Elderly in-laws

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2005
Elderly in-laws
Wed, 08-24-2011 - 11:29pm

My husband is an only child.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Thu, 08-25-2011 - 12:46am

It's hard to come to the point where you take control of your parents, but it does seem like it's time for him to start making some changes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Thu, 08-25-2011 - 1:16pm

HI and welcome to the board - I can feel for your situation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2004
Thu, 08-25-2011 - 3:36pm

Perhaps you need to explain to your dh that while his parents may want things to stay the same and you know he wants to honor that, things change. His parents are getting older and they need help.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Thu, 08-25-2011 - 10:23pm


I agree with the others that your local Area Agency on Aging can be of great help. Check the Whitepages for a listing. Call them or visit the website to find out more about what they can and can't do to assist your in-laws. They can be a valuable resource and also help point the way to other resources you may not be aware of.

I would also encourage your DH to see a counselor about his guilt and reluctance to exercise his authority to help his parents. Denial goes both ways. It's very hard for me to watch my own mother age. At 84 she's not an invalid and she's voluntarily changed her lifestyle to accommodate her issues, but it's still hard to see her get older and fail. I'm sure your husband is just trying to put off the inevidable of dealing with the fact his parents are elderly and can no longer be 100% independent.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Fri, 08-26-2011 - 10:01am

This is not an easy situation to negotiate. There's a lot of emotional baggage tied up in this and it isn't as simple as nagging your husband to 'man up' to the situation, as you imply. Your in-laws and your DH are obviously having a hard time accepting that they need help, which is not unusual. It implies a loss of independence and control, and acknowledging frailty and mortality. These are very hard to do.

I think the suggestions other posters have made about involving a third party if possible would be very helpful. Someone who could make a thorough assessment of the kinds of help and support your in-laws need and help you to persuade them to accept it would remove the guilt and pressure lying solely on your DH and you. It also might help your DH come to terms with the changes.

What might make it easier for your in-laws is if you can find a way of getting them to accept help and support without them losing control and independence. Often this is easier to achieve if people have *paid* help rather than relying on relatives and friends. It is easier to ask someone you employ to do something than to have a 'burden of gratitute' to a son or daughter-in-law. That way they maintain control and might feel less like they are losing their independence than if they have to be looked after by someone they raised. It can be helpful if you disentangle caring 'about' from caring 'for' your in-laws. The former is fine and to do with love, and obligations, and emotional ties. The latter implies a disempowering relationship that infantilises the 'cared-for' and is probably what your in-laws are resistant to. If you have paid carers to do the 'caring-for' bit, it frees you up to do the 'caring-about' bit and might make relations easier.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Sat, 08-27-2011 - 12:29am

When my mother began failing due to her Alzheimer's, it was difficult for her to understand that things weren't as they always were.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-10-1999
Sun, 08-28-2011 - 11:09am

Have your ILs recently been to an assisited living facility?


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2005
Mon, 08-29-2011 - 2:50pm

Thanks for all of your responses.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-17-2007
Thu, 09-01-2011 - 8:09am

I hope that what I am writing to you will not offend you. But here goes. My husband has a bad heart and I have cancer. We are both in our 60's We have a home and until recently had another house. Up until two years ago we had our only son as our POA we had to change that because he turned on us as we got sicker.We got scared of what he would do to us.

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Thu, 09-01-2011 - 10:25am
Mary Ann,

My heart goes out to you as you live through these difficult times. Being sick sucks no matter how old you are but sounds like both you & your husband are dealing with some really difficult issues. It's also good for us to hear from the other side to remind us how our parents feel. I too am an only child and have been dealing with my parents health issues since they were in their mid 60 - Dad has Alzheimers and Mom has had numerous health issues since having a major heart attack at 66. She is also an alcoholic. I'm so sorry your son is treating you so poorly. We have 3 kids who are all wonderful but still we chose to have 2 responsible for our POA for personal care & 2 responsible for our POA for financials. My daughter has both as the eldest but she shares them with different brothers. This is to ensure everything is in our best interest even though I trust my kids.

For the last 10 yrs, I have taken my parents to appts even when they lived 2 to 3 hrs away from me. I have paid bills they can't afford. I have tried to allow them the independence they wanted but now Mom is turning on me. 12 mths ago, she agreed to move into a retirement apt - this is totally independent living. They can avail themselves of activities, trips and 3 meals a day arranged through the home. I spent mths searching for one that I believed Mom would enjoy. Dad just wants to lie in bed all day. I finally found a lovely home and managed to get them a wonderful deal on the rent with a free moving costs. It started out well but now they hate it and me for putting them there especially since I had to take Mom's car as the doctor pulled her license. Due to Mom's drinking & Dad's Alzheimers they need to be in an assisted living home but I don't dare suggest this. My parents have very little money & if they cut me off then there will be no one to pick up the extra costs they incur because frankly, I'm reaching the stage where I'm tired of being abused and unappreciated. I put my parents first in all things knowing their time here is limited but there is only so much one can take. Just last weekend, I gave up spending the day after the wedding with my daughter & her new husband while they had people back to our place, opened their gifts & enjoyed a lovely brunch. I had to take Mom to have surgery on her broken wrist. Sounds ungrateful of me but she should have had the surgery last Fri when she broke her wrist but she refused as she felt the cast won't let her get her dress on for the wedding. Also, she refused to let me leave the hospital after we got there. I likely won't have gone back home as it was an hour away but it would have been a nice option.

Dealing with aging is difficult for everyone. No one wants to get older & need help and as children we don't want to see the proof that our parents aren't always going to be there. I find everyone faces this differently and there is no easy answer. Good luck to you & your husband Mary Ann.