Hubby handles all doctors appts 3/week and the usual ER visits as he is retired. His brother works full time and helps as much as he is able. His parents live alone, have limited resources and refuse to move. They are not able to drive and are past the point of caring for themselves. Sister in law "quit" helping when parents caused fights, I can't say I blame her. The parents lived with brother/wife until they insisted on going home. Parents' neighbor is a fantastic woman and does their food shopping/daily check-ins. I work full time and handle all medicine ordering, scheduling of dr's appointments.

I'm sick with guilt but we have no choice but to move.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help ease through this transition?

We're both sick over leaving his brother "holding the bag" and don't even know how to talk to him about it.

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So... your parents in law have burned through one option (living with Son and DIL), have refused to consider other options, and are currently relying on the support of four people, two of whom are about to leave the building and one of whom is under not the ghost of an obligation to continue her support, yes?

I think the conversation you need to have with BIL is about how the four of you (with SIL carefully insulated from direct contact, though she should certainly be free to contribute to the mind-map) create a united front in order to confront parents in law with the reality of their present and future needs.

If they wish to age in place, fine, good for them. But in that case they will very soon need a formal support structure; a support structure which must not rest on their children; and which they will need to fund.

This is not harsh, not even disrespectful or anything but loving. This is reality. They cannot base their security on groundless optimism or filial or neighbourly obligation.
Helpful Answer (42)
Reply to Countrymouse
mally1 Mar 8, 2019
I just LOVE the way you put things! (LOL)
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The problem is the parents, not the brother.

Adult children should not be forced to give up their lives and their livelihoods to support the charade of independence that is going on here.

Brothers should certainly sit down and talk about this and then visit parents and tell them that they are going to have to make other arrangements; the adult children should of course HELP with making the arrangements, but they shouldn't be hostages, now should they?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Pandabear Mar 9, 2019
“Charade of independence “. Definitely going to us that one
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My sister and I cared for our mom in her home. Sis was living with mom due to unemployment. Unbeknownst to me sis took a job 1500 miles away. She never discussed it with me. On thanksgiving she told me about her new job, 3 weeks later she was gone. Nightmare!!! Mom was distraught and confused, and I was left holding the bag.
Moral of the story? Talk to brother ASAP! Right now! I can tell that your intention is not to hurt or burden him, but that is exactly what is going to happen, and it will be even worse the longer you wait. And for heavens sake go in with a game plan. Research home health and assisted living. Call your local Aging resource center. Set up meals on wheels. Hire a housekeeper. You get my drift.
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Reply to anonymous763470
anonymous763470 Mar 9, 2019
You did not mention if parents have a will, or who holds their POA. If they have neither resolve that situation immediately.
my brother holds mom’s POA for finance. He does all her banking/bills online. Your husband certainly could handle his parents finances in the same manor.
Your parents are fortunate to have an attentive neighbor. Hire her!!
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As others have said, this is a parent problem, not a sibling problem. If it takes 4 people to keep them in their home, they do not belong there.
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Reply to plum9195
Pandabear Mar 10, 2019
Isn’t it amazing that we automatically assume the position that it is the problem of the children. I had to shift my thinking on this previously. Yes we have a responsibility and duty to our parents but we/others never see it as a dual responsibility
I was even worse where my husband is concerned but have decided not to be so available and start looking after myself as well
I have not read all the responses, so forgive me if I am redundant.

You have nothing to feel guilty about, your inlaws are choosing to stay in their home because they are not willing to do whatever is required to not be a huge burden to their children. That is on them.

I get wanting to stay in your home but I completely disagree that anyone can manipulate another to make this happen. And yes, refusing to do what is necessary is manipulating everyone you expect to step in and do for you because you can't and won't change.

I don't think it is anyone's responsibility to figure out what will be done to prop up this house of cards except the parents. Necessity is the mother of invention and when they are left to sort it out, they might make different decisions. As long as their children are propping them up they don't need to do anything different.

Tell you BIL that he shouldn't jump in and rescue them, let them figure it out. If they aren't able then they have no business staying in their house, time for a village.

Enjoy your relocation and I hope it works out well for you and your husband.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Here are some things I managed with my father remembering that he was an habitual gambler, which I didn’t know the depth of at the time
he ran out of money and my brother and I (unbeknownst to each other) gave him $5K each then he went and took out a reverse mortgage on his house, $100,000 K, That lasted him one year
his grandson visited him for a couple of hours while he did his and his grandfather,s washing. Every Saturday That lasted until my father asked for payment for using his water
i was working full time and running around taking him to Dr, dental and hospital appointments
Then one day there was a knock on the door and it was my brother from London
He had come to force dad to sell his house which was now worth a lot of money but he didn’t have the money to keep it. Also time to stop him letting others look after him when he was capable of doing it for himself

the house was sold
all debts paid off, now totalling $150,000K
my friend told me there was an apartment up for sale at the retirement village where his mother was. Cost $20K extra to bring it up to scratch and really nice. It had a full time nurse panic button and dr came every week in clinic
Then I made him put the remainder of his money in a term deposit so he couldn’t touch it and got a cheque book with dual signatures which I used to pay his bills that were paid from interest earned on term deposit. I just rolled the principal over and over
He still Gambled but only had his fortnightly pension to do so
Then I found two non for profit agencies, one through council and one through local diocese of Anglican Church who would pick him up and bring him home from appointments for a very low cost
Because of his age(80) he was entitled to a cleaner for one hour a week who would clean bathroom, kitchen change bed linen and hang out wash
Then I got POA and Enduring Care

so I think the brothers could do a similar thing. Is the father eligible for Veterans Affairs services. Lots of good things there

there really is no need for guilt and recriminations They are very old now and can’t stay in their home without a lot of help. Their house is capital and they should be using it. You all need to be as one and let them know gently but firmly this is the way
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Reply to Pandabear
bettina Mar 9, 2019
Excellent plan of action. You both handled your father's situation very well
indeed. It allows dignity and quality of life for all involved.
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So sorry you need to make this decision. I feel for other brother. Sounds like he just doesn't have the time.

Call your Office of Aging and ask what kind of resources are available for in-laws. It wouldn't be fair for neighbor to take this on.
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Reply to JoAnn29
gdaughter Mar 9, 2019
Seen this happen once or twice and ultimately neighbors will burn out and find help like local office on aging.
I think some posters are being unfair here. Maybe where they live doesn't have the type of work DH is trained for. Maybe his company transferred him and by giving up his job would mean not receiving a pension he has worked towards. Maybe his job pays good benefits that if he quit he wouldn't be able to afford. They have two STUBBORN parents who don't see how their decisions effect their children's future. We have to secure our futures. Our parents should never have felt "my children will care for me". Yes, we have some responsibility towards our parents. Making sure they are safe, fed, clean and cared for. But what do you do when the parents won't compromise, they want it their way. Well life doesn't work that way.

Meaghan, you need to find what resources are available to DHs parents. Office of aging is a good start. If they are low income, then maybe homecare thru Medicaid. First talk to BIL and SIL soon. I get the impression if you could stay you would. Do in-laws really need appts 3x a week? Seems a little much. I cut back on some of Moms. Make a list of their needs. What will BIL be able to do and what not. Maybe SIL can work behind the scenes. Making appts, setting up transportation. There r senior buses. Then the boys go talk to parents. Explaining that things must change. If they have money, then maybe AL for them. Once they are in an AL the house can be cleaned out and sold for their care.

Get the mindset now, that you will probably have to make weekend trips home. I cleaned out a 2 story, walk in attic 125yr old Farmhouse where my Mom had accumulated 60 yrs of stuff. All by myself with help from DH with the heavy stuff. Still dealing with the house and Mom passed in 2017.
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Reply to JoAnn29
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 10, 2019

Great suggestions! As far as family helping though, you know how that goes. The ones who do the work, do it. The ones who don’t, they don’t do a thing. You are right, even just making phone calls would be a help but from my experience those who don’t help do absolutely nothing!

Ends up being more stressful trying to get them to help than just doing it themselves. Even if I dropped dead, I don’t think my brothers or SIL would ever say that they should have helped. They would most likely be upset that I died because then they would have to care for mom, which they wouldn’t. They most likely wouldn’t even research facilities. They would place her in first place they found.
I agree completely that this is a problem with the parents and not the brothers.

1. Get their important paperwork in order. Durable power of attorney both medical and financial. Living wills - hard but very necessary discussion to have with them both.

2. Groceries - can they be delivered? The neighbor is nice to do this for them but they likely also need help preparing meals for themselves. Look into hiring someone to cook and freeze meals that can be warmed up. Nutrition students at the local college probably need money to pay for school. When I was doing this for my in-laws, I bought a dozen or more pieces of Corning ware at the thrift store. Each meal contained protein, lots of veggies, and a starch. Nowadays the frozen food aisle at the grocery store has many healthy "cook in bag" meals and sides.

3. Housekeeping - who cleans their house now?

4. Transportation - what options are in their area? And why on earth are they going to the doctor 3 times each week? Is it for dialysis? Please explain a little bit more.

Three weeks is enough time to get some them some help. It may not be perfect by the time you move, and that's okay. It'll be a good start toward getting your in-laws to accept reality.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 10, 2019
Groceries can be delivered, even amazon has tons of stuff. Scrpts delivered, housekeeping services. People who don’t have kids find a way to take care of themselves. People aren’t always close to neighbors either so one has to fend for themselves.
Pease tell him carefully and with a back up plan already researched. I am the sole carer for my mum and the pressure and stress is awful. I so wish I had a sibling to help me but I don't so the responsibility is all mine and it's sucking the life out of me. It's a big responsibility for your brother in law and will impact his life a lot. If the parents are stubborn then be firm with them as your lives matter too!!!! Older people can be very selfish and self absorbed and don't see beyond their own needs and wants. The carers need caring for too sometimes!!!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to NannaJ
gdaughter Mar 9, 2019
so agree with the self-absorbed part as is the case with my dad. Mom less an issue because she is her typical stubborn witch self and then some with her dementia. But dad has had womanfolk looking after him since a babe, from his mother and sisters to his wifey. I am so sick of his needs becoming his obsession that I must deal with. His notes. His magazine subscriptions that force my using my email address, his this, his that.
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