp important if he is basing everything on pamphlets or online sites, not checking it himself.

Remind him also that the expensive place will leave him homeless in 6 months, so then what? If he's relatively healthy and it's only been a few years of cognitive decline, he could potentially live for several more years!

Inheritance should be the least of the worries. If he needs facility care, any assets he have could be used up before you know it! It's nice when parents can leave something for their kids or grandkids, but it is NEVER a guarantee and in this case I wouldn't hold my breath!

If there are assets left when he passes, then whatever hubs gets should be set up in a proper trust for your daughter's future care. A well managed trust can grow nicely. When I used the 2 year graph for my mother's trust, with the exception of the dip when the virus hit, it's almost a flat line, like it wasn't touched. On average, AT LEAST 4k/month was used to cover the balance of the facility cost and anything else she needed (pension and SS covered less than half.) That's about 50k/year, with some additional funds needed here and there to pay for tax preparation and cap gains, so having the balance remain relatively "static" was impressive!

Focus on getting FIL o-u-t, but preferably in the less expensive place, so that he won't bounce back like a yo-yo into your home!
You are in no way horrible. The likelihood of your FIL living an additional 6 years is slim and if he does live another six years, I'd think he'd need more care than AL at which point Medicaid would kick in if his funds are depleted.

Yes it would be nice if your MIL's wishes could be followed to leave you daughter in some financial security as she ages. However, your FIL's needs are first at this time, even if he doesn't deserve the lap of luxury. Try and discuss this calmly with your husband and see if a less expensive facility without all the bells and whistles could be settled on. Have you and hubby looked at all those fabulous amenities - how many of them will FIL be able to use at his age and physical and mental abilities. Although hubby has already told FIL about the change of address.

Look at it this way, FIL will be out from under your feet and will be making those chauvinistic comments to his new caregivers. Try and let go of the anger you feel at hubby and think how nice it will be to have your home to yourselves again. I'm sure the time FIL has been in your home has been so very stressful there is no way that it can't play havoc on everyone's emotions.

Best to you and your family.
Helpful Answer (5)

Your husband has been reared by a mentally ill father.

He needs to see a therapist to break out of that bondage.

He feels the need to please his old man because he is still looking for his love and apprroval, which he will never get.

With regard to your daughter, leaving her an inheritence that is not structured as a special needs trust is a bad idea.

Maybe MIL wants to visit a lawyer who specializes in that area of law and make an appopriate will.
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eanitr May 2021
Thank you for your feedback and I agree.
My husband is seriously conflicted.
On one hand, he thinks his father is selfish and deserves to be uncomfortable in a “reaping what he sow’d” sort of way.
as for inheritance, they do have a will with my husband to inherit a good 75%. It was both my in-laws wish that my husband use that to help with my daughters long term disability expenses. They were not “millionaires” by any stretch (actually, they were very frugal which is how they built their wealth). Had things panned the way they were planning, the money that they had built would have given my mother in law (in her 70’s) room to breathe. It really is sad how things turned out. My sweet, loving MIL passed at 77 and my low character, 99 year old FIL is still still here. 😞
My husband told my FIL that Medicare will pay for assisted living expenses, to spare him of the stress it may create. His father is as cheap as they get and has no problem passing judgement on us for our lifestyle. Hell, we find ourselves hiding grocery bags from him to avoid comments..yes I’m guilty of this! It’s insane. My MIL would definitely not approve of the lavish luxury AL at all, still gets him out of my hair. Oh and BTW, just to give you a taste of this mans character...when my husband spoke to him about AL, my FIL’s immediate response was (talking to my husband) “ I know that this is not your wish, it is “your wife’s “ 😡 I have no problem being the villain in this if needed but my gawd, I’ve made his meals, done his laundry, cleaned up and shared my space with this man, graciously!! Amazing how quick he was to turn on me.. hate the man even more!!!
Your father in law’s money is to be spent however he chooses. His son obviously feels that he is deserving of the expensive facility. Just be glad that YOU aren’t this charming man’s caregiver! Yes, that statement was deliberate sarcasm.

There most likely will be money left over and your in-laws will have to specify that your daughter will inherit it for her future needs if they so desire. Promises or talk from your mother in law means absolutely nothing if it isn’t written in a legal document.
Helpful Answer (2)

To me, FIL is like a snowball, heading downhill, picking up speed, collecting more of yours & DH's time & energy.

The money, care, accommodation all getting rolled together, building in size & stress.

Can some of his issues be separated out & simplified?

His care level has increased, is too much for your home = move to AL.

Choice of 5 star vs local.
DH has chosen the 5 star with his emotional hat on. A lot of men like to be thought of as practical thinkers.. maybe ask him what the 'practical' location would be? To look at it would also be very practical, to compare each place properly. He may still choose the fancy one.. Remember to mention the marble desk & flowers in the foyer are for looks, to get the money in - they make zero difference to the care. You know he's too smart to fall for that! (Is that too manipulative??)
Which place would his Dad get good care & feel comfortable?

Lastly, FIL's will is a separate issue of which you have no real control. Does your DH know anything about it at all?

I wasn't quite sure of you still had your MIL at this stage? 😓
Helpful Answer (1)

PS - your MIL is a miracle lady! How is she?
Helpful Answer (1)
eanitr May 2021
Thank you, there were so many things I admired about her.
Sadly, she passed 3 months after her diagnosis. She was selfless in so many ways, even insisting on staying in her home for as long as she could, still helping out my FIL with meals, etc. She was only with us for 10 days before she passed. Now that said, it was a very long and difficult 10 days, but we were happy that we could help ease some of her distress and be around the people that loved her the most.
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