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Train wrecks

Started by Stilllearning, February 10, 2015, 06:04:32 am

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I have posted here before about how much I love my MIL.  She is the most incredibly wonderful and tolerant person!  She has been such a blessing in my life and now her mind is failing.  She has dementia and her short term memory is down to around 5 minutes.  It is disheartening to go visit her because we spend 4 1/2 hours on the road one way to see her and 5 minutes after we leave she has forgotten that we visited.  Anyway the facility where she was living did not have a memory care unit so my SIL (DH's sister) who has control of her finances hired round the clock sitters and paid them out of my MIL's estate.  I guess she would have paid them until MIL was completely broke until my DH and I found out about it and made her move MIL to a memory care unit saving approximately 5 thousand dollars a month.  MIL is not wealthy and was only about a year away from being broke when we found out. 

In addition to this My SIL let her older sister move into my MIL's house and bring a slew of cats.  She only pays the mortgage plus a little, no taxes and no insurance and the house would rent out for approximately $1000 more than she pays per month.  The cats have ruined the house and my SIL's both seem to be perfectly happy with things until we found out. 

So now we have found a memory care unit in my town that would fit her monthly income and my SIL won't move her!  Evidently she is happy to let my MIL run completely out of money which will happen in about 6 years (now because of the move) if there are no added expenses and the fees for the memory care unit she is in do not go up (yea, right!).  I had to let the opening go this morning and we do not know when another will come open.  They had three openings this year but before that it was 3 years since they had a vacancy.  Of course the doctor says my MIL is as healthy as an ox and could live 30 more years.  I really hate watching this happen!!!

Anyway, I was wondering if any of you wonderful women have any clue about possibly my DH suing my SIL for control of my MIL's affairs?  It seems to me that she has mishandled them in the past and is continuing to do so.  Any thoughts??? 

Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown


He, SL, As you know I am in my late 80s and hate this kind of thing. Hire an Elder Attorney, they specialize in this kind of thing. Sending hug...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


SL, I totally agree with Luise. Would definitely seek legal advice for her sake.
It's a sad day when the elderly cannot trust even their own children to do what's right for them in their time of need.
I hate it, too, when anyone takes advantage of the elderly. My mother also has dementia and that's hard enough to deal with w/o added challenges!
There's been several events lately where people took advantage of her, and I find out about it later. I'm doing everything possible to take good care of her -- and heaven forbid, even protect her!
I never thought people could be so heartless towards a frail, elderly woman .. And it angers me.


I hate to hear this SL!  Makes my blood boil!  I would talk with her primary doctor as well because he/she can help dictate/ advocate what care your MIL needs.  They will impartially give a medical opinion for the BEST care of the Patient and not the selfish family!  Do you have any of her blood relative allys here that can help u?  See if u can find at least one that agrees with the improper treatment? Even a distant 2nd or 3rd cousin could help.

Sad that we in laws do not count in so many family laws/ relationships!  A call to dept of family svcs in your county may help if atty fees are out of reach.  Also there is a US agency "A Place for Mom" that is excellent and free  Just do a web search?! 

We had to fabricate a story to liberate an 86 year old family friend from the clutches of her evil DIL.  Her son had passed away and his mom was living with them at the time.  The 2nd wife/DIL wanted to keep this elderly person because of her pension and social security income but was obviously burdened by the care required. 

I personally witnessed berating and physical pushiness and snatching from this "care" giver.  The old woman could not move fast enough and I saw this evil person poke the old woman with a cane to push her faster.  Also noticed unexplained bruising on the arms and hands beyond what is normal for folks with aging and thin skin.....  I wouldnt put it past this person to pinch the granny too!? I could have easily been arrested that day if I didn't control my urge to knock this witch out!!!  I could never get granny alone to ask her if she was happy and treated well or about the brusing. 

Finally the DIL went on a trip and had to leave granny with another caregiver for a week.

I got busy!  I met with the granny and asked her if she wanted to move to an assisted home and I could take her to look at it if she was interested.  My heart fell when she said yes and confirmed all my suspisions were true.  I was almos arrested that day!  We told her that family svcs showed up and was asking questions for an investigation of neglect and abuse.  We told the DIL that granny was taken away by the state and if DIL made any contact or troube in the movement of this elder, the county would open up a formal investigation and charge her with the situation.

No further action was taken and the old dear was able to have a few yrs of peace b4 she passed away.   

As far as her ability to remeber ur visits, please know my dear that she is still better for it!  Her emotional bell being is affected by your kindness and human touch.  A hug a kiss a kind pat to the hand, all of it!   Every time we would visiit a dear loved one w/ Altzheimers, she did not know us but her blood pressure would go down, her breathng would relax and her appitite improved.  So she does know! Subconsiously.  She may not be able to show affirmation or communicate it to others and maybe even herself.  The the basic need for love and attention still exists.  Just like when we were babies and had no cmmunication.

I was in a chemiocal coma for 2 weeks during a serios illness and even tho I was out to lunch, my dreams during that time, included things going on around me, ambulance ride, hearing music...(my fam had an MP3 music playey on me with soothing tunes and rock n roll so it was like my dreams had a sound track!

No one really knows but it's good for you and your hubby to give back to the needy even if u get no credit and it sets a good example for your family less evolved in human resposibility and kindness.

I would seek Medical Power of Atty ONLY and leave the financial crud to the greedy family.  What they will fail to understand is this....Medical trumps all other power of attry relationships.  Her assests must be used to provide her care.  if anby crumbs are left, the vultures can fight over em!  I am doing this now for my in laws from my prior marriage becasue their children are dead and the grandchildren are just waining for them to croak and have a pay day. 

Your MIL is blessed to have you on her side, dear and kind lady!!!!


Still -

sorry about the issues you are dealing with.  I recently had a friend comment:  "Forget divorce - elder care is the new cause of the disintegration of the family."  It is fairly typical of adult siblings to have differences of opinion on how to care for the elderly parent.  This is true even if ALL are well-intentioned.  But when one adult child takes advantage of the elderly parent, friction is inevitable. 

Some general comments - take them or leave them. 

1.  Your husband is the blood relative.  Even if you are the one coaching him - HE will have to be the one to confront his sisters, take legal action, etc.   Obviously you will be a great help to him - but he has to be the one taking charge. 

2.  The legal course would be to petition the court for your husband to become his mother's legal guardian (and possibly conservator of her assets).  She may or may not have given one of her daughters a power of attorney - but the court can over-ride that if there is evidence that the daughter with power of attorney is in fact not acting in your MIL's best interests, is wasting her assets, etc.   The court can appoint your husband guardian.  It can also appoint him conservator of her assets, even if it leaves his sisters with certain authority.   Guardians are in charge of the person.  Conservators are in charge of the assets.  Sometimes the same person is both guardian and conservator - sometimes one person is guardian, and another person is in charge of the assets. 

3.  As for the house, there may or not be good reason to keep it yet not rent it out.  An elder care attorney would know about this.  Long term care is self-pay until the person runs out of money.  Only then does Medicaid cover the nursing care.  But that severely limits the facilities from which one can choose.  Self-pay residents have a lot more power to select the facility that is best for them.   Sometimes the house is not considered an asset that must be liquidated in order to qualify for Medicaid - sometimes it is.  Again, talk with a elder care lawyer.   But if she has enough money to be self-pay for 5 or 6 years, and you don't want her getting "pot-luck" in nursing homes after her money runs out, there's not much point to keeping the house just to have her qualify for Medicaid.  That's a lot of expense and upkeep for an empty house (worse if it is not empty and the cats are ruining it) - and houses do deteriorate (roof, gutters, sidewalks, plumbing).  Sounds like she can never live in the house again, that it will only get in worse condition - that it might be best for the house to be sold and that $$ put in the bank to pay for her care - rather than have the property deteriorate.   

Bottom line - your husband (and you, in the background) need to talk to a lawyer who is quite familiar with adult guardianships and conservatorships, and property issues related to qualifying for Medicaid.  Then you will know whether or not the house should be sold, and whether your husband should file with the court to become either her guardian or conservator or both. 

Best wishes. 


It seems SIL is not the most financially prudent, but I don't see where she is misusing MILs money.  The money is going for MILs care, not to finance SIL's desire to travel around the world or something.  Why is the care facility in your town so much cheaper?  Would MIL see a decline in the quality or care or living arrangements?  Maybe MIL picked SIL to be financially responsible because she knew SIL would be a little more luxurious in her spending. 

As far as the house, it's hard to say definitively what rent she could make.  It could be that the house requires tens of thousands of dollars in repairs before it would pass inspection to be rentable.  Or maybe SIL just doesn't want the headache of being a landlord.  You don't rent out a house and just watch the money roll in.  You have to do the maintenance and run the risk of being sued if you don't stay on top of it.  Are you and DH willing to make the 4.5 hour each way drive every weekend or every other weekend to see to landlord responsibilities? 

I would tread lightly before suing for control.  If you do that, I would expect the two sisters to wash their hands of any and all responsibility and then everything would be on your and DH's shoulders.  Maybe you could meet with a financial planner or something and come up with an objective projection of what MILs finances can provide.  It could be SIL feels very put upon as the one with all the responsibility.  In SIL's eyes it may appear that her DB waltzes in for a 5 min visit every week or two and then criticizes her efforts without realizing how much she has done and sacrificed.  Good luck. 


Herbal - anyone who is a trustee, conservator, etc. with financial responsibility for a person who lacks legal capacity is required by law to handle those funds in a prudent manner.  No, the daughters are not stealing the money - but if keeping the mom in luxury for a few years means she is destitute thereafter, then that is a misuse of Mom's money.    This is not a legal forum, but STilllearning needs to get good advice from an elder law attorney in order to protect the mom.  Still, I hope you are getting the advice you and your DH need, from a qualified local attorney.   Best Wishes. 


Wow!  Thank you for all of your recommendations!  I have not gotten a lawyer yet because my DH's younger sister (who is in charge of things) has so much on her plate right now!  I won't go into details but her only son is a young adult with major issues.  To get a lawyer would leave that SIL with no family because it would cause a rift between her and her brother.  We have, however, started eviction proceedings against the other sister to get her out of her mother's house so we can sell it and add that money to the funds used to keep my MIL happy.

If we do that then we will have a few more years before the money runs out and I will try to convince my SIL to move my MIL to a more reasonable facility.  First things first, right ladies? 

If my SIL falters on kicking my other SIL out then I will visit with an attorney who specializes in the elderly.  I did not even know that they existed!  Thanks for the info!!
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
Author unknown