How do I convince MIL to pay for in-home help?

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MIL is 90 and has lived with us 10 years. She needs more attention than I can provide. MIL uses Rolator and has limited ambulation but considers herself "independent." I'm a 67 year old RN so she much prefers me to stay with her and doesn't want to pay for help. She can be manipulative with statements like "Go ahead and go to the gym, I'll just take a shower by myself while you're gone...." threatening to risk falling. How do I change the status quo of her being in charge of my life (and my husbands.)

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If she has been living with you for 10 years, patterns might be hard to break and reestablish. On the other hand, she probably has been at least somewhat independent for the first part of that time, and changes in her abilities mean changes in your role and in your boundaries.

Take back control of your own life.

She is not mentally incompetent, she has some choices. You cannot force what she spends money on. But you have choices, too. She is in your home because you chose to have her there. That can change. You can no longer handle all of her needs. You will allow her to stay there (and you hope she does) if she will pay for the additional help you need to feel comfortable about her safety. Or she can choose instead to pay for her care somewhere else; you will help her find a nice ALF or other suitable care center.

Presenting this to her is your husband's job, by the way.
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Go to the gym!! I told mom if she fell because she would not use her walker, I was not going to pick her up, just step over her. You are being emotionally blackmailed by a master manipulator. Draw some boundaries.
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Next time your MIL says "Go ahead and go to the gym, I'll just take a shower by myself while you're gone".... just say "be careful while I am gone". I wonder if MIL would actually go into the shower at all.

My Dad always threatened to start driving again, and I would give him a 101 reasons not to drive, making me very upset..... finally the next time I said "well if you start driving, be sure to call up Mr. Smith [the car insurance agent] so he can place you as the main driver". Those threats are now becoming less and less :)
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If she treatened that to me I would probably just turn off the hot water so she would soon change her mind.
Make it very clear that you are available to help her in the morning but you are taking ME time in the afternoon for two hours
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VST when MIL threatens to take the shower hand her the cordless phone and tell her to remember to take that into the bathroom so she can call 911 when she falls and not have to lie there till you get home. Good Luck enjoy the gym and keep your mind off MIL. leave your cell in your locker.
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The way to "change the status quo" is to change you. Doubtful you'll change her. We outlawed slavery in this country 150 years ago. As long as you're there, she's not going to pay for in-home caregiving.

Oh, another tip. The problem you really have is with your husband. It's his mother. His problem. "If wifey ain't happy, nobody's happy." Remind him. ;)
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Thank you to all who responded to my questions as all of you have made important points. Yes, I've allowed the pattern of my acting as caretaker to become ingrained over 10 years and realize that I have to change me now. Hubby just can't stand up to iron-willed MIL so it's up to me. I'll do my best.
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How about send her to Adults daycare center. She thinks she's independent, she might like there.... So you could have your time. Or just hire someone for companion. Could your husband can write check for home helpers? We don't want sneaky around elderly but sometimes necessary...
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kathyt1, I use a similar line with my parents.... I said "you might outlive me, then what would they do?".... they had the deer in headlight look and couldn't come up with an answer.
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VTShan, your MIl is manipulating you and taunting you, trying to make you feel guilty if you don't accede to her needs/demands.

I would offer the same kind of retort that Flyer recommends, or even ask her what precautions she plans to take when she showers.

Hopefully she's not the kind who would deliberately fall and injure herself to prove you shouldn't have left her.

Although I'm not sure this would work, it is a suggestion. Set specific times for showering and other tasks when you and your husband are available. If she wants to work outside those parameters, which she probably may do at first to test you, stand your ground and don't back down.

You might also confort her and challenge her by telling her you know she's trying to manpulate you but that it won't work. Add that you're setting aside time for her but will not be goaded or tricked into acceding to her demands, and that everyone needs to work together if the relationship is to work. She may not respond to the team player argument, but sometimes it's enough to make her take a second breath and step back to regroup.
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