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She is 91 years old. Her only son (my husband) died in Dec. 2013. She can't see and can't walk well at all. Needs someone with her to go to bathroom. I'm feeling guilty about the amount she spends on care and the fact that she's lonely even though she has someone there with her 24 hours a day. My house has steep stairs, and I'm afraid she'll become disoriented at night and fall down the stairs. There's only 1 bedroom upstairs on the main floor, and I would have to sleep downstairs. I really don't want to bring her here (8-hour drive) to stay with me, but I feel guilty. I also cannot make frequent trips to see her because of the distance we live from one another.

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newwidow, can understand your concern about your mother-in-law and the cost of her care where she is currently living. You need to do what ever is best for BOTH of you.

I would think your mother-in-law's best interest would be to find a really nice continuing care facility that is closer to you. That way she would be surrounded by a lot of different people.... and at the facility, the employees work 2 or 3 separate shifts, thus they are able to go home and rest, and be fresh for the next day's work. That way you could go visit and have great quality time, you could even arrange to have dinner with her once or twice a week so you aren't dining alone.

If she came to live with you, and with her very limited eyesight, it would take her quite awhile to learn her way around your house. And yes, steep stairs and elders can be a dangerous combination. You also would be doing the work of 2 or 3 Caregivers, unless you hired one or two people to come in to help. Then you are back to square one, again.
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Your welcome. We're here for you.
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Thank you all for your responses. It's nice to know someone does care. I am so happy I found this website. I'll let you all know how things work out over the next few months. I really feel I just need a friend to guide me, and I have no friends. My only friend was my husband, and now he's gone. I talk to him every night, but I still think it would be nice to have someone to talk to who has gone through this. You all are a great help. Thank you so much.
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DO NOT make decisions based on a guilt/no-guilt choice.
It makes the decision about you, not the person who needs help.

DO make decisions based on safety, quality of life, level of care, planning for advancing needs, convenience, & comfort for the MIL.

But don't rush. If MIL is not in a crisis now, there's no reason to rush into hasty changes.

Take care of yourself. Work on you and adjusting to your new normal. Doing anything else is terribly unfair to yourself.
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When you decide you can't decide? You've really decided: status quo. Ha!

First, I think I might shop for a less expensive care-giver. Although, when she runs out of money (IF she runs out), it doesn't make any difference WHAT she paid, as she'll go on Medicaid. But. Have you discussed with the agency the possibility of her 24/7 care giver taking her to lunch? Just taking her for a ride? Do you have an Adult Daycare Center near her home that could take her a day a week so she could interact with other seniors? One near my home that we use for mom charges $63 a day, very little in the scheme of what she's paying.

What I might try is taking her to visit the facility you've identified. The staff will roll out the red carpet for her . . . take her back to your house for dinner and have the kids/grandkids over. Keep her overnight a night or two, and see if you can get her agreeable to TRY it. Emphasize that, if she stays a month and really doesn't like it? She can go back home.

If you go through all that? You've done everything you can do unless you want to have her admitted against her will. Doesn't sound like you want to do that.
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Thank you, Rocknrobin. That was what I was hoping to hear but didn't want to look selfish on my part. I think I'll just wait a little bit and maybe make a decision around the end of October. It sure would be nice for her to spend the holidays with us. I do talk to her everyday and always end with "I love you." It's this guilt I feel because she's there and we're here. Oh well...thank you again for responding. You made me feel better.
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Newwidow, No one can make this decision but you. I would offer this advice. You name says it all. You are a new widow. You are going through a lot right now. Wait a while. Give yourself time. Don't make any decisions about mother in law right now. When you are better able to cope, let her know that you would like her closer to you and the grandkids. She would love the place you have found for her. It doesn't sound as though your house is set up for someone with her concerns so that isn't a safe option. Let her know you love her and miss her. Perhaps she will see the logic of moving closer to you and your family. If not, if she can still afford $13,000 a month, so be it.
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The $13,000 a month is through an agency. It's so much because they take taxes, workers' comp, social security, etc., out of the girls' checks. That's the only way we could protect mother-in-law in case one decided to "hurt herself" while caring for her. We had some individual girls for about 6 months who refused to have taxes taken out of their checks, so we fired them. They were also stealing from MIL. Then we found this agency, who charges, I think, $21 an hour and pays girls $8 an hour. My MIL wants to stay at home. She's getting more and more demented and cannot remember anything--even what she had for lunch. I do have a place about 2 miles from me here, but she has said in the past that she won't consider it. That would only cost $6000 a month, so she'd save half and could have family (me, my son and daughter, and their little kids) visit her often. I have DPOA, and I was thinking of waiting until she absolutely needs to be placed before doing it against her will. I really don't think I can handle taking care of her all day and would hire someone to do bathing/hygiene, but I think that would get old very fast. Is it my responsibility to move her into my house (my husband just recently died, and I'm struggling with all the paperwork, healthcare costs, etc.), or should I just keep her at her home with 24-hour care? That's what my problem is. I can't decide.
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The monthly amount being paid seems a bit exorbitant. How about looking for a facility with 24/7 care in your area? This way she would be closer to you for visits.
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