Should I Be Miffed??

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
My mother-in-law is 94 yrs old, and has the two grown boys. husband's Dad died about 12 yrs ago.

Every since we moved to Ohio we've been doing stuff for husband's parents. Not that I really minded as I adore my mother in law and father in law was great too. And husband's brother and family had moved to this lil town we're in now. I'd help get them to doctor visits, hospital testing, grocery shopping, take care of them after surgeries ect, husband with the yard and repair stuff.

When husband's Dad passed away mother in law decided to move away from Dayton to this small town we're at now. A year later we moved here too. So now the whole family is in the same place.

So once again I'm the one to help mother in law with doctor appoints, ects, husband with the yard ect. At least until I started school last fall. Then husband's brother and wife did the bulk while we filled in the edges.

mother in law is barely navigating her own home due to crippling arthritis. She uses a wheeled walker, but really needs to be in a wheelchair. (won't use it) Still is as sharp as a tack, but has had 2 strokes in the past 2 yrs. Is now homebound except doctor visits.

Out of the blue about 2 months ago husband's brother and wife announce they're moving to Virginia. Now husband has no real relationship with his brother, so we found out via mother in law, who was just as shocked as we were. They sold their house and moved within a months time. (how's that for fast) And their grown children also moved their families to Virgina.

So now all responsibility of caring for mother in law rests completely on me and husband. And I've been simmering at a low boil since we got the news they were moving away.

They knew that as soon as I was out of school I was looking for full time work since we really need the money cuz husband is still working for the temp co. Well, that'll be a bit hard since I'll have to keep my schedule open for doctor appoints and such, and try not to even think of her getting sick. Not to mention husband and I are once again the ones tending to all her needs. easy child can't help a whole lot with school, work, and her own family. Although her husband does do the yard work.

Don't get me wrong, I love mother in law like a mother. And I don't mind doing stuff for her, never have. It's just that her physical situation is naturally deteriorating and we've been left to deal with it while husband's brother's family has run off to retire in their dream location. No worries for them.

The low down if you made it this far: husband and I have cared for his Mom for the past 20 some years. His brother and wife do it for a year, then up and decide to move out of state with an aging ailing mother. And not just them, but their extended family as well. And husband and I are now left holding the bag again so to speak. We're all the family the woman has that isn't in Virginia.

Oh, to try to ease their guilt, they attempted to force mother in law into an assisted living place. She flat out refused.

Every time I let myself think about it, or husband asks when I'm going to hunt for a job I start to simmer. I mean, good grief. She's 94, how much longer is she going to be around? They couldn't wait a few more years?? And this is supposed to be the "perfect son". Ugh.

So how would you feel?

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

What a feisty woman your mother in law must be if she's refusing an assisted living situation. Having said that, there comes a time when this becomes a necessity.

In the meantime, there are home health aides, & such to help with errands, doctor appts & such. It's really something to consider. While you love your mother in law, you still have a life dogging at your heels & needs your attention.

If you are a bit like me you struggle to ask for help; just take on what is asked of you.

I've been remind over the last 2 weeks (ad nauseaum) that I need to not only ask for help but demand it. Nothing like a good case of shingles combined with spinal meningitis to bring out the humanity in a person. It's hard for me - I've always been very independent & if something needs to be done I take care of it. Now, for my health's sake I must ask for help.

The resentment, I fear will be there. Doesn't sound like your brother in law is comfortable or responsible when it comes to your mother in law's aging & frail status.


Well-Known Member
I agree with TL....mother in law should qualify for in home help of some kind. If she wont accept going into an assisted living place, then get home health aides out to her to help you.

Dont get me started on family that wont help!


Active Member
My mother in law is similar - would rather die than go to a nursing home, or even a retirement village. And she would, too. So the compromise was to move her near to us. sister in law lives on the other side of the country - that's saying something, with Australia. I know mother in law would love her to move back here with us, but sister in law's kids are settled over there and sister in law's husband moved her to Perth in the first place, to get her away from family. mother in law tolerates him. At best.

I do a lot of the running around, but at least I'm available. We do have back-ups in place such as home help (which I get myself) as well as community transport assistance so she CAN get herself to appointments without me, if needed. As a War Widow, she gets free assistance with medical transport.

Your brother in law sounds like a total jerk. He also sounds like he can't cope - as you said, they did it for a year and then chose to up stakes and leave. Selfish git. Frankly, you're better off without them, because if they really feel like that and they stayed, you might be in your first week at a new job and get a phone call from him asking you to pick up mother in law because he was playing golf instead (or whatever). At least you know where you stand, BEFORE you try to find a job.

As you said, she's not going to be with you for much longer. I'd try to find a FLEXIBLE job, or wait. And if husband complains or nags you about finding a job - ask him if HE will be on deck for his mother, to avoid you jeopardising a new job by having to take off too much time at too little notice.

husband & I used to take turns to take time off to mind the kids when they were sick. It seemed only fair. We tried to share the load equally. So if your husband wants you out there working, then HE has to step up to the plate - or failing that, acknowledge that you have been doing one heck of a job, with little recognition.

You can stand up for yourself without seeming to be selfish or seeming to be helping only reluctantly.



Well-Known Member
PLEASE don't view this as taking up for your brother in law, ok? I just want to tell you from my point of view when something similiar happened in our family.

My father died in 1992. Shortly after making the decision to adopt newborn difficult child in 1995, my mother moved to the city where we lived. I was very close to my mom and had never lived in the same city as an adult. I was thrilled!! A year later my mom was diagnosis with colon cancer. For five years I took my mom back and forth to all her treatments, she had four surgeries, cooked all her meals and took them to her (she lived a mile away), etc. In the middle of my mom's illness, husband's place of employment closed the doors. In an attempt to stay in the city with my mom and many friends, we bought a business. ARG...! In two years the business went belly-up and we lost $200k. husband was 54 years old and we needed a job for insurances, FOOD, and to pay bills. He hunted hard so we wouldn't have to move, but it didn't work out. He got a job many states away. I BEGGED my mom to move with us. We even had bought a house where we could turn a large space into her own apartment within our house. She flat out refused. What were we to do? (Now, keep in mind, I'd done all this with my mom for five years.) My friends stepped up to the plate (bless them), and we had in place in-home care givers, yard people, etc. Each time my friends called and said she was bad, I went and by the time I got there she had rallied. difficult child was in kindergarten, so it wasn't easy. After a year of going back and forth my friends called once again to come home, so I called my brother (in another state), my only sibling, and asked if he could PLEASE go stay with her for a little bit. He said, of course! He was there two weeks and Mom died.

Honestly, I did ALL I could do short of filing bankruptcy. I had my brother to stay for two weeks (I'd done this five years and a year long-distance). To this day, five years after Mom's death, my "friends" of twelve years no longer speak to me...not a word. I did all I could. My brother was there. I was raising a toddler (my brother has no children). My mother was NOT going to move so I could help her.

I don't know the particulars in your situation. But sometimes there are so many other factors. I know it's hard work to care for her...been there done that. Just do all you can do. I have no guilty conscience, but I do wish my friends had understood. My brother and I are still as close as before and he holds nothing against me.

I'm just saying, sometimes things aren't as they seem. I'm so sorry for your pain. I know how hard it is.


Well-Known Member
Would you want your children to hold up their career to care for you? Would you want them to have less money for their household and retirement to care for you?

I doubt it. Just get her someone to drive her to her appointments and go get your dream job!!!


hearts and roses

Mind Reader
Ditto what Linda said.

My mom will be 85 and still lives in her own apt. She's arthritic, extremely overweight and uses the wheelchair walker thing, but can't really get around much. Ever since she had her heart surgery 4-5 years ago she's petrified to do anything active. She said it hurts her heart and feels like she's giong to drop dead, so instead she's like the blob now, just sits all day and night. Her conditions worsen by the day. It's all very depressing and sad since mentally and emotionally she's still very much there. It breaks my heart to see her like this. She lives near my sister in PA. We had housing set up near my other sister and me here in CT because we thought mom would have a bigger and better support system, but my sister in PA wouldn't hear of it and swooped in, signed a lease and moved my mom near her. Now all she does is complain about what a pita my mom is because she is always asking for something.

I found out mom was eligible for Meals on Wheels, signed her up for it and then she cancelled it without telling us. Mom has a housekeeper who comes in once a week and another to do her hair once a month. Anyway, I won't bore you =

Definitely call around to local senior agencies and see what she's eligible for in regards to free or low cost aids and transportations, home health aids to help her in the house, etc. Why not?

I would be upset also. It boggles my mind what you said about the brother in law being the perfect son. My one sister basically ignores my mom, yet my mom kisses her _____ all the time. Urgh. The more you do the more they expect it. Everyone knows you will pick up the ball and run with it. But it's time to get organized and ask for help when needed. You have a right to live a little for yourself. You can help you mother in law by making sure her needs are met by using others.


Well-Known Member
Yeah, Jo!!!! Way to go! I can never say it like others.

My brother was the hero after it was all over. BUT, the bottom line to me, my mom loved me and I loved her. I don't think she was ever angry because we moved away, just my friends. I never even ONE time asked them to help my mom, they just took over after we moved. I had put into place all the help I could find before leaving (she dismissed more than half of it after I left). Ya see, Mom wasn't senile and she was stubborn....sounds as if your mother in law isn't senile either, just stubborn.

Get help for her if she will allow it.


No real answers to life..
Not sure of all your circumstances, but some people are just not cut out to deal with care of an aging parent. I'm not saying you are either, but maybe part of the reason your mom will not go to an assisted care living residence is that she has your family to "do" for her. If that were not available would she consider assisted living?
My husband's parents finally made the decision on their own. They presently live in a town house--one level "villa" type thing that is just outside the building where they can get medical care if they need it. They have their own furniture there and still drive---sometimes makes me cringe, but even at 88 and 85 they are still quite mobile. They are in an area where they can be involved in activities if they want to and rides are readily available if needed. I know their care would have easily fallen to me and I would have stepped up to do it, but don't think I would have been the best choice. I think many of these homes have a bad reputation as warehousing the aged and so no one wants to consider that as they get older. The place where my inlaws went is very well kept and most of the people who work there have been there at least ten years or more. It was an excellent choice for them and they are smart enough to know that they didn't want to saddle their kids with making such decisions when they started to lose their health....

I'm not sure what your brother in law's family was thinking, but they do have a right to live where they want and find a job where they want...just as you do.... If I were you I would check out nearby areas for assisted living places and go visit....if you find one you like maybe talk to her about it....For heaven's sake at least find a place where the yard work would be done by someone else. In my opinion a 94 year old should not even be living alone in a place with a yard....I know you would probably have to blast her out, but if she is in this condition how can she even live alone and do day to day stuff.....There are also programs out there designed especially for the aged....meals on wheels, visiting nurses, etc. I think if you don't set up these things you are doing a disservice to yourselves.....going to her home one day and finding her on the floor with a broken hip would not be a good don't need that added guilt and frankly I wouldn't waste another minute steaming about husband's brother and his family. It's done and they are out of there, so decide what YOU want to do or NOT do and go with that...


Active Member
If she is homebound, see if her doctor will write orders for home health, as they can send a nurse to help manage medications, an aide to help with bathing (if needed) and a social worker to help with finding more in home help. This should be paid for under medicare.


Well-Known Member
Ya know...all this is exactly why I want to make it clear that I will never saddle my kids with my care.

I want assisted living. I want a nursing home.

Heck...move me in NOW! I think all those nice bingo games, piano time, meals fixed for me, no dishes...that sounds wonderful!

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
About 2 years ago we finally had to step in and take away my mom's keys and sell her car. My 4 siblings and I were collectively sending her about $500 a month just to keep her mini van, so she could maintain her independence. Then she crashed into a telephone pole and left the scene, claiming she thought she hit a rock. She sideswiped the pole and took out the sliding door on the driver's side. She had it repaired and after many phone calls, with a heavy heart, we stepped in and took away her car, let the bank repo it, and cancelled her insurance. It saved all of us a lot of money, not to mention the gas money for mom. BUT, she lost a GIANT chunk of independence that day. She still does not really let us forget how we took away one of her greatest joys. Do we feel badly? I don't. My brother doesn't and neither does my one other sister. But two of my sister feel that we were too hasty. Umm, she took out a telephone pole and left the scene because she thought she hit a rock?? Clearly, she should not be driving. We're almost to the point where we will liley have to give up her apt as I cannot see her living on her own much longer. Unfortunately, the only sibling who could afford to have her live with her wouldn't hear of it. She'd rather pay top dollar for her to live in an assisted living place, which is fine I suppose as long as she could still come stay with me for a few weeks every summer.

My point is that at some point, you MUST consider your own needs before your mother in law's, right? Right now I'm thinking that in a couple of years, H and I will be free from raising children and our income will once again be our own and we can get up and do things without a care. If my mom lived with me, that would not be possible. I often think how nice it would be to have my mom live with me and then I'd be able to take care of her and she'd be on a strict diet and be healthier and I could see how she's doing right up close, we'd have sunday dinners, etc. But then reality hits me like a ton of bricks. It would be a huge burden for mom to live with us - it would be hard on my marriage, and with difficult child and all her stuff, it would be very difficult and we'd basically be sentenced again to making plans around mom.

One hundred years ago, families didn't live thousands of miles apart and they all worked towards the greater good for the family. They supported one another, family was everything and the elderly were revered in such a way that all the children and grandchildren provided care when it became necessary without question. It simply is not that way anymore. People move, we're like nomads, and there isn't the familial support there once was - that's the reality of it. Use the resources and agencies that are available to you so you can live your dream. Lighten your load a little and sleep better at night. Like you said, how much longer will mother in law be with you? Try to let go of the anger towards brother in law - he's doing what you want to do (be freer). Hugs~


Well-Known Member
Well, I have several thoughts on this.
First of all, if you want and/or need a job, start looking for one. If mother in law is as nice as you say, she should understand. If not, you still have to put your own family first.

Second, start looking to see what help is available for her. Around here, there is a local, a county, and an area office on ageing. They are all able to put you in touch with available services. If there is no such agency where you are, check with mother in law's doctor to see if they can put you in touch with the help she needs.

Third, forget about the awful relatives. They are jerks but you don't improve your own situation by dwelling on it. You can stew till you cause yourself a heart attack and it won't affect them at all. Idiots are best ignored.

Fourth, do what you have time to do for mother in law. I doubt if, on their death bed, anybody ever regretted being kind to somebody else. She is lucky to have such a caring daughter in law. Try to enjoy your time with her. You ask, "How much longer is she going to be around?" Not to put too fine a point on it but I have an aunt who is still living in her own home and she will be 102 in December. My mother is 92 and helps look after her.

Nobody can take advantage of you unless you let them. You have been and will continue to be a caring, loving daughter in law. That doesn't mean you have to stop your own life and I doubt if your mother in law would want you to. You do what you can do and let somebody else take care of the rest.

Good luck.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I'm going to look in to the inhome services. That's a great idea.

Meals on wheels we've tried. She can't hear when they come to the door. (also terribly deaf) But we do have her salon lady coming in to do her hair and she has a maid. So far she's refused other help. But I'll see what's available and then run it past her. Although her hearing may pose a problem with in home services. And next time she sees the doctor I'm going to ask how he's going to treat her when she can't even make it out to see him anymore. Do docs make home visits for such special circumstances??

She's been to our assisted living community to view it. Has all the info on it. Just doesn't want to go til she can't do for herself much at all. (she can still cook and such)

I'd like to find someone/some program that would put in a bathroom on her ground floor. She has a half bath, but can no longer go up her steep steps to bathe. She does it at the kitchen sink. Worries me.

Oh, yes. She's stubborn. Determined to pass away at home if possible. I don't think she'd even be receptive to moving in with us even if we had the room. :rolleyes:

I'm old fashioned to the hilt. I will step up to the plate and care for her til she's no longer able to live at home. mother in law is an amazing woman who has given her all to her family, including her daughter in laws. The least I can do is be there for her when she needs someone. That part I don't mind, once I figure out how I'm going to swing it.

What had me irked was that with brother in law and family moving away I had no backup if I needed it.

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm going to be making a few calls this week. :smile:



No real answers to life..
There are all kinds of aids for the deaf and I am assuming they have a doorbell that will turn a light off and on to let her know someone is at the door.....just a thought....


call 911

Oh Daisy,

I'm with Busy Wend....get some assistance and tell you mother in law that you found your dream job, and while you love her, since brother in law moved so suddenly, you both (she and you) could really use this help.

My thought is this. Irregardless of who helped whom. Do I feel alright with my part in someone elses life? If it encringes on my day? I'll find help for that person, and live my life. We only get one. Would I waste time being miffed at my inlaws? (Boy you should see the face that I just made) yes, and then no.

Get angry..put it in a box and let it go. There are jewels in heaven for your crown. I don't know what your brother in law's crown will look like, but Burger King comes to mind.

Hugs and love Star

My Mother would add - regarding my sister who lives 7 houses from her and does NOTHING to help. "She is who she is." Think like that about your in-laws, and maybe it will help.


Check with the senior center. In some areas, they will pick up seniors from their home and take them to appts. Also check with your local area agency on aging.


Active Member
I can only advise what you could do in Australia, I hope you have similar services.

I would contact the local hospital or community srvices to see if an Occupational Therapy assessment could be made, to help find appropriate services and aids. We have a service called ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) who will NOT remove someone from their home if they don't want to go - my best friend had huge problems with her parents, they both should have been in hostel care at least - one step away from nursing home, but they refused. ACAT put in front of them the range of services they could call on - the couple politely refused all services. "I'll have no strangers snooping in my house," my friend's father (with increasingly advanced dementia) insisted.

But ACAT can help with things like a flashing light for the phone or the doorbell, which can be a huge help. A gadget for the phone, to make it easier to use - also easily available. Lots of good ideas to help mother in law live independently without needing to be so dependent on you. And surely you could explain this to her - if you don't HAVE to look after her, then when you visit she will know it's because you want to, not because you have to.

I took my mother in law to the doctor this afternoon. I arrange her appointments to coincide with mine, because otherwise she feels she's being too dependent on me. I do find I have to bite my tongue a great deal when it comes to her views on politics - she can loudly and repeatedly disparage the party I prefer, but I'm not allowed to say anything against her favourite. Things like this - I've learnt what topics to avoid. As a result, we get on well. She will refuse a lot of the usual supports that others her age will accept, for example she won't use a walking stick and really should. And I have to use my own walking aids and feel awkward, using them in front of her, as she really dislikes signs of infirmity. But needs must. She also, when really pushed to it, will make compromises in favour of accepting help. As a result, she has far more independence than she ever thought she would have, with her degree of infirmity.

She has always hated the slightest hint that she needs help due to disability, but she now accepts kitchen utensils that are gentler on her arthritic hands because she hates not being able to open jars, peel vegetables, chop the salad, turn taps. Some of these aids are actually quite attractive and often used by perfectly able-bodied young people. I'm always looking for this sort of thing (I use them too!) so when I see something potentially useful, I buy several - one for me, one for mother in law and one for sister in law who has early arthritis. By sharing like this, mother in law feels less like a cripple and more like one of the girls.

My next huge challenge is to persuade her to use a walking stick. I'm thinking I might try her with one of those collapsible ones, so she can hide it in her handbag if she sees a gossipy friend.

You have a choice - be available for her, or get a job and let someone else look after her. Or a compromise of these two. Whatever you choose, do try to set in place as much outside help for her as possible, to give you more freedom of choice and to also give her the feeling that she's more independent of you than she really is. To use a paid service, or a charity service, is no shame - you just consider it as another tool in your shed.
I get home help due to my disability; but instead of feeling shame about it, I think of it as my 'staff' - he's not my cleaner, he's my butler. He's also a friend - he was, long before he got the job of helping clean my house. I've taught him everything he knows about cleaning. Mind you, he forgets most of it, but you can't get good help these days!



It is stressful caring for the older parents. My sister has that job as she is the only one in that town. I feel guilty. I go visit. Sister also took care of my father. She was so stressed. There ARE adult daycares. There are "babysitters" as well as people who run errands. Many are volunteers through United Way. These people were sanity savers.
My mother has been in a nursing home for quite some time now. Still, there are phone calls, dr. appts., clothes and ofcourse the "treatment" you get when you go visit. My sister has done a great job of detaching. We know she is being taken care of.

Please don't be angry. It is your heart and your peace knowing you were there to share in her years. Take advantage of services available. What about Care a Van? Red Cross runs a bus that picks up and drops off for Dr. appts.

I feel guilty I do not live in town with my mother. I appreciate all my sister does. I am sad I cannot be there with her as often as I would like. It would really break my heart if my sister were angry.


Well-Known Member
It might be nice to send your sister a card now and then and tell her how much you appreciate what she does. I would have loved that from my brother...