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My 75 year old mother in law has many health issues. Her husband passed about about a year and half ago and since the day he died she has lived with my husband and I. In the past 2 years has broken each hip. She doesnt cook or clean. she does her own dishes and laundry. once in awhile she does all the dishes but not often. she gets up sits at the kitchen table reads her newspaper if my husband gets it for her. then goes into "her living room" and watches tv and works a jigsaw puzzle.she is very snoopy. my husband and I cant even talk about things without her eaves dropping. she waits for someone to make her something to eat or else she will get something herself. When she is asked to cook something she says "my cooking has went down hill and I don't know how to cook anymore" when she is asked to clean, she replies"I have cleaned all my life I shouldn't have to do anymore. when she is told it is a beautiful day outside and she should sit out for awhile, she replies "I am an indoor plant". she walks a total of kitchen, bathroom, living room... and no more. My sister in law does not help at all. She told me that she has a family of her own and her mom cannot live with her. So my husband and I feel as though she has to live with us. we don't want to see her go to a nursing home or assisted living because we both work ALOT of hours and wont get a chance to see her very often. Maybe we are thinking that she should help out by cooking or vacuuming. I do not expect her to be my maid. but we pay all the bills and groceries and think she could help out a little. when my one daughter comes home with her two kids I feel as though I am being watched and supervised because every step my daughter takes my mother in law is there. I dont have any alone mother daughter time or time with my grandchildren because my mother in law is ALWAYS there. I love my mother in law dearly, but would like it sometimes if she would give us our space. My husband has talked with her many times about this but then she gets very upset and goes the complete opposite. there is no happy medium. my husband is soooooo stressed out by all of it that I fear for his health. I have learned to deal with most of it but there are times that I just dont want toi go home. We have a beautiful place in the country and since we work so much there are times we just want to sit outside and enjoy the peace and quiet but if we sit outside on our deck, then she is there. always there. not sure what to do anymore. thank you for letting me vent.

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Apart from the broken hips - and don't forget how much falls shake confidence - what are your MIL's health issues? I ask, because her energy levels could be much lower than is obvious to the naked eye. My mother has severe CHF, for example, so although she seems ok to casual observers she is actually firing on less than one cylinder. My sister and SIL can't understand how she can be content to sit and do nothing all day every day, why she isn't bored to tears; but the reality is that just keeping going takes most of her mental and physical energy. Maybe your MIL has similar problems? This could explain why she seems like such a wet rag; but that's not the central point, is it.

Your MIL seems to have ended up living with you both by some kind of default, and maybe it is time to think through a better long-term plan. I completely agree with PStegman that if she takes a lively interest in what's going on, and likes to feel involved, then a good ALF could be perfect for her; and, as always, the sooner she moves to a community the better her chances of integrating well and enjoying maximum quality of life.

You're right: you DO need space. You are an adult woman with a husband, daughter and grandchildren of your own. It is NOT selfish or unreasonable to want your own life, with your MIL as part of it but not there in all of it.

It is a difficult subject to raise, especially if your MIL seems to get upset at the mere mention of alternative possibilities. But what you could do to prepare the ground is go and have a look yourself at alternative options, find out all the information, and see if there is one that could form part of an attractive proposal for her. Then, when you open discussions, you'll be leading with a positive idea (this place is fabulous!) rather than a negative one (you can't stay here, we'll all go round the bend).

You are in the right, you know. I hope that's a reassuring thought. Best of luck.
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If she is snoopy, she would love ALF. There's always a lot going on, and a very active grapevine. She deserves to be able to play with people her own age. She might even like it a whole lot better than caring for you two. In her mind she is looking after you. LOL
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It sounds like your MIL is lonely and needs some interests and activities to keep her busier and more involved in her own life so she's not all up in yours. Could you give her a respite break away from your family when your daughter comes to visit? Let her stay a day, then ship her to her daughter's place or a respite care place for the remainder of the visit. Or send her on a short vacation to visit friends or relatives somewhere else.

When she moved in with you, did she move away from her friends? Does she attend church? Could you get her involved in those activities? Or a senior center near you?

I know you said you were venting, so if you don't want suggestions, we're happy just to listen to you vent. :) I can understand your frustration, I'd be having a super hard time dealing with it too.
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