My husband doesn't want to get involved with his parents' care. Any advice?

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We live very close to my mother inlaw [dad was moved into a nursing home earlier this year]. My husband feels no responsibility to help his elderly mother - with home care, finances, elder care - although he is retired and frequently home. I work for a liviing and it breaks my heart that he doesn't feel any responsibility to help her - unless I prod him. Now she is making questionable financial decisions and I may have to step in actively as her POA. She is argumentative with me when I bring up almost anything pertaining to her welfare. Am I doomed?

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Maybe he had a difficult childhood? Does he do stuff for his dad but not his mom?
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You have to step back. What happens if your MIL outlives you? Someone will do it. Make those plans now and stick to your guns.
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If she's living on her own, taking care of daily things, I don't see how you can exercise your POA. Some conversations need to be blood to blood, even in the best relationships. Take an objective look at the family dynamics - if she argues with you, does she also resist any input from her son? He may feel that she's taken care of herself all these years, and that she'll ask if she needs his help. Also, it's difficult to get one's head into the sad but often needed role reversal. My husband had a bit of trouble with this, as his folks have been so capable and independent. It's was tough for him to have to just declaratively state that he would be picking Dad up for the doctor's appointment, rather than "do you want me to go with you?"
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My DH seems much like yours, though mine is not retired yet - so he likes to use being busy working as an excuse to not be involved. Doesn't even go by to visit his mom, and she's only 3 miles down the road from us (seriously, he might see her twice a month when he mows her yard, and that's it.) It frustrates me that he doesn't see the need for just a quick stop every other day or so on his way home from work to see how she's doing. His thought is, it's her life let her live it - if she dies doing something stupid (that the doctors have told her not to do) at least she went out on her terms.

After giving it quite a bit of reflection, I really believe that my DH's refusal to get involved is a result of denial and fear. Denial that she is not as capable as she once was, denial that she is going downhill rapidly. And fear -- fear of losing her, fear of making the wrong decision for her, fear of seeing her like this. So rather than face all that, he just stays away. *sigh*

No advice for you, but sending hugs your way!
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WesternNY, some older men are still stuck in the stereotypical idea that any type of caregiving is on the woman's shoulders, doesn't matter if she works full-time outside of the house.... let's add a second household to the mix for cooking and cleaning, you have extra free time to do that, right???

Here's an idea, suggest that your mother-in-law come live with you and hubby... maybe then his ears will perk up and he will start helping at her own home. Show him how to change the bedding and use the washer/dryer [my Mom recently started to show Dad how to do that after almost 65 years of only her doing that work]. As for vacuuming, you might have to buy a workshop vac with a hose attachment, the noisier the better :P
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Western, do you in fact have POA for your MIL?

But besides that, a word to the wise: if your husband doesn't want to do this, don't prod him.
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Yes, he is an only child. Difficult to hear to 'step back', but that seems to be the consistent message. As a woman, I think caretaking is engrained in my soul! thanks for the feedback!
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If this is your husband's mother and your husband, for whatever reason, isn't stepping in I wouldn't get into the middle of it. MIL is going to need increasing care as time goes on and if you're doing the caring your husband may resent it. Don't let your own family fall apart as a result of caring for someone else's family (even if it is your husband's family). You'll end up being the bad guy as some point and then yes, you're doomed.

Are there other adult children besides your husband? Can one of them step in? Whoever steps in will be the one responsible for the rest of this lady's life. It's a huge job. Aren't you a little curious as to why your husband doesn't want to have anything to do with this? Is it denial?

If you are already your MIL's POA then disregard everything I've said. You're already involved.
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I was in the same boat with my husband. Couldn't understand why he wasn't "stepping up". Well, he stepped up and she accused him of elder abuse--for telling her that smoking wasn't good for her COPD. He stepped back. I would not "step in".
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Doomed to what? I sure wouldn't be bangin' my head up against the wall in order to take on such a time-consuming task as care giving someone if she wasn't ready to accept it -- seeing as her SON isn't stepping up.

How did FIL get into a nursing home? I'm guessing your hubby stepped up when he had to. Are there other kids? If so, perhaps one of them would step up.

If your husband is the POA right now, just work off of his would be my suggestion. Help HIM take responsibility for his mom by lighteniing the load. When MIL needs home care, one doesn't have to have a POA to arrange it.

Have you given thought that your husband just doesn't think it's TIME to step in with her finances? Unless your husband has a terrible relationship with his mom, that may be the case. You may have a difference of opinion here, with him saying: "Leave her alone. She's doing okay right now."

I danced around playing off your husband's POA (if he has one...if not, somebody sure should) because you say she is argumentative when you try to discuss her personal welfare with her. Could be she's more comfortable with her son doing that.
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