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She is 74 but very frail. Her middle daughter died in a car accident 7 years ago and it has been very hard on her. Her husband has been gone for 22 years. She lives in Fl without any family nearby and we live in Texas. We have been trying to make sure our family or my husband's sister sees her every 3 months. But she's loney and just listens to books on CD and sleeps and drinks Boost. It seems ridiculious for her to be alone so far away, but she won't come if she has to live any where but with us. She "friends" who she can call in a bind, but can't even grocery shop on her own because her feet are so bad. We have offered her to come live with us and our 2 kids who are 14 and 17 to coax her closer. She is warming up to the idea and now I am panicing! Infact it looks like she will be coming in November, and I am scared. We have a large house all the kids come to. We have 1 dog and she's bringing a cat and small dog. I don't even like cats a little. She just mentioned she doesn't always make it to the bathroom. WHAT AM I GETTING INTO? She was a nurse though and is pretty realistic. I am only willing to do so much (because BELIEVE ME MY MOM WILL WANT WHAT EVER I DO FOR MY MOTHER IN LAW x 100). We have always had a good relationship, but reality is, my husband will be of very little help, partly because of work, and partly just because. We will have 2 in college next year but are in better financial shape than most and she has a suppliment on top of medicad. Her feet are terrible she should use a walker but doesn't and now her hands shake. Her bones don't heal very well. Her jaw elbow and feet have never healed properly but other than that and high blood pressure she is pretty good. What do I need to do to prepare for this and how do I set expectations for the future?

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PLEASE look into assisted living if you can. I know it sounds heartless...but it is extremely hard to care for a parent let alone an in law. I made the decision to take my mom in a year ago. She is 91 and as sweet as can be but my husband and I have pretty much given up a personal and social life and it has effected our marriage and my health. We both work full time , my daughter comes in every day to get lunch for mom and we have a HHA to bathe her. I sit in my driveway and cry after work before I go in the house...and she is MY MOM!!! I feel so guilty...but DON'T do it!
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Oops just saw the move has been postponed to the Spring, wishingnyou Good luck and happy thoughts...
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It's almost November!! Did she move in??
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Invite her for a week before the move happens! Even a month. You might both discover you hate it. You might discover that you love it. You might look at some AL's while she is visiting. Show her where the nice senior apartments are.

Seriously, you need to meet with a Geriatric Case Manager for a consultation, or, better yet, with a marriage counsellor with experience in elder caregiving. I know how husbands brush us off. He needs to understand that your sanity is just as important as his fantasy football. If he can't agree to shoulder a certain part of the load, don't let her move in.

There's a cool book called Spousenomics, about dividing the work fairly based on relative skills and a kind of fairness that doesn't mean just splitting everything blindly down the middle. Make him read it!

Good luck!
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No worries CarolLynn... no chance her 20 lb 15 year old cat is going outdoors. She swears it will stay in her room for the most part. The move has been postponed to spring because she is worried about moving from Fl to Texas during winter, which is understandable, so I am breathing a little easier for now.
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When l grew up, we had 2 indoor/outdoor cats that fortunately survived to older ages but times are different now. More vehicles, more busy streets, more crowded property lines, more aggravated neighbors who don't like cat poop in their cultivated rose beds, more youths or cults finding and killing cats for ritual or psychotic purposes, etc. The majority of animal rescue and welfare folks today would no more recommend having an outdoor cat than leaving a dog OFF leash.

I'm guessing that your MILs cat is not a youngster. If it was her mentality that outdoor cats are acceptable, I suppose you can acclimate the cat to your new neighborhood and continue the same circumstances. But if a cat has been an indoor cat, please do not turn it out into the "wild" so to speak, assuming because it is a feline, and "god intended it to hunt and kill things", that it will be able to easily adapt to the outside. I have been an active volunteer with spaying/neutering organizations and rescue/placement for over 40 years. Depending on the temperament and personality of an indoor cat, arbitrarily outing them has produced many tragic results.

As difficult as it is to take on the responsibility of absorbing your MIL into your household, please also feel responsible to treat the cat fairly as well. If it is an indoor cat and you don't feel you can handle that for the long term, spend some time finding a new home. You will have control now and you don have to upset MIL with the truth of that if she is adamant about keeping the cat. You can always re-home the cat but tell MIL the cat went to the vet and was very sick, etc. Most elders cope better thinking their pets went to doggy or kitty heaven than having you take the pet away from them. Just some therapeutic lying to do the right thing for the pet on the one hand, and ease the elder's mind on the other.
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Ellie, I admit that I didn't read all 37 posts, so if I'm repeating what has already been suggested... sorry about that.
Your mother-in-law wants to stay with her son and his family because she was afraid to come to a strange state and be surrounded by strangers in an asst. living or retirement community. But with some time, that could change. Be sure to get her involved with other seniors while she's with you, so she'll feel comfortable leaving the nest. Also, your husband is a big kid and likes his toys, which if someone can afford the money and time to play, then that's fine. But you and he need to sit together and decide just how much involvement he thinks he can do with his mother. My husband, though he loves his mother, rolls his eyes every time I tell him he needs to go visit her at the memory care we just put her in. He'll do it, but I swear if I didn't mention his mom, he'd never think of her. It's just not in him to embrace the idea of taking care of his mom. So, if your husband is like that, then lay it out as to what you'll be needing him to do. Keep it real though, knowing that he'll not follow thru with anything you know in your heart he'll never do. He DOES need though, to financially help you in anyway you might need. Whether that be to hire outside help in ANY form you need too. You can do this. This arrangement doesn't have to be forever in my opinion, just till she feels safe. As for the cat, make sure it's an outside cat and if it's not, it's time for that cat to see the great outdoors. Cats should be outside hunting and killing stuff like God created them to do anyway. So if you know the cat is going to drive you crazy and cause grief, tell mother-in-law the cats new life will be OUTDOORS. ♥ You can do this. Also, I think your own mother as a former nurse could be a resource for you when it comes to the health part. Your mom may feel abandoned while you adjust to this, so keep her in the loop. Good luck.
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It's September is she there yet????
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If husband won't help, then he must pay for help. It's his mother after all. If it doesn't work out, and after trying you can't cope, then don't feel any guilt about admitting it. Assisted living is always an option. I feel you have all the qualifications to make this a success, love, empathy, intelligence, and humor.
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AL is the way to go. Think of your own children first, because they will find going to their friends house is much better, specially if MIL doesn't make it to the bathroom. For a teen it can be prett hard if they were not brought up already caring for grandma. I would think twice if hubby is not 100% on board for caregiving because you will need some time off.
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"What doesn't kill u makes u stronger".Don't count on it, the guy that made that statement,Nitche,probably misspelled, committed suicide.Don't be a martyr.You won't do anybody any good doing that.
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POA info is REALLY GOOD! I currently am not and he is... I was going to change that but see how that will help keep him engaged! What doesn't kill us makes us stronger - right?!
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Don't let your husband get out of his responsibilities towards his mother, physical and emotional.
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Sounds like she's coming to stay. Well make sure your husband NOT you have POA at least when things need to get done (Dr,hospital,legal etc.) He'll have to go not you! PLEASE!!!!!!Make sure you don't put your name on any HIPA forms..Always use your husband at contact/with his cell number...

September is almost here, good luck!!
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Don't do it...have her live close or in her own space, perhaps a mother daughter situation. If she moves in it will change the family and everyone will expect you to smooth every conflict over, its torture.
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Please don't let her in the house. Find nearby living arrangements.It's like a vampire,once you invite them in you can never get them out.You will lose your privacy and your sanity.
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I try and open up dialogue with my husband and he's just like this is the way it is we will figure it out. Which means I need to figure it out, because with work, golf and fantasy football he doesn't have the time! Your comment " act like you can handle alone and everyone will be happy to dump in your lap" is exactly what has my heart racing. That is exactly what will happen if I am not careful. It is not easy for me to demand anything and I have to get better at persuading and communicating effectively. But as you mention I will grow, and I want to... hopefully my family will grow closer as well. We live in a very narsastic area and could all benefit from giving of ourselves more and setting a better example of true love. I do think the benefits will out weigh the burden. Thanks for such great information.
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You ask how to prepare. first open and honest communication. The best skill to have is to be a good listener. If she is fully compentent, then she is calling the shots. Your job is to help her achieve automony, not make her decisions. it took three months of bickering with my father and this site to learn that. You can suggest, but don't insist. Educate yourself on your MIL condition. This website is invaluable for help with care and coping. The New York times has a section under their health page on elder care I find helpful.

Start out as a team in caregiving. Act like you can handle it alone, and everybody will be happy to dump it in your lap. Call a family meeting; workout schedules where your husband's siblings take her for weeks at a time. Right now your MIL won't need a lot of help. One fall and that will change everything. Encourage her to got to rehab and build her muscles. Fall proof your house, grab bars in the bathroom, remove or tape loose rugs.

It ain't easy, but it is worthwhile. It has completely changed me. I have grown as a person, so much. It is the most unselfish, loving, hard thing I have ever done. I have a sense of peace, acceptance, and happiness. Good luck we are here for you.
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Kathy you are so right! I just read a quote Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. Was really just trying to be prepared. We really have no idea what we are getting into and I guess I won't until we do it.
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Set a example for your children, accept her into your house with love. Give of yourself to allow your husband's mother,and your children's grandmother a safe and loving environment. Dump her into a nursing home or assisted living, and you are warehousing her till she dies. Karma's a bitch, what goes around comes around. Yes there will be problems, yes there will be times you will want to quit, but there will be loving happy times also. You will grow in strength, resiliance, and love. Decide what kind of person you want to be; then do it with joy or don't do it at all.
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With the second thoughts you are already having, I would say you shouldn't do it. Caring for someone you love dearly would be difficult enough, but having to do it for someone you don't have a bond with could be totally destructive.
My mom is 83 and is in great shape physically. My mom has outlived 3 of her 5 children so far, and I am hoping I outlive her for her sake.
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lt seems pretty clear from your original post and the information and suggestions here, thanks of which you were unaware and had not considered, you are leaning in the direction of assisted living (and was it here I think someone made a great suggestion to choose a tiered facility?)

Going by your own words, you're MIL is a "selfless" person. Ok, work with that!
Talk about how much easier it is for her son and her grandchildren to have her near. In IL or AL, she would still have her privacy but her son and grandchildren could enjoy her presence much more often, etc. Get her on board with a local move to her own residence for the benefit of her son and grandchildren. You will soon find out if she is truly selfless. You might mention, if you think it would appeal to her nurses background, how much better it would be for her son and grandchildren to have her much closer in the event anything were to happen so it would lessen there worry when they can see her so quickly, etc.
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It's so good you have asked the question here and please take to heart the responses of those who have gone before you. What you will face will be totally different than you think due to the interactions of personality and health of both your MIL and your family members, including you. Especially since it sounds like you will be the primary caregiver. I highly recommend your husband and you go and spend some time with her first to get a better sense of what her current needs are. You must be realistic and recognize that moving your MIL into your home WILL change your family dynamics and there is potential for it to affect your health as primary caregiver. Investigate fully all options with your husband and costs in all ways. I've cared for my mom and continue caring for my 91 yr old dad and although my dad is way healthier than my mom, caring for my dad has been way more 'costly' than my mom. Please be aware.
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Dear Ellie,
My first very flippant reaction was "Get a divorce and run for your life"
Your MIL does not have a choice in this you are in charge, it is your home and family. Old nurses are stubborn old creatures. Has she told you anything else you need to know other than the incontinence? The suggestion of staying with her or nearby is a good one for a week so you can really get an idea of what is going on.
You mention that your daughter is in college and MIL could have her room. What happens when she comes home for vacations? That room is your daughters sanctuary and unless it is your daughters suggestion should not be taken away from her.
Research your options and when MIL asks for your help decide what you are prepared to do. Take the same approach with your own mother. Don't be guilted into something you don't want to do. take a deep breath, count to ten and good luck.
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I would start planting the seed for her moving to a place of her own AL. Talk up the good things, having a great country club environment she deserves, friends her own age, planned outings and activities that you and family can't just provide with everyone's busy schedule and you just don't want to be leaving her alone all the time running kids around, etc. explain she have some peace and privacy and hope she'll spend as much time at your house as possible. Tell her that kids can't wait to help her decorate her new place and eat in the dining room!

Dont take her in even temporarily, it will only be harder to get her out into a new place. This isn't selfish at all. It's a huge responsibility and an elders care needs only escalates. If your gut is having you second guess your original offer then its telling you something and hubby should support.

If he doesn't then lay down the law, you want MIL to pay for in home help a few mornings a week so that you can do your normal activities and duties to keep the normal family routine humming. Also you want a housekeeper 1x a week. Also lay out a schedule where you go off on Sat and Sun for awhile while he is home so he can be with her and help her for extended time.

Caring for loved one is an honor and a burden and a huge family sacrifice. Kids fantasize how nice to have grandma there but the reality is something different. They're still running out to be with friends and will still want your attention to them and their schoolwork, sports, running them to dance etc and will not understand the sacrifice required. Could lead to resentment. Don't count on any help from the kids.
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Your first responsibility is to you and your family. It is noble of the teenagers to think having Grandma live with you is a good idea. They have no idea what the reality is for the situation. You can read all the truths in other postings on this site about taking care of elderly with children in the home.

If you can afford 24/7 live in care it might work out. You have no idea how much of your family's lifestyle will be affected if you do this on your own.

I know this sounds brutal but it is what it is! I wish you all the best.
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Good to hear you are checking out places and resources. Try to put yourself and your children first while doing this. This arrangement will effect you all. Good luck.
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WOW! If I was scared before I am terrified now! :) I figured I was painting a bad pic and would look extremely selfish to all of you amazing people (probably ladies) out there. I just don't know how we will get her here unless we offer it to be with us. She has always been a very selfless person and she just really needs to be embraced by family more than 15 days a year. The kids say they want her here but have no idea what that will mean. My husband will totally be willing to put her in some type of assisted living but not right away. I am pretty sure once she gets to be burdensome (verses just annoying) she will be willing to as well. I will start checking out places now as well as home resources. Thank you all so much for the realistic information. You are all amazing!
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Macada (and others) the definition and practices of assisted living vary by area and provider. That is why it is so very important to visit and inquire with specific questions. The assisted living where my Mom was did morning care, toileting, distributed meds, helped feed, made beds,cleaned rooms, did laundry and helped the person into bed at night. They checked regularly on each resident. They provided (encouraged) beverages several times during the course of the day. As you can see, this is apparently quite different from your experiences. This is important for all of our care givers who are from all over the country and world. What I am describing is standard in my area, I visited 7 different ALFs. But you bring up a good point, other areas may be quite different.
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re no care in AL - in Canada - not sure in the US - some care can be provided in an ALF. My mother is 101 and lives in an ALF. She has "home care" come in 4 times a day for about 1/2 hr to help her bath, dress, and to make meals as she has food sensitivities and cannot eat the dining room meals. I believe she gets charged for some of that, but her doc ordered it for life so some is covered by our health care system. It would be worth checking out if something like that is available where you are.
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