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FIL and MIL lived in same community as us for all our married life until last year and one-half. FIL passed away 18 years ago and MIL became more and more dependent. My entire married life has included helping inlaws out in many ways from finances to caregiving to house repairs to have them live with us to bailing FIL out of jail for DWI to bailing out MIL financially from Gambling Addiction.


My spouse, their son, and I have been married 52 years and all that time my inlaws have been a constant source of disputes in our marriage. My husband's siblings lived a few hours away most of these 52 years. As long as my husband complied to everything inlaws asked of us, everything seemed to go okay. When we could not or would not comply to what they wanted, they would tattle to the rest of the family that we were not good to them. I was always the bad person, they would say or imply that if it had not been for me, that my husband would have done what they wanted. Untrue things were said by them to my children my family or me. Now my SIL can't handle her 93 year old mother any more and wants to send her back this way. I have so much resentment toward SIL and MIL that I don't want to have the 24/7 care of MIL in any shape, form or fashion.


My husband will have to do it and he does not want to give up his hobbies, guy trips, sports, etc and I have no faith that he will. None of the siblings want MIL to live with them but none of them want to put her in skilled facility to take care of her needs. The situation would not be good if we all had a good relationship. I am 72, my husband is 74 and we can't physically or mentally take care of her anymore on a 24/7 basis. 40 plus years of caring for his parents is enough. It is time the siblings made some decisions. In my opinion MIL would be better taken care of in a facility that is equipped to take care of her 24/7 needs. I have no say so in this matter but if she stays with us, I will end up taking care of her the majority of the time. I WILL NOT do this again.


I don't want it said that I am the reason MIL goes into a facility but if it is said I am ready to say SO BE IT. My husband and his siblings need to accept the responsibility of MIL's care. She has refused to go to a facility so far. I guess I have written this just to vent. I am tired of my life being turned upside down and I now have made the choice to just be a bystander to her care. I refuse to have no input and be an unappreciated caregiver. I feel like I am fighting for my life. HELP!!!!

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I don't understand why so many people are opposed to putting their loved one in an assisted care facility. We took care of my mom at home with help of sibs and caregivers until she needed 24/7 care. Then, we found her a lovely facility. She had been in and out of the hospital and rehab so much she was basically living outside her home, anyway. They gave her the 24 hour care we couldn't. The food was great. She could leave anytime. They did her cleaning and laundry, gave her meds. She was very happy there as it was the nicest place she had ever lived. We visited regularly - more than when she had been well and living at home - an none of us became worn out in the process. Today's facilities are not the nursing homes with neglected care you remember. My advice is to head off in advance your SIL's thinking she can come back to you. After all, you don't want her dumping her on your doorstep and leaving. I called a family meeting with a minister as arbitrator and we agreed on a plan. (I also had POA but didn't want to alienate the family, if I could help it.)
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glsdaisy Oct 21, 2018
This is absolutely true. My husband (my hero) and I tried to keep my elderly mom, who has dementia, with us - we lasted about 6 mos. I finally realized that it wasn't doing any of us any good. She and I got on each other's nerves, my husband and I had no privacy, etc. Like you, we found a lovely AL that waits on her, gives her meds, hosts live music performances, game time, she has friends, her choice in the dining room: it's wonderful. I take her to appointments, outings (when she still enjoyed them), we visit and enjoy it, and I can go home.
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It's your home and your life. Don't take her back! Don't do it! And who cares what any of them thinks. Relinquish your need for their approval. And truth is, she is THEIR mother. Not yours. She can't come back to you, beyond that they need to figure out what to do with her. Be very clear; don't be wishy washy. If they tell you they want her to come there, simply say, " No." You don't even have to explain why. Do not say something like, " I would prefer that she not come here."
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Put the pressure on SIL to explain why she doesn't want to be the carer. LOTS of pressure. The more she explains, the easier it is for you to say no. Don't let the conversation be about you. She's the one opting out.
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mally1 Oct 18, 2018
And the more she explains, the more reason you won't do it....
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My DH wanted "us" to take his father in when he was dying. Thought it would be a GREAT WAY to take care of a dying man.

Uh, no, I said "You want US to care for your dad? I will happily move out and you can care for him". DH was flabbergasted! Isn't this what kids DID for their folks? Gosh, how could I BE so selfish.

I stood my ground, firmly. The compromise was HHC, which was terrible, and ended up going to his place 2-3 times a day to dress wounds, cook or run him to drs. It was awful and time consuming, but he wasn't living with us.

Dh did see how utterly exhausted I was by this. He also did apologize for the idea of bringing dad here to live.

I was only 47 and this wiped me OUT.

When dad got so bad he needed to be in a NH, he chose to die, instead. (Hospice).

Now my hubby's mother is in a similar situation. He had previously broached the same idea, she'd move in with us. After my hysterical laughter died down, I said "You go live with her. And good luck with that". He knew better than to even ASK me when she began a decline a year or so ago.

I'm now 62 and busy taking care of (and enjoying!!!) 14 grandkids and I absolutely would NEVER take in an aging parent. Heck, I AM an aging parent!

Sounds like you need a "come to Jesus" meeting with all sibs on board. Have a list of NH's or ALF's in hand. Do NOT say you'll bring MIL to live with you, under any circumstances, but that you will be willing to "help".

And you DO have a HUGE part in this say: You think your DH is going to step up and do the bathing, meals and dr runs? It will be on you 99%. SO YES, you DO have a stay.

My mother lives with my brother. My SIL is unhappy with this and was from the start. She currently does not even SPEAK to my mother, and mother is baffled by this (she's a pill and it's been 22 years!!!!!!)

I have seen, so rarely, multigenerational families live in harmony in one home. Sad, but true. Marriages are ruined, families are fractured by disagreement about the kind/level of care. You have sibs who are MIA and not doing their part, then they complain the loudest when something goes amiss.

AGAIN: THIS HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH YOU!!!! Your voice should be heard and heard loudly.

Good luck!! Be tough, OK?
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mally1 Oct 18, 2018
Oh I agree, Midkid; sometimes I just say, "No, I'm not doing that, No, I'm not able, No, No, No." Not as hard to say and mean and hold firm to as you'd think; they may complain (hubby wanting me to pick up something REALLY heavy with him, or mom wanting me to come into town (6 miles in the dark), to make her a sandwich), but they manage to get it done without me!
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I have the same situation — even to the point of my DH being the oldest of 5 & being the family doormat, bailing out the parents, and me being blamed for when we wouldn’t comply. My husband’s family all thought it would be best for us to take in their mother (she is currently living with her 2 daughters). I knew it was going to be “suggested” and I made it VERY clear to my husband that it would all be on him.

He tried guilting me & then bullying me into agreeing, but I stood my ground (thanks to this forum). I did agree to help but only as the last on the list, not the first. When he realized that he would have to give up so much of his fun things, he changed his mind. The final straw was him imagining having to clean up his mother after her many accidents. So we came up with a plan on how to handle the “suggestion” when it came. Basically, it was asking his siblings to outline exactly how they will help.

When we had the “what should we do with mom” family discussion (I insisted all spouses be involved in the discussion) and his 4 siblings all agreed that it would be best for their mom to move in with us, we were prepared. Instead of flat out saying no, he said that before we agree to it he wanted to know exactly how they would help, how their spouses would help because they were expecting me to help, and how their own adult children would help because they were expecting our own adult children to help. Oh my, the excuses started to fly as to why they couldn’t help, with no concrete specifics as to what they could do.

He let them talk & give their reasons, not interrupting just saying “I understand” (we practiced this for a long time). When they were done, he calmly informed them that since none of them were going to help, her moving in with us was not option. He had to keep it short because he knew he would be interrupted.

As soon as he said “not an option”, all of them exploded. Name calling. Berating. Any dirty tactic they used in the past to wear him down into compliance, they did it. I am so proud of him for standing his ground because he has always been the doormat / people pleaser / martyr of the family. (He told me afterwards that what helped him to stand firm was the visual of him cleaning up his mother after an accident.)

He did suggest Assisted Living — we had already visited 3 nice options in our area — but the 2 sisters said they would “never put mom in a home”. Well then, the only other option is for her to stay where she is — with them (they live together). He even came up with a list of how he would specifically help them. Nope, wasn’t good enough — it was either all (we take her in) or nothing (“don’t want your help”). OK, your decision — live with it.

That was 8 months ago & we actually have a life! The mother & 2 sisters don’t talk to him or the 2 out-of-state brothers who “took his side”. I know this won’t last forever; meanwhile, we are enjoying our less-stressful lives.

All this to suggest there is a way to set your boundaries to your husband so he can set his boundaries (again, thanks to this forum). Yes, DH & I fought over it but that was while we still could. Getting past that, then we came up with an approach together as to how to say no. Yes, you have every right to decide who lives in your home. I just now remembered when it was suggested my grandmother come live with my parents (because they had the room & all the children were on their own). My father was retired & made it very clear to my mother it was her decision. However, he made it equally clear that he wouldn’t be helping with anything and HE came first like he always did in their 45 years of marriage. Mom tried it & didn’t last a week — she was torn between the 2 of them & almost had a nervous breakdown. This is oddly comforting to remember this.

The advice of others here is spot on. You DO have a say. Good luck. Stay strong. Believe in yourself.
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minstrel Oct 21, 2018
Wow, how uplifting to read a success story! Congratulations to you and yourhusbnad for handling this so beautifully.
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Medsister: Stand your ground. Don’t cave. You “over-gave” for 50+ years. Now hubby’s clan thinks they can wave a white flag and you’ll bail them out. NO.

Hubby does not have to stand up for you (altho it would be nice). Stand up for yourself. Draw the line. No negotiation.

Your sanity matters. Your life matters. Your privacy matters.

They CAN arrange alternate care for MIL. They’re just reverting to old patterns. They’re reaching for what’s comfortable and convenient.

Call bullsh*t on all of it. Repeatedly.

This will be so uncomfortable for them. They will deflect. Shift blame. Try to guilt-trip you. You will entertain none of it. Got it? None of it.

HANG TOUGH.

For the past 25-ish years, I’ve lived the “lite” version of your in-law jumble.

My journey started when I was young and full of energy. I’m affable and low-maintenance. And I was naive enuf to view them all as harmless kooks.

It evolved into the manifestation of an old fable: the frog slowly being boiled alive.

All of my in-laws (parents-in-law & sibs-in-law) believe that every problem can be traced to Somebody’s Awful Spouse. Like drawing names out of a hat. Need a scapegoat? Voila! Here’s your A**hole Of The Day.

And - get ready - the daughters-in-law get raked over the coals way more than the sons-in-law.

My guy subscribes to this fallacy, too. Ohhhh the blank stare the 1st time I said, “You DO realize they say the same sh*t about ME the minute the door closes behind YOU ?”

I’ve repeated this mantra. Not excessively. Usually when a successful “family fill-in-the-blank” (holiday; celebration; resolving a crisis) hinges on me believing the false dichotomy that our household is the only one that can host or contribute meaningfully.

Five adult kids (including us) live a mere 5-10 miles away from MIL & FIL. (Now just MIL.) And my guy & I are the only ones who know how to operate the stove and open our door to others? FALSE.

My guy & I are the only ones who show up at a funeral home? Or visit when parent/sibling is in hospital or inpatient physical rehab? TRUE, unfortunately.

Though I myself backed away from such gestures a while back. Why? Their dear brother/son was once laid up for 10 weeks, post-accident. Not a one of them offered him (and by extension, me) one iota of support.

BTW, his accident was a near-death experience, if any of them gives a f**k. Which is when I realized they don’t.

Their brother/son was literally re-learning how to walk. Bored to death. No income. Yet siblings/parents were all “too busy” to call. Or stop by with a pizza. Or offer transportation. Or even offer to mow our grass. Radio silence.

Remember the 5-10 mile radius? It gets better. One brother lives a mere half-mile from us. A sister drives past our house every day on her way to/from work. Screw them all.

We spent years bending over backwards for these clowns. We showed up for everything. And this is their reaction when our lives were turned upside-down. Duly noted.

And yet. Our phone rings when someone has car trouble. When something heavy needs to be moved. When they’re too cheap (always) to pay a handyman, plumber or HVAC tech.

For the parents alone, over the years: We helped them navigate IRS, building code and landlord/tenant issues. We intervened after a house fire. We paid for lawyers. We contributed to funeral expenses.

The last straw for me? I have parents, too. I’m an only child. I lived a 4-year marathon of escalating elder issues w/my aging parents. Capped off by 2 funerals and exhausting estate issues.

Through it all, barely a grunt from the in-laws. When I buried my last parent, two of my guy’s four siblings did not acknowledge it. No call, no text, no card, no flowers, no-show at the funeral.

Medsister: The point of my long-winded cautionary tale? You are not alone in this bizarro world. (You’ll find many more AC Forum.) And - it’s all on you to fight the good fight. Be on guard always. Don’t give an inch. Stay strong and BIG HUGS. 💕
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Isthisrealyreal Oct 26, 2018
Does seem that no good deed goes unpunished.

I am the black sheep with my lovely in laws and I say bah-bah!
Beats having to pretend that we are all lovey dovey when I know my back has a target that floureses (sic?) In their eyes.

I say family is by love, not blood.

I hope your husband is completely recovered and you guys are enjoying your life.
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Yes, you do have a say in who lives in your home and whether or not you are prepared to do any care giving. Nobody can make you accept her into your home nor can they force you to care for her one minuted of the day.

So If your sil does not want to look after her, it is up to her to find the care your mil needs. It is not your responsibility to provide anything at all.

Now if your dh decides he wants her to live with him, move out. That way he can attend to the 24/7 care giving needs and you will have your freedom. The other option is that you dh moves into an apartment with his mother. I am sure he will change his tune and support you.
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"I am tired of my life being turned upside down and I now have made the choice to just be a bystander to her care."

Tired? After only 52 years of it? Well I never did.

It is not for your SIL to dictate who moves into your house. It is for your DH. Actually, it should be for both DH and YOU, but as you say you have no say so - really? How come? - let's agree at least on definitely DH. So don't blame SIL for whatever gets decided.

You are absolutely right - you should refuse to have no input and to be an unappreciated caregiver, and you are fighting for your life, and your husband's quality of life, and your long marriage, and most of all for simple common sense and fairness.

There's just one thing. I hope you feel better and stronger for venting here, and that is good. But you need to say all of this to YOUR HUSBAND.

How about printing it off and sellotaping it to the Sports Section?
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My blood pressure shot up 20 points just reading your text. Wow!! Poor you. The family wants to shove the MIL off on you? You better be ready to fight. Tell the husb if the sister cant take care of MIL; you left your super woman cape at the dry cleaners. She will not be moving in. Period.
You are not a pushover, or your house the dumping ground for MIL because the family feels like shirking their responsibility. They dont want the guilt of being the "bad guy", sending her to the nursing home. Too bad.
Tell husb and family they can pay for 24/7 home health or nursing home. That is the only decision their going to make. You will not move her into your home or husband will be looking at a divorce and picking out his future apartment alone.
So what if you come off as the bad guy?? The family already has been using that for years to manipulate you and your husband. Thats not love, that is abuse. Call their bluff. Your not having any of it. If they try, cut off all contact. Stand your ground.
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CaregiverL Oct 21, 2018
Yay for Jasmine! Great answer!!💕
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I'm surprised you were able to stay married this long. You've caved in in the past and they figure you will again--they'll send the mother in law to you and it's cheaper too!

Tell your husband that if his mother moves in you are moving out and taking your half of the marital assets with you.

This is the only life you get. I hope you protect it.
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Myownlife Oct 21, 2018
@ Davina, I know some of this is said in a "joking" kind of way, but just as a warning, never tell a husband or wife that you intend to take half of the marital assets, unless there is absolutely no possibility of your doing this.

If there is even the "remotest" chance that it would come to that, you better open another banking account somewhere under your own name and transfer whatever you intend to take BEFORE ever saying anything like that. And actually, if it would come to that, better just doing it, and not saying anything.... as far as the banking goes.
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