My husband is an only child.
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.
HI and welcome to the board - I can feel for your situation.
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.
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.
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.
"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"
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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.
Have your ILs recently been to an assisited living facility?
Thanks for all of your responses.
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.