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Re: Spouse caring for his mom, but there are 7 siblings (total chaos)

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@os4776wrote:

I want to thank the members who have given me advice and cheered me on.  There is so much more to the events here with mother in law.

She is 91 has onset dememtia and is one very stubborn woman.  But that aside she does have living trust/Will, both have her son my husband as executor.  We have tried mediation with other (6)siblings and what is said in meeting seems to stay in meeting (i.e. call us before coming over, stop slandering us, offer us help when they can).  Its going on 3 years us being here and nothing has changed.  I feel I'm at point that I have to make husband start being the adult with his mother and forget about siblings comments.  Husband does pay her utilities and other necessities with her money.  But house is so old we haved to replace roofing, fix patio, take down pine in front due to breaking water pipe, replacing pipe line and install new windows.  So her money has gone to house repairs and from what I've seen in house theirs more problems to come.  Her funds are low and husband is thinking of Medical or get loan on house.  I do pay for food and little items for house, I'm ok with that.  It's when sisters come to house and start going thru cabinets for something to eat or drink.  I have told husband about my feelings on this and he seem to be stressed about telling them anything.

One sister has offered to care for her for one month couple of times during the year.  She's thinking we want to put their mother in permanent senior home.  We told her no we just need a break.  

Anyway its good to just let my feeling know to others who understand.

Thank you


So you've tried a lot of things, including mediation. Sounds like there's still a lot of tension. Let me encourage your husband to see an eldercare attorney before he gets a home equity line of credit. If his mother is eligible for Medicaid or MediCal (you must be in California?), then there are steps that need to be taken to preserve her major asset (the house), and tax repercussions, etc. Or a financial planner, but eldercare lawyers are really best at all of this. Are you going to inherit the house? That needs to be clarified and put in a will if it hasn't already.

 

I also hear in your words your impatience with your husband. I was married for 19 years and i've been in a partnership now for 7. I can't make anybody do anything. I have had a lot of therapy to learn that i need to take care of myself, and communicate clearly, with respect and kindness, or at least honesty, but it is not my job to make anyone do anything. I'm guessing you are supremely frustrated. But your marriage is precious and you can't be your husband's therapist, nudge, or coach in his relationship with his mother. I don't want for you to aggravate the relationship between the two of you. Perhaps counseling for you? For you both? This is tough stuff, and essentially a rehearsal for your own end of life choices....

 

Just a thought. Glad you feel heard. Please keep us posted if you like. We all learn from each other. Best of luck.

Jane

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Re: Spouse caring for his mom, but there are 7 siblings (total chaos)

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@os4776 So glad you feel the support and are lifted a bit! Sending a virtual hug! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

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Re: Spouse caring for his mom, but there are 7 siblings (total chaos)

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I want to thank the members who have given me advice and cheered me on.  There is so much more to the events here with mother in law.

She is 91 has onset dememtia and is one very stubborn woman.  But that aside she does have living trust/Will, both have her son my husband as executor.  We have tried mediation with other (6)siblings and what is said in meeting seems to stay in meeting (i.e. call us before coming over, stop slandering us, offer us help when they can).  Its going on 3 years us being here and nothing has changed.  I feel I'm at point that I have to make husband start being the adult with his mother and forget about siblings comments.  Husband does pay her utilities and other necessities with her money.  But house is so old we haved to replace roofing, fix patio, take down pine in front due to breaking water pipe, replacing pipe line and install new windows.  So her money has gone to house repairs and from what I've seen in house theirs more problems to come.  Her funds are low and husband is thinking of Medical or get loan on house.  I do pay for food and little items for house, I'm ok with that.  It's when sisters come to house and start going thru cabinets for something to eat or drink.  I have told husband about my feelings on this and he seem to be stressed about telling them anything.

One sister has offered to care for her for one month couple of times during the year.  She's thinking we want to put their mother in permanent senior home.  We told her no we just need a break.  

Anyway its good to just let my feeling know to others who understand.

Thank you

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Re: Spouse caring for his mom, but there are 7 siblings (total chaos)

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@os4776wrote:

My husband and I are caregivers for his mom, since his dad before he past away he ask him to watch over mother.  But their are 7 siblings total.   I made the very diffcult decision help my husband.  So we moved into mom's house and thinking that the other siblings would help.  Some did say they would help out and others wanted to put her in Senior home.  Everyone wants to be in charge, mother put her son my husband as Durable Power of Attorney.   Her adult children in the past 3 years, some call or come over to visit her a once a month some more months, for no more than 2 hours tops.  Not all of them do theres one that just does not want to accept that we live here.  I clean, cook, wash clothes and pay her bills, we take her to Dr appts.  What I buy is out of our pocket, not his mothers.   So when some come over to visit mom their want to make tea or coffee and look for something to eat.  HOW can I tell these women that we live here maybe mom's house, but its our residence and has been for 3 years.  To treat us with respect and that the house has our belongs too.  To not come over thinking were going to serve them too.  If they want coffee or tea to buy it and bring it with them.  Is there a way to tell them its our house too.  If no easy way I'll just have to tell them outright which I know will cause more conflict with them.  I'm tired of their disrespect and slandering remarks they make.  My husband knows this and he's stressing as he wants to stay with mom but not with sisters rude attitude towards us both.


Hi there, daughter in law.

You've received excellent advice so far, and i'll add my 2 cents. 

I agree with both Amy and Bronwyn that boundaries are necessary, that your husband AND mother in law can chime in with the other siblings and clarify what's going on as well as what's needed, and that your mother in law may want to be hostess when the siblings visit. 

 

What worries me right off the bat is that you are paying things for her out of your marriage's pocket. Your husband has durable power of attorney for what exactly, health AND finances? Is there a will?  In my own family, an aunt took care of both her parents for years in their home, and then inherited everything upon their deaths, with estranged relations with her own 4 siblings, who promptly took her to court. It was awful. I do hope that your husband's family does not break apart in this way, but between money and the burden of caregiving, resentment builds up, and you're already resentful after 3 years.

 

You should not be spending your money on things for your husband's mother. Rule #1 in my book: the elder pays for what is needed, because the caregiver needs their own money for their own long term care needs down the road. So, if there isn't enough money in MIL (mother in law's) assets or bank account, then its time to see what other options there are. Is there respite care? Are there stocks and bonds that can be liquidated? Have you and your husband (and your MIL if she is able) been to an elderlaw attorney to figure out how to make her assets last? And if her assets can't last her life expectancy, is she eligible for Medicaid? Medicaid would pay for medications, home care, and other benefits. Is she a veteran? Is Meals on Wheels possible? Have you checked out www.eldercare.gov to see what agency serves your area? There are free things that you 3 can be taking advantage of.

 

Regarding the 6 other children of your MIL, i do agree most strongly what Amy suggested: a family meeting. It can be around a holiday when you all would gather anyway: perhaps her birthday. After festivities, a conversation. And pissed-off-you should try to be as calm as possible. Your husband needs to know what your concerns are, long before a family meeting. Perhaps you should start there. Many menfolk are not reared to be the mediators and communicators in a family; the job falls to women. What is his point of view?  Can you and your husband come to an agreement between you about 1. what is working about your arrangement 2. what is not working and 3. what are the next steps?  Then have a family meeting?

 

You two need a break now and then, and having a sibling come to stay for a week or so would be awesome, wouldn't it? Or better yet, have MIL go stay at someone else's home for a week? Spring break is here for many schools: are there adolescent grand children who need to get to know their Meemaw? "Visiting" for 2 hours here and there is not good enough as you have pointed out. Coming over to help with the house, help with the grounds, take her to a movie, take her to get her hair done. You and your husband need to be really clear about what you want, and then disciplined and united in your requests of others to help.

 

You might be at least a little angry at your husband for this predicament, too. I would want to make sure your marriage is solid and you two are singing from the same sheet of music before you proceed forward with the other children of your MIL. You are an inlaw. It's a tough spot to be in sometimes.

 

Is any of this helpful? Please write back. As you read our responses, what do YOU want to tackle first? You are doing a very good deed by moving in and being involved and caring in this way. However, you do not need to sacrifice your own money and your marriage AND your own mental health in the process. Martyrdom is not required. 

 

Write more?

Jane

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Re: Spouse caring for his mom, but there are 7 siblings (total chaos)

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@os4776 That sounds like a very tricky and also very frustrating stituation. I can imagine you feel like you're putting out so much energy (and likely money) to care for your mother in law, and maybe you don't feel that the rest of the family appreciates what you and your husband are doing! 

 

I, too, moved into my parents' house and took over the house payments etc and many other aspects of caring for them. So I can empathize in your situation...thankfully my sisters have not treated me the way your family has. Before my parents' health declined so much, they still loved to be the "hosts" when family came to visit. I loved making it possible for them to do so as I knew that feeling they still had that role of being the parent was important to them and their quality of life.

 

A few thoughts...

Relationships with our parents are so tricky - perhaps the siblings want to still let their mom have that role of being the head of the family and the provider of comfort and well. They will always see that house as her house. Food is a big part of that for all parents really. So the challenge is to come up with ways that she can still play that role because that's part of her quality of life (for herself as much as for them). Is there any way to designate a separate cupboard for "mom's stuff" or visitors in the kitchen? Is there a way to create a part of the house that's "hers" - whether it's a room, a part of a room or even just her chair and a few visitor chairs? A place where she can visit with the family that feels like it's hers. Is there a way to create parts of the house that are just for you and your husband?  

 

I do think it's important to set boundaries with other family members, but I also think it's important to find ways to make it work for everyone as much as possible - for your mom's sake and for the long-term relationships with your siblings. If you can approach it in a way that is palatable for them when things are calm (not at a time when you are at the end of your rope - don't want to burn bridges!). So for example, next time they show up you say 'Hi! So glad you're here to visit with Mom! In fact we've helped Mom create her own visitor cupboard tea and goodies etc she can share with you!' Or maybe you could call a family meeting about mom's care team plan overall, and bring this up as just one part of the overall picture. Approaching it as you want to be very inclusive of everyone and keep them updated. You are the team leaders. 

 

If it's not working you can also consider family mediation - find a elder care family mediator at Mediate.com (go to the "find a mediator" section and under "subject" choose "elder". If there isn't one in your area then choose "family"). Here is an article from AARP about How to Choose a Elder Mediator.

 

I'd love to hear more about your situation and help any way I can! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author of Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving

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Re: Spouse caring for his mom, but there are 7 siblings (total chaos)

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Hey there...

 

This is surely a difficult situation but also one that will need to be handled. I take it from your writing that mom is not really able to tell them how she feels, that you guys are living there and taking care of her?

If so, your husband will have to put his foot down unfortunately if you want things to change.

Well, this is my opinion, in most cases, it gets worse before it gets better, we actually had family not talking to each other for like 3 years. So, I understand, but if you want things to change, it may be the only option.

I do hope that it does not have to come to that though. Good luck :-)

Have a fab day and week :-)

"Sharing is Caring"

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Spouse caring for his mom, but there are 7 siblings (total chaos)

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My husband and I are caregivers for his mom, since his dad before he past away he ask him to watch over mother.  But their are 7 siblings total.   I made the very diffcult decision help my husband.  So we moved into mom's house and thinking that the other siblings would help.  Some did say they would help out and others wanted to put her in Senior home.  Everyone wants to be in charge, mother put her son my husband as Durable Power of Attorney.   Her adult children in the past 3 years, some call or come over to visit her a once a month some more months, for no more than 2 hours tops.  Not all of them do theres one that just does not want to accept that we live here.  I clean, cook, wash clothes and pay her bills, we take her to Dr appts.  What I buy is out of our pocket, not his mothers.   So when some come over to visit mom their want to make tea or coffee and look for something to eat.  HOW can I tell these women that we live here maybe mom's house, but its our residence and has been for 3 years.  To treat us with respect and that the house has our belongs too.  To not come over thinking were going to serve them too.  If they want coffee or tea to buy it and bring it with them.  Is there a way to tell them its our house too.  If no easy way I'll just have to tell them outright which I know will cause more conflict with them.  I'm tired of their disrespect and slandering remarks they make.  My husband knows this and he's stressing as he wants to stay with mom but not with sisters rude attitude towards us both.

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