Hi guys, I'm in need of some serious advice here. We've lived with my mother in law for about 10 years and it has been a long tough 10 years. We love her...but we really can't live with her anymore. She is bi-polar, extremely incontinent, unreasonable, and sometimes verbally abusive. Mentally she is of sound mind. She has some COPD and some aches and pains from past falls an breaks in her middle years. Here's what we've been going through: 1. She refuses to wear diapers..not that they work very long when we get her to. And she has carpeting everywhere. It's her house and she absolutely refuses to get them taken now we deal with an ever present smell of urine, moldy carpets, and a biblical plague of flies no matter what we try to do. The volume of incontinence is just so much we can't keep up both working. 2. She has bi-polar episodes, is almost always picking on me no matter how much I do for her, and starting fights with her son. My husband and her do not get along...they never have. Like cats and dogs, or oil and water all their lives. It's turned the house into a complete ball of stress hell for us for the last 10 years. I never know if I sit down to dinner if there's be an argument and a blow-out. I've tried playing peace maker but it's just too I run away to another room now. She's mostly capable of independence, but does not do anything for herself. She leans hard on me for even the most minor things. If I go away to see family, she'll stop eating and taking her I can't even get away. She refuses home health aids and pretty much any help we try to get her. If it's not is nobody. We're spiraling into depression and life has just gotten so hard due to her complete obstinance to every solution we bring.. We've tried to talk her into going into nursing care or getting in house care - REFUSED. We even got so desperate to try to get her psych-evaled and placed in care. Even got adult protective services involved. Their answer - She is of sound mind and although making poor decisions, they are her decisions to make. We've told her for over a year that we are just fed up and want to move out. We've tried to help her find solutions so we could try and co-exist, but it's her house and her decision to accept or not to accept our ideas. Now my job is asking me to move across the country. If I stay, I lose my 10 year career there. We need to go. We can't afford it in NY anymore. She says she is interested in moving too, but is dragging her feet on it for months despite our pleadings to get the ball rolling by taking care of finishing her bankruptcy and then contacting a realtor. She has to take the steps as we have no legal authority to do it for her. We're happy to play transport and assist where we can on this. We've even hooked her up with some great independent living apartments out there. Trust me it is healthier for all involved not to live in the same house. We want her near us but not in the same dwelling. Time is running out. I need to move by Feb 2018. We've already signed for an apartment. We keep trying to impress upon her that she won't do the things necessary to care for herself here, and she either needs to go into nursing care, set up a home health aid, or move out to Arizona with us. She won't be able to go shopping or pick up her pills. But she's doing none of the above, just sitting around and shrugging when we ask her what she wants to do. What are our options here? We are going to move and soon. My mother in law refuses to leave her house or accept home aid. She is under some misguided impression that she can just live in her house after we're gone, but we know she can't. She needs some help. Should we call APS again? What should we do? We can't force her to do anything. How can we be legally obligated to throw our lives and career away for one obstinate woman? Don't we all get the freedom to make our own choices?

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Do not throw away your career as I did. You will regret it later on. By the way, when we spend the last of our productive years prolonging someone else's life...what are we going to use for retirement income for our own old age? I have found that it is very hard to get your career back on track after taking years off and then finding yourself in your later years competing for a job.

Go with your job...bring her along as baggage, but she needs to have her own group home or AL apartment. Do not weaken. You owe it to yourself.
Helpful Answer (10)

At the moment your mother in law is free to refuse help because you and your husband are there. What you're asking her to do is to ideate a totally different situation; and this is a hard thing for anyone to do, and especially difficult if they're trying to visualise a situation they don't want to happen anyway.

So. The decision is made. In the run-up to February, you and your husband will be leaving for Arizona. What will MIL's options be WHEN, not if, this happens?

List the possibilities, work them through: cost, availability, advantages and drawbacks. Decide between you and your husband which is the most practical. Put it in place. Have it set up and ready to go.

Then, it comes down to MIL. I have a few questions:

how old is she?
this bi-polar factor - is that an actual diagnosis, or your assessment based on her personality and behaviours?

The thing is, you say she's bi-polar and then you say she is of sound mind. Incontinent but not using continence care products and creating biohazard squalor - that sounds none too sane to me. Verbally abusive - about real things that have annoyed her, or off on bizarre rants?

It comes down to this. Either she is of sound mind and a competent adult, in which case you have no legal obligation to remain as her caregivers and, having set up reasonable options, present them to her and leave her to it; or she isn't, in which case you could consider an application for guardianship and, if successful, you get to make the decisions on that plan.

But to me, it looks as if the key step is to base everything on the firm decision that YOU ARE GOING to your new job. That's the premise to start from.
Helpful Answer (8)

Do you realize that nothing will change if you take MIL with you. She will sit on her wet rear end and wait for you to come running just as you are doing now. What she actually wants is for you both to stay right where you are and continue doing what you are doing now. Separate residence ,,,No way no aint gonna happen!
Personally I would only believe she is competent after an evaluation by a geriatric psychiatrist. Judgeing by all the stories we read on this forum, assuming the bipolar is a true diagnosis her other behaviours are similar to those described by others as dementia.
Why on earth did you move in with her when she clearly hates your husband for whatever reason?
She is going through bankruptcy, how did that happen when you are both right there. Sure evidence that she is incapable of managing her own finances. Have you been supporting her finncislly? Will this continue? STOP right now. Paying your fair share of utilities food and taxes is fine but not paying every thing that comes in each month.
Moving with you does not present anything for her. NYS may not have the msot pleasant weather all year but Arizona will be much too hot for her liking.
How or who is going to pay for AL?
I could go on and on about the problems that you will face but I won't.
I should have just answered the question in one sentence. "Go it's your life make what arrangements you can for MIL but don't take her with you"
Helpful Answer (8)

I would call APS again. As long as she is of sound mind, you can't force her to do anything. You are not legally obligated to through your lives and career away for her. Yes, we all get the freedom including her to make our own choices.

You've done more than your fair share by having her live 10 years with you.
Helpful Answer (7)

Before you call APS, look up the local Area Agency on Aging. They will come out and do a needs assessment. Also, I'd involve her doctor. Send a certified letter, stating that you and husband will be relocating in February and MIL will be living alone and refuses assistance.
Helpful Answer (7)

Your post was so hard to read because I have a lifetime of experience with a parent suffering from bi-polar disorder. My mother, 86, was diagnosed in the 50's when they used to call it Manic-Depression. Where do you think you will be 20 years from now when your MIL is in her 80's and still wreaking havoc in your lives? I remember my mother as a loving, affectionate, funny woman, but then would have these episodes which would turn her into someone vicious and completely unlike her normal self. About 17 years ago my siblings and I took over her medicine and during this time she had very few episodes, but the toll that the episodes took on her body have debilitated her and she has recently been placed in a nursing facility. You have a different situation than mine. Your MIL does not seem to be open to anything that would help her and seems to be acting as if she is unmedicated or maybe not with the proper medication. My poor mother with proper medication is just a sweet old lady. I would definitely notify APS again to inform them I was moving and that MIL is at risk. I have read on this site many times how children have had to let a crisis happen when stubborn parents would not listen to reason. Left to her own devices, that crisis would come soon. Call APS to continue to check on her, call the police and ask them to do a welfare check. I have seen my mother hauled off many times when police intervention deemed that she was a danger to herself or others. In the mental ward they can adjust her medicine which might make her more amenable to your help. This must be very difficult for all of you. I am amazed you both have kept your own sanity.
Helpful Answer (6)

By the way.

When you speak to APS or anyone else conducting an assessment of your MIL, make sure they are considering her as a unit. It suits NYC fine to look at her as an adult living with family support - heck of a lot cheaper and easier for them to pass the buck to you. What they need to do is look at her and assess her as an adult living alone. So make sure you present her as her case will be in February - adult aged xx, with pre-existing conditions including xyz, living alone. What you and your husband are doing, where you are living - these are not factors that can any longer be taken into account.
Helpful Answer (6)

APS will probably tell you again that you can't move, but you certainly need to call them.

I would consult with an elder care attorney to determine what your responsibilities are.  NY is not a filial responsibility state, but you want to make sure you are not charged with abandoning a vulnerable adult, right?

Does your husband have PoA for health or finances?  Would MIL agree to having a geriatric care manager?

Also, if she can't manage her incontinence, then she's not a candidate for Independent Living.
Helpful Answer (5)

Just lost my post which is really infuriating.
Do you realize you are an enabler for someone who is fiscally irresponsible.
Concentrate on your move and keep looking forward, cancelling that will not help MIL's situation at all. You have bent over backwards to help her but she sits there complacently doing nothing.
Don't blame the bi-polar. Many people function perfectly well as long as they take their meds
MIL has been declared competent twice although personally I doubt that she is. This means you are free to leave. If APS tells you you can't do that ask them to show you chapter and verse for that regulation.
Once you have been in Arizona for a week o r two contact the local police in NY and ask for a wellness check. She will either have pulled up her socks and put on the Depends or be sitting complacently in filth. If the latter she will be removed and end up in a nursing home.
Let Medicaid take the house. It is going to be extremely difficult to sell smelling of pee and mold. Any money she has is going for her care anyway whether it is from the house or Medicaid. That will relieve you and hubby of a major worry because she won't be able to afford the utilities or the taxes and you won't have to which you can't afford anyway.
Unless your new job is paying for your relocation consider selling the majority of big furniture and buying "new" used when you get there. All you actually need to survive is a blow up mattress and a couple of chairs and a table, plus your kitchen stuff. A small U haul will hold all that and more. This will work out so stop worring and keep your eyes on the goal.
Helpful Answer (5)

I do not understand how APS can on one hand say she is competent and can make her own decisions and on the other say you cannot move? That just does not make sense. Why should you and your dh be held hostage to her whims?

I hear so many stories from families who allow themselves to be manipulated by a so called loved one. A friend of my former mil had a husband who was incredibly abusive, when she would try to go visit their kids (the kids refused to enter the home), he would threaten suicide and tell her she would be the one blamed if he carried through with his threats.

Your mil is 68, I am guessing your dh is no older than 48, perhaps much younger. You have a long life ahead of you. Your mil could easily live another 20-30 years. Get away from the situation now, not later. Leave her to sort out her finances and bankruptcy.

I certainly would not consider having her move with you. You need to get away from her manipulative behaviour, not move the problem with you.
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