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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.

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It doesn't matter WHO they have living nearby.

You are allowed to say who lives in your home. No one is going to take care of YOUR health but you.

Say "regrettfully, I can't offer you housing here. What alternatives have you looked into?"

Recently, my son in-law's dad presumed that he could fly to our city and stay with his son and my daughter and toddler in their microscopic apartment. They said no. He was furious.

It didn't matter. If he wants to visit NYC, he needs to find himself an AirBnB or something similar. Don't let Fear, Obligation and Guilt rule and ruin your life.
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Nettylr2 May 2021
Thanks. My Psychiatrist says it’s okay to feel selfish when I’m trying to stay mentally stable. It’s my guilt that tears me up. Been there and done this already with my Mom & literally cannot survive having in laws live here. The handicap apt was built by and for my Mother. Should I feel obligated to let in-laws capitalize on that fact ? It’s such a hot mess. It’s coming down the line, I know it
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A suggestion that might work.
If they currently have a house, they sell the house and can move into the apartment BUT they have to pay a current appropriate rent for the apartment.
They also have to pay for caregivers to come in to help when and if it is necessary.
Your husband can help when it is needed as well.
When you do shopping for your household you can offer to do shopping for them, they can give you a check, credit card or debit card to pay for their purchases.
When entering your home they knock just like any invited guest, they do not just barge in as if they live in your house.
Paying for the rent and all utilities and caregivers will help if down the road they need to apply for Medicaid.
This will also let your husband keep an eye on them and help out when they need it.
If you help out that is your decision.
And the added rent will help pay for any repairs that you need to make on the apartment or the house.
Make it clear that you can not physically and mentally care for them. And you can not be a daily caregiver.

AND with dementia often just having a handicap apartment or house is not enough it needs to be safe. Can she wander. Will she or he cause damage to the property? If either of these might happen then Memory Care might be a better option.

AND..since it is the FIL you seem to have more of a problem with what will become of him if MIL is placed in Memory Care or when she dies? Will he remain or will he move out and will your husband have his dad move after loosing his wife..my guess is not and you will be stuck with him!

Maybe the best option is Assisted Living so he can have help with her until she needs Memory Care and since he would be in the same building he could visit at any time and he would still have the help that he probably will need as well as the socialization that he will not get in an apartment.

Boy, I certainly made this as clear as mud for you!
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Nettylr2 May 2021
Thanks but I just don’t want full time renters in my house, no matter what. FIL won’t admit he needs hearing aids and plays TV or radio on full blast , day I. And day out. This would really disturb me. I think this will cause terrible anxiety for me. I am bi-polar. I believe this could break up my marriage as well.
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First can I ask where the pressure is coming from?
FIL? SIL? Family or cultural expectations?

Is your Husband for or against?

How is the request being communicated to you? Asked directly? Subtle hints? Assumptions? Rude demands?

Just trying to get a picture. To plan defence strategies.
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Grandma1954 May 2021
I guess this is what I was trying to get across, the different strategies that might be an option.
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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 2021
Love love love your answer.
You are so right. Practice builds confidence.
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Who has asked you to let them move in? Your sister-in-law?

Is your H pressuring you to allow it?
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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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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 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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NettyIR2,

You refuse it any and every way you can think of to prevent another caregiver situation that you do not want to be in.
Do whatever you have to do to make sure you don't become your FIL's caregiver. Put guilt and shame of saying no as far out of your mind as you can. Maybe you will get some backlash from family members for refusing to take him in, maybe you won't. If you do it's better to deal with that then to be forced to take on another caregiver situation that you don't want.
Family members that guilt-trip or chastise other family members when they refuse to willingly become an elder caregiver usually do so because they don't want it put on themselves and fear being judged and blamed by others if the elder gets placed in facility care. Don't let yourself fall into the trap family often sets when they don't want the situation themselves.
Say no and absolutely refuse if you don't want to take it on.
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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 2021
(((hugs))) Tothill, I hope you can get everything worked out with your son!
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I'm going to take this in a little bit of a different direction.

Are the hints about you in-laws moving in coming from them, or your SIL? Could it be that she's burnt out? Is your hubby doing anything to support his sister? Maybe her looking to bring MIL over to shower is a way of trying to engage HIM in helping with the caregiving?

I am not advocating you have them move in with you, mind you. I think what you need to tell your husband is he and his sister need to sit down and have a frank, honest conversation with each other on what each of them is willing to do with caregiving - and not just today, but down the road as MIL and FIL need further help - and then stand together as a united front to explain to FIL/MIL what they are and are not willing to do, and then form a plan from there. The plan doesn't have to be they live with either you or your SIL. But its not really fair for your SIL to be the bearer of this news all by herself, she should have the support of her brother.
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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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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 2021
I love this! Hey, whatever the OP needs to do to protect her mental health.
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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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Nettylr2,
thank you for the response you gave me and given that info there is but 1 answer.
NO. That one word is a complete sentence.
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These are your in laws so my question is .... where is your husband in all of this? Have you sat down and discussed this with him. If you mother is not living with you, I personally can't see why his parents should live with you particularly since you have already tried the caregiver route once and didn't like him. Hubby is going to have to man up to his Dad and tell him he and MIL can't live with you as he show him some of the lovely AL's that you've researched. And don't let Hubby get away with the "well, whatever you want" response to you (they love doing that). Tell him, "Fine! What I want is your parents not to live with us and I also want and expect you to tell them that." Don't back down and don't take his guff.
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WolfeyKat62 May 2021
Yep, years ago my husband was trying to talk his elderly cousin and his wife to move in with us. I told him go ahead and try it, I'll just move out sue you for divorce. He got the idea. 10 years later he tried to talk his Dad into moving in with us. I gave him the same response as last time and his Dad met a lady that married him and is his caregiver. She also holds the purse strings. She keeps him alive to serve her ship. The only reason my husband wanted to adopt elderly was for money. He would get paid and I would clean up the messes. My FIL outlived his son.
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I would tell SIL that you have been there, done that. That you will not care for your in laws or have them in your house. If you don't mind using BiPolar as an excuse, use it. My cousin suffers from this and calls me when is having anxiety. I don't know how you got thru caring for ur Mom.
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I am so sorry that you are faced with this situation. It is an awkward position to be in. No one likes to be placed on the spot like this.

As far as your in laws are concerned, it is neither of their children’s responsibility to care for their parents.

Both children will have to tell their parents that they care about their welfare but will not do the ‘hands on’ caregiving in their homes. If their parents ask why, all they have to say is that it is huge responsibility and that they wish to remain being a son and daughter, instead of caregivers.

If they come back with, “We will hire someone to help.” You can say, “This space is now designated for our family and guests that visit from out of town. We never wish to have permanent residents in it.”

The family next door to me when I was growing up had an aunt, grandparents and great grandmother right down the street. One day the man next door said to his wife, “Let’s move, because they are all getting older and we will be the first ones that they call on for everything.” I suppose that there are pros and cons of living close to family. At first I thought that my neighbor was mean. The aunt, grandparents, and great grandmother always babysat their kids. I was young and didn’t have a clue about how being a caregiver would have interfered in their lives.

Anyway, they moved away to another state! They never had any family members living with them. Drastic solution but it worked for them!
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Just say no. If they argue, repeat it, increasing in volume each time.
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Beatty May 2021
🤣🤣🤣

I had a chart for voice volume when my son was young..
1. whisper
2. quiet voice
3. inside voice
4. outside voice
5. emergency voice

I am SO going to try your method 😆 especially with the bossy SIL who nitpicks apart any reply containing No. So simple, so much more FUN!
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Imagine the worst thing that could happen if you just said outright ‘No you won’t be moving in with us’. Go on, imagine it. Then imagine how you would deal with the dreadful result. Shout and scream in your imagination. Tell them what you think of their behavior. Keep going. You can do it! Just practice – the first time you try it for real shouldn’t be an experiment.

Then tell yourself ‘The worst case outcome is not the most likely outcome’. I had that on a sign in front of my desk for about 4 years when our fraudulent neighbors were suing us for everything we had. It’s true – the actual outcome was not the worst we imagined, by a long way.

So now you know how to cope with the worst outcome, and you are clear that it’s likely to be easier than you thought. I can assure you that you will feel stronger about standing up for yourself – which is what you need to do. Be strong, be brave, be clever. Yours, Margaret
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Netty, i think your psychiatrist is correct. Im sitting here in tears for you, hoping and praying your husband will take the bull by the horns and tell them they cannot live with yall, no way, no how.. your health is more important than them, your spouse should know this…..
i can literally feel the pain of your words coming through the comments….
please do what you need to, to take care of yourself……love and blessings….Liz
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You let your mom live there. How will your husband feel about not opening the apartment for his parents? There is a sibling that lives close, so talk to her. Maybe she and your hubby can take care of them at the apt. Father in law is healthy, so you could observe his care for her and when it's too much, let him continue to live there and m-i-l could go to facility care (unless they both want to go together). F-i-L would probably benefit from staying in the apartment with family close by until he can no longer live alone. I would at least talk to your husband and sis in law to get their thoughts on the matter. At that meeting you could let them know you already did the caregiver thing for your own mom and it's hard. You do not want to be the main caregiver again, so do they have a plan that is workable for 24-7 care as it is needed.
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MargaretMcKen May 2021
You have just written out the exact script for a disaster than will cripple the rest of OP’s life. Did you even read “I never got along good with father in law. ”? Or “I had a nervous breakdown when Mom was here"? What on earth are you trying to do?!!
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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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MHHE1967 May 2021
Excellent points! Reminds me of the saying, “Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.”
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Well. You had a nervous breakdown when your mother was living in the adapted apartment, and presumably you quite liked her, and there was only one of her, and her being there didn't involve turning your house into Piccadilly Circus with Heaven knows what other friends-and-family turning up "only trying to help" at all hours. And your mother didn't actually have dementia to speak of.

So if anyone has given any thought at all to how on earth you're going to cope with your husband's family moving in on the territory... how do they see this going?

I'm guessing that they think, as FIL is the primary caregiver and SIL will be close at hand, you won't have such a workload on your hands and it won't be so stressful for you. Yes? Has the point been discussed at all?
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Netty,
Do not be ashamed to say "No".
Even "NO" to showering at your home.

I am reading that perhaps the whole "in-law" scene is stressful.
Maybe consider cutting back contact, even with Sil. Your dH can go visit them.

Try not sharing too much with Sil, what you have, what you are doing, not asking for advice. (you have your doctor).

Can you try that for awhile?
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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 2021
Extremely well-stated!
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IN MY OPINION ONLY
The apartment is off limits.
The only say your husband has should be: "I understand".


No one has the right to force this on you Netty.

It is not "as if" the people wanting something from you are bad. There is nothing wrong with having unoccupied housing on your property.

I have a new RV potty stored in my shed. There is no way anyone is going to use it just because it's there! It would fall on me to clean it, as if I need an excuse. Not ever!
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Unfortunately I can only see a paragraph of your story:
From reading other replies:
From what I am understanding you took care of your OWN mother? Because your are at home full time? This was your parent, so you felt responsible. Now your husband's father wants to move in? He is not your parent he is your husband's?
If this is going to happen let your husband take on the responsibility of taking care of him. It's ridiculous that you have to, he has a daughter, let her and your husband figure out how THEY are going to handle this, without you. Your husband should not expect you to take care of him. It does not make sense that you should have to take on this responsibility, it's not yours to take on. You need to say NO, I am not getting involved, I'm out, do not look on me to share in this, I will not. Your husband needs to realize how unreasonable a request this is.
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Suzie2021 May 2021
I totally agree.
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Explain that you can not possibly be a live-in caregiver to anybody. Explain that you had tired in the past and it severely undermined your health.

Offer other help that you are able to do for them.

Don't let anybody pressure you into doing more than you know you are capable of doing.
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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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As cherokeegrrl54 said on May 13, 2021:

"And always remember….NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE!!!!"

There is NO need for any explanation. None. Just NO. Not loud or sarcastic, just NO.

You stated "My husband knows how I feel & really doesn’t want to deal with the upcoming change in his parents living situation." so it sounds like he's got your back, at least for the discussion/hints about them moving in.

Also notgoodenough said:
"I think what you need to tell your husband is he and his sister need to sit down and have a frank, honest conversation with each other on what each of them is willing to do with caregiving - and not just today, but down the road as MIL and FIL need further help - and then stand together as a united front to explain to FIL/MIL what they are and are not willing to do, and then form a plan from there. The plan doesn't have to be they live with either you or your SIL. But its not really fair for your SIL to be the bearer of this news all by herself, she should have the support of her brother."

I haven't seen any indication that the in-laws are asking to move in, so that's a plus. If it is only the little hints from SIL, now is the time to squash that. Your husband and his sister *should* have that discussion, decide what each is willing AND not willing to do. There are plenty of options that are available for the care the ILs might need down the road. If/when the time comes that changes need to happen, hopefully they will be on board with each other and be able to present the options to FIL. IF he mentions the apartment, the answer should be the same: NO. No explanations necessary. Your options are A, B, C, whatever those options might be, but the apartment is NOT option D.

Suggestions about how to avoid the care-giving should the decision be made to let them move in is just a disaster in the making. All too often there are promises made that your husband and his sister will do all the work and little by little that is chipped away, getting you to do this little thing, then that, and the next thing you know, it's all on your plate. NO NO NO NO NO. Period. NO.
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