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My mother in law lived with my husband and I for 2 years. That was 2 years ago. I wasn’t able to handle all the unforeseen changes that came into my life with living with her. I’m 47 my husband is 62 and my MIL will soon be 86. He is the only living child now.


She lives alone in a condo 45 minutes from us. Looking back we had her live with us way too soon thinking it was best for her and easier for my husband who still works full time to have her with us.


She doesn’t drive and is hard of hearing. Otherwise she’s in fair to good health and has her mind still. She spends almost all of her time completely alone. She now says she wished she was living with us. Initially she hated it and constantly said she wanted to return to her condo until we actually had her move back into it.


She’s manipulative and demanding and it nearly broke up our marriage. My husband is not in great health and it’s only getting worse. It is very hard on him to work full time all week then care for her on weekends with grocery shopping and picking up scripts etc.. yet he feels extremely guilty that he doesn’t spend more time with her. He had a great many issues with her while living with us as well.


We’re both nurses and he is adamantly against her ever going to any kind of a facility. The thought of it brings him to tears. The thought of her having to live with me again brings me to tears.


I don’t know that my marriage will survive it again. I have a lot of resentment towards her for many reasons. Mostly that she is so selfish and demanding.


I don’t want to have her living alone if she is she is unsafe either. I also feel guilty for my husband having to care for her over a distance but he completely agreed that it was best for us all.


When is it no longer ok for her to live alone? She refuses to go to groups for elderly people or ride a bus. We didn’t entertain her when she lived with us either. That was another issue, her constant need for interaction when we are simply too tired after working all day and want time to ourselves when we’re not working which is not often.


He will probably retire when she moves back in and I’ll be the only one still working due to my age and our finances. Physically he won’t be able to care for her once she needs physical assistance of which he’s in denial about.


She’s had 3 hospitalizations in 5 years with altered mental status and she’s insulin dependent diabetic with hypertension.


This weighs on me constantly. I feel responsible but so angry. I’m accepting of my feelings about my situation but I’m not so horrible a human that I don’t still care how this is effecting the two of them.


How would we change the dynamic of the living situation to make it better for each of us? I need house rules and boundaries but the mention of anything like this upsets her greatly. She’s a nice Christian lady who tells you about how she looks at the world constantly. It drives me nuts!


Sorry for ramble but it’s a complex problem.


Any advice or insights are welcome!

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When they won't accept that there are boundaries and theories lives will NOT be the 1st and only consideration.

I would let her be upset. Here are the boundaries, get used to it MIL because they will be enforced if you don't want to go to a facility.

If she won't talk about it and agree, she will be hell on wheels because she won that very 1st go around. Your marriage will probably not survive if she won't work with you both on how it has to be.

I wouldn't cave on this. Your husband needs to get over his guilt and quite frankly man up. He is a husband 1st and a son 2nd, to expect you to be tormented in your own home is asking to much.
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BlackHole Dec 21, 2018
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There are too many negatives understandably. If a facility is an affordable option I think that should be considered. Is it not worth your sanity and general health and well being? Otherwise she should get some help in her home. She doesn't get to call all the shots. The tears you have shed will start to feel as though they could fill an ocean. Her behavior resembles that of so many who have shared their experiences and ensuing misery. You can work towards a solution and still be part of her life but there has to be some compromise. Hope you find a resolution soon.
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Hi, it comes when you know that it is effecting you and your husband, your marriage, and the health of both of you. When an elderly loved one comes to live with you, there is no break from it. You are there 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. If your mother in law is a person who is manipulative, and complains, even worse. You and your husband bear it all.
In a situation like this, you need to consider yourself first. Your mother in law won't thank you, she will just get what she wants.
Make the best decision for you and your husband, not your mother in law.
Arlene Hutcheon
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I can imagine what your husband is imagining when he thinks about "putting her in a facility," can't you? "Shades of the prison house begin to close..."

Whereas what you have in mind is a different thing altogether. You have in mind a community that will provide your MIL with the care, daily support and social interaction that she has already shown she needs.

So, the thing to do first is to find your facility, then get your husband to visit it and talk to the people who live in it. If you can get rid of his fears, you might change his point of view.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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As a nurse myself, I understand your husband's concerns regarding LTC's, but ALF's are a totally different type of facility. Perhaps you could suggest that you and DH tour a couple that are closer to you than where MIL lives now. If your husband has never been inside and ALF, I'm sure he will be pleasantly surprised. If I were you, I would take the virtual on-line tours before you actually go to the ALF's so you don't waste your time. Then, when you find one you both agree is an option, take MIL for a tour, letting her know that moving in with you is not an option and playing up the advantages of an ALF (eg: socialization, activities, housekeeping, etc). Then SELL the condo to fund her stay, and so she knows that going back is not an option. Many ALF's accept Medicaid these days, so when her funds are depleted she can remain in the same environment. Good luck to all of you!!
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He needs to realize at a very deep level that he is married to you, not his mother! She does not sound like a nice Christian to me.
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This sounds like a recipe for disaster. Ensuring the proper care of your mother-in-law and the survival of your marriage are not mutually exclusive. I’ve been through this and barely survived with a somewhat narcissistic, demanding mother and a father in decline with Alzheimer’s disease. They’re now in assisted living in a lovely facility nearby and I’ve been able to put my house, home, and marriage back together. Establish your boundaries, communicate clearly with your spouse, and don’t waver. AL facilities are painted with a broad brush, which is unfair. My parents are in a lovely place that is full of activity, delicious meals, and a caring staff. It’s only fair to you and your husband to place her somewhere convenient to your home.
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Reply to Traveler58
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You are being more logical and realistic than your husband. Your prior experience with living with your MIL should speak for itself. I would definitely get counseling for you and your husband. She shouldn’t be part of it because I’m sure she will appear as a sweet little old lady in counseling and neither of you could be honest in front of her. You will not be able to set boundaries or schedules on an 86 yo. If she has lived by herself for some time, she is used to only catering to her own whims and needs. The lack of social skills will maker her impossible to live with. She doesn’t have the social skills necessary to live with others in close quarters. She will be completely dependent on both of you for entertainment and interaction. And since she will be giving up her independence, she will have anger and resentment issues. I just moved my 99 yo mother in a small guest house. It has been the worst mistake of my life. She is so angry and she is making us miserable. I wish we had just hired people to assist her. She would rather have died on the bathroom floor than moved here.
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bigsun Dec 29, 2018
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Sometimes the elderly parent has lost their choice of where they will reside due to waiting too long to make a decision, fear of loss of independence and other things. I don't suggest that an elder wait so long that their mind is challenged. Therein lies the adult children to make the decision.
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I would be very tempted to say, look we have been through this once before with bad results. So, if she comes, I leave.
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