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Father in law is healthy and takes care of her now. Her motor skills are declining rapidly due to strokes & Alzheimer’s. I have been a caregiver to my Mother who is in assisted living now. I can’t bear the thought of having more trauma at my home but feel guilty and ashamed to say no. I never got along good with father in law. They have a daughter who lives nearby.

Dear MIL & FIL, after having my folks living with us a while ago, I had a nervous breakdown due to the stress of the situation. Upon the advice & counseling of my psychiatrist, DH and I have made the decision to NEVER have anyone else living with us again. Ever. That decision has been made after very careful consideration of everyone's needs and feelings, and not without long discussions on the matter. Please know I love you very much, but have arrived at this decision for my own health and wellbeing which is very important. Please make other arrangements for your long term care and DH and I will be more than happy to support that decision and visit you as often as we can in your new location, should you decide to move to Assisted Living.

That's how you handle it. By being upfront and honest right from the get go, so there's no hinting around or cracks to sneak in through. I put my own foot down LONG ago about my decision that NOBODY would be moving in with me for care in their old age. Sorry not sorry. My mother and I have a relationship like gasoline and a match so living with her once was more than enough. I've done everything in my power to help my folks get set up in Independent Living, then Assisted Living, and now in Memory Care for my 94 year old mother with advanced dementia. I've stood my ground and it's been a very wise decision on my part. No shame in it, either. Why should there be? Elder care normally requires a TEAM of people working round the clock to ensure it's done properly. Not one or two old people struggling THEMSELVES to care for one or two much OLDER people who require constant care, attention and supervision. It's just common sense, really.

Best of luck standing your ground
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Reply to lealonnie1
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There was a poster (many will remember Dorker) who's entire family were under a delusion that MIL moving to their guest bedroom would be a *nice* idea. The guest room, the 'Yellow Bedroom' became a symbol for me of just what boundaries can look like.

She had let her Mother stay before, so there was a precedent too - like the OP here. But, Mother was a fully functioning completely independent younger lady. MIL was older, had numerous medical issues (inc unstable CCF) very poor mobility, un-dx cog decline/dementia & regular incontinence. Not comparing apples with apples at all!

Family said it would be *nice* to help MIL, to take her in & look after her. When you whittled down which 'family' members would do the hands-on... whoa...silence...all busy working, raising kids, lived interstate. That left the ONE person (who wrote the saga out here). The one that already said no.

It was NOT a nice idea at all.. it was completely bonkers. *Magical Thinking*

I feel here for the OP is the same. Moving into their guest apt may look a *nice* idea on paper. But the reality is DH will work/hobbies/busy being a man, SIL will pop in & out. The OP lives there so it will get dropped on her - full force.

Do not let them in.

The OP is right to trust her instincts & has every right to say no.

Do not extend your hand with a crumb. Your hand will be bitten, your arm ripped off, then caged to become a servant. Harsh? Yes. But it happens.
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Reply to Beatty
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MHHE1967 May 15, 2021
Excellent points! Reminds me of the saying, “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.”
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One easy ‘out’ is to start a DIY reno of that apartment. Take apart some major features, like removing the bathroom cabinets. Move boxes and junk from your house into there for storage. Fill it up. Half paint a wall and leave drop clothes, brushes, paint rollers, and such sitting there with the project undone. Close and lock the door and don’t go back in. “Sorry, no one can live in it like this.” Never schedule any time or workers to finish the work.
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SnoopyLove May 11, 2021
I love this! Hey, whatever the OP needs to do to protect her mental health.
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It is so antiquated for parents to expect their own children to be their caregivers.

It is even more unrealistic for an in-law to expect a daughter-in-law to be their caretaker.

This is your husband's problem, not yours.

Will he take care of his own mother, on his own, if she moves in???? if not, he can help his father make other plans, or he can choose to walk away.

Life is complicated for everyone young or old.

People should not have children because they want to grow their own elder-care nurse maids.

They should plan ahead or apply for medicaid, if they can not afford their own care.

I hear horror stories daily of people who blew their life savings on traveling extensively in their old age, yet, they expect their financially struggling children to bail them out in the end.

I also hear of men who spend their retirement savings on much younger lady friends only to have these women leave them when their is nothing left but a dried financial husk.

At that point they expect their children to care for them.

Don't let misplaced guilt force you into a position you are not financially or emotionally prepared to accept.
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Reply to Heather10
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Netty, in my community there is an independent living/AL that allows the public to book their bathing facilities. Perhaps you can check if there is something similar in your community and next time your sil calls asking to bring her mother over for a shower, you can pass along the information.

I am facing a similar, but different situation. My son in finally in a locked mental health ward, hopefully he will have a diagnosis, medication and follow up support when he is discharged. But I have made it clear to the SW in the hospital that he cannot live with me.

You need to be open with the family but also firm in your resolve. Actually let me rephrase that. Your husband, has to step up and clearly state to his parents and sister, that do to the toll of your mother living in your home, the two of you have decided that you will not consider anyone, including his parents living in the apartment. No further explanation, nor discussion is needed.

He needs to make this very clear, so his parents can look for other options.

There is no shame in looking after yourself, there should be no guilt in saying No.
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notgoodenough May 11, 2021
(((hugs))) Tothill, I hope you can get everything worked out with your son!
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You have a medical condition. If you had a heart condition nobody would question not taking in your in-laws. Simply tell whomever is advocating or suggesting that your in-laws move in that you are unable to offer the apartment. If they say “Well, your mother lived there,” you can respond with “Yes, she did and my health suffered severely because of it. I now know my limitations and I cannot do it.” You owe them no explanation about your health and they have no right to your private information. Simply tell them you are unable to help you in-laws. I would offer alternate suggestions like information on local ALs or foster care homes or home health agencies. You have no reason to feel guilty. You cannot be there for your own family if you are not well. Your own family is your priority—not your in-laws.
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jacobsonbob May 16, 2021
Extremely well-stated!
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You simply say "No, we couldn't possibly have this. I am sorry." Full stop, period and end of statement.
OR you can go ahead and let them run the show and have another nervous breakdown.
There is really very little in between, and if you cannot stand up for yourself I think no one else can do it for you. I know this sounds brutal, But that's the only answer. Not everything can be all tied up with a pretty bow. Some things just don't have a clean and neat "fixed" at the end of the day.I surely do wish you well.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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My almost 90 year old mom ask me just about every day for 2 1/2 years to move in with my 74 almost 75 year old husband and I (57 almost 58). I have told her no countless times. I have learned to cope but when I am really tired of all of this. I am an only child. My mother is physically fine with no signs of memory loss. She has high anxiety and depression but will not take any medication. She is miserable with her life and she tells me daily. I try to maintain my positive words with her but sometimes I just blow my top. I will not burden my husband with all the details but when he sees her, he says she looks great and that everything looks like normal. I told him only my mother, me, and God only know the whole truth about this situation. Sometimes it is just necessary to talk to someone but I don't have any contemporaries having this issue. I will not do anything to hinder my marriage with all of this. I visit my mother every other day to spend some time today. It is not quality time because all she does is complain. I have shed alot of tears these 2 1/2 years. She can't cry. Just needing someone to share this with. Good luck to prayers to all of us.
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BurntCaregiver May 11, 2021
onlychild55,

I understand exactly what you're going through and there are a lot of us who have the very same situation. It's a blessing that you don't live with her.
I live in the same house with my mother and my life is a wretched hell on earth. Endless complaining, fight-picking, gaslighting, brow-beating, and guilt-tripping. It's not because she's elderly. This has been so pretty much my whole life, only worsened now because she's elderly.
I totally understand where you're coming from.
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Say NO over and over and over and over. If you want, research other options and suggest those. As for living with you, say NO, over and over and over. Then repeat NO, over and over and over. Get counseling for yourself as needed to say NO. Practice this with a friend in a role play scenario. Rehearse this as often as needed to prepare for this event. It will be much easier to do if the time comes if you have worked out how to do this in advance.
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Beatty May 11, 2021
Love love love your answer.
You are so right. Practice builds confidence.
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I think I want to reframe what you are thinking of as "selfish".

It's called "self preservation" or self interest.

Selfish means that you won't share what it costs you nothing to share. Having your in-laws reside there will mean you are at their beck and call, will have no privacy and will have loud noise invading your space.

I think it is your in-laws who are selfish, expecting you to put your fragile health in danger on their account.

They are not without resources, they have 2 homes, for crying out loud.

As FIL ages, he will NOT be able to care for her without the assistance of AL.
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