What role should son-in-law or daughter-in-law play in taking care of their in-laws? - AgingCare.com

What role should son-in-law or daughter-in-law play in taking care of their in-laws?


Want to be helpful without overstepping their bounds.

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IrmaMae - it sounds like you and hubby are the day to day caregivers, and the out of state sibling is coming in to remove the in-laws. Why are they being moved? Is it possible that this move could turn out to be a good thing?

It's a sticky situation for sure. And in all of our stories, the personal details dictate the right answer. For me, I'm the daughter-in-law and yet for most of two years I was the primary care person. The mom and the daughter had personality clashes and misunderstandings were the norm rather than the exception. In other families, the mom and daughter have such a tight bond, that it's the daughter who steps up and does most of it. Just depends.

What would be great here, is if out of state sibling, in laws and your family could have a sit down and talk about what is going on and why decisions are being made. When my hubby & I got to sit down and talk with Sis in law and her hubby - we were all four amazed at the misinformation we each had about the situation -- mom in law had been manipulating all of us in many ways, misunderstandings had blossomed into hurt feelings, and we were able to clear the air and get a good game plan (it was a LONG meeting, lol)

Hopefully you can work out something that is a good solution for your in laws - they really are the vulnerable ones here.
Helpful Answer (1)

Depends on what the patient wants. I know a woman who informed her children that she did NOT want in-laws making decisions, only her children. On the other hand, for my MIL, her own daughter was not cut out to be a caregiver. Her sons were accustomed to being waited on hand and foot. They had a hard time rethinking that. What I did do was encourage them to all be on the same page, because mom was trying to play them against each other.
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depending on the extent of closeness to the in laws, I took more care of mother in law than her own, and my brother in law wife was never there for her , she said I was more like her daughter the her daughter ,, so I think that we should take care of our in laws a if they our own parents ,,, it's just good thing to do just be careful not to step on toes
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In my opinion and experience, overstepping "bounds" is part of being a grownup. My inlaws are very strong personalities and have a strong marriage. Years ago they started making bad decisions and covered for each other. They became increasingly dependent on my husband and me. I love my inlaws and enjoy spending time with them but it was getting to be a bit much.

When my inlaws could no longer hide their bad decisions, my husband did not know what to do. He was behaving like their little boy, who did not question or challenge his parents. I wanted to help my inlaws, but I was not going to act or be treated like a little girl. I explained to my husband that caregiving was going to have to work for all of us or it was not going to work.

As a daughter-in-law, I saw things more objectively and my husband and I had many a discussion about what to do. We called family meetings and my inlaws did not like being spoken to sternly by their sons or us wives. My inlaws were declining rapidly and were depressed, but wanted everything their way and for nothing to change, which was completely unfair. I piped up that avoiding reality was unsustainable, which got the ball rolling on moving them to independent living where they are doing as well as is possible given their age and condition.
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The question is very broad. In this case a lot would depend on the mental competence, or lock thereof, of the elders in question. Plus who has legal responsibility, POA etc.

It seems good that the family is involved but this can also get messy with different opinions flying about.

I think one mistake I was making when I was left alone caring for my folks from 3 states away was trying to force them to do what was best and easiest for me and not necessarily what was best for them. It would be much easier for me to put my folks in a care facility but they aren't quite ready. This makes everything much harder for me, I've done all they will allow to help but it will take a crisis to get good in home care started or a move to facility care.
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The day to day care is taken care of by the child and spouse that live in same area. The children living out of state have helped financially and make most of the decisions on the parent's care. They do not usually include their sibling and spouse taking the day-to-day care of the parent on their plans. Only expect compliance. Now they are planning to move elderly parent out-of-state to live with them and elderly parent does not want to move and leave this area.
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What are the bounds you perceive? You should be supportive of your spouse.
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