A little history: Three years ago, MIL moved GMIL into her home. Two months after, God created an opportunity to get both of them next door to us, 300 miles from current town. We knew it would be an adventure, and don't regret making this decision. However, I would now love to have my MIL able to enjoy her new home! GIL has always been narcissistic,and family has always catered to that fact. MIL also has same tendency. More so the stubborn part. The two have never gotten along, and a lot of resentment show from both. I have tried to have MIL look into respite of some kind. Area on Aging is worthless. No medical reasons for either to be put on list. My next step was to move forward by looking at NH for GMIL. MIL won't even start. She would rather complain all the time about waiting on GMIL. I keep telling her that if she (GMIL) wasn't there, that MIL would at least have her house to herself. There seems to always be an excuse. Frankly, I have seen MIL age from the stress,and would like to reverse some of it. MIL is a prisoner by her own stubbornness, as GMIL,at 102,has dementia and nobody feels comfortable leaving her unattended for long. MIL runs short errands while we are at work. I personally feel that GMIL would perk up some, not being a hostage. She is treated like a dog in a kennel. Basic needs are met but social needs are not. I also think that MIL is mistreating herself by holding GMIL a prisoner. Would calling APS help my situation, or cause a tension with MIL?

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I agree with Ahmijoy, unless GMIL is asking for your help the two of them are enmeshed in their dysfunctional relationship and trying to come between them would likely cause them both to turn against you. Looking back I wonder if MIL was ever the kind of woman who didn't complain about her lot in life?
As for APS, no doubt the two would circle the wagons and insist everything is fine, which would likely only make matters worse.
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Reply to cwillie

It sounds to me like MIL and GMIL have a mutually enabling relationship. No matter how much you speak to MIL about it or try to change the situation, you probably won’t make any headway unless there’s a traumatic event resulting in hospitalization. The answer to your last question is probably and yes. You’d have to prove that GMIL was not being well cared for. The house is unsafe or dirty, Safe passage through the house is not possible for either of them. APS will not open a file unless there is clear reason and proof that GMIL is being locked in a room, being kept from her family, or not being fed, not clean, beaten, etc. They won’t open a file simply because GMIL doesn’t seem to have a social life.

Where is your husband in all this? Is he part of the faction that caters to his mother and grandmother? If so, if you “start something”, you’ll not only be on your in-law family’s “list”, but his as well. Think long and hard before you interfere. It’s been my experience that we daughters-in-law, when we try to make a change, if even for the better, cause more problems than solve them.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

So your husband’s mom, who is 80, takes care of her mom, who is 102 years old? Your husband and you work and also help with caregiving?

From my viewpoint the elder of the two elders, at 102 years old, should not ever be left unsupervised. Also, an 80 year old can take care of themselves but I can’t imagine them taking care of themselves along with their mom.

So yes, at least have a sitter for GMIL if your MIL insists on going on errands. The moving of GMIL to a facility would help MIL live to 100 too but it’s y’all’s decision and should be based on the situation. You know it better than I. Some mother and daughter pairs squawk with each other all day, bickering, but would become depressed without the other one.
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Reply to HolidayEnd