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My MIL has lived with us for 7 or 8 years and at first it was not a problem. She helps out with a few groceries. She would let my wife take her places and be gone from the house. The last time she was out of our house was a year ago last Thanksgiving. She is making my wife's life a living hell. She never dresses, robe and nightgown always, smokes in my house even though she knows I hate it, and doesn't pay any rent other than helping out with a few groceries and buys gas for my wife's car about 2 tanks a month. We have talked to her about going to a NH but she refuses and now we are getting to the age where taking care of her is becoming quite a burden. I travel with my work and need to have my wife accompany me now and then to help drive. I work long hours and drive through the night at times to get to the next jobsite. I can barely lift her when she falls and my wife cannot lift her at all. She is verbally abusive to my wife and my wife cries all the time. I want her out but she refuses to leave. The local NH is a good facility and has room for her. Is there any way we can make her move out. I know it sounds cruel but my wife has devoted 25 years of her adult life to caring for her mother with very little support from anyone. It is becoming such a stress to my wife that I am afraid for her health and mental well-being. What can be done? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We live in Missouri and I am not sure what the Missouri laws would be concerning getting her out of our home.

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Unless you are her guardian, you cannot force MIL to go to a nursing home, or an ALF, or a subsidized apartment. You cannot determine where she lives.

BUT you can certainly decide who lives in your house, and on what terms. She has been living with you for several years ... you can't just kick her out tomorrow. Find out the eviction requirements in your area -- how much notice, how it has to be presented, etc. Hopefully it won't come to this, but find out the information now.

Call the help line for your state's agency on aging. Explain the situation (brief outline -- you needn't go into all the details about smoking, etc.) that you can no longer share your mom with your MIL and ask for options.

If MIL has been living rent free for 7 years she should have a tidy little nest egg that will see her to her next residence.

Your house. Your rules. Your decision about who lives there! (What are you waiting for?)
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gpease3, sounds like Mom-in-law isn't quite ready for a nursing home, but if Mom can afford it, a nice senior apartment where the rent is based on income. You and your wife sit down and write out all the things you do for her Mom. Now take that list and cross off half the items, and now cross off some more. And stick to that list. What does she think this is, the Holiday Inn? [remember those commercials?]

Since Mom-in-law smokes, and at her age it would be almost impossible for her to quit smoking. Ban all smoking from the house and the property, yes, no smoking outside, either, nor in the garage. Tell her she brings in all the smoke smell on her clothes and when she sits on the sofa that smoke transfers to the sofa. And it transfers to the inside of your vehicles. You can't have that any more. Wouldn't be surprised she would start packing before too long.

Without causing harm, turn down the heat, and if Mom complains just tell her the utilities are getting too expensive, the whole household needs to cut back. Got cable TV? Does she watch the cable shows? Oops, sorry, Mom, we had to go back to basic channels.

And present her with a walker that she must use at all times to keep her from falling. If she doesn't use it, she has to stay in her room.

My gosh, it's like have a teenager in the house !!
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You don't say how old Mom is and your profile states her only problem is mobility problems. That said, she has been in your home for " 7 or 8 years and at first it was not a problem. She would let my wife take her places and be gone from the house. The last time she was out of our house was a year ago last Thanksgiving. She is making my wife's life a living hell."

Uh, she would "let" your wife take her places? Your MIL has clearly worn out her welcome at your home. If she is making your wife's life a living hell, something has to give and give now. Trust me, it will NOT get any better. You don't mention any diagnosis of dementia, so we can only conclude your MIL's behavior (after 7 or 8 years) is no longer acceptable to you or your wife. You must present a UNITED front, sit down with her, and basically tell her in no uncertain terms that another living arrangement will need to be made. Stick to your guns. Period.

As other posters have said, the next time she falls and can't get up -- CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY! Do NOT attempt to pick her up yourself. Have them take her to the nearest ER to "get her checked out". At that time, you speak to the attending ER doctor (away from your MIL's ears) and tell him that you and your wife cannot physically care for your MIL at home anymore. As others have said, they will try whatever it takes to discharge her back into YOUR care. They may try to guilt trip you or outright threaten you. DON'T BUY IT. Hospitals cannot discharge someone to an unsafe environment. In this case, your home IS unsafe for her because YOU AND YOUR WIFE can no longer care for her. Engage the discharge planner/social worker right from the get go.

As information, nursing homes are skilled facilities. If your MIL's only issue is that she falls every now and then, she most likely will NOT qualify for skilled nursing. She must be evaluated by a doctor for that. So you can't just place her in a local NH from your home. Unfortunately, if she does not need skilled nursing, assisted living is her only option and the majority of assisted living is private pay and that is extremely expensive (upwards of $3,000 to $6,000 a month).

If you refuse to take her home from the hospital (remember, you must tell them there is no one to properly take care of her needs at your home and you cannot physically take care of her anymore), the discharge planner/social worker will have to find a place to place her. The DP/SW will ask you if you have any such places in mind (not the NH if she is not qualified), but assisted living places. If you don't, they will try to place her in the first place that has a bed, and unfortunately, some of these places are not the nicest (or cleanest). In other words, you get what you get. They will also want your involvement in getting the appropriate financial arrangements made to cover your MIL's care. This can get quite messy if you don't have all your ducks in a row.

Start by contacting your local Area Office on Aging (it's usually a county gov't entity). They can start the guidance process. Good luck and let us know how you're doing.
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Stop buying her cigarettes.

Agree with the above advice. The next time she falls, you and your wife call 911.
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Tough situation. You and your wife could serve as a good lesson for the well-meaning who think "We'll take mom in now, spend some quality time and when her needs become too much for us, make other arrangements". You see that almost everyday here. Easier said than done, huh? Other than literally throwing her out, you may be stuck for a while. The next time she falls call 911, have her taken by ambulance to the ER and then refuse to take her home. They will try to bully you into it, may even make it sound like you have no choice but you do. I'm sure a social worker will become involved but explain to her that you and your wife are physically unable to provide mom with the care she needs anymore. Ask the social worker to help find placement in a suitable nursing home or assisted living if mom can be somewhat on her own. If mom is legally competent she can refuse to go but that still doesn't mean you have to take her back - even more so. This could get really ugly and cause relationship damage that may never be repaired. I guess it's a matter of how far you want to go to get your lives back. In the mean time, just put your foot down regarding the smoking! It's your house and your health - as everyone knows, second hand smoke kills too. Just say "no more". Period. If you are inclined make mom a little smoking area in the garage or outside.
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Maybe time for some new rules. No more smoking in the house. Must get dressed every day. new rules for bills... and chores if doable. In other words. make her life less like a hotel and more like a house. If she misses getting her way all the time she may decide that AL does not look so bad! But you have to be ready for her to fight you on this. If she smokes in the house.. away go the cigs. If she refuses to get dressed, then she stays in her room ( where jammies are OK) If she falls,, call 911 ( then maybe someone else will help you out, and she can pay any bills associated with 911 call) She must pay sitter while wife travels with you ( because with out your job... no house) Tough love! And I hope you have POA, if not insist on it as a condition of her staying.
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