((My 86-year-old in-laws, MIL & DIL who still live independent by themselves, but require some help, their 2 acres bordering our 24 acres which is 30 min from town...))
My husband is bearing all the weight of his parents’ needs that keep adding up. He has had Stage 4 Kidney Cancer & Metastases’ the last 5+ years. Originally he was given 3-5 years after his kidney was taken out right away. With a growth nearly a year ago, he’s also has had 2/3 of his right lung removed and continues to have breathing problems! Although he doesn’t look sick!!! His parents also have a daughter that lives in S.Dakota, one other daughter that is deceased, and the youngest daughter who lives in our state Oregon, but about 4 hours away on the coast. She avoids hearing about their aging needs and doesn’t even want to discuss the difficulties that are coming up, saying that it makes her feel guilty for not living closer. I am to the point of telling her to get her big girl panties on and get involved, for crying out loud!! My husband is emotionally wearing down and no one sees that!!!
Their mom is getting frail doesn’t drive anymore, and has many multiple health issues. Their dad is having problems with his heart again. He’s had 2 heart attacks in the past, also having had it restarted a couple of times (1 recently) but they want to put in a pace maker soon. He is still driving but shouldn’t be!!! Yes my husband and I have talked about what would probably happen if we turned him in. (we’d be driving them to all their appt’s, and church activities) I just retired early by 1-1/2 yrs to spend more time with my husband who’s 65, before he does get worse (he’s terminal). I’m feeling defensive and yes angry, not with the folks but with my sister-in-law.
What would you do??? Sincerely, Chris

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Your husband is terminally ill? I assume the elders and family have grown to expect hubs to deal with everything. This is so unfair on every level.

If his folks have money hire outside help or get them to assisted living. No money, apply for Medicaid.

I take care of similar parents. They should have moved off their farmette 10 years ago. Fortunately I'm  pretty healthy but I really resent having to spend my retirement as a caregiver.  I can't imagine doing this if I were sick. If I go down my folks would end up wards of the state.
Helpful Answer (15)

So sorry that your husband is terminal.
Spending time with him would be your priority, understandably.
Helpful Answer (10)

It's time to tell the siblings that something has to be done. That their brother can no longer handle the responsibility and your responsibility is him. They need to come home and see for themselves. Tell them the stress is not helping ur husband. Make it clear that when all is said and done that ur not willing to take on the responsibility of ur in-laws. Don't back down or u will end up caring for them.
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Use Tothill’s response as a checklist. And be quick to correct anyone and everyone who wants to discuss your ILs’ “independence.” They are not independent. As you know all too well.
Helpful Answer (7)

Chris, I understand your frustration, having an oversupply of uninvolved siblings myself. But what I don't get from what you've written is an understanding of what exactly you expect your husband's siblings to do, and what they are in a position to do given their own circumstances.

It looks to me, given the geographic arrangements, that the original understanding was that you and your husband would take of your in-laws' needs so that they could remain in their own home adjacent to your property. Clearly that arrangement is becoming unworkable, but what are the alternatives? Can your in-laws move to a facility when their care needs become too great? Why is that not on the table at least? What about getting them some paid help to take the burden off your husband and you? Is that an option? Are you expecting your sister-in-law to uproot her life and move in with her parents long-term to help out? That would be a blessing for you and your husband, and perhaps his parents, but what about her? It doesn't sound like that's an arrangement that she agreed to, or is willing to agree to.

This situation appear to be heading towards a crisis point, that will occur when your husband dies or become too ill to assist his parents any longer. At that point, either the siblings will step in to provide alternate care for their parents, or you will have to make the hard decision to continue or discontinue providing their care alone. It wouldn't be fair for you to be stuck holding the ball this way, but neither is it fair, in my opinion, to expect your sister-in-law to magically make the problem go away. JMHO.
Helpful Answer (6)

I agree with Mally1 THEY are not independant and they are the ones that need talking to not the siblings.
Time to move to a situation where they dont need you.. who is going to care for them when your husband dies. which is seems is sooner than them.
Organise for someone to take them to appointments and once a week shopping, NOT you. if they demand to stay where they are.
Five years ago it would have been so ideal you next door to help with some chores, that pretty pink picture of caring for the older generation and things rosey.. but the black n white facts are there. and you are not being selfish wanting time with your husband in his last few years.
And get the old man off the road. How will you feel when he has a medical event and kills a young family, sadly he will survive and have more medical problems and expenses and a guilt to carry.
Tell the siblings what is going to happen, and Im sure they wont jump forward to change it.
Its so similar to what happened to my sister 30min away from my parents, tho they were in town. who landed up spending 2 x days week trying to help but it all turned to custard .
I feel for you in this position, when by rights you should be having 100% focus on your own needs and wants at this time. I hope you get it
Helpful Answer (5)

There is simply no obligation, legal or moral, to help parents maintain a preferred lifestyle. Destitution is one thing, but continuing to live as you always have by devouring another person is wrong. And it is not honoring your parents by aiding and abetting their unreasonable demands.
Helpful Answer (5)

How would your husband's sister help from out of state? Are you trying to convince husband's parents to accept outside hired help? Could she do this? Is there a plan to get them help, so your husband can get out from under stress and responsibilities? I might do that and then see if sister will support you. It's a lot of work to care for two ailing seniors in their home. Can they afford private help? If not, I'd see what they may be entitled to.
Helpful Answer (4)

I agree that you, your husband and his sisters need to sit down with your in-laws and have a discussion about their ongoing care. You need to stand firm on what you are prepared to do now and after your husband dies.

It may help if you investigate local services providers ahead of time. What transportation options are there? Handi-Dart, Taxi, church volunteers? Speak with their minister and ask the church for help. Can the Church provide rides on Sunday?

If your father-in-law has a crash (it would not be an accident, he is an accident waiting to kill someone) and someone other than him is harmed, your guilt will be much greater than telling him he cannot drive.

Do either of the seniors have veterans benefits they can access for help around the home and yard? Do any of the local grocery stores or pharmacies deliver? I know you said you are 30 minutes out of town, but in my community that is nothing for delivery services.

What do you think would be reasonable for your sisters-in-law to do to help? One is across the country, the other across the state. Who has POA for your in-laws? Is this something one of the sisters can manage?

Would it be better for the in-laws to move closer to town? What about you, when your husband dies, will you want to move closer to town or somewhere else all together?
Helpful Answer (4)

My sister complained for three years non stop that my brother did nothing to help our 90 year old mother with dementia. I kept saying go on a vacation once the dèadbeat is some caregiver he will get mom in a care home. She never did and a year ago had a breakdown. It took the dead beat one week before he rushed mom to the doctor and then he found a great care home. I helped all I could but I have MS and lived 1000 miles away. Arrange a vacation and have your siblings come to take care of mom and dad. Your husband deserved time to enjoy his life. You both have done enough
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