My husband (only child) is basically un-involved making me by default the one responsible for his 97 year old mother....help.

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I've been helping my 97 year old mother-in-law for 14 years now. She lives across the street and things are rapidly deteriorating concerning her health, my health(Lupus attack, anxiety) and my marriage. Things started out ok but in the past few years rapidly deteriorating. We got a little outside help last fall, 4 hours a day, 3 days a week......that happened only after I left to help with my own Mom( Alzheimers) and dumped everything in my husband's lap concerning his Mom. With my mother-in-laws failing health the agency is asking me to step up more........they know my husband isn't( I think or does everyone think it is a women's responsibility).......we are trying to get help up to 5 days a week...4 hours a day.......the agency just told me they found a second person...thank-God. Our 2 daughters both adults with busy lives are going to try to help out with calling Nana weekly....she is extremely lonely. Our son (local adult) over seeing things when we are gone for the occassional break... which he is doing and stopping in for weekly visit as well. Our biggest problem is my MIL and my husband have always had a very disfunctional relationship, and my kids are reminding me to try to be more understanding because of that. She has turned on me now too, so unfortunately neither of us what to be around her, she is also more short with her Grandkids too. Her Aide is very nice but doesn't see the entire picture. I go over at times when the aide is with her(to exchange info on how MIL is doing...my husband has only talked I believe once when I was out of town) and my MIL will be sweet as can be to me... but by myself...can be brutal. My husband avoids her because of her nasyiness to him. My girls were calling more but cut back to once or twice a month because angry and short with them too and not real happy with her Grandson now either. The only person that seems to make her happy is her aide. She has gotten nasty with neighbors too. My MIL is very angry with us and her life(feels we can do more and she would be happy)....she feels it is our responsibility to take care of her. Some of my concerns with my MIL are: not bathing(does a sponge bath), dirty hair, staying in her PJs day after day, eatting poorly, can't reason with her(my son and son-in-laws wanted to bring a bed downstairs this weekend so she would be near the only bathroom in her house....she refused saying I don't want anything in my house moved), she is now sleeping on a loveseat.....her bedroom is upstairs(she still goes up at times), she has short term memory loss, messing up medications, unsteady gait...I could go on and on. She is an accident waiting to happen. She does not want to go to Assisted Living where I think she could still qualify...my kids think that's where she needs to be my husband wants her to stay in her home...I think another avoidance of confrontation with his Mom. On top of all this I've been dealing with my Mom(Alzheimers, way worse just had to leave Assisted Living and is now in NH) I'm losing my Mom and want.... need to be with her more(siblings helping out there). The last time(about 5 weeks ago while in seeing my Mom)...as my husband said all hell broke out here(I was gone and unknowing to us the aide needed to take a week off and my mother-in-law would take no other help)....this all developed after I had left. My husband had to take his Mom to the ER( a full day of work he missed..luckily our son works with him and did the work of both)...she thought she was dying....constipation was the diagnosis......and she has been overdosing on stool softeners ever since. Basically I feel like I'm losing my sanity, health and marriage. I still love my husband and things are ok with us as long as his mother(the Elephant in the closet as our kids say) isn't bought up to him. She wants to stay in her home until she dies...she is in generally good health(her organs..heart,etc holding up well...mind definitely starting to go and her MD sees her as living to 100 as a good possibility.....he has told me just to hang in there......my husband and him are friends and not sure my husband is honest with what is happening.......my kids this weekend told their Dad he needs to tell the MD what is going on. What should I (we)do? I'm afraid and feel guilty something horrible will happen and can we be found negligent? Money is not a problem......she could be in the best Assisted Living or Nursing Home? She does not want to spend her money...I have cleaning help lined up...won't take it but complains how her back hurts from trying to clean and complains she can't stand how dirty her house is...I won't clean it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm trying to help with meals, do the MD appointments and emergencies and sociallize with her as tolerated. I'm 61 and my husband is 64......our friends and our kids think he just keeps himself as busy as he can so he doesn't have to deal with his Mom. His Dad(deceased) was the buffer for him.

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You wrote, "I know he is stressed with his Mom (he can't deny her increasing dementia now and hard on all of us her ever increasing anger)" but it sure sounds like he is still trying to, or at least wanting to. "He told me he understood if I wanted to not be involved with his Mom and I told him I needed to step back...just too much stress..." was part of the right answer, but going back on getting the lawyer and actually dealing rather than denying is for sure the wrong answer. Is there anything you can do to bring that back up with him in a calm moment, that you are losing your mom, but his mom might be with us for a while and getting the lawyer after all might make ongoing contact wth her more meaningful and positive for all - that you know perfectly well that neither of you can really totally turn your back on your parent, and just letting things happen is a tempting idea but isn't likely to work out very well, it will only be harder when things finally do fall apart? That he can be angry and stressed and wish with all his heart that he did not have to do this, but realize that he does have to do it? He knows you can't, he stil resents that he has to, I'd guess...

Someday all this will be past...being able to remember that you tried to support each other though it was hard will be a help to you both...you HAD to back off but had already done more and put up with more than anyone should have expected...hubby needs to know it will feel better if he at least tries to do what is right by his own mom, and he kind of knows what that is, it just very very hard to go through with it when it is your own parent...but you still have to go through with it. I will be praying for you that your last days with your mom are more peaceful, and that hubby will find the courage and care inside himself to do whatever really needs done.
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I'm very sorry things are going so badly for you today. If you feel you need to go to your mom's to stay sane, GO and don't feel guilty about it. If you are not already seeing a therapist, please find one. Even better if your husband and son will go as well. You need to take care of yourself, please, so you can take care of your mom and mother in law. Figure out what things you can do and what is too hard (either physically or mentally) and sit down with either the therapist or an uninvolved person who can help you figure out how to get the rest of the stuff done. But first, get some sleep and make sure you are eating healthy and getting away from the situation for at least a little while each day. You need help; no one can do all of this alone. Peace be with you.
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The best way to save your marriage and your sanity would be to totally back off on her and let nature take it's course. Your husband should look into Assisted Living for her very soon, she will kick and fuss at first, but it will be better than it is now. She should have a complete neuro-psych evaluation with a geriatric specialist. She is not connected to reality and I hope he sees that.
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Oh Maryjr, I am so sorry for you. What a train wreck. However, I see some of my own family in this scenario. My mother is very, very much like your MIL. Has been playing games with me for about 6 or 7 years now. Has always been narcissistic. So I understand the personality.

However, your MIL is not where the problem begins and ends. Your husband needs to see what she has done to him. He is not being fair to you. You need to take care of your own mother and your health. BTW, my grandmother had Lupus so I am familiar with this as well.

You are being pushed and manipulated by a narcissistic old woman who more than likely damaged her only child. You are their scapegoat. Please get out of this before it kills you. Your husband and his mother are being very selfish.

Sorry, I wish you well but you can't change or help these people. Just stand your ground. You have enough to deal with.
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Well life has turned to crap! My Mom is basically slowly dying a prolonged death...Alzheimers now complicated by the effects of a stoke affecting the right side of her body and what speech she had left(she is actually talking more just harder to understand a mix of present time the past and confusion). She is at high risk for stroke now and not much can be done....we are praying God will take her. Was out of town visiting my Mom for awhile following her stroke and just returned home to hell. MIL is firing her help, husband is short tempered with everyone including me. I took my MIL to the MD the other day, my husband left work to meet us at the MD office and she had a total meltdown in the office....she will not listen to anyone... she has told MD, agency, me, her son(only child)(my husband)and her Grandkids that she will decide when she needs help, told agency not to talk with me or my husband...and that she is perfectly capable of making decisions for herself. She is not talking to me or my husband now. My husband told me he was getting a lawyer involved to have her labeled incompetent(I did not witness the meltdown at the MD office so not sure what was said)...she has not let me into an office visit for over a year...just wants me to drive her to her monthly appointment for her valium prescription...I'm just her transportation. He told me he understood if I wanted to not be involved with his Mom and I told him I needed to step back...just to much stress. Now today not getting a lawyer and says he will just let the chips fall where they will and let her be a victim of her bad decisions. He than tells me he wants us to try having her over for dinner in a couple days and that means me being involved again......when I told him it was fine he was having his Mom over but I would go out...need to shop for a shower gift(said nicely) he got all upset with me telling me he wouldn't have his Mom over alone and would go out to eat by himself. I'm home where I was hoping to find a little rest, relaxation and compassion for a few days...boy was I wrong...my God my own mother is dying. He later stomped off to work....my son who works with him said he is short tempered with the help there too. I'm so tired right now don't know where to go or what to do. If things don't improve I'm heading out to my hometown to spend more time with my Mom in a couple days...maybe tomorrow... plan to go back in about a week anyways but will go sooner. It is hard there too watching my Mom suffer....it is more her mental anguish than her physical pain...it is gut wrenching....me and my siblings all trying to be there for Mom in the NH....have a schedule going. I know he is stressed with his Mom(he can't deny her increasing dementia now and hard on all of us her ever increasing anger), me with my Mom's situation. He is angry and short tempered and all I seem to do is cry.......I'm praying God please help us!!!!! I'm not be dramatic...it just hurts so bad.
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Things with my mother-in-law going ok right now....got addditional help help going just in time for her. Got a phone call from one of my sisters early this morning....our Mom had a stroke last night. Waiting to get more updates on her condition. Taken from NH early this AM to hospital. Initially unable to move her right side or speak but some improvement now noted...weakness right side but movement and attempting to communicate with the kids in town. Presently being moved to the neuro floor. Kids in town having us from out of town wait what our next move should be.....
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Dear Maryjr, what your husband needs is some sort of therapy. You are getting the side effects of what your husband has been through and it is not fair to you. Sounds as if your husband doesn't like to deal with unpleasant things. Not good at coping.......

Don't let him do this to you. My husband is very passive aggressive just like your husband. It took me 30 years to learn what I would take and what I would not take. Like you, I have a well educated husband from a fairly affluent family. I came from the South, uneducated and I have always been low man on the totem pole, as they say. But at 61, I am kicking ass and taking names.

I too have Ivy Leaguers in the family. We know how smart they are and how hard it is to get into this small circle. However, they are humans who will use and abuse if it suites them. Don't let it suit them.

I am assuming you are educated as are your siblings. Find your life. Love and help your husband but don't let him hide behind your skirts. Set boundaries. You will be angry for the rest of your life if you let this go on. Take care.
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Just got back from a get away with my husband....feeling better about things....these things can tear families apart or make them stronger. We now have aide coverage 5 days a week, 4 hours /day, kids calling Nana once a week, me doing Wednesdays(today hospital test for MIL( checking more on her digestive problems), breakfast out with her, MIL over for dinner to night.....today was a good day so far with her....that is how I and sibs deal with our own Mom with Alzheimers...she has good days and bad days...my own Mom's bad days are confusion and non-stop crying....I handle that better than my MIL's anger), Sunday.... day for my husband to check on his Mom and dinner again at our house if we are here( he is here for dinner when she comes on Wednesday...though he usually escapes to avoid confrontation after awhile(she can be very argumentative and so can he and he removes himself rather that loose it....fun times at our house but she usually wants to leave soon after that)....someone posted to me he could have been so hurt(can't remember exact words...no time to look up) that he can't jump back into the frying pan....I'm going with that.......my MIL's MD and the agency feel she can still live in her home for the time being so I'm accepting that.....told my hubby but only with the necessary help......not letting my MIL destroy our family or me either.... Another bump in the road we are navigating.....no easy answers. Having a Lupus attack didn't help either.
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Your husband is making you do this? Excuse me, but how is that possible since we are no longer in the Middle Ages? If he won't help, then definitely call Adult Protective Services to remove her from the house. If your husband doesn't like it, maybe a swift kick of his carcass down the front stairs would knock some sense into him (figuratively speaking). You'll be the bad guy for awhile but this isn't a popularity contest.
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I too have a mom who is very controlling and wants to be the total center of the attention (and center of the universe :) ) and I learned early to set unmovable boundaries. She soon learned to get along an cooperate with the program or do without. Sometimes she did without and that enphasized that her demands were not going to soften the boundaries so she could once again be in control. Set the boundaries. In you situation, you have got to or wreck your health and tear-up your family. One, ornery, old-lady is not worth that high price. You have value and rights too, and I don't mean as her doormat.
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