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My mother-in-law has a room at our house and a room at her other child's house. We thought it would be the perfect sharing of care but...The transition from our house to the other house is tough for her. She gets very quiet and seems unhappy to have to leave us and go to the other house, which is a lot messier than ours. There is also regular conflict there, between the three generations.

We thought it would be the perfect situation, where we could each participate in her care, and also get regular breaks. However, the stress of the transition is now leading me to wonder if we should offer to have her here full time. The other child could come and take her out to dinner once a week, etc., or take her for a weekend once a month, or something like that, but her main residence would be with us. However, I realize this will also mean her main residence is with us, and all that goes with that! She is very spry and needs limited assistance at this point, but that may change at any time.

I have an infant. We all get along well, and grandma loves the baby....it has in some ways given her a new lease on life.

Any advice to share? Thank you so much!

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My mother-in-law is an amazing 89 years young. She retired the car keys within the last couple of years which has really clipped her wings. She has a heart condition but is otherwise in surprisingly good health and is generally mentally very sharp..
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How old is you MIL? I can't imagine that she is extremely old with you having an infant.

Does she still drive?

What health issues does she have now?

Those early years with an infant and a young child involve a lot of time and energy.
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I would offer her the option to choose. Explain that you notice a change in her behavior when she transitions from home to home. The other family can take her out, ask her over, it's all up to her. I agree with the local senior center, she may really enjoy it. She'd be able to socialize with others and have fun as well. Kudos to you for being a responsible family member.
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Yes, consider how she may be down the road and level of care and assistance needed.

Have you had a frank conversation with her and truly asked her what she wants or what would work for her now and in the future?

If it's not a burden and other sib is willing to step up and do some more then that may work. Maybe other sib can take mom an afternoon or evening a couple days a week, a wked a month. Make it seem to mom that you are not shuffling her from home to home but that both families are vying for HER time and attention. That puts it in a positive light and gives mom more control.

Also, consider getting mom involved in local senior center where she can go several days per week and socialize with others her own age, maybe a mall walker group, YMCA silver sneakers, etc. This will keep mom healthy physically and mentally and support outside relationships for her beyond your family.

I applaud you for opening your home to mom. That's great. It doesn't work for all of us, but sounds like you have had a healthy and loving relationship. Best wishes.
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There is so much to consider. Apparently, she's more comfortable in your home and wants to stay there. Plus, with the new baby. That would be a big draw for her. I can see her not wanting to leave the new grandchild.

I grew up in a multi-generational environment and it worked great for us, but not all families are that way. And when dementia is involved, it's very different. I think I might consider what you and your husband are willing to do if down the road her needs change. Will you be able to keep her in the house and care for her, along with your other obligations and children.

While having her there may increase some level of stress, it's a great thing for a child to have. My grandparents were golden and because of them I had an extraordinary start in life. Of course, you would lose some privacy if she was there full time. Would she have other interests that would get her out of the house a few days per week?

Why not start with her staying at the other place only for a couple of days per week? See how that works before you commit to her staying full time.

I would keep in mind that if she were to become ill, disabled, etc. and she's living with you and your husband, it's probably going to be upon you two to care for her or make other arrangements. Do you want that responsibility?

I would get Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney in hand immediately, regardless of her living situation, so someone can act on her behalf if something should happen suddenly or when the time comes. Don't wait until she is incapacitated to do this.
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