Post # 1
Looking for some advice on a situation we are in with Mother-In-Law. We have a rocky relationshipinship with her, if you could even call it a relationship at all. We strongly suspect she has some sort of mental illness (agoraphobia, schizotypal or something along those lines) but she refuses to go to a doctor or psychiatrist, and as an adult we can’t force her. So we’ve basically just let her do her thing, and not had much contact with her in 5 years. Well, we stopped by her house the other day to drop off some things, and we saw the reality of how she is living. Her house is literally falling apart. There is no working heat. There are holes in the floor, ceiling, and walls that go all the way to the outside. She can’t use her kitchen because it is infested with RATS. So we called the police for a wellness check, and they notified her landlord, and the result is that her house it being condemned and she is being evicted. The problem is that she is broke, has no other family, and has literally no where to go. We are left in the position where we have to decide to help her out, or let her live on the street.
On the one hand, we do not want her living on the street. She wouldn’t survive two days on the street, and that’s not a viable option for anyone, regardless of their situation. However, if we were to help her out, we are fairly certain she would try to take advantage of us. For background, she has never worked. She was a stay-at-home mom, and then when she and her husband got divorced she made a deal that he would pay alimony until her old age pension kicked in, and that is how she has survived for the last 20 years. Whenever we talk to her (which is rare) she makes a point of complaining how she has nothing to eat and is going to starve unless she finds some way to get groceries before her next cheque comes – she basically tries to pressure us into buying her groceries.
So we don’t know what to do, we are her only family, and she has no friends that would take her in or help her. I don’t know what options we have, other than to help her in some way, and then that brings up the question of how to help her. We will NOT be giving her money. If we help her it will be in the form of co-signing a lease, or possibly letting her live in our rental property. But even that feels like it has a lot of potential for her to walk all over us. Not sure what to do.
Do you bees have any insight or ideas of other ways we can sort this out, without putting ourselves in the middle?
Post # 2
Woof – I’m really sorry, what a dreadful situation. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I don’t think I’d be keen on letting her live in your rental property. I’d be worried she’d allow serious damage there due to neglect that would end up costing you $$$$.
I know you said you don’t want to give her money, but I wonder if contributing a set amount toward her rent for a place that is not your own might be the best solution, if you can stomach it?
Post # 3
Honestly I would try to get her into an assisted living facility that would treat her mental health issues and ensure that she stays on a treatment plan. This way you can be sure that she is in a sanitary environment and will also receive regular meals. I would not recommend just giving her money as I don’t think she would take proper care of herself.
Post # 4
- Wedding: November 2019 - City, State
+1 for assisted living facility. It will be a big financial burden most likely, but it will keep her safe, probably help her with some of her mental issues, and she won’t have to live with you and potentially try to manipulate your life. Definitely do not give her money, and do not allow her to move in with you.
Post # 5
I’m sorry you are dealing with this. I would look into adult protective services and support in your area.
Post # 6
- Wedding: August 2019 - City, State
I have been in pretty much this exact position with my own mother. I’m sorry you’re going through this, Bee. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions, or need anything.
Bottom line, if you suspect serious/legitimate mental instability, I would not suggest opening your home to her unless she agrees to get help. You could be putting yourself (and your husband) in a very bad situation. Also, leaving the choice up to her relieves you of a considerable amount of guilt.
- If she agrees to get a psych eval, she can live in your rental property (assuming this will not put a financial burden on your family, and she does not need around the clock care). Furthermore, if she does not want to live with you/at your rental property, having the medical paperwork and diagnosis in hand would allow you to fill out the Medicare/Medicaid paperwork so that she can live in an assisted facility if the illness progresses.
- If she does not agree to get a psych eval, you can help her fill out the paperwork for state assistance to find a new living situation, or help her find a job. I would not extend further help past that.
EDIT: I would not suggest a “nursing home” or rehab facility without Medicare/Medicaid. It is god-awfully expensive, at at the base level. The one my father went into after my mother tried to kill him was $400 PER DAY, without medications added on – not something anyone I know would ever be able to afford for any length of time.
Best of luck.
Post # 7
Your best option is to get her into an assisted living facility. I don’t understand why that wasn’t listed in your OP as an option.
Post # 8
Bee, this is hard.
Does she want your help? If she does, can you be the custodian of the money she receives? Basically, she agrees to deposit her check into an account that you administer without giving her a card to? You’d essentially put her on an allowance. You may choose to add to the account if you see that ends won’t meet through no fault of her own. I’d look into Section 8 and other housing programs, as well as food pantries. From what you’ve written, I can’t tell if she has very little money or if she also squanders the money she has. Did she destroy her apartment, or was it a sh*thole from the beginning?
DO NOT LET HER MOVE INTO YOUR RENTAL! If you want to forfeit the income from the rental, it would be much better to continue renting it out and then use some of that income to assist Mother-In-Law if she needs it.
Wherever she moves next, you may want to set a budget you’ll use with your OH to help set up the basics for a kitchen, living area and bedroom. This way, you’ll know you already gave her plates and cutlery, two sets of clean sheets, a bulk pack of toilet paper, bath/dish/laundry soap, stocked up a pantry with canned goods, etc. She won’t be able to ask you for cash to cover those basic needs.
Post # 9
Thanks for the responses everyone!
It wasn’t listed because I’m not sure if you can force someone into an assisted living facility if they are classified as a competent adult (which she is). She does not want to go anywhere, and she refuses to get evaluated so I’m really not sure what we can do in that regards, other than provide her with a place to live/means of living, which we don’t particularily want to do.
The thing is, she was renting from her current landlord illegally (hence why they didn’t do anything about the falling down house until the police got involved, and I’m pretty sure they only did anything at that point to avoid getting in trouble themselves) and anywhere she could rent in the city would be 3x what she was paying – she can’t afford it. She has extremely low income (only old age pension) and since she made the decision not to work for the 20 years she was receiving alimony, she has no savings. I never saw the house before we went there the other day, so I don’t know for sure what happened to it, but she was living in it for 20 years, so I imagine it was a combination of neglect, and neither her or the landlord giving a shit.
Post # 10
Yikes. I’m not sure where you live, but in the US she might be eligible for housing subsidies, food stamps and maybe a small amount of cash benefits.
Post # 11
Yeah i wouldn’t put her in your rental or your own home AT ALL. That is such a bad idea. Once she is in, you are well aware she can’t get any other housing so she would be there permanently.
Look, I don’t want to sound heartless, but she did this. To herself. She had no retirement plan and guess what? No one else is her retirement plan. Not you, not her kids. Look at the resources in your area to get her government assistance and adult protective services. Because that is what she has to work with. You can lend support by taking her to those appointments and helping her complete paperwork but that should be it. Bottom line in my opinion is, your happiness and your life shouldn’t be sacrificed in any way to help her out of the hole she is in. Once she is dependent on you, your stuck with that until she passes. So do whatever you can to explore all the government options before you even consider personally helping her out financially. This happens to people all the time, there is a solution out there that doesn’t involve you being her retirement plan.
Post # 12
Unfortunately we live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada, the wait-list for subsidized housing is about 3 years long.
I’ll probably call Adult Peotective Services and see what they say. The police referred me to a Social Worker who told me that basically if a competent adult is choosing to put themselves in an unsafe position that is their right. We would have to prove she is not competent in order to be able to step in and get government assistence, unless she chooses to get it herself.
Post # 13
Are there local shelters she can stay at? If she does not want to seek help for her potential illness and living/financial situation, I’d explore the possibility of a shelter. Most shelters have social workers who could potentially provide you with more suitable local resources.
Post # 14
if you are in the US. Contact the Department of Aging. Each state has one. They will be able to provide you resources on what to do and even help you. Most assisted living facilities have a waiting list. You need something immediate.
Post # 15
Idk. I’d be pissed if my kids got me evicted from my house & then refused to help me out, afterwards. I think that because she lost her house because of your interference, you really need to help her get situated. She’s only homeless because you got her home condemned. What exactly did you hope to accomplish with that?