Follow
Share

My mother-in-law is in her mid-70s and is diagnosed with Stage 4 dementia. This is presenting some challenges for the family (when do you step in with finances, when do you cut off driving...she knows how to drive but is easily confused about where to drive). But the biggest problem currently is my brother-in-law. He often waits until he knows her husband will be out of the house and will come over for a "visit." He is a well-known addict (marijuana and opioids) as is his "wife." Multiple items of jewelry are now missing after these visits as well as medications...mainly for pain or for anxiety. He is also pressuring my mother-in-law into co-signing loans for him which has not happened...but is a constant source of conflict between my mother-in-law and her spouse (who is a step-father to my husband and his brother). He has also planted the idea that my father-in-law is having and affair and the missing jewelry items are going to my father-in-law's girlfriend.


The stealing of valuables from the house is not new...there was the same issue approximately 20 years ago with my brother-in-law and his then second wife who stole jewelry and pawned them. In this case, we found pawn tickets, but the jewelry was never recovered. My mother-in-law always blamed the second wife, never my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law was arrested about a year after this and given an SIS as he went through rehab. We had about 10 peaceful years until, apparently, he relapsed.


My father-in-law has been nothing but generous to our entire families. He works extremely hard and has built a sound financial base which allowed my mother-in-law to stay at home for the past 33 years without working outside the home. He bought my brother-in-law's house when it was about to go into foreclosure due to non-payment (and after my brother-in-law had taken out a second mortgage). He also paid off at least two, if not three, pay-day car title loans, preventing their high school-aged children from having their cars repossessed. My brother-in-law and his "wife" have been quite unappreciative of this, demanding only their "equity" in the house when it was sold. Of course, there was no equity to speak of...but he has convinced my mother-in-law that my father-in-law has been withholding money from him that is rightfully his. They are always asking for assets to be deeded over to them, accusing my father-in-law for not making good on payments to the (for what, I do not know), and trying quick-money schemes constantly.


My question is: Other than making sure there is little opportunity for my mother-in-law to be left alone and be a victim to my brother-in-law's manipulations, what else can my husband and I do? My husband is nearly the polar opposite of his brother...job in law enforcement, worked steadily for 33 years, retired with full pension, and I have retired with full pension and now work at a second full time job). I know that the time is quickly approaching when my mother-in-law will not be competent to enter into contracts. But in the meantime, besides the pressure of living someone with Alzheimer's Disease, my brother-in-law is creating a great deal of marital pressure between my in-laws as my mother-in-law is suspicious of my father-in-law and trusts my brother-in-law implicitly. We live an hour away, so it is difficult, but not impossible, to make sure someone is around. But has someone else experienced this?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
While I know as a long time member of the family you care very much and have a stake in this I do think that it will probably be wise to let your husband take more of the lead when it comes to his mom and brother, you keep doing what you are gathering information and taking care of details behind the scene, his back up if you will.

Beyond that there are a few things that stick out to me. First if your MIL has actually been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Dementia I think she has already reached the point where she would be deemed incapable of entering into contracts. Even if somehow BIL was able to sell mom and they were able to sell a lender my guess is the ability to reverse that or at least unencumbered her from responsibility wouldn't be too difficult for her husband or your husband if he has any POA. If your DH (husband) doesn't have any of that legal standing it is probably time he and his step talk to an attorney that specializes in elder care and estates to figure out how to best set things up sp everyone is protected from your BIL and his wife, including your BIL. Addiction is such a devastating thing to a family.

It sounds like everyone feels MIL is still ok to be left on her own for periods of time so you might suggest to her husband a few strategic security cameras or something both to check in on her when she is alone to make sure shes ok and so someone can drop in on conversations and visits when he isn't home. You can choose to tell BIL about them or not, as you all see fit and given that your husband has been in law enforcement giving him access to these cameras might not be a problem for his step-father. Alerts can even be turned on just when she's home alone or something. This way if something is stolen, they know about it and if he is trying to persuade her thinking they will know how to nip that in the bud without MIL being any the wiser that's she's been caught in a ploy. I know instinct may be to help her understand what her son and his wife are up to but my guess is at this point that will be far more upsetting to her, cause strife for everyone and harder to accomplish at this point than simply letting her keep her fantasy. I'm sure she knows all about how different her son's are even if she doesn't admit it out loud. My father and his brother sound very similarly opposite, my dad has never taken a drink in his life and my uncle was a raging alcoholic, my dad an airline pilot who moved up into the training center and retired from the same major airline after 40 years or something and my uncle a drifter who lived off of anyone he could. My grandmother while knowing full well my uncle's shortcomings always seemed to favor him but I really think it was because she felt guilty and responsible for him. I don't think this is uncommon in families with one raging addict or "can't catch a break" child. Anyway I'm not sure it does your MIL at least any good to have this come to a head with her in the middle at this point, I would keep her blissfully unaware while keeping BIL in check if at all possible. What a saint her husband is by the sounds of it, she must be a special person as are you and your DH for doing everything you can to help this whole situation. The love in your family obviously far outshines the darkness.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report
ruthie1460 May 2019
Thank you for your very caring and careful answer. I do think you have a very clear picture of the family dynamics...including my need to control. God help me to pray the Serenity Prayer.

I agree with everything you said.
(0)
Report
Ruthie1460 It sounds like, your issues are thefts. Nanny cam, or talk about the thief already having been recorded in vague terms.......Or install an obvious security system or fake cameras. In reality s omeone needs to be in that home full-time. You wrote that, you," found pawn tickets" which means you know the store where the items were sold or used as collateral. If there is truly a member of the family in law-enforcement, then he would have already told you to contact that pawn shop, which would in turn flag the thief's name within the area's (usually) networked system. From what I understand pawn shops ask for identification from their customers."pawn shop tickets" also describe the transaction and have complete shop information. You have solutions, now it's time to prevent further thefts. You've got this.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report
I agree!
(0)
Report
See 2 more replies
Once the word in-law comes into the story I would leave it up to the in-laws to handle it. You said your husband is in law enforcement? Is he not interested in the situation or is there nothing he can do?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report
Sparky,

Was just thinking about you and hoped you would chime in as you have experience in this area. I thought about the same thing. Thanks for bringing it up. The in-law thing.

How is your situation with with your mom? Been thinking about you. Hugs!

Sorry OP, not trying to hijack your thread.
(0)
Report
See 3 more replies
Firstly she definitely should not be driving. There will be no insurance and what if she kills or maims someone?

surely your FIL must have POA and financial POA. If your husband, being in law enforcement can’t get an answer from within the legal framework
Helpful Answer (2)
Report
I second the driving issue. Just not safe for her or others. I was lucky. When mom’s doctor said she should no longer drive she was very gracious and did not fight us on it al all.

OMG, I have friends that it was all out war with their parents when they could no longer drive. They didn’t want to give up their independence which is normal but they were having accidents and getting lost. Comes a time they can’t drive anymore.
(0)
Report
See 2 more replies
Hi Ruthie,

Very familiar story to me. I too have a retired brother from law enforcement (captain with pension). Just sending you support as a person who knows how it is.

I had a brother who struggled with drugs as well. He died from HepC. I loved him as a brother but hated his lifestyle. Everyone has good and bad inside them. He had many good qualities but drugs ruin lives of the addicts and the lives of innocent family members.

Trust me, I get it. My oldest brother was the only child in our family to become addicted to drugs. He was 13 and gave into peer pressure.

His best friend was very lonely. His father was a successful doctor and wasn’t involved in his life at all and he turned to drugs and asked my brother to join him.

My brother was vulnerable as a young kid and unfortunately he made the wrong choice. There was no drug education back then. My parents taught us right from wrong but they didn’t think about a 13 year old becoming a heroin user. No education for parents either back then.

My brother managed to become successful in life, even owned his own business at one time but drugs will drag anyone down. He too was in recovery from time to time but relapsed over and over.

My brother stole. All addicts steal to support their habit. The problem is bigger than they are. They will continue to steal as long as they are using. Everything has to be locked away or it will be pawned or sold for drugs.

Make sure no funds of any kind are available or he will try to manipulate her. Does she have financial control over anything? If she does she has to give consent for anyone to access or change. Does the husband have complete financial control? Does her son? Does anyone have POA?

I like the idea of the camera as another poster said. A picture is worth a thousand words!

I always felt uncomfortable with my brother when he was using. He died from HepC but the best friend that I told you about. He was murdered because he couldn’t pay his drug dealers. They aren’t nice people. Dealers will kill if they aren’t paid.

Addiction is tough. So many cancer patients or people in automobile or motorcycle accidents with severe injuries and living in pain become addicted as well. I have enormous compassion for addicts. No one ever thinks it will happen to them. They don’t know until the doctor doesn’t refill their pain meds. Some do overcome and I pray they will.

I forgave my brother before he died. I was the last person with him in the ‘end of life’ hospice facility but before that I had to cut him out of my life to protect myself. Be careful because addicts will do anything for a next fix. My brother robbed a bank and ended up in jail for 7 years. They have to steal to support their habit.

Addicts cannot and should not be trusted. I tried to help my brother. I really did. He had a horrible motorcycle accident and after his surgery in the hospital he asked me to go buy him heroin. That was my breaking point. I walked out of the hospital room crying and nearly fainted. A beautiful, loving nurse was walking by, inquired what was wrong. I finally spoke up about it. I had lived with shame even though I was innocent. She was so kind.

I told her what happened and she told me that I needed to seek help for support. She was right. She told me not to help my brother anymore. She was right. I owe that nurse a lot.

I certainly know the hell of being involved with an addict. It was tough growing up with that and it did not get any easier as an adult. I feel your pain!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report
Shell38314 May 2019
NHWM, I feel with you my brother got some people to break in my parent's house and stole their tv and their 2 trucks. But my parent's never believed that mt brother had anything to do with it. But the people knew the house to well.

Drugs kill the person rhey once were. Its sad!
(1)
Report
See 3 more replies
Put a credit freeze and fraud alerts with all three credit agencies. This will make it very hard for her to open any accounts or generate any loans.

You can set it up with security questions and passwords that she doesn't have access to. Her dear husband can actually help you do this making it completely legal.

Ensure he understands that you are trying to protect him from the dirtbags.

Encourage your husband to tell her how great and loyal her husband is, everyone should counter what is being fed to her and tell her how blessed she is to have him, lay it on thick.

Can't your husband tell his brother that he is crossing lines and actually committing elder abuse with the intent to financially exploit vulnerable seniors? Oh yeah, I would tell step dad to never pay, bail or otherwise give this ungrateful dirtbag another penny and if he becomes threatening to call 911.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report
ruthie1460 May 2019
Thank you. You have given me some great advice.

Yes, there are many things my husband would tell his brother...if he could ever encounter him. We live an hour away. My BIL moved around a lot over the past year. He never comes to family functions when he knows my husband or any of my kids are there. He does not answer calls unless the generate from his mother’s house or cell phone.

As far enabling my BIL, we all know better. The fact that he constantly asks for monetary help that my FIL won’t give us a constant source of discontent between my in-laws. Something I believe my BIL is counting on at the moment.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Make sure that anything of value in the home is removed and kept in a safe place, including cash, credit cards, jewelry and collectibles. If they use a computer, make sure it’s password protected. If you don’t already have Power of Attorney, get it so you can take over the finances and they will have no chance of writing checks for him. Once he sees what’s going on, he may disappear back into the sewer. Btw, where is your hubby in all this?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report
ruthie1460 May 2019
My husband is quite active in taking care of both his own mother and my step-father with whom we live and care for. He is 85 and has CHF and frequent TIAs. But that’s a whole other caretaking story.

Legally, there is little to be done, or we would do it. Valuables are in a safe, separate checking accounts are established, surveillance cameras and an alarm system have been installed after the latest discovery of items missing.

Consultation on with lawyers indicated the ball would be in her doctor’s court regarding her mental capabilities to make legally binding decisions. But that is the next step.
(2)
Report
If resources allow, consider hiring an assertive aid to assist your mother and be present whenever the addicts visit. Nanny cams in the common rooms to record the addict's behavior might help provide evidence to reverse the worst legal document offenses.

Please understand that addicts do not care about any one else, only getting their drugs. Troublemakers cause problems with mid-dementia patients mostly by telling them what they want to hear (your memory isn't that bad, your driving is fine) and outright lies (A is just saying you can't drive because he wants you dependent on him). It's a very determined plan of action by someone who doesn't care anything about the older person and only wants their money. Recognize them for the con-artists they are and make your own plans accordingly. You will not be able to convince the dementia impaired brain they are being taken advantage of for more than a few hours. Try to get a declaration of incompetence as soon as it's possible to limit the scope of the financial abuse. Until MIL is incompetent, your options are very limited.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report
Good advice
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter