H, mother in law, Step One down

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    You may recall that mother in law arrived at my house last Friday. She left this Wednesday. We had the service on LI on last Saturday. The service went very well.

    mother in law was being very nice and initially I thought, "Hmmm, maybe without father in law around she's come out of her weird shell", but alas, it only lasted on Monday. Why Monday?
    Because on Monday she and my H had the conversation [I've been dreading] about her moving to CT from FL. Without me, without my input. On Sunday, the day before, in front of me she said, "When you people finish this addition, I can rent a room from you!" in her demanding booming Aspie voice, to which H responded in his equally clueless Aspie-way, "Sure!". :faint:I almost died on the spot. I gave H 'the look' and later said to him that he cannot make any decisions without me, he blew me off.

    So, after they had their conversation, without me, she got it in her head that she was going to be selling her house in FL and moving in with us and I noticed her demeanor changed. That was my first tip off. I just KNEW. My GUT was telling me there was a shift and that it happened on Monday while she and H were driving to the financial guys office in NY. When I questioned H, he wouldn't make eye contact and tried to blow it off as me being emotional. The next day, I emailed his sister and mentioned in passing that mother in law had said she wanted to sell her house and sure enough, sister in law came back and confirmed that mother in law thinks she's moving in with us. NOT HAPPENING.:groan:

    I needed to process this after venting all over the place, namely with my therapist, before speaking with H. Get my thoughts together, find the perfect words and order in which to use them, etc. I spoke with him last night, I showed him the first of three brochures I sent away for Independent/Assisted living places in the valley here. He was appalled, I thought he was going to cry, I know he was angry with me. But....

    :hypnosis:Using my counselor voice (that is my career of choice and what I'm going to school for) I focused on the clients (in this case, H and his Mom): what are they feeling, what are their needs, what assurances do they need, start with step one of the plan. Done. I echoed his need to care for his mom and his feelings of helplessness. I echoed her feelings of loss, loneliness, helplessness and sadness. Assured him that I would help him find a place just as wonderful as I did for my own mother (mother in law's needs are no where nears as severe as my moms, however), that I understand exactly how he's feeling. Blah blah blah.

    Within 30 minutes I was able to help H see things with his mom differently. She needs socialization, she needs stimulation from her peers, she needs activities, both scheduled and unscheduled, etc.

    Can you believe at one point, almost in a pleading voice, he said to me, "If we take the money from the sale of my mom's house and we sell our house, maybe we can buy a bigger house with a mother in law apartment in it" and then just looked at me. If there was a bubble above his head it would read, "Please, pretty please, can we, huh, can we???" :surprise:I said very softly, "Hon, I understand how you feel, but we cannot disrupt our entire lives, sell our house, all we've worked for to accomodate your mom moving here for what only last about a year before we inevitably need to move her into a facility anyway." He blinked and said, "That's true".

    So, without tears, screaming and yelling, I've accomplished Step One. Step Two is telling his mother - bursting her bubble. THAT may bemore than H can handle I may have to be the one to tell her and I don't care if I come across as the stone cold hearted woman she's always thought I was anyway! Hahahaha.

    So, can I get a High Five? Yay!:thumbsup:
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Less than ten minutes ago I started a thread asking about you and "the visit". Don't know how to remove it, sigh, but at least you know I was thinking about you.

    You did well in framing the conversation with your husband. I'll pretend, if you like, that it is going to smoothly transition to action. on the other hand, I just don't see this playing out in your favor unless... unless...sister in law or some other family power player is on your side. Surely sister in law can't believe that you would embrace mother in law?? Yikes.

    Was the issue of the home ownership resolved? Is it possible that "if" she signed over the house she believes that it is now her family home? Lots of questions and not too many encouraging words. on the other hand I'm rooting for you and truly hope for the best. Hugs. DDD
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Ownership of the home still needs to be processed through probate court and I believe that is in motion now. It is a waiting game. The "plan" is that once the house is in mother in law's name, she will quit claim it to us and then we simply remortgage it, pay off the existing mortgage (the one in father in law's name) and the house is ours free and clear. However, I also do not anticipate it going that smoothly and wonder if once the house is in her name, she won't pull any monkey business. If she does, I'm walking. I've had enough.

    sister in law does not want her mother living with her, I know that for certain. My brother in law in Pittsburgh, however, really really wants mother in law to live near him. Problem is, mother in law wants to live near H. The reason is simple, H never tells her no and never argues with her about anything. She loves his complacency where she is concerned (he has no problem telling me no, lol). However, brother in law and sister in law both will tell mother in law no and both will argue with her. She can boss H around in a motherly way which comes across as innocuous to H, but overt to me!

    Like I said, Step One was having this initial conversation about his mother's future living arrangements. The next step is letting her know she's not moving in with us, do NOT sell her house yet, and perhaps begin looking at places for her...we also need to get her to warm up to the idea of a place, just not our place.

    She really cannot commit to anything until all the financials and probates are completed, so I'm thinking at least 6 months. In the meantime, we can look at places, choose the top three. brother in law has two in mind near him and is going to invite her to visit him in October for a couple of weeks. At that time, he will bring her round to see them. Oh, and, I do have brother in law's full 100% back up on this. He told me so in an email that he backs me all the way! I think H was annoyed I involved his siblings, but tough teabags - she's their mom too. They should be a part of the decision making. I held firm on my end, not it's their turn to hold firm on theirs. I went through all this with my own mom, I know it's difficult and heart breaking, you feel like you're tossing them to the streets. But there are ways of making these decisions lovingly and with the best interests of your parents at heart. And that's where I intend to keep the focus: What's best for mother in law? Where will she be safest and happiest? Which facility has the best amenities, etc...

    Thanks for asking DDD! And thanks for the support!
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    So glad to hear you have brother in law on your side...that's major! Evidently there are a number of choices in your area as well as brother in law's. Because we live in an area with many many senior citizens there are alot of choices here, too. The term "assisted living facility" conjures a picture of "incompetence" with many seniors. Most of our alf's are lovely, have full dining rooms (some with Chef's), buses for transportation for those on the go as well as planned recreation. They have apartments...some smaller and some larger (including kitchens).

    I'm not sure what her actual condition is or isn't. As a senior myself, however, I would be drawn to a "retirement community" in lieu of as alf. There is a different degree of independence and different dynamics at both types of developments. There is more than one that allows you to "step down" from having your own home when you are independent, to an alf when you no longer want to be bothered keeping your place and subsequently to a nursing home level once you become unable to care for yourself. Maintenance is available (for a fee, of course) if you have your own place so you are not encumbered by lawn concerns or cleaning concerns.

    Just tossing senior perceptions into your mix. If she is capable of independence and is assured she will have regular visits plus invitations for visits at your home, perhaps the decision will come easier. Regardless of age the loss of your lifetime partner is stressful and frightening. Most seniors fear being warehoused. Living at your home would not be peaceful for any of you. I'm sorry husband did it again and hoping that resolution comes soon. Is she eager to leave Florida, her home and her friends? It may just be a knee jerk reaction to her greif and lack of identify. DDD
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I do think that part of her decisions right now are knee jerk reactions to suddenly being alone after 56 years of being with father in law; before that with her parents. She has never truly been alone and I think she's frightened by that, understandably so. I would be also.

    The three places I have in mind have three stages of living. The first is called Independent Living, wherein she would have her own apt/condo. She can opt in for housekeeping, laundry services, transportation services if needed (mother in law can drive and has a car), etc., or she can do them herself. She would have her own kitchen as well and again, she could opt into a meal plan or she can provide meals for herself. My only worry with this level is that she leaves the burners on sometimes.

    The next level is Assisted Living, which is what we originally looked at for my mother way back. This level of living is what I want now, lol. It includes her own space, but with full use of the dining areas, laundry and housekeeping services, transportation, and medication management if needed. It is closer to the nursing home facility on campus for convenience of nursing staff availability, etc.

    And obviously, the last step is nursing home care,. which is not on the table at this point and hopefully never will be.

    I think the independent living could be a viable option at this point, however, the burner issue does worry me. H said that she's always left burners on so he doesn't feel that is an indication of alzheimers or anything else that could cause harm - I beg to differ. ANYWAY, it's either Independent Living or Assisted Living at this point. I'm fine with either and I love the idea that all three are on the same 'campus', if you will.

    And once she's in, the ease of moving to the next level of care is MUCH easier than going in cold. I fear that if she moves into a simple senior housing community that by the time she's ready for assisted living, she won't have any money left and then we'd be stuck waiting until she's at the nursing care level, which would REALLY be bad for all of us! So, my gut feeling is "get her in at the lowest level now instead of waiting until her health really fails.
  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Wow! Good for you!

    That must have been an incredibly hard conversation - but it sounds like you handled it very well.
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Be prepared for this. If she has it in her head she's moving in with you, having a house "near" H that SHE owns and you are living in HER house. . . . . Sounds like she could easily use this argument to get her way and H won't say no and there is nothing either of you could do about it. UGH. Scary thought. Pretzeling!!!

    Kudos for your approach to "the talk".
  8. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Jo, stick to your guns and do NOT budge over mother in law living with you not being an option.

    SO's mom moved in with us. While she is a sweetheart, and the mother I would have loved to have, it's difficult since an I am primary care giver during the day. SO is having a really hard time transitioning from empty nester (well, our nest has never been empty but the boys are more like room mates now and come and go as they wish) to not being able to do much of anything unless we bring her along. There is no more "wanna go out for dinner" with picking up keys and purse and just leaving. Gotta pack wheelchair, medications, get her showered and dressed, hair combed, the whole 9 yards - its like having a 79 year old baby. We cannot ever leave her alone by herself and find ourselves tag teaming again.

    Since I work at home, and she has absolutely zero money, this was our only option other than a nursing home, and that is so not going to ever fly as far as SO is concerned. She loved her independence and probably wouldn't mind Assisted Living but freaks out over the thought of a nursing home-but she can barely walk from bed to wheelchair right now and its already stressing me out when she gets to the point she won't be able to even do that. I realize your mother in law can do for herself, but just the idea she may leave the gas burners on... And would bet soon your house will be arranged to her liking, and not yours.

  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I have to admit, TeDo, this is the only piece of this entire situation that makes my lower lip quiver.

    I started over before when the girls were 2 and 4 - it was hard, but I was younger then. If I have to do it again, I can and will, but I don't want to. I really do love H and have been looking forward to our years as a couple. I hope mother in law doesn't pull anything like that. I think that would annoy even H.
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Marcie, 'the whole 9 yards' is what it was like with my mom when she stayed with us. And then, once she was done eating at the restaurant we had to dash home before she messed herself! What a pita. And with us both working full time outside the house, omg.

    Your SO's mother would likely qualify for medicaid to move into a nursing facility. There are a lot of nice ones out there that don't look like a waiting room for heaven, if you know what I mean. Another option would be for you to contact your state's department of aging website to find resources in your county/town. You may qualify to have an aide come into the house two or three times a week - just for respite! Wouldn't it be nice for you and SO to get alone time with mom? Or just to go food shopping! I know if my mother in law lived with us, we'd never eat a meal alone together again. We don't even eat dinner some nights because of my school or him working late, etc. What would happen if she were here? We'd be constantly thinking about food and meals, omg, our utility bills would be sky high keeping the heat going all the time. No way, not happening. Best of luck to YOU too!
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Can I toss a totally stupid idea out there?
    Not sure what the rules are in your area, but the latest thing here is something they call a "garage flat" or "granny suite".
    Don't panic yet - hear this out.

    What this is, is a separate building on your property - a garage flat is a second story above a garage, a granny suite is separate like a detached garage. It is built to housing standards - as a mini-suite. Usually either bachelor-style (lr/dr/br all one room), or small one-bedroom. Completely self-contained.

    If you have an electric stove, I believe there is something you can get for it that automatically turns burners off after X minutes...

    Just totally whacko idea, I know. But... at least it would be better than under the same roof.
  12. keista

    keista New Member

    Marci, just a quick FYI. There are low income assisted living facilities. I put my mother in law into one. Check with your local housing authority to see if any are available nearby.

    H&R Great job with husband! Sounds like you will make an amazing counselor!

    And I know you're set with this plan for probate, but I still think there is a way to get your house in your name during the probate process - bypassing it being in mother in law's name even for a nanosecond. If you can, and haven't already, please check with your OWN attorney - not husband's, not the estate's. Yes, I could be wrong, but the current plan is making me very nervous for you.
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    :rofl: When we were moving mother in law into my house, husband REALLY wanted to do this for his mom. Would have been a great idea if the building he was thinking of sticking her in was NOT a shed! Seriously he wanted to stick her in a shed! All because it's set up with a toilet for use by the pool. We jokingly called it the "pool house", but I came to realise that I was the only one joking!
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I back you 100% Jo. I wish I could live in a retirement home now...lol. When my mom lived with us there was no going anywhere alone but you know how that goes. I understand how your H feels about his mother though. Its hard for some people to separate from their parents.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The facilities you are exploring sound right on target. The transitional stages takes away alot of trauma. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. It's a darn sticky situation and I'm hoping your husband "gets it". Hugs DDD
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Insane that is called a mother in law house here, and that is what husband was begging H&R to do, and she said no way.

    H&R I am SOOOO impressed. I mean, really honestly impressed in how you handled this. I know me, and I would have been so mad that husband chose his mother over my well being, that the conversation would have more about me, and how annoyed I was with him, than it would have been about getting the problem solved. I will have to file your technique into my memory if I ever get into a relationship again - from reading this board it might never. LOL

    Serious high 5 is in order :bravo:
  17. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think between years of handling a difficult child, reading the different techniques used here, and the help of my therapist, I was able to remain focused. therapist said to me, "Okay future social worker, use the skills you've learned: Where is the client NOW? What is her/his thinking NOW? Appeal to that" and that's what I did. Of course, I gave myself 3 days to calm down - that in and of itself is a miracle on my part. Not my usual style. If mother in law wasn't in the house, I probably would have blown up at H day one! But, thank you!!!
  18. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member