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Venting over SIL


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#1 Weesheart75

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:40 PM

I guess SIL #4 has done her good deed and can now have a clear conscious. You all probably know that FIL has been going way downhill the last couple of years, but he has really been taking a nosedive in the last couple of months. Hospice has been called in for about a month now. FIL has taken many falls over the last week as he refuses to stay in one place without assistance, he has refused to eat (except for maybe 2 or 3 bites of his meals) for the last week, he's depressed beyond recognition, on a good day he isn't very coherent.

DH hands are tied as MIL is FILs MPOA and then SIL#1 is second in line. Hospice nurse called DH yesterday to state her concerns to him and she also called SIL#1 and SIL#4. SIL#4 then proceeds to call DH and let him know he "needs to do something" as she's too old, she lives too far away (45 min. max), blah, blah, blah. At this point the only thing left to do is put him in a nursing home, yet DH does not have the authority to do that. DH tried talking to his mom last night again about the situation, there is a plan in place but the plans have changed throughout the course of a year now and nothing concrete except for trying to stick it out at home with him the best way she can. What I want to know is where in the h%ll does she get off not being there and thinking that she has a right to tell DH what he needs to do to step up to the plate? It's one thing to bury your head in the sand and pretend that it's not your concern, it's something totally different to bury your head in the sand and then have the audacity to tell others who have been there that they need to do more.

How do I help my DH at this point? How can I give him the support he needs to be strong for his parents? It's gotten so that he can't even stay in the room very long with his dad for fear of breaking down in front of him (and DH is not one to break down easily, especially in front of others). Yet his dad needs all of the support he can get right now too.

ETA: This is rosered135, one of the lead moderators of this group. Sorry to interrupt the flow of conversation but there's an error in the link to this thread that's currently on the Home Page. There it says "Venting About My Son-in-Law (italics mine)," when, in fact, the acronym "SIL," as used here, refers to a sister- in-law. :)

#2 Treiffy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:51 PM

In your State does medicare/medicade pay for in-home help? Home nurses or assistants? Does DH’s insurance qualify him for counseling dealing with geriatric issues? Only children (both of us) have to do all parental care. People lucky enough to have siblings should be able to find the internal resolve to stand together for their parents. I'm sorry your SIL is so difficult and unfair.

#3 Guest_Kalana_*

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:54 PM

First of all, I'll keep you in my thoughts as you go through this. It's not easy, in any way, and I can see the pain you're in, as I read your words.

I'm very familiar with hospice since my mom died while in an inpatient hospice, and I worked for a different hospice for quite awhile. Any hospice is required to have a chaplain and a social worker. Those people are there to help family members as they navigate the system, and to provide emotional and spiritual support to the person who is their main client AND the loved ones of that person. In fact, their main client is the patient AND loved ones. They may have some help for you.

I wonder if your husband's family is dumping on him because they just can't handle it all, emotionally? That happens sometimes when someone is on their last road. That doesn't make it easy or fair to the one being dumped-on. All you can do is be there for your husband and keep telling him he's doing all he can. If he breaks down and cries, he breaks down and cries. It's not the end of the world, although I'm sure he wants to keep from doing that. If his dad is even reasonably coherent, he may need to be able to express his feelings too. If everyone keeps from showing emotions, then dad might feel he can't show his either. Then his come out in depression and incoherence.

Is there a hospice inpatient facility dad could go to, nearby? Those can be awesome. That would take the burden off the family to provide 24/7 care and it can cost very, very little financially.

The hospice nurse or social worker should have access to paperwork that your dad could sign when he's coherent, to give your husband legal authority to make decisions for him. It's not too late for that unless he's always incoherent.

#4 SarahMB

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Streamline. The SIL is a distraction. She's acted inappropriately in her panic and grief. Lots of people do--I did just this week. Getting angry at her is a natural reaction, but try to ignore it. If you have any voice with your MIL at all, help round up support for her to get the help needed to get through this crisis. If your FIL isn't eating, I imagine the time frame will be relatively short. Help DH work with the hospice social worker, nurse, etc, to figure out what's best for FIL. Help talk DH through it and make a list of questions he can ask the hospice folks about with MIL to help move them towards a more stable place. Make sure everybody knows where the paperwork is for FIL's wishes about end-of-life care to be honored if (when) he gets hospitalized after one of these falls.

I'm so sorry, Wees. What a crappy thing to have going on at any time and especially the holidays. Hugs to you.

#5 skipped

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

My grandmother went to inpatient hospice when she was 92. She quit eating and drinking and we elected not to place a feeding tube. It was entirely paid for by medicare. It was a very nice facility.
People really do go down hill fast when they don't eat or drink. Their kidneys shut down. It might be approximately 2-3 weeks depending on how hydrated they are in the first place. Since he is still eating some it may be a bit longer.

#6 MBear

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:18 PM

My heart goes out to you during this time. I don't have any suggestions but I do have sympathy. My own mom is somewhat in this situation with her MIL. My stepfather's sister lives across the country and my stepfather isn't really emotionally able to handle his own mother due to bipolar etc, the whole thing overwhelms him and his mother can be impossible (even before her old age). My mom tried to help out over and over again, but my aunt and my stepfather would never get a plan going and my aunt will not keep my mother in the loop. I think my aunt feels that my mom isn't a child of her mother's so my mom has no need to get her nose into things, but expects my mom to basically do everything as far as taking care of my grandma because my aunt is so far away. My mom in the past month has had enough and has completely stepped back. I don't blame her. But it is a little easier for my mom to step back as it is not her mother and my grandmother is somewhat abusive emotionally and basically crazy. My grandmother never really mothered her own children and I think that is why her children are not stepping up more. But even though my mom really doesn't have that much loyalty to my grandmother, she still struggles with wanting my grandmother to be taken care of.

#7 footballmom

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:19 PM

Wees, I am so sorry your family is having to deal with this, especially right here before Christmas. SIL has the MPOA right? After MIL? So really MIL has to be on board with whatever is done? That might be your biggest problem. I can see where she would be saying/thinking "let us just get through the holidays". I am pretty sure the hospice that is taking care of FIL can furnish an easy and simple MPOA to be resigned to take SIL out of the drivers seat. But I am not sure that will no any good as MIL is 1st up. DH is going to have to find his "comfort zone" in what to say to his sister, if it is nothing more than "gee Sis, I am doing all I can do, why don't you drive down tomorrow night and we will all sit down and talk, I do not think you want us making decisions that do not include your input". If she says she does not care, have hospice get the MPOA changed for you.

I am betting that the situation is going to take care of itself, before Mr. Wees family makes a decision. One bad fall is all it will take, then something will HAVE to be done. Sometimes I think people would rather it happen that way, so no one has to be "the one" that puts Daddy in a nursing home.

Just listen to DH and listen is he wants to talk, be silent if he wants to be silent and hold on to his arm and give extra hugs and smiles. This is going to be hard on him, and you and the boys will be the ones that get the fallout. So sorry.

#8 Elaine1954

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:20 PM

Wees so sorry your family is going through this hard time. We went through it with FIL for four years. I had a rough time with SIL as she wanted to take charge but at the same time she resented if we backed off. These mixed messages made things impossible because if DH or I did something for FIL even if it was buying a toothbrush SIL would also do it. I had to back away from everything and let "real family" deal with it. It caused issues between DH and I as I received mixed messages. I was told not to interfere and I was told I'm not doing anything. You can't have it both ways. Can your FIL have Hospice come to the house? FIL had them come to the house for about two weeks. He also had a home health care worker that lived there. In spite of that SIL did all the tasks the healthcare worker was supposed to do because she wanted to. Basically the CNA sat around and watched TV all day and was just a body but I was told to myob if I mentioned that. I think you should let DH communicate with your SIL as a rough time could be made worse if an IL gets involved. KWIM?

#9 homeygfunk

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

I found a lot of helpful information on eldercare.gov when I was searching for help with my 97 year old grandmother. I was not the primary caregiver but I needed some counseling on how to deal with all of it. There are programs listed for caregivers and family. You can qualify for many regardless of income. I am not sure how to advise you with this SIL as I do not know her well enough to know what would work to make her understand if anything would help. Just be easy on yourself and don't put too much stock in people who are inconsiderate or just not dealing with their own grief very well.

#10 Eowyn

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:25 PM

Wees I'm so sorry to hear about your FIL, and you and your DH are in my prayers at this rough time.

One moment that stands out to me rather horribly from my childhood was the weekend my dads siblings all came to our house to make care and (unbeknownst to me at the time) end of life decisions with my grandmother. Reading your post, I see it with a different light since at least they did all come together and work as a team for their mom. I wish your SIL would be "on the same team" with your DH, leaving him alone in this is cruel.

I think the best that *you* can do (other than the swift kick in the pants it seems like SIL needs) is to remind your husband, now that your FIL can't, that he is doing this out of love for his father and that on some level his father knows it. Compliment him sincerely on his strength at this time.

AND I agree with PP to look for in-home resources your IL's may be able to utilize. Nurses kept my grandmother at home with us for years longer than she might otherwise have been able to be home, and it mattered to her (and to us) so much.

#11 WhichWayU

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:45 PM

DH hands are tied as MIL is FILs MPOA and then SIL#1 is second in line. Hospice nurse called DH yesterday to state her concerns to him and she also called SIL#1 and SIL#4. SIL#4 then proceeds to call DH and let him know he "needs to do something" as she's too old, she lives too far away (45 min. max), blah, blah, blah.


Sounds like it would be appropriate for DH to tell SIL#4 if she wants to voice her concerns she is free to take them to MIL and SIL#1. They're the only ones in charge. DH should remind SIL #4 he is no more in charge than she is. No matter who lives where.

If FIL wants to die in his home, and if MIL wants to keep FIL in the house, and if SIL#1 can't or won't override her, then perhaps DH can find comfort in that they are doing what they want with their lives. He may not like it or agree with it, but this is what they want for this terrible situation and they are getting it.

DH can visit his dad as much as he can and you can support him in doing that. Maybe shorter but more frequent visits, or visits where DH takes a walk or two, will make it easier not to break down. Maybe its ok if DH breaks down in front of them once in a while, and MIL and FIL will see that as his love and empathy. Crying with someone can very much feel like support. Maintaining a facade of stoicism is not all DH has to offer them.

#12 Weesheart75

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:27 AM

I will clarify a bit more so that maybe some of the questions will be answered...

SIL #4 is the one that has never had anything to do with the rest of the family. She is DH only sister on his dad's side. In 18 years together I can count on one hand literally how many times DH and I have had contact with her. She calls MIL & FIL but very rarely visits.

SIL#1 is the one w/ 2nd place MPOA behind MIL. She is the one that gave me such a hard time when I asked for a break and she's the one who I handed everything over too. After I handed it over is when MPOA was implemented. She can only make decisions if MIL is not incapacited to make those decisions for herself or FIL, so yes, even SIL#1 hands are tied to some extent. Besides, the time it would take to legally get anything overridden it may not be necessary as it would be possibly too late.

DH family is the type to put issues out of sight out of mind until they just absolutely HAVE to deal with it. That is why things are at this point. They have a social worker working with them. They have the nurse working with them. But it ultimately boils down to them giving options of what CAN be done and MIL not taking the next step. She is not doing it to be stubborn...the woman feels enormous amounts of guilt over "throwing him away" as she puts it. I can't say that I blame her...TBH if I were in her shoes I don't know that I wouldn't feel the same way. DH has been trying to encourage her to let go and make sure he's in a place that he can properly be taken care of. I have a strong feeling that it's going to take a major fall for the decision to be made if things go on that long.

I feel that it won't be long...how long I can't say...I think he is giving up the will to carry on. It could be another 6 months or so. He is not coherent on most days, but he does know that something is in the making. MIL has been offered by the long distance SIL to come live with her and put FIL in the VA home a couple of blocks away from her home. FIL thinks that MIL is going to live with her and leave him behind. He's overheard bits and pieces of options but does not get the whole story and everyone tries to shield him from it. My personal thoughts are for everyone to give the man the dignity he deserves and answer him honestly when he asks questions. But again it's not for me to decide.

Hospice gave a pamplet to read of what to expect and how to prepare yourself and your loved one and how to treat your loved one. I asked DH if he has read it yet and he said no. I told him that I thought he should to prepare himself and to figure out the best way to treat his dad while he's still here that he should read the pamphlet.

Death of a loved one is nothing new to me. Being on the other side of it with being DH support is though, he's never had to go through this with a loved one before. I'm just not sure how to support him. I know how to support his Dad. I know how to be that shoulder for his Mom. My instincts are to jump in there for DH to take this load off of him. If I could carry this burden for him, I would in a heartbeat. I also know I can't do that. I know what I would have said to his sister had it been me who took the call. It just rips my heart into to watch him have to go through this and then to have to be badgered by someone like his sister in the way she did angers me to no end.

What do I say to him when that weight gets to be too much? Or do I just say nothing at all and listen? I know these aren't questions that anyone can really give me answers to. It's just so different with it being DH experiencing it ya know? The closest way I can describe it is almost like... you know that feeling of wanting to take the pain away when your child gets hurt? That except not in a motherly type of way.

#13 missmm

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:41 AM

Wees, just a few years ago my DH was the main person to deal with doctors, hospise, bills, the house, everything for his mom for the last few years of her life. The phone calls, many trips to visit with her doctors with her, legal work with the will, everything fell to him except for the actual daily care. It was overwhelming at times for my DH. I disagreed with some of his decisions, like keeping her in her house where she fell and was injured several times, but she wanted so much to stay there and he just couldn't bring himself to make her leave even if it was the best thing for her. It wasn't until his mom finally agreed to move in with one of her daughters that things stabilized and his mom probably lived a year or two longer because of the care that sister provided. It meant moving to a different state and leaving mom's house, friends and church behind so it was very emotional and difficult for her to do. All you can do is be a support for your DH and to his parents as you are able. He may not appreciate it now, but later when he has time to reflect hopefully he will realize that you were there for him. Prayers for you and Mr. Wees and his family.

#14 mrsslant

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:46 AM

Wees, I don't have a lot of great advice for you. By a lot, I mean any. But I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. I'm sorry you are going through this hard time.

#15 jaci

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:53 AM

Wees, I just don't know what to say, except I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. :sorry:

#16 Weesheart75

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:05 AM

:) Thanks ladies! Just having somewhere to vent my frustrations so as not to dump anymore on DH means alot.

#17 undecided

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:21 AM

What do I say to him when that weight gets to be too much? Or do I just say nothing at all and listen? I know these aren't questions that anyone can really give me answers to.


Could you ask him what he needs from you in the moment? I know it's not always possible to do that (and he may not even know what he needs at some points) but I know from my own experience, just hearing "what can I do for you?" from my DH really helps when struggling with big things like this - even if I don't have an answer. I'll be thinking of you all, and I hope things work out for FIL and MIL in a way that isn't so hard on everyone involved : (

#18 Treiffy

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:34 AM

Can you hold hands and pray with him?

#19 Mdgrandma

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

This time last year we had found out that MIL was terminal with liver cancer. We were told it could be anywhere from 1 month to a year. At the time she was in a rehab facility trying to recover her strength (once again). On 12/21/11 she was taken from rehab to the emergency room where they found that she had maybe days left. She was transferred to a hospice from there the same night. My DH and I just felt for us that was best. The hospice people were incredible. Making her last 3 days (she died on xmas eve) much more comfortable for both her and our family. Try to take advantage of any services that are available. It makes things so much easier.

#20 britomart

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 05:48 PM

Wees -

I'm so sorry you and your family are dealing with this. My family had to deal with something similar before my paternal grandfather died about 11 years ago. It was really hard on my parents. We moved my grandfather into our house after he had a bad fall in his home. My mom was primarily responsible for caring for him and it was really hard on her. I tried to help as much as possible but I was in law school and out of the house a lot with studying and working. We eventually had to put my grandfather in a nursing home and that decision was a really really hard one for my father to make because it's kind of ingrained in our culture that the children are responsible for caring for elderly parents and that you don't put them in "homes." I think he felt a lot of guilt about it and that was probably it took so long for him to make the decision even after it became apparent that we just weren't capable of giving my grandfather the care he needed. Caring for my grandfather was really a 24-hour job and was really wearing my mom down. It's a really tough decision for any child to make for their parent. All my mom or my brother and I could do was just be there for my dad and support his decisions regarding my grandfather. I wish I had better advice for you.

ETA: I don't know what to tell you about your unhelpful in-laws. My dad's siblings were basically out of the picture and he didn't consult with either of them before making the decision to put my grandfather in a nursing home. There had been a lot of bad blood between my father's siblings and my father and they hadn't treated my grandfather very nicely in the past.