My mother and father-in-law are both in assisted living with severe Dementia. My husband’s sister is DPOA and does all financial and medical appts. We have decided to move out of state. She is bitter and mad about move. Both parents are on Hospice services, we all live in same town but now have decided to move 12 hours away because of our advancing age and our lease is ending. We do nothing in regards to their care but visit once per week in their room. There is also a history of abuse with my husband in his early years of life. His sister is nine years younger. Any suggestions. I am 64 and hubby is 72. His parents are 93 and 94.

Your SIL will now be alone to bear the burden of her folks without the support of your weekly visits, which adds another thing onto her plate, is how she's likely looking at it. Regardless of your DHs past history of abuse with his parents, his sister probably isn't taking that into consideration since the folks are approaching end of life care now. She's probably burned out already and only feeling the prospect of even more burn out now. That's how I'd be feeling I were in her shoes, frankly.

But I'm an only child and already burned out after dealing with 100% of everything for my parents the past 10 years. Nobody wants to be bothered with my mother, as a rule, because of her negativity and complaining nature. So that leaves me to deal with the toxic waste all the time and it takes an emotional toll on me. Maybe your SIL is emotionally exhausted right now too.

You should move away and live life as you see fit, but you should try to empathize with your SIL at the same time, imo. Have a chat with her to see how you can best support her, letting her know you'd like to do that, but you also need to move on now. Perhaps if you were to call the folks regularly, that might help her, I don't know.

Wishing you the best of luck moving forward
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to lealonnie1

If he has not already done so, your husband should explain to her (to the extent with which he is comfortable) the fact that he has less fondness for his parents and why. Then you should move ahead with your plans without guilt and leave your SIL to her own pity party.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Geaton777

I kind of can't blame your husband's sister for being angry. She is being left to take care of everything by herself. She is definitely feeling abandoned. Can't say I blame her. I'd feel the same way.

You and hubby have absolutely no idea what his sister is dealing with. Sadly, you're both minimally involved. She is trying to manage their lives, finances, dealing with doctors, and phone calls when something goes wrong. She has no life of her own to walk off and enjoy. Her life is consumed with the caregiving of her parents. She will be greatly blessed for that.

Unless you have done it you have no idea what it is like. It is hell and his sister is living it. Surely, she needs some respite but she can't just get up and walk away. Seems her brother has no problem doing that and leaving his sister to handle it all.

I get it. There was abuse where your husband and his parents are concerned and he is resentful. I get it. However, they are his parents. Your husband is in his 70's now. How long is he going to hold on to that?

Time for him to let it go and help his sister deal with all of this. Believe me, she is living in hell, is exhausted, constantly worried about her parents, and probably depressed. What about her life? She doesn't have one right now caring for her parents, but her brother gets to get up and walk away.

I know everyone must live their life. But sometimes we must help bear each other's burdens. Especially when it comes to family.
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Reply to ZenZen
TakeFoxAway Apr 17, 2021
I agree with ZenZen.

Also, you and your husband are not that old. Maybe you could wait one more year. I would be feeling abandoned and frantic as well if I were her.
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Is there a possibility that the reason she is bitter and mad about you and your husband moving is that she sees this as a way to “escape” from dealing with what is going on?
12 hours a way is far enough away that a true crisis or emergency might be over by the time you get there and she is possibly afraid of making a “wrong” decision?
Follow through with your plans. Make your move. Support your husband, reassure your SIL that you are both there when she needs support.
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Reply to Grandma1954
havenofrest7777 Apr 15, 2021
No, she is very much a leader in the role of caregiver/daughter and has been thru this three times before with her husband’s relatives. She is not afraid of the decisions to be made and even makes many decisions without consulting my husband and let’s him know after the fact. Thank you for the feedback.
She's upset that you feel you have the freedom to do as you like while she doesn't. I get it completely.

That doesn't make it logical or even true, but that's likely how she's seeing it. As the others have said, make a real effort to stay in touch with her and offer your support. If your husband has little or no fondness for his parents, visiting or communicating with them is his choice, but I think the sister is the one who shouldn't be abandoned. Just make a real effort to stay in touch with her, ask about HER life and activities, and of course check in on how the parents are doing.
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Reply to MJ1929
lkdrymom Apr 17, 2021
I have to agree. I think she is upset that you have options while she feels she doesn't since she needs to be close to manage their lives. Keep in contact with her and see if she needs anything to make her life easier.
Seems you have never been involved in their care. Severe Dementia I take to mean they have no idea who you are or that you have even been there. She's done it all on her own and looks like her caregiving may come to and end sooner than later. So I would wonder why she is so upset?

Advancing age, made me smile. (I am 71) You sound like you are ready for a NH. When my MIL turned 80 she told her SIL " Frances, who was 90, I am 80 years old!" Frances said "oh to be 80 again, I could do so much more". But I understand where ur coming from. Husband is retired and I assume you are or will be. You need to move where you can live on your SS. Need to do it now while you can. There is no reason to stay where you are. Maybe she feels you should stay till their deaths.
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Reply to JoAnn29

May I suggest that everybody meet with a counsellor before your move.

I imagine she is feeling abandoned by both of you in caring for parents. Yes, you visit and you see that "help" as not worth much. Your sister probably sees it as dumping another responsibility into her lap. She is not taking into account your needs. You have the right to live where you want and how you want. She may feel as if that option has been denied to her and resents it. Meeting with a counsellor can help to put the "feelings" and "facts" on the table and deal with the changes. The goal is to move ahead in your life from, a position of peace and understanding.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Taarna
havenofrest7777 Apr 17, 2021
My husband and I are meeting g with Hospice Social Worker next week. His sister will not be at meeting. Thank you!
I am so grateful that my brother and I love each other so much we helped care for my parents as a team. It didn't matter how we felt about the parents! We couldn't abandon each other. Maybe that's what the sister is upset by. Losing her brother.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to JustDaughter
jcnickc Apr 17, 2021
This blessed my heart—that you and your brother hold your relationship so closely. Your parents are fortunate to have you team up on their behalf. Wish it happened more.
You say your SIL has already cared for 3 of 4 parents (her own plus her husband’s). That is where I am right now, so I’ll share my thoughts about it honestly—take what you may & leave the rest.

No one stepped up, so when I saw the need going unmet, I did, first with FIL, then MIL. Family’s assumption then became that I would always do it. My husband’s only sibling moved out of state while their mother was in AL with dementia. They offered to handle the finances, which was great because then we could just do the hands-on—visiting, doctor appointments, shopping, holidays, etc. (Even in AL, there is a lot of hands-on care-giving required.) It was great until we were contacted by her care facility that we were being turned over to adult protective services because her bills weren’t being paid and the pharmacy would no longer deliver her meds. I was furious and it was ALL dropped in our lap to work through. Meanwhile, BIL went on his way. Yes, no help at all—we did feel abandoned. No more “sharing the responsibilities” at all.

No one was local when my parents became unable to care for themselves, either, except one extremely mentally ill sister, so I felt like I had to step up again. My father passed away and left my completely dependent mother. But by then my husband had ALS and so she had to go into AL. After 3 heart-wrenching years, my husband passed, and shortly after, my mother ran completely out of money, and so now she is in my home. I would dearly love not to be responsible for her, but what do I do—make her a ward of the court? Send her into a Medicaid home (after 2-3 year wait-list clears) when she is still fairly cognizant)? Thankfully, my out of state sister has stepped up to offer respite care when I need it—she understands how difficult our 93 year old mother is. And she provides a “Medical Guardian” alarm service so my mother isn’t afraid when I check the mail or take a shower or sleep at night. (She seriously is scared to death to be alone at any moment.)

Bottom line here is that when people step up to meet a need, too often others are happy to relinquish their own responsibility, because the other “does it so well” or “they like to be in control” or some other nonsense that makes them feel like they’re off the hook. Have you and your husband talked with your SIL and asked what all the needs and responsibilities are and how you can share in them even if long distance? My sister’s help is what keeps me at this. Perhaps if you’re moving on with your own life, you can find a way to help your SIL have any semblance of a life of her own. Oh, and the abuse? Yeah, it’s rough caring for our abusers, but by our 60s & 70’s, how we respond is about us, no longer them. You can have a life and still do the right thing.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to jcnickc

You don't need to explain anything at all. Move and enjoy your life, you only get one. Change that once a week visit to a once a week phone call.
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Reply to ZippyZee

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