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No matter what I do for my MIL, I feel like it's never enough. I am having to take care of ALL of her affairs. Right now I am anguishing over whether to keep her in the nursing home when her therapy is played out. She is past her initial 21 days and her secondary insurance is picking up the copay. I started looking into home care costs and what it would mean to bring her home verses leaving her there, paying down her money and applying for Medicaid. So much involved either way. I go up to see her everyday and bring her whatever she gets in her head that she wants. My kids and I took her kitties up to see her, she enjoyed that but cried when they left. I know that she would rather be home. Not my home, hers. She would be happy as a lark if I stayed with her 24/7. But I can't do that. At this point, she would need someone with her that much. She weighs 220 and there is no way I could do it alone. I really would need to have 2 people there all of the time. Regardless of what decision I make, she will run out of money. I feel guilty either way, and either way, there are lots of complications. And "no" I do not have much help in these decisions. Even though she still has 2 sons,( she lost three children) she only wanted me to make these decisions. So I have POA and my name is on her bank acct. the funny thing is, the rest of them seem happy that they don't have to deal with her affairs......ugh!

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Hi Friend
I have just gone through what you are going through only a wee bit different. My mom lived with us for 5+ years. As soon as she and my dad (who passed away 6 months later) arrived we went to an Elder Lawyer. I became POA and Representative Payee (Social Security). Mom was having back problems and I took her to ER. Brought her home from the hospital with medication and from there everything went backwards into a domino effect. Her dementia went into full throttle, talking for over a day and 1/2 non-stop. Brought her to our family physician, back to ER, admitted and then to the Nursing Home for rehab. Have you talked to the caring physician at the Nursing Home? Mine recommended she stay as I was no longer able to care for her. Also given her age of 94 and Sundowner's Alzheimer. Something I needed to make a decision about. Do I bring her home or keep her in nursing home. Not an easy decision.

She only got as far as they could get her in 10 days so I decided to enroll her in the extended care program for dementia patients. I explained everything to mom about not being able to lift her or care for her. I also went everyday, made sure she ate breakfast and was clean and dressed, etc.

I had the worst Guilt Feelings and blamed myself for her being in the nursing home. I would come home and cry as I was already on depression and anxiety medication just from dealing with all the paperwork for all those years. Having admitted her in the Nursing Home brought me into deeper depression figuring if I hadn't taken her to the ER she may still be with me and able to do things for herself. I couldn't get past the guilt. She was admitted to Nursing in Home in May. By August I called Hospice to look at her as she wasn't opening her eyes when I visited and her breathing was off and they put her on Hospice. My doctor advised me not to go everyday to the Nursing Home as it was affecting my health and depression so I cut back to twice a week. Also Hospice offered a Social Worker who was more like a therapist who I have to say got me through this rough time. Feeling guilty and overwhelmed by all the paperwork, lawyers, what you have to produce to get your loved one on Medicaid is draining and it doesn't end there. She finally got on Medicaid in December. It took me almost 9 months to finally rid myself of guilt and increased depression medicine. I was never on any anxiety medication or depression medication until my parents moved in with me, the bad part is I can never get off of them. My doctor recommended I go to a therapist but what would I do with Mom while I was in these appointments?

As far as having help at home once you are approved for Medicaid, Fidelis will come and provide a nurse to bathe, dress and do all that. Usually there is a person that helps you apply for Medicaid and the spend down at the Nursing Home. We however, went to a lawyer and it was worth $15,000 because there was so much involved and I kept good records thank god.

There were some things that were puzzling me about your MIL. Age, condition, can she walk at all?

Sadly...Mom passed away this past Saturday and she had the best care 24 hrs. a day at the Nursing Home.

It's not an easy decision to make and may God guide you through this time and make the decisions necessary. I will pray for you.

God Bless ~ Sharon
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No one can take advantage of you with out your cooperation. Decide what you are willing to do for your MIL and what you will NOT do. It sounds like managing her finances is taking your time and energy - so inform her and her other kids that anything else is up to them or MIL can hire someone. Also, you should not be using any of your money for managing MIL affairs - she needs to pay for her care, etc. Of course the others feel happy they don't have to deal with her affairs - it is making you stressed out.
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I feel the same way but add in trapped. My mom lived alone an hour away, problem because she is a type 1 diabetic that refused to take care of herself. Well the last few years have been rough, basicly pushing me put of her life for new friends. Very complicated story. I basically had decided to walk away, she was found in a Diabetic coma in January 2016. My life has not been my own since. After months of rehab stays, hospital stays and doctors visit I finally got the doctors to say yes she suffered permit brain damage and is not ok to take care of herself. I quickly realized I could not take physical care of her. It was a fight to take her medication, fight to bath and fight to eat. Everyday is taking care of her affairs, bills, and health. After two trys finally found an ALF memory care that she settled into. I try to get back to my life, as I haven't been able to work full-time this past year, my bills are behind, I am depressed or angry most of the time (so of course marriage is not doing well). I try to cut back on my visit but every time I do I get phone calls that some thing happened; she having a bad day, she fallen or something. There is no one but me to call, me brother lives states away and there is no other family here willing to help even just to give me a break.

So how do you cut back when you are the one only for the ALF and doctors to call? I admit I can't do it all, I feel like I am failing myself, in order to save her. When I say things to anyone they don't understand and say don't do so much. Mom can't do for herself anymore (decision, health, finances).

I think we all suffer from guilt as care givers, we want to do our best but it is difficult because usually the person we are caring for doesn't appreciate or understand why we are in charge of their lives.
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I used to be this way, too, and people took advantage of me. I was miserable until I set realistic boundaries and stuck to them. I have cared for my two aunts, who have since passed, and currently my mother, who is very demanding. She has learned to adjust to what I can realistically do, and I am ready for anything if she pushes the boundaries with manipulation, guilt, whatever. You and your family comes first, and you have to take care of yourself, too.
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Well, if you really "can't help it," then there isn't much point in getting advice, is there? But I think it is a very healthy sign that you recognize the dynamic of your guilt feelings and you can look at them logically. You can help it, but it might not be easy.

I don't know who "everyone" is, but I suspect they are right. Is there one of them you particularly respect that you could ask, help me figure out what I can stop doing? If you are doing too much, you need to do less, for the sake of your sanity and your family's well-being.

If this woman needs 2 person care around the clock, I don't think she is a good candidate for living in a private home -- hers or yours. Medicaid would help with some home care, but certainly not 24 hours/day for one person, let alone two! That is because it is more cost-efficient to pay for a care center that is set up to deal with MIL's issues. They not only have two people available at all times, but 3 or 4 if that is ever needed.

Do you like the facility she is in? Are there others in your area that might be worth checking out?

This is such a difficult spot to be in! I hope you can overcome your guilt feelings (that have to do with another situation altogether) and make decisions that are best for everyone. If the guilt is really getting in your way of moving ahead, perhaps a few sessions with a counselor might get you started.

Let us know how this all works out.
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My heart goes out to you--and this is your MIL?????? Where is her son in all this? (Excuse me for being insensitive, perhaps he has passed away) but if he is around, he should be shouldering a lot more.
My own hubby sees his mom when I FREAK OUT AT HIM and make him call/go see her. I am not allowed at her house (too huge of a backstory) so she only lets a very few people in. He is her POA and does occasionally look at her financials, but he could NOT care less about her health, what she's up to....and it's sad. I am seeing my only son parroting this behavior with me.
Guilt is so free floating--you're probably looking ahead and behind and feeling guilty for everything. Therapy has helped me tremendously in dealing with that "free floating" guilt. You can do so much...and then no more. After you've hit your "limit" you are just hurting yourself. And you can (obviously!) do quite a bit.
Yes, you want to give your MIL the best, but you realistically cannot. That is sadly her burden to dear. You can make sure she is safe, loved, cared for in the most basic ways and that's about it. You can't MAKE her feel happy about it. I hope you can place her in a safe, warm environment and cut your visits to a reasonable length of time. You mention still having kids at home? My kids HATED my caring for grandpa...and they were teenagers! It didn't last very long, but I spent so much time with Gpa and the kids were resentful (little brats :) )
I wish you luck. This is a huge thing for you. I admire someone who can love an inlaw like that. You're amazing!!
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I realize that I put a lot of the guilt on myself. It's just my personality. She will have to pay for her care, we are not able to. I want to be there for her, but not 24/7. Another thing though, I lost my own mother in 2001. I was not there for her much because she was almost 2000 miles away. I visited her when I was able, but I was devastated by her prognosis of ALS. She declined so rapidly that Everytime I would go see her, her condition had deteriorated so much, I mentally shut down, thinking "This is not my mom!" my mom meant the whole world to me and I selfishly did not want to lose her! But I was NOT there for her and feel guilt over that, which I think makes me "overdo" for my MIL. Everyone says that I am doing too much, but I can't help it.
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You are clearly a daughter in law that cares. One thing you MUST establish with your MIL is that there is no possibility of her going home. NONE!

Do you work? Because if you do, then you can't give her the care she needs.

Is there a way that she could live with you and people come in to help?

If there is, then set a room up at yours, providing you set out ground rules and you still get to live your life.

It's a dignity thing. I have to be honest, would you like to live in a care home, it's a last resort.

Finally, whatever decision you make, do not put your own mental health at risk. As you say, she's not YOUR mother.
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She's not your mother. She's your husband's mother! What is his involvement in all of this? He should be dealing with her and her situation, not you. Let her go, set boundaries, release the guilt and live your own life! If you can't, then see a therapist to help you get free!
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There are lots of good comments above. I wanted to add one more thing on your question about guilt. Unexplained guilt can exist with a person NO MATTER what you do. There are plenty of people who post here who do bring their loved ones home, spend all their time to their care, stay up around the clock, never get respite care, spend all of their funds, and literally devote their life to their disabled loved one....BUT THEY STILL FEEL GUILTY. (Or at least, that's what they say they feel.) It's quite common. So, I'd consider that you could carry the guilt no matter which choice you make. That's why I'd try to get a handle on it and consider what is reasonable. Only you can control that.
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