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We moved MIL and FIL in with us a year and half ago because mil was dealing with stage 4 cancer. She passed in Jan 2017. Although they did not have a happy marriage, she did everything for him. He drove her crazy and wasn’t a good husband. He is now 85. He makes his bed. That’s the only housework he does. He leaves his laundry basket in front of washing machine for me to do. At dinner, he won’t even put his dirty plate in sink. Much worse than this is that he leaves us no privacy. As soon as he hears us up in the morning ( we work from Home) comes out to kitchen to talk. This man can talk. We are his only companions. He always talks about himself. We cater to him dr appts, dentist , haircuts, cvs runs. If we watch tv downstairs he sits with us. It’s like no privacy. We do go upstairs now after dishes to watch tv and be alone. My hubby takes care of helping him with his monthly banking. He has no bills and does not contribute to the household at all. We do not say anything about that because we both work and can afford the extra expenses. He gives about 1k a month to his daughter who is not in a strong financial position yet she won’t take him for a week because he causes so much anxiety. He also had a son in same town as us but we literally have to bug him to come and help out. And yet he borrows $ from his father (son is 57) and doesn’t pay him back. (Spends all his money on his 24 yr old partner). Today I caught my FIL watching me leave the upstairs bathrooom with a towel around me going to my bedroom after a shower. He was looking from living room. It creeped me out. Also little things like him getting our mail out of mailbox everyday taking to his room, making our piles and the distributing it to letting us know what looks important. Yesterday he even told me to open a piece because he wanted to see what it was. I’m not sure what is driving me more crazy. Lack of privacy, laziness, constant talk about his health, his hearing, his sore neck, this or that. Trust me we bring him to doctors for everything. We have included him on some of our social functions. He does have a tendency to try and take over everyone’s conversations. Please let me know if I am being too harsh and if not how do I address. Forget about his two other kids. They have their issues and literally won’t help.

He thinks he is the head of your household. That has been allowed for far to long and it needs to change.

1st, yeah we all have problems it doesn't mean that 85 year old dad bails you out financially. Especially since he's not even paying his own way. It's lovely that you have the money to pay, but that's not the point. The point is he is behaving like a leech.

2nd, his personal slave died in 2017. He needs to be told what is expected from him. If he would have said I would not get any work out of him and then proceed to prove he meant what he said, I would not cook him one more meal, do one more load of laundry or haul his ungrateful hide to one more appointment. The entitlement of his behavior just fries my butt. Who the h--- does he think he is.

3rd, the mail should not be taken in his room, if he wants to go out and get it, fine, but he needs to be stopped everytime he tries to take it to his room. If that doesn't stop, time for a new mail box that doesn't allow him access.

4th, you aren't living alone, so running from your bathroom to bedroom in a towel just asks for him to look. Sorry, but you really did that one yourself.

You can find a way to live with him by getting him to pay his way. You say you're okay with it, but you brought it up so I think it bothers you that he gives his absent, useless kids money while mooching off you and DH. Find out how much a caregiver or housekeeper is and figure out how many days a week you need them and charge your deadbeat FIL the amount and additional for rent. You work hard and you have opened your home to him and deceased wife in their hour of need. Now he needs to step up and be a man by paying his own way. I am a bit harsh, I would say, you pay or leave. There will be no more freebies, washing baskets would be put back in his room, meals would be prepared for 2 and served in the privacy of my bedroom or office, any place I could lock him out. I would make him hate living with me. I would make a point of saying that I am following your lead FIL, this is what self-centered, selfish behavior looks like and since it is so acceptable for you, we are all going to live that way. All for themselves only. This will open up the conversation for him contributing to the household, if not, life starts sucking for him.

His other kids don't help, so quite frankly, who gives a damn what difficulties they are having. When he dies are you prepared to give them the money daddy gives them now? If not, no time like the present to learn to do without daddys money. They don't care if it costs you your own future to pay FILs way, so return those loving attitudes.

You can do this if you want to keep him in your home, but things have to change or the resentment will only grow and fester and ruin your health and wellbeing. I can understand wanting to help him, but it has to work for everyone in the house or it doesn't work.

Good luck, I am rooting for you. I had to not let my dad live with us for this same asinine attitude. His choice.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I am going to come across as harsh, but so be it.

First, no free ride: There are expenses related to him living with you and he should be paying his share. When my son moved back home my electrical bill went up by $30.00 per month and my food bill more than doubled. He pays his share. And you get paid before anyone else.

Second chores: Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Perhaps the washer is beyond him, but there is no reason at all for him not to peel the spuds, set he table, clear it and rinse if not wash the dishes. Give him his list of chores. If he does not do them, then there will not be a place at the table for him.

I put my foot down years ago with my late step dad. He said grace before dinner, but never once thanked me for preparing the meal. After several months of this I took his plate away from him and told him I was not going to prepare another meal with him if he did not think me for preparing the food. I also told him he was expected to do the clearing up too. You know what, I was thanked for every meal after that and he cleared up after ever meal too.

Third: He needs his own social life. At 85 and no dementia, he can sort it out for himself. There are seniors centres, sports for seniors, volunteer opportunities and more.

Privacy: Set down your rules and stick to them. My children when they were young soon learned that Mummy needed 15 minutes to herself. I would make a cup of tea, settle the kids with books or quiet toys and set the kitchen timer. If they interrupted me, the timer was reset with an additional 5 minutes.

If you need space in the kitchen to prepare for your day, you need to let him know. Perhaps you can do as I did, make sure he is seen and heard, then tell him you need your own time and space before you start work.

Dirty old man peeping, if it happens again I would raise Cain. When we are quiet they think they can continue to get away with it. "Joe what the hell do you think you are doing you dirty old man!?" My Dad is a misogynist creep, constantly making comments about women's looks. I call him out on it all the time. He has three wonderful granddaughters who deserve better in their grandpa.

The mail: this is not ok on any level, especially if you get business mail at home. A friend recently moved after discovering her former landlord (shared mail box) was deciding what mail she should have and tossing the rest. If he wants to collect it, it should go directly to a place of your choice. If he wants to sort his own mail, that will have to be after you have made sure you have all of yours.

Best plan is for him to move out.
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Isthisrealyreal Apr 10, 2019
Tothill, not harsh in the least, just honest.

Truth is painful is such a true statement.
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He sounds like the perfect candidate for living in a private home with one or more other widowers who are his own age. The Golden Girls were right - retirement is better when you have a roommate. The concept is called shared housing. Many Baby Boomers are stuck with huge houses and empty nests.

Peeping at you is a big no-no! That's a serious breach of privacy and trust. Some might even call him a dirty old man because of it.

He does not need to be living with you. It's time for you to have a sit down conversation with your husband, make plans to find your FIL new living arrangements within a specified period of time (2 months should be plenty), and put your FIL on a budget that includes him paying for or contributing to housekeeping, meals, laundry, etc.

Does your local newspaper have housing classifieds? If so, get the paper and circle ads that might be appropriate. You can prescreen them if you want and hand your husband pre-vetted potential housing for his dad.
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Adult Day Care; many have pick up and drop off from home.
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I have to agree with Country. This man came from a different generation. One where the roles of husband and wife were a lot different than today. Husband was the bread winner, wife was the homemaker. She kept the house, he took care of the yard. He sounds a lot like my Dad. But my Dad didn't know what a clothes basket was.

Can your husband wash clothes? Then maybe he should do Dads. Just because your the "woman" doesn't mean you are the one responsible for Dad. Since DH isn't stepping up to the plate, then you need to tell Dad, my house my rules. Tell him like DH, you have a fulltime job that you are lucky to be able to do from home. You clock in and out just like everyone else. (Not sure you do this but I had a friend that had to) Have a cup of coffee with him but tell him, sorry Dad but I have to get to work. Sorry, you brought him into your home, did you think he wouldn't want some campanionship in the evenings. Maybe try a Senior Center or a Daycare. Check them out though to make sure there are people Dad can relate to. Other option is an AL.

Your problem now is Dad giving money to children. If he ever needs Medicaid that money will be looked at as a gift and he will be penalized.
I think both children need to be told to start living within their means. That Dad is not always going to be there. That if Medicaid is ever needed, they will be cut off because all Dads money will go for his care.
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The man has never lived alone in his adult life, he's never had to shift for himself, and now at 85, newly widowed, you want him to get the hang of harmonious communal living and a whole different set of personal boundaries?

I expect he thinks he's being helpful with the mail. It's probably one job he thinks he can do. He left his laundry basket in front of the washing machine? - I'm quite impressed! I've met many a person who believes that socks and underpants make their own way into the laundry basket, in spite of constant reminders to the contrary. And think how much crosser you'd have been if he'd tried to do the laundry and made a mess of it (how? oooooh, let me count the ways...).

But what he is is lonely; and the kind of companionship he is missing terribly cannot be supplied by a (comparatively) young married couple with jobs and family commitments of their own. Even setting aside the burden on you of having him in your face *the whole time* - and believe me I do sympathise with how badly it gets on the nerves - it really does sound as if he would thrive much better in the right retirement community. He's able bodied, gregarious and willing to participate. They would *love* him. You and your husband, for more than understandable reasons, are beginning to find it hard even to tolerate him. It's not a living situation to wish on an old man you care about.

What's available near you? Have you looked around?
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LoopyLoo Apr 10, 2019
Yes, he needs to be with people his own age and not expect you to entertain him 24/7.
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Your FIL is probably not going to change willingly. Your husband does not seem to want to confront his father. You are stuck. Without the backup from your husband, you will have to be the one to make changes. One option is to leave. However, it is your house and FIL should be the one to go.

The first thing I would do is buy a locking mailbox. Do not give him a key. If they have a combination lock, even better. That way you have control of your mail.

If hubs won’t lay down the law, then you’ll have to. Hand him the silverware and tell him to “please” set the table. If he won’t stand there with your hand out. Make him uncomfortable when he pulls the “king” act.
If he “can’t” learn how to wash the clothes, ok. Deliver the basket of UNfolded laundry to his room. Let him fold it and put it away.

YOU are going to have to be the “bad guy”. Straighten up your backbone and get tough. You will have to fight for the boundaries and limits you place on him. Of course he’s not going to give in willingly. Especially if you are from a culture that doesn’t speak back to elders or restrict them in any way.

If you don’t think he can live alone then check out your local Area on Aging or senior center for assisted living options. If he is giving away money to freeloaders, you shouldn’t have to support him. He can pay towards his assisted living.

You may need to come right out and say you need your privacy and he needs to either give you guys some space or move out. None of this “encouraging” nonsense. He’s got you right where he wants you. It’s up to you to change that.
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No this behaviour is not because he is 85, and my guess is that it happens simply because he is getting away with it. What did your FIL do for a living? Surely he has had some experience of working for a boss, or even of working with people where there are rules about who does what. Your MIL may have been a bit of a slave, but he cannot think that he has been King of every thing and every time for the last 70 years. Turning on a washing machine is not the battle I would choose to fight, but I certainly would pick a battle - and win it, both with him, and with DH. Forget about 'encouraging' him!

You really need to talk to DH about where he can go to live, safely but separately from you. This could go on for another 10 years, getting worse all the time. You didn't choose to marry him, or choose to treat him the way that MIL did. Don't write off the rest of your active life by accepting that this is the way you have to live. Don't wait for a therapist to tell you what you know already!
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Why does he live with you? You took him and MIL when she had cancer, and she died two years ago. There is no reason for him to have stayed. His behaviour is unpleasant, he is self-centred and lazy, and he contributes nothing to your household either financially or with domestic tasks. What are you doing this for? If it’s as intolerable as you say, you are not being too harsh. You address it by getting him out.
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MaggieMai Apr 10, 2019
Thank you MargaretMcKen. He literally does not know how to use a washer. I tried to show him but he cant remember. I was thinking of putting together instructions like: Step 1 put clothes in Washer. Set Dial 1 on medium etc. Also, I think I would like to have his son, my husband encourage him to take his plate to the sink so we are not enabling him. This man would have you do everything for him. He does walk around our neighborhood 3 times a day which is good. He no longer drives. He does have some balance issues so he is afraid to take a shower when we are not home. I actually don’t think he could live by himself. I do think he could do a bit more and one time I suggested to him that if he would like to set table each night that would be ok with me. He told me that I wasn’t going to get him to do my work. Can you believe this and I got mad at hubby because he says oh father just joking but never any attempts to help (we both work full time from home). He is Chauvenistic but he’s stoped those inappropriate comments. I also have issue with him getting mail and going through it. Today my hubby said just put our mail on counter and leave it. Don’t announce what we have. Overall, he honestly has no idea that he infringes on us. He sees my marriage as a threesome in the way that there is no separation of his son and I as a couple and he is living with us. We could have dinner together every night so he wouldn’t be cut off and we would still do his appointments and running around. Husband doesn’t have nerve to talk with him because I think father was so dominant and strict as a child and now he won’t confront on issues I think he should. Husband does have POA but it’s reallly me going through this tough time of feeling taken advantage of and resentful of all the time he is taking away from me and hubby. I think I’ll beed to talk to a therapist who specializes in living with elderly. I just don’t know if how my FIL behaves ( with the exception of saying inappropriate things sometimes) is because he is 85 and had literally been waited on hand and foot as an adult that this is all he knows.
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Write a letter (send it “return receipt requested”) to his other children and inform them that you will start the process of finding alternate living arrangements for Dad. They can have input into this decision, or not, as they see fit. Have Dad assign POA to you so you have control of his finances. The $1000 he is sending to deadbeat daughter will now go to his rent/care in his new home. He can no longer gift her this money in case he needs to file for Medicaid because either she pays it back or he will be denied.

Talk to Dad, if you feel he is capable of understanding and let him know he will no longer be King of your home and you will no longer be his minions. You will no longer be doing his laundry or dishes, etc or entertaining him. Be kind but firm. “We tried, Dad, but it’s just not working out.”

The alternative is to say nothing and have things continue on the way they are now.
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MaggieMai Apr 10, 2019
HinAhmjoy. His son and daughter really wouldn’t care. They honestly do have their own serious issues. I probably should sit with hubby and put together a chart of what it would cost to have someone come in and do his laundry and cook. Then we can pay someone to do it or have him chip in like exchange the cooking part for setting the table. What do you think about that idea? I also think that I can write out directions on doing his own laundry. And I think we get him to pay for the CNA to come in once or twice a week on a schedule so that the person can take him to appointments like haircuts , podiatrist for nail clippings and grocery store runs. ( he likes his own special stuff which I get him). I do worry more about hubby as he is the one that has to schedule all appointments and then take him. Thanks for letting me rant Ps do you think it is odd that FIL has to get our mail everyday.?
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NO u r not being too harsh
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