Caring for MIL and feeling used. I don't know what to do?

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I have been married to my husband for 14 years. I am a nurse. Since that time, his mom who is now 88 has relied on me to take her to her doctor appts. and many other things "because you know what they're talking about". My husband and I are the ones who call her every day take her what she needs. She was widowed almost 6 years ago and is legally blind. She has 4 other children, two who live within 20 miles of her. I told my husband this morning "When your mother passes, we're going to have to learn how to have a life again" and he agreed. She lives in her own home and has home health come in once a week. My weekends are spent helping her get what she needs done. I don't mean to sound selfish, but I am tired. My husband is tired. We both work demanding jobs and have little time. We are at work early and usually have things to do for her after work. Church is twice on Sundays. None of her other children offer to help. One says "Thank you for taking care of Mother." Two live out of state. One doesn't talk to her due to a dispute a few months ago. When I mention anything about someone else helping her, she becomes defensive and takes up for her other children. To be honest. I just feel used. I am 55 y/o. I don't know what to do. She is in good physical health, but I can tell some dementia is setting in. She was to have gone for a mental health examination to determine if it was due to just aging or some sort of dementia. The lady at the doctor's office didn't make the appt b/c "you know at that age you begin to forget things". There is so much more to this story that I just can't get into. Just believe me when I say we're both tired. I have begun to set some boundaries. Last Saturday I told her "I will be by after lunch". I took her shopping, for a haircut and an ice cream cone and then I rode her around awhile. I told her "I will be able to do this some Saturdays, but if someone comes by during the week (granddaughters) think about letting them do some of this for/with you." At least it's a start. Her other children are not going to help. If they were, they would have at some point in the last 6 years.

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Her church should be able to arrange someone to drive her to church and back home.
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There is a flip side to your pain. I took care of my Dad for 3 and a half years. With little help from my siblings. It was work 24/7. I had no life but Dad. It was exhausting, enervating, and eternal. When he died in his bed, in his own home, going out a man, as he wanted, a sense of peace, of dignity, of fulfillment came over me. I am so proud of myself. I gave of myself to help someone I love, no matter the cost. I feel I have worth. Hang in there it's not for ever. What is life, if not to be of service? You are a loving, kind, decent person. You will be repaid, in ways i can't explain.
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CTTN55, oh if it were only that easy! If my husband told his siblings that his time were up, it would be Crickets, they are too self absorbed to ever lift a finger, or take any responsibility. We have had my FIL for 13+ years in our home, and both siblings live out of state, and neither have come to visit him here, in all that time! They are pathetic! I'll never understand how siblings can just dump all of the caregiving duties onto their one sibling. People are selfish, they are only waiting around for a big payday. Boy, won't they be surprised! If there is any money left after all of his caregiving needs are met, by Assisted living and or eventual Nursing home care, they certainly won't be getting any! FIL at least, saw to that!
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I see this situation rapidly deteriorating for you, unless you follow Veronica91's excellent suggestions.

Actually, I think you should list all that you and your dh have done for mil (sounds like you have done more), and tell the uninvolved sibs that your turn is up, and that now it's their turn.
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Thank You all for your comments. My counselor said that having a meeting with the other siblings was a must. We have not had it yet. They do not get along and it would result in a yelling/screaming match. My husband isn't the controlling sibling. The controlling one is the passive/aggressive one who won't talk to her right now. Simply by his actions, he controls much. Alas, he is controlled by his wife. I said there was much more to this situation.
I am somehow going to see about getting her an appointment for an evaluation. It is time. She has resources that she doesn't want to spend in AL. Those resources might last a year. MIL feels that we can all contribute to her upkeep if she goes to AL. My husband and I cannot. We don't have the extra $3600/month. We'd be hard pressed to contribute $500/mo. Her husband didn't even leave her life insurance "because he didn't want another man to spend his money" asinine? Yes. But true.
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Susieshoes is right you do need to make a plan. and make that list. indicate which hours and chores you and hubby are prepared to do.
A separate list goes to other family members with the remaining tasks allocated to each family member depending on their capabilities and personal responsibilities.
Tell them the list is non negotiable because you are simply not able to continue. Indicate that they are free to exchange tasks with each other as long as they are completed. There will be no calling you if one does not fancy doing something agreed upon that day. You will no longer be the co-ordinator of MIL's activities and the emergency step in. In case of a real emergency of course you can step in but because you are a nurse does not automatically make you responsible for caring for an incapacitated adult. By all means teach the others things like basic nursing care as you are the professional but you don't automatically do stuff because it is remotely medical. Anyone for example can learn to fill a pill box!
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I would write a letter to the Dr who prescribed the evaluation and tell him what transpired and request he deal with the offending employee.
If this is a big group of different practices there may be a Dr in one of the other practices who is responsible for the supervision of the whole group. if the Dr you saw does not deal with the matter to your satisfaction contact the supervising Dr
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Move mom to Assisted Living, she will have good company. That's what I did with my MIL, talked her into it and she liked it. Get your life back. As for the missing-in-action children, they are most likely in denial OR they are deferring to the controlling brother (your husband).
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yakmom, make a list of everything that you and hubby do for your Mom-in-law, now cross off half the items, then cross off a couple more. Stick to that new list. If Mom-in-law ask you to do more things, just tell her "no" you just don't have the time nor the energy.

What happens is that our elder parent doesn't view us as senior citizens ourselves, we are still that 20 or 30 year old who has a ton of energy. My parents were in their 90's and I was in my 60's and still had my career. My parents were running me ragged, and it was my fault for not saying "no" and setting boundaries.

One therapist said to me that since my parents choose to continue to live alone in their home, then they had to take full responsibility for that choice. I was enabling them to continue with their lifestyle while I had to change my own. I was so exhausted. And with exhaustion it can ruin your health. It ruined mine.

It could be the other children see what Mom is doing to you, so they are stepping aside. They don't want to enable their Mom. They know she needs either caregivers to come to help daily, or to move her to senior living facility. Once my Mom passed, my Dad quickly moved to Independent Living. He was so tired of maintaining his house and had become afraid of all the stairs.
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The lady at the doctor's office sounds like a moron. You could be forgiven for giving her such a poke in the eye. A baseline assessment of your MIL mental state is crucial, not least for monitoring her as you go on.

I couldn't agree more with Susieshoes' closing remark that you all need to get together and make a plan. Doesn't have to be set in stone, but it does need thinking and talking about.

I think you spoke sensibly and kindly to your MIL, and perhaps at least gave her food for thought - how did she respond to what you said about accepting help from other people?

I also think that you are wise to recognise that you and your husband have already done plenty and need to be looking around now for ways to share the caregiving burden. Best for everybody, not least MIL, to get a fairer, flexible structure in place as soon as possible.
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