Buying a House with MIL - any advise?(9 Posts)
My Mil - only early 70s but in very poor health. She was living in her own house until May. She fell and broke her hip and can't go back. She lived with us for 3 months as we luckily have a downstairs room but long term its not practical as we haven't got room. She has got an LA sheltered housing bedsit close by ideal scenario.
Dh is only son and currently going down before work, during lunch and after to get her meals (or I do it). Only 5 mins in car. However she has fallen about 3 times. Not badly - its more that she hasn't got the strength to get herself back up. Its early days but I can see the pressure on dh even though he is reluctant to admit it. He works full time, I do 4 days and we have 4 kids and 2 dogs who can't be left all day either.
I think a much easier solution is if we get somewhere together that is big enough ( we have to sell hers anyway). We were okay when she was were here - as the was more often someone around (me, dd1 who is at college but has quite a bit of study time). We were here anyway in a morning n on the days when we are all out all day dh calls back for dogs anyway at lunchtime. Kids are back at 3.30 anyway (eldest is 15). No extra meal visits and nearly always someone to make her a cuppa n chat.
The main drawbacks for me are the hearing- she likes it tropical and no one else can live in that heat. The other one was constant crap tv - drove us all mad.
My thoughts are somewhere with a downstairs room, studio/ bedroom where we can add a wet room, she can have her own heaters in there n privacy if needed. Need living room n large kitchen diner to combat the tv thing as teenage kids complained constantly about not being able to have what they wanted on.
Mil has told dd that she is lonely n misses being with us but has told dh she doesn't want to mess us around. We would only move if it was ideal for everyone , us, her n kids.
At the moment she is managing to get dressed and undressed and her sister is helping her shower. Its mainly lack of mobility (she isn't doing any of physio exercises ) and not wanting her to be alone in case of falls.
Sorry for the essay. Basically wanted others experiences , things that work well or to avoid etc. We are going to look at a house tonight that on paper has the perfect layout. A lounge, large kitchen diner then a downstairs extension (her room)which leads on to a utility room (possible wet room) n downstairs toilet. I always look on property site anyway (nosiness) and just happened to see this one less than a mile from where we are now.
Given all the 'I can't stand my MIL' on this site, you all sound so lovely!
This can work well when everyone involved have realistic expectations, as you seem to have, and an annex that is for MIL can be a blessing, because it helps to remove the constant fear that she will fall and lie for a long time before being found.
But before that have you had any advice from health or social care about risk reduction? Some areas still have a 'Falls Team' who can visit and recommend handrails/appliances etc that can aid independence and reduce risks.
My late DM managed for 10 years after a hip fracture in her own home. We built a downstairs bed and bathroom onto the side of the house and she lived downstairs. One of the most useful aids was a walking trolley with shelves to help her walk around safely and carry her food/drinks and stuff around, also a perching (?sp) stool in the kitchen. An alarm button was also easily installed and cost about £20 a quarter. Mind you, she wasn't keen on that, but we talked her into accepting it.
If you go for a move to a house where she can be private, have her own TV etc, and you can 'keep an eye on her', then remember this can be for a long time and will take a lot of give and take from both sides, but the emotional security can be priceless.
Also look for advice from people like Age UK and local carers groups as to what others have found helpful, that might be useful to you. Especially in regards external support and help, so you are not feeling so alone.
I hope it all works out for you all.
I meant to add, please feel free to PM me if you wish.
Thanks. Am not lovely by any means and know there will be times I have to go upstairs and breathe but she is dh's mum. He is all she has got. We do get on - the kids love her to bits. She is a bit like the Catherine Tate Gran (except the swearing) - nice to your face n very critical behind your back but all harmless. We all know this and laugh about it. She is very lonely though and it must be awful. I think she loved always having someone to chat/moan to when she was here.
Will get some advice - the community physio has been brilliant - we have that trolley and loads of other stuff, handrails, adapted bed, alarm ( 2 middle of the night calls so far) etc but she won't use half if them. Won't do any exercises either. I think she is sulking a bit in the way that old people do and doesn't want to help herself. She laid a terrible guilt trip on dh last week when he went out all day, saying she couldn't sleep for worrying about what she was going to do (me and kids were at home for dinner tea n tablets). I know my GP used to do this to my Dad who was their carer when he had stuff arranged even though he had their care sorted.
My Dad was in a very similar situation with his parents for 16 years so have seen the strain it can put on someone.
The 3 months she was a good thing really as gave us an indication of some problems - i never knew how much rubbish was on tv and how much it could get under my skin.
Will see what this house is like first and take it from there.
Please look at getting your mil used to external help either in her home it your joint one. It is a big thing but crucial to give you options for holidays etc. Age uk etc are very useful. Good luck!
Thanks for the replies. Looks like its happening anyway. In the last 2 weeks dh has had 5 call outs for her falling in the night (toilet trips).
He is bringing her up this weekend and we are looking for a bigger house.
Dh is steadfastly refusing support but I am going to look into it. We can't ever not go away again as a family. I can see the strain on him now. Its unfair to expect the kids to be carers in our absence too. They already call when they can and help out. It will be easier having her here but I need to talk to him about long term support.
Will no doubt be back asking for advise soon - thanks again
Continue working at having at least a small amount of external care. Older people almost become like toddlers in reverse. Their world slowly shrinks and they then find it difficult to allow new things. Having someone who is not family come in, or for her to go out somewhere is provides a useful break for all, plus means it will be easier to ramp up when it is really needed. I live some distance away, so external carers were inevitable. My mother mostly needs pill prompts and help with getting the shower running, sorting laundry etc, but she now has a wonderful carer who also takes her out twice a week, sometimes with her own grandchildren. It took a while to find someone she liked, but it is so useful to have a second person who she trusts, and indeed someone who comes without family baggage so has a more straightforward relationship with her. (Which helps with some of the personal care issues, and she can be better at pursuading my mum to allow things as she sees her as a friend.) My mother, and presumably all our oldies, will need more help as time goes on, so I am relieved to have a trusted alternate.
My mother has dementia, but is physically well, so a home is probably inevitable at some point. I live some distance away. I see paying that bit extra so she is used to socialising with someone who is not family as a good investment, not just to help in a crisis but who will keep her at home longer. I also find that her getting out a bit lifts her mood, even if she will not remember the outing.
It's important you get external help so he can remain being her son. When you care for a parent, the tables turn its very very hard for both.
It's also a marathon not a sprint, taking it all on at first will leave you resentful and exhausted before long.
Once you have a little help from social services it's easier to get more help should she need it.
With regards to the housing, make sure she has a small area as her lounge, so she can have friends over (and you can) for a cuppa, she can watch her crap on tv and you can watch yours.
Good luck op, you're doung the right thing. We were going to do this (bought house with room for Dh's father) but he died before we moved in.
I think you have to sort out external care, you can't do it all. Also, sorry to say this but you must get the financial situation agreed - there will be inheritance tax issues if money from her house sale goes into your house so get legal and financial advice.
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