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My FIL is a widower and lives in independent living in the same unit he shared with his wife. The unit is ridiculously expensive for one person. And FIL also pays for 2 shifts of caregivers and it's questionable that he needs them as much as they come.


FIL is burning through his money at an eye watering pace. My husband is POA (including when MIL was alive), manages everything, has done an amazing job of it, and at great personal cost in both time and energy. It's also cost us money in time away from working and earning money.


My FIL is uncooperative, dramatic, negative, and self absorbed. Last month, FIL dumped a whole bunch of negativity on my husband and hubby had had enough. Together, we reviewed FIL's finances. Bottom line: FIL must cut expenses, with biggest savings coming from downsizing to a smaller unit.


Because FIL cannot manage his affairs himself any longer, I feel that my husband is well within his rights to force his dad to make a choice: cooperate or hire a professional POA. Hubby and I are also making plans to return to our hometown in the next year or two because it is clear to both of us that FIL may live another 10+ years.


All that said, what words and phrases have you used that have gotten you results? Words of advice and wisdom in how to run this meeting with FIL will be greatly appreciated!!!

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I didn't see counseling from that perspective, and you're right. Counseling certainly could not hurt. I love my husband and am willing to hear what he finds objectionable about me as long as he's willing to hear what I find objectionable about him. If he isn't, well then I suppose that will be my moment of realization that it's over.

Any suggestions on how to find a counselor whose right for us? We have strong cultural differences and I'm worried that, if the counselor identifies more with his culture, that I won't be heard. I know they're supposed to be impartial but we're all human. And what about gender of the counselor?
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BarbBrooklyn Sep 20, 2019
Tough question. Good marital therapists are hard to find.

Might your PCP have any recommendations?

A male therapist who is of your husband's culture MIGHT be a good fit, because DH would be predisposed to feel "heard" and if the therapist is well-trained, he would be dispassionate about seeing the dysfunctionality in the situation.

Think about pursuing individual therapy for yourself. When this was first suggested to me, I heard it as "you are the one who is crazy". I later realized that it meant "you are the one who is amenable/flexible and sane".

Give this some thought. You are not in an easy situation, but right now, you both seem very locked into your respective positions. Not a good place for a marriage to be. If the marriage is going to survive FIL's dotage, you need some assistance. No shame in seeking it out.
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I feel I am taking a break from the craziness and that I am under no obligation to allow FIL's craziness to consume any more of my valuable time and energy. You said it before: "There is too much attention being paid to the preserving of FIL's frail ego..." Wouldn't hubby need individual therapy before any marriage counseling could ever work?
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BarbBrooklyn Sep 20, 2019
Not necessarily. If nothing else, it would give YOU clarity.

After many years of failed attempts at marriage counseling (and individual therapy for me, as DH refused to go himself) a very wise doc asked me, during our first session, if I was willing to change all the things about myself that my husband found objectionable.

I was so angry, I could have spit! It wasn't ME that needed to change, it was him, couldn't she see that!

It occurred to me afterwards that HE was never going to change. The only person I could change was me. And no, I wasn't willing to make the changes he "required". It was quite clear at that moment that it was over. After 24 years, it wasn't like we hadn't tried.

We are both happier for gotten beyond that marriage. Both of us are re-married; it was win/win, for sure.
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You're not "punishing" his dad. You are "taking a break from the craziness".

I can empathize with the "view" issue. My mother, who spent a great deal of time in her IL room, needed to be in the front, where she could see the "comings and goings". She was in one place where she was in the back of the property and it led to all sorts of paranoia about what might be happening.

It sounds as though this is a big issue in your MARRIAGE. Have you and DH considered sitting down with a therapist and working on this?
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There are a few comparable and cheaper places nearby that I toured when MIL was still alive. I'm not visiting them again. I'm not calling for brochures again. I'm not doing the due diligence again. If money is their concern, the "boys" can do the heavy lifting for a change.

I found the place FIL lives at now. I communicated with the Director before touring it, and then toured it twice before showing hubby the brochure. How much would a GCM charge for that service, which I provided for free?

Had their father listened to my hubby, FIL's POA, and moved to a one bedroom after MIL died, his money would last 5 years longer (5.3 years to be exact). That's a lot of schkaroll (what my Italian friends call money).

Now that 2 of his brothers are involved in active discussions with their dad, plus the fact that I have made it abundantly clear that I am tired of FIL's nonsense, hubby hasn't brought up what's going on with his father. It used to be a near-daily topic of conversational updates.

I've also noticed that, even as recently as a few months ago, I would have been interested to know what was going on with FIL. Now, I don't care to know and I'm not even curious. I haven't visited FIL since he said he didn't like the view from the one bedroom, which got me cheesed off, and hubby said I'm not visiting because I want to punish his dad.
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I'm among those who agree that moving to the available 1 BR in current facility sounds like a good plan that likely would have minimal negative impact on FIL.  

However, if the sons are concerned enough that Dad will outlive his funds to consider an apt, it might be good to also explore less expensive facilities. We moved our parents to a very nice IL in the next town when they were about 90. Over the next several years this saved tens of thousands of dollars which later helped Mom remain in good ALs and MC. And they gained a second bedroom and bathroom in the cheaper IL.  Within about a year, two of their close friends from the first IL followed them to the second, also for the cost savings. The main drawback was a longer commute for my sister to visit them on weekends.

But you have the whole picture of this situation, and there may not be comparable, cheaper facilities within a reasonable distance. Just sharing my experience of looking at facilities previously not considered.
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NYDIL, I am a professional in my field. No one in my family thinks that my opinion is worth bupkiss when I tell them (if queried) what they should do.

There is something about paying for advice that makes people pay attention to that advice.

I hope that YOU are not the one paying for dad's care or for any other part of this drama. That would be wrong. That would make me detach from the situation in a financial and personal way.
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 19, 2019
Goodness, no, we are not shelling out money to pay for FIL's care. Money is the smallest part of what's making me detach from this situation; it's FIL's selfishness and miserableness that are.
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"It would be best for FIL to be in a place designed for aging folks' needs..." He lives in an indy living designed for aging folks' needs. Moving him out of there seems bananas.

"Hopefully, too, at least one other (willing) family member would live nearby to handle the inevitable emergencies, and to accompany to routine...and provide some socialization opportunities..." My husband and I have been those willing family members. Let the other family members worry about themselves when they see the miserable, needy side of FIL.

"There are so many variables that have to be taken into consideration -- FIL's age, health, disabilities, financial picture...." We took ALL of those variables into consideration when we moved my inlaws to indy living and when we asked FIL to downsize at the indy living. I'm not reinventing the wheel. He needs to stay where he is. He has mild dementia now and they have a memory care building, should that be necessary. This "let's move dad to a rental" is navel-gazing poppycock!!!

I looked into a GCM. In my opinion, they are for people who are far less well-versed in the ins and outs of caregiving, aging in place, and planning for the future than me. I don't need a GCM to tell me that FIL has no business moving to a rental. Not a single person who has responded to this thread thinks that's a good idea. I trust all of you to guide me far more than I will ever trust one GCM!!!

If the "boys" don't want to listen to me they will suffer the consequences and I will grin and think to myself "told ya so!". I burned myself out once while MIL was still alive, and promised myself never again. FIL does not care one bit who he burns out. Pure selfishness.
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Barb suggested using a Geriatric Care Manager as a source -- I wonder if they could give you other housing ideas that would stretch FIL's money longer?
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Moving FIL from his present indy living to a rental would cut his monthly expenses in half. That's what my husband calculated and he overestimated cost of everything from food to adding another shift of caregivers.

I haven't gone to visit FIL since he told us he didn't like the view at the one bedroom.

He's a miserable person. When his wife got sick he started becoming one and it has only gone into overdrive since her death. I have no more energy to put toward his quality of life. I am tired.

A delay in moving back home was one of the objections I raised when the idea of moving FIL to a rental came up. I will not delay moving home and I informed all of the brothers that I will be moving home within 2 years. Neither hubby nor any of his brothers can ever say "we didn't know she was going home".

Hubby and I have taken a huge financial hit by taking care of his parents. We have lost income, spent down savings, incurred extra and unforeseen expenses, etc. I have calculated that within 2 years I comfortably will have saved enough money to move back home.
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Linzy6 Sep 19, 2019
I'm impressed that you uprooted your life to the extent you have in support of your DH and in-laws. Certainly it is time for your desires to take priority and it sounds like you are getting that point across to hubby. Yay! I think you may see FIL's mental state and his needs more clearly than the sons do.  I hope they listen to you.

Interesting there would be that much of a cost savings with the apt. Maybe that setup could work, for a while at least. I'd be concerned about keeping highly competent, dedicated caregivers who might also be taking on more housekeeping chores: meals, laundry, cleaning, etc.

 There are apt-sized washer and dryers -- DH and I used these when first married. I hooked the washer to the kitchen sink once a week and did laundry which I carried to our spare/guest bedroom which was the only place with room for the dryer. Better than walking up and down steps to the laundry room located in a different building.

It would be best for FIL to be in a place designed for aging folks' needs, with features such as walk-in showers large enough for a shower bench, doorways wide enough for a wheelchair, automatic doors to the outside, a covered entrance for car pick ups and drop offs. Hopefully, too, at least one other (willing) family member would live nearby to handle the inevitable emergencies, and to accompany to routine dr/dentist/eye/podiatrist appts and provide some socialization opportunities. 

There are so many variables that have to be taken into consideration -- FIL's age, health, disabilities, financial picture.  I hope you'll give us updates on what you decide on and how things work out over time.
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My sister and I considered a similar rental arrangement when Mom's AL found her to need a higher level of care than they offered after her (second) broken hip. But we quickly realized all the negatives you listed plus the reduced socialization with other elders. 

And rent, utilities, groceries, 24-hour caregivers, etc. would have made it cost-prohibitive in our case. So we placed Mom in an AL that could transition her to their MC which occurred quickly. It was a good choice for Mom and us - she had daily planned activities, entertainment, excellent food, and a (mostly) caring staff.  There was also a nurse on duty during the day.

Would renting actually result in a significant savings over FIL's present facility?  How would his quality of life be affected by a move from his IL?

I also wonder how this arrangement would delay your own plans to return to your hometown? I know a family member or maybe a geriatric care manager would need to be available to oversee FIL's needs and care in a rental, but you mentioned it would only cause a delay, not a deal-breaker.  What would be different in a year or two?
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NyDIL, you need someone with "cohones" who can stand up the menfolk in the family.

Whether that's the doc who says "look, you're putting your father in danger" or the GCM who says " You're paying me, I've got a degree in this stuff, what part of what I'm telling you don't you all understand; he needs MORE care, not less", or YOU who says "I'm outta here, you guys are kowtowing to a person with limited capacity"--someone needs to call foul and say "no more".
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 19, 2019
I haven't visited FIL since he told us he didn't like the view at that one bedroom. And I told hubby that I was done hemming and hawing about his father. He's not my biological father and yet I have put more blood, sweat and tears into that miserable than most combined. And it feels like a never-ending series of marathons.
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NYDIL: Your FIL has been diagnosed with dementia, yes?

It only goes in one direction. Moving a person with diagnosed dementia from Independent Living with Caregivers to a regular apartment complex with part time caregivers is moving him to a less supportive environment.

Has his doctor weighed in on the appropriateness of this move? Are there indications that he needs LESS or DIFFERENT care than the IL environment provides? Off the top of my head, I'd say if he needs private caregivers in IL, that is an indication that he needs a HIGHER level of service.

Have you thought about suggesting to DH and BIL that they hire, temporarily a Geriatric Care manager to assess FIL's needs, agree to abide by her/his recommendation and sign on for that person to explain to FIL what his options are?

There is too much attention being paid to the preserving of FIL's frail ego going on in this family for anyone to make a good decision.
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 16, 2019
I completely agree that too much time and energy is being put toward preserving FIL's frail ego.

Yes, he has been diagnosed with mild dementia/cognitive decline and no, his doctor has not been consulted, and I think consulting him is a good idea.

FIL's decline has become worse since MIL died, and I don't understand why the "boys" believe that he's not going to get much worse. He already has private aides to help him and I don't want to spend my time coordinating aides if one wants vacation or quits or whatever. And I've told hubby that.

It never occurred to me that *we* needed a Geriatric Care Manager for this situation that, to me, seemed like something too small for a professional to want to handle. I will suggest it to hubby.
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I told hubby that my initial reaction was all around skepticism and worry that FIL being in a regular apartment building would delay our planned departure back home in 1-2 years.

At indy living, all of FIL's meals, utilities, activities, transportation, housekeeping, etc. are included in his rent. It gives us the peace of mind that comes with knowing he's surrounded by all the help he needs plus a memory care building should that become necessary.

At this point, I'm not sure if the "boys" are trying to puff up their dad's self esteem or just incapable of seeing the warning signs regarding their father.
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24/7 caregivers?

Who deal with sundowning, midnight bowel incontinence and hallucinations?

Make sure the "boys" have that all accounted for. And that the apartment complex allows feces-laden bedding to be laundered in the communal laundry room. Mine doesn't.
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 16, 2019
I can see that conversation now: "Mr. Apartment Manager, what is the policy about washing poopy clothes and bed linens in the $1.25 washers downstairs?"
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My hubby is talking more with his eldest brother, who gets all the respect because he's first born. It's bizarre to watch that, on the rare occasion he visits, the red carpet gets rolled out and he regales FIL with tales of his adventures, business travels to exotic places, vacations, family life, etc. and FIL puffs out his chest and acts all proud. I just made the connection that FIL also was the eldest of 4 brothers; therefore, the eldest is the best.

Now there's talk of moving FIL out of independent living and into a regular apartment building in a quiet neighborhood that has good public transportation (for the caregivers, not for FIL) and continuing with the private caregivers he already has and using an agency if more is needed. Thoughts?
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I can imagine how frustrated you are. If the men in the family are happy with the status quo, you may need to just let THEM work things out.

But it would be great to get hubby to tour some nursing homes/Memory Care facilities that accept Medicaid.  Illness and accidents occur in the blink of an eye with the elderly, and it would be immensely helpful to have some facilities selected pre-need. 

And, while touring NH facilities POA hubby could learn about Medicaid -- which facilities accept it, what they look like and offer, and the requirements to apply and be accepted (5 years of financial statements, etc.)  

It's all an eye-opener. I started a NH search while Mom was in Memory Care.  Had she reached 100, she would have needed to move to a NH that accepts Medicaid.
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Hubby showed his brothers the calculations for FIL's money. All the sons know. Yet they seem to want to let him have a "preference" which actually means let him call the shots. It's absurd.

They have no idea about Medicaid and the realities of nursing homes especially not ones paid for by Medicaid. They're in La-La-Land and/or lack the beytsim (testicles) to stand up to their father. It's ABSURD.

I used to be the caring DIL. Now, I'm TIRED because I have been frustrated by FIL for far too many years. I. AM. TIRED. [sigh] [scream].
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You're probably right that FIL is stalling, but good that the 1 BR idea is being drummed into his consciousness by all his children. Do the sons realize how long the money will likely last? It's not too hard to make up a little chart showing estimated annual income and expenses and when the savings could be depleted at the current rate. 

Do the sons know that a Medicaid nursing home will be an even harder adjustment for Dad? I observed a couple when my folks were in rehab. Rehab was one part of the building -- the rest was devoted to nursing home including (maybe all?) Medicaid recipients. All shared the dining room, activities, and other common areas

Even in one facility that was newly built, it was a Big Step Down from an IL or AL: shared rooms without space for personal furnishings, minimal planned activities for the residents, and wholesome, but plain food (I paid to eat with my folks on several occasions.) Long waits for a CNA to respond to the call button. And one of the rehabs continually misplaced Mom's clothes, even though they were marked with her name.

If the sons are aware of all this and still let Dad call the shots, then I think I would find it too frustrating to be involved in his long-term planning. I would tell the family I'm going to just be the caring DIL who visits and let them deal with the consequences of their decisions!
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Few one bedrooms open up and, when they do, there are new residents on the waiting list to get into the building. The building has little incentive to decline a new resident for a one bedroom as long as FIL is paying them his rent every month. That's how I see things.

I am not letting this go. I told hubby that enabling his dad to pass on this available one bedroom because he doesn't like the view will be a costly mistake. Maybe it will spur hubby and his brothers to insist. Maybe not. Things have become absurd.
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If it doesn't look like a preferred 1 BR will be available within a reasonable time, maybe you could insist FIL take the available apt now, telling him his sons (or professional movers) will move him to a preferred unit when one opens up. It's not uncommon for residents to move within a facility.

Of course, you WILL tell everyone you won't be available to help with a second move.
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Good to hear FIL seems to be accepting that a move is necessary, even if he's refusing the available unit. That's progress!

Have you asked the marketing director if she knows of any more 1 BRs opening up soon? I'd make sure she knows of FIL's location preference -- could be someone else is waiting for a 2 BR (FIL's current apt.)
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 14, 2019
I disagree that it's progress. I think he's stalling and saying whatever needs to be said to get his sons off his back.
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The "reverence" continues. Two of my BILs (both older because hubby is youngest) called their dad and spoke with my husband about their "interventions". I was told by hubby that FIL "understands" that he needs to downsize and "will move". BUT....when I asked directly about the one-bedroom available next to the elevator, hubby told me his dad doesn't like the view and that he and his brothers feel that their father should still be allowed a "preference" as to what one-bedroom he moves to.

It's not how I would have handled things. I am disappointed that none of them recognizes that FIL is manipulating them and stalling. I also am frustrated because FIL is now once again in control and can delay a move.

None of the sons seems to recognize the inconvenience of moving their father will be squarely on the shoulders of my husband. It is highly unlikely that any of my BILs will offer to fly out and help with a move (if it ever happens and I'm not holding my breath). Were it ever to happen, the timing may not be convenient for me and hubby and I will not drop everything we have going on just to move FIL. And I will let everyone know that I won't be doing that because I've dropped everything too many times already for their father and I'm done with all of that.
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Yikes, I can't imagine trying to reason with this old man. But since he's not competent to handle his financial affairs, I do think the POA must force the issue (in a loving manner) to preserve the money he'll need in the coming years. 

I don't envy what you're facing. Do let us know how you decide to handle this.

Good luck!!
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You may want to mention FIL's increased anxiety and depression to his dr, if you haven't already. Perhaps a little higher dose of his anxiety meds would help put him in a better frame of mind to discuss and anticipate the (hopefully) impending move.
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 13, 2019
You mean the anxiety meds (and antidepressant) he's already non-compliant with???!!! Great suggestion for someone who actually wants to not feel anxious and depressed. How would FIL throw pity parties for himself without his anxiety and depression?
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Nydil, my SIL is from Argentina; her dad was originally from Spain. Dad was a CPA and my SIL has an MBA.

Her dad deferred to her older brother and my SIL pushed back HARD.

I think your DH needs to push back. You can encourage him by telling him that he should tell his dad that you won't put up with this.

This old school stuff should not be pussy- footed around.

"We're in America, Dad. These Amerian women do'nt do it this way" I'll have to walk away from you".
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 13, 2019
I completely agree. I have started pushing back, and hard, and my hubby has informed his dad that I am now involved. FIL does not like it one bit but now that I have a seat at the table, their going to have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
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NYDIL, I told my dad that he obviously doesn't trust me, as he fights every decision, all input, basically everything I am involved in, so I think that he needs to find someone that can do the job that he trusts. He couldn't believe that I told him to essentially stick that POA on anyone besides me. He actually apologized and begged me to keep doing it. He knows in his heart that he is always considered in any decision and his best interests are 1st and foremost. I also tried to give him his wants, not always possible, but I made the effort. He knew all this and decided that I was the best option since I put it that way. Sometimes we just need to tell someone that we are done with the status quo and they are in control to do as they please, except jerk us around anymore.

Maybe dear hubby approaching him with the reality that he may end up on Medicaid, in a facility that is not within his control or yours. Since he doesn't seem to believe that you all are acting in his best interest, it might be time to high a professional that he can tell them exactly what he wants done, how and when and just deal with the consequences of running out of money. Dealing with someone who doesn't care, it is only a paycheck to them, so dad, you can be as determined and stubborn as you want, it is your life after all.

I saw that my dad just wanted to be in control, no matter how insane that control is. He doesn't believe that he has dementia so in his reality he is making good choices and decisions, scary!!
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 11, 2019
Because of the cultural component (see my reply to Barb's question), I suspect that I will be better capable of putting my foot down and setting limits on FIL jerking my husband around. After all, hubby has to come home to and sleep next to me. What's the saying - happy wife happy life? Also in their culture, women are not valued as are men, whereas in mine women and men are of equal value. Daughters/wives are complementary rather than subordinate to their fathers/husbands.
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NYDIL; Is there a cultural component to this all? In other words, do DH and FIL come from a culture with lots of reverence for older adults?
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 11, 2019
They are from Spain and very over the top and showy with their "reverence". I call it a very kissy-kissy-touchy-feely culture. That's absolutely not to say that my own culture (Russian and Northern European) does not revere its elders, because we very much do, just that we are different in how we demonstrate reverence.
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NY, I'm sorry you're in this frustrating situation. I think everyone's advice has been great, and just want to encourage you to make the necessary move in spite of FIL's protests. Chances are he'll adjust, especially being in the same facility, with the same caregivers, daily routines, and his familiar furnishings.  

My sister and I located a lovely, but much less expensive IL for our parents when they were around 90, after their current facility had a 9% rate increase one year. I knew their savings wouldn't be sufficient to cover expenses for an additional ten years (both of them had parents who had lived well into their 90s.)

In our case, we arranged the moving van for first thing in the morning. We had parents stay at sister's house while my brother and I arranged everything at their new apartment. Clothes were hung in the closets, toothbrushes, towels, and toiletries in place in the bathroom, pictures hung, lamps plugged in, bed made, dishes in cupboards, coffee maker on counter, etc.  

We didn't get everything unpacked that day (I returned the following days to finish emptying boxes and restock the frig.) But our parents walked into a very attractive, familiar-looking apartment that evening. 

Our parents adjusted very well, (although neither had more than MCI at the time.) They and we kids were greatly relieved to no longer worry about their money running out. And their savings did make it (though just barely!) until Mom died at age 99.
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 11, 2019
Thanks for your reply and sharing how you did the move and that's exactly what I had envisioned doing. I told hubby that I would gladly organize the move and "clean out". I even got permission from the resident director to have the clean out happen after a move. Not everything will fit in a one bedroom and lots of stuff will need to be sold/gotten rid of.
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Hubby's POA is very broad. FIL has no one else to manage his life. None of his other sons would ever step up and do the work that my husband does and FIL knows that's true. At our meeting earlier this week, I told FIL directly that his other sons do less than the bare minimum and he's lucky to get a call from them once a week at best.

Had another unpleasant conversation with my husband about his dad. A one-bedroom just became available and would save $$$thousands$$$. I feel like a rancher prodding cattle just trying to get hubby to make an appointment with the resident director to show FIL the apartment. I went in to see it when they were painting it and it's next to the elevators, which is perfect for FIL.

If FIL+hubby miss this opportunity I will not lift a finger ever again. I say that now knowing that somehow I'll get sucked back in. [Sigh] [Scream]
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AlvaDeer Sep 11, 2019
I hope this works. I can't imagine needing more. Do let us know. I swear men hate change of any kind. Just don't want to hear it.
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NY, This reply system on this site leaves a lot to be desired. I have already responded but I have read some of your responses and wanted to add this:

My husband was a successful business man, very direct and capable...but..when it came to his parents, he was useless, very weak and incapable of standing up to them. Made me crazy. I had to give him ultimatums in order to get him to do the right thing for his parents, sounds like your husband also has a problem in this area. It was an never ending battle between us, he knew what needed to be done, just didn't have the backbone to do it. He didn't want to upset them, instead he put them in harms way, it was a big mess.

I hope that this will not be an ongoing issue with you and your husband. Was a very stressful situation for me.
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NYDaughterInLaw Sep 11, 2019
That describes my husband to a tee!!! Exactly right.

This issue has been ongoing for 3 years. I too find it very stressful. I am losing my patience with them both. I find myself angry with both them just for different reasons. I am angry with my husband for being weak when it comes to his dad, and angry with FIL for being uncooperative. And I'm tired of FIL's poor choices being attributed to his dementia. He's always been this way. This is nothing new. It's just being accentuated now that he's losing control over things over which he used to have a firm grasp.
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