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Old 02-13-2016, 05:29 PM
 
576 posts, read 854,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wannagonorth View Post
I totally agree with the above, but wanted to comment on the "rhetorical question" highlighted in red. No, our parents don't think they'd be allowed to boss the help around in assisted living. That's why they would rather live at home and get help from their children. They expect to have control over us. They expect to be able to bend us to their will. That's why it's a constant battle to keep any kind of boundaries with them. It's even harder to stand up to them now that they're old because they're so pathetic and they expect you to do their bidding out of compassion if you won't do it out of respect for their authority.


So true, the bolded part. She certainly doesn't exert any "authority" over me, so to speak. But I do feel so very sorry for her. She was once very vibrant, very active, and she no longer can be.

The reason that, when I go over there, to be a presence so she can bathe, and she then throws at me, "can you take me to the bank?". I do so. And then the next request, "do you have time to take me to the pet store?". I do so. Then she throws a third request, "do you have time for lunch out?". And, .. (sigh)...I do so. When, originally, I had only intended to be there long enough that she can bathe.

What over-rides all good sense, is that she can't easily get out and do these things on her own.

Just the very act of showering and getting dressed, she's done for, for the most part, no stamina to do much else.

So if I decline to assist her in the above, there's an awareness in me, that she won't be able to get to the bank, or the pet store, or be able to go out to lunch.

Those items will then be passed on to the next hapless victim that is heading that way, be that my daughter who goes to clean for her, or the other daughter that goes to grocery shop for her or my husband, who goes when something needs repair (which he needs to presently get out there to repair the flood light that's out).
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:09 PM
 
293 posts, read 438,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnyl View Post
[/b]

So true, the bolded part. She certainly doesn't exert any "authority" over me, so to speak. But I do feel so very sorry for her. She was once very vibrant, very active, and she no longer can be.

The reason that, when I go over there, to be a presence so she can bathe, and she then throws at me, "can you take me to the bank?". I do so. And then the next request, "do you have time to take me to the pet store?". I do so. Then she throws a third request, "do you have time for lunch out?". And, .. (sigh)...I do so. When, originally, I had only intended to be there long enough that she can bathe.

What over-rides all good sense, is that she can't easily get out and do these things on her own.

Just the very act of showering and getting dressed, she's done for, for the most part, no stamina to do much else.

So if I decline to assist her in the above, there's an awareness in me, that she won't be able to get to the bank, or the pet store, or be able to go out to lunch.

Those items will then be passed on to the next hapless victim that is heading that way, be that my daughter who goes to clean for her, or the other daughter that goes to grocery shop for her or my husband, who goes when something needs repair (which he needs to presently get out there to repair the flood light that's out).
Well, that's the rub. You feel bad that the elderly person can't get out to do things themselves, and you also feel bad if you decline to help and it gets pushed off on someone else.

My sister (the one who helps with my mother) and I have worked through a lot of these issues over a period of years. It take thinking, talking, and cooperation, between the caregivers and the elderly parent, and even then it's far from a perfect solution.

To avoid as much as possible these "surprise" requests at inopportune times, we have a schedule of when we take her and where. Saturday is the library (me), Thursday is Walmart (me), Sunday is Winn-Dixie (Sis), and we alternate doctors' appointments (of which there are 2-3 per week right now). I change her bed on Saturday when I'm there; Sis fills the bird feeder when she's there. I pick up her mail and take out her recycling on my visits. Sis does her banking, online. Mom gets her hair cut by a lady who comes to her house. After Mom's last dog died, we discouraged her from getting another, and she agreed.

It's still a lot of work and a lot of time, and it locks us in to a schedule that we're not always happy with. I myself hate to be on a fixed schedule, especially to do stuff for someone else that brings me no benefit. But it's better than being called at 8 pm on a Friday night because she took the sheets off her bed and now she needs clean ones put on, or being asked to take her to Walmart the day after I just went to Walmart and she said she didn't need anything.

If your MIL can afford paid help, I'd start looking at home companion agencies and I'd insist that she at least try it out. My mother can't afford paid help at all, so that's not an option for me.

One thing that has helped is that I convinced my mother to give up her spare bedroom to a neighbor woman who is a friend of mine and who needed a place to stay (this friend retired on a very small SS benefit, and can't really afford a decent place of her own). Gradually, my mother has become comfortable asking her "roommate" to run the dishwasher, pick up stuff at the store, or help with stuff around the house. That makes it easier for me to say "no" when Mom calls to ask for additional help because I know she has someone there who can help out in a pinch. That would not be possible in many situations but it's working out in my situation.

Good luck working out solutions with your MIL!
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:41 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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I don't know how many families have thought about having a family arbitrator in the form of a geriatric psychiatrist help all the parties involved to come together to iron out caregiver issues and emotions. We used one with my dad (4 sessions) and he really helped everyone in the family to understand the stresses we each faced and what we each could and couldn't do to help, and the doctor helped my dad accept and trust us to do what was best for him. The stresses and emotions are different for in-laws than it is for siblings and adult children and we learned how to work together to make work. It's not an easy time of life for anyone and there is nothing wrong with seeking a professional. Financial issues are a biggie, too, and a lot of in-home caregiving is about trying (with good reason) to preserve assets for as long as possible. These things need to be talked out and the goals agreed upon so people aren't working at cross purposes, adding more stress than necessary. Arbitrators help.
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Old 02-13-2016, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnyl View Post
[/b]

So true, the bolded part. She certainly doesn't exert any "authority" over me, so to speak. But I do feel so very sorry for her. She was once very vibrant, very active, and she no longer can be.

The reason that, when I go over there, to be a presence so she can bathe, and she then throws at me, "can you take me to the bank?". I do so. And then the next request, "do you have time to take me to the pet store?". I do so. Then she throws a third request, "do you have time for lunch out?". And, .. (sigh)...I do so. When, originally, I had only intended to be there long enough that she can bathe.

What over-rides all good sense, is that she can't easily get out and do these things on her own.

Just the very act of showering and getting dressed, she's done for, for the most part, no stamina to do much else.

So if I decline to assist her in the above, there's an awareness in me, that she won't be able to get to the bank, or the pet store, or be able to go out to lunch.

Those items will then be passed on to the next hapless victim that is heading that way, be that my daughter who goes to clean for her, or the other daughter that goes to grocery shop for her or my husband, who goes when something needs repair (which he needs to presently get out there to repair the flood light that's out).
OP, you are going to have to set boundaries and limits. Most of the successful caregivers that I know do set schedules, one day for shopping, one day for cleaning, and doing a lot of things by phone or ordering things to be delivered.

Looking at your schedule and demands from an outsiders point of view, you appear to be running yourself into exhaustion. I have seen it happen with caregivers and it is not a pretty sight. In one situation in my Mom's neighborhood the 62 year old daughter was the primary caregiver for her 82 year old mother, for years, and took on far more responsibilities that she could handle. She worked her fingers to the bone, neglecting her own family and her own health, to keep her mother out of a nursing home. The daughter died of a heart attack and her mother ended up in a nursing home after all, where she lived for about 12 more years.


There was a great deal of anger towards the grandmother by her grandchildren (women in their late 20s/early 30s with young children) because they felt that the grandmother had "taken" their mother away from them. They felt that their mom never had time for them or her grandchildren and then she died so very young. It was a very, very sad situation all the way around.


OP, I am certainly not saying that you may die of a heart attack, but when people over extend themselves over long periods of time, disastrous things can happen.

We may seem to be hounded you, but we are only sharing our experiences with you to help you.

Last edited by germaine2626; 02-13-2016 at 07:18 PM..
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayland Woman View Post
I don't know how many families have thought about having a family arbitrator in the form of a geriatric psychiatrist help all the parties involved to come together to iron out caregiver issues and emotions. We used one with my dad (4 sessions) and he really helped everyone in the family to understand the stresses we each faced and what we each could and couldn't do to help, and the doctor helped my dad accept and trust us to do what was best for him. The stresses and emotions are different for in-laws than it is for siblings and adult children and we learned how to work together to make work. It's not an easy time of life for anyone and there is nothing wrong with seeking a professional. Financial issues are a biggie, too, and a lot of in-home caregiving is about trying (with good reason) to preserve assets for as long as possible. These things need to be talked out and the goals agreed upon so people aren't working at cross purposes, adding more stress than necessary. Arbitrators help.

That is a great point.


I know that social workers connected to the Council on Aging or other agencies and elder care attorneys sometimes lead similar discussions/mediation/counseling.
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Old 02-14-2016, 02:30 AM
 
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OP, what has changed in this situation since you first posted about this…YEARS ago, I believe? Have you gotten ANY positive result? Has anything gotten better? You've getting the same advice and suggestions you got before.

If anything the situation might be worst, because you've let it go on, and if anything MIL may we worse. We sure know she's older…we all are.

This seems to be an example of JUST. HOW. HARD. it can be to free oneself from family roles and expectations. Even when the situation is to one's own detriment. OP, until you and your husband decide that things WILL change, MAKE things change, and CHANGE your responses and actions…things WON'T change.
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by selhars View Post
OP, what has changed in this situation since you first posted about this…YEARS ago, I believe? Have you gotten ANY positive result? Has anything gotten better? You've getting the same advice and suggestions you got before.

If anything the situation might be worst, because you've let it go on, and if anything MIL may we worse. We sure know she's older…we all are.

This seems to be an example of JUST. HOW. HARD. it can be to free oneself from family roles and expectations. Even when the situation is to one's own detriment. OP, until you and your husband decide that things WILL change, MAKE things change, and CHANGE your responses and actions…things WON'T change.
The only things that have changed, are that I no longer work outside the home. I also now have a 2 yo grand-daughter that I absolutely adore. I love spending time with her, when I can, but .. whew ... I know there is a reason that 50 plus yo's don't have kids. They wear you out, quick.

One might think, my not working outside the home in a separate job, .. that then frees me up to be more accessible to mil's needs/wants.

While that is true to some extent, and I have more flexibility in my life, not having to answer to an outside employer. I do help my husband with our business, .. and that requires a good bit of my time. It's our business that we own, .. if he isn't working (i.e., caring for his mother, we don't eat/pay our bills).

My former employment wasn't the difference in whether we make it or not, financially. So it's not like "well go back to your job". That job had many stresses, .. and for many reasons, it was best I depart from that setting, and so I resigned in July of this past summer.

Yes, until my husband and I MAKE the changes needed, it won't change. I get that. He can't, do the things we do, .. if he's spending his time grocery shopping for/with his mother, he and his employee who depends on his paycheck, are not getting paid. He can't, stay here and cook meals for his mother and deliver them to her, ... same reason. He can't, go to her doc appts., see above, same reason, he can't go clean her house on a routine basis, same reason, he can't run her to the pet store/mall/hardware store/walgreens, you name it, not on any kind of scheduled/routine basis, same reason, he can't be there every other day or so for her to bathe, be a presence, so she doesn't fear falling, and being alone.

He does, go over there, when the light bulbs burn out and need changing, when the faucet has sprung a leak, when the toilet won't stop running, when the sprinkler head is stuck, when the gate/fence has broken, ... when there is a tree limb down in the yard from a storm, .. you name it, the myriad of things that go on with home-ownership. He does go over there to attend to those items, when he can get there, which isn't always as timely as mil would like (and sil for that matter). He does, also, try to, if he can, sit and have a sandwich with her, .. and/or take her somewhere for a bite to eat, out somewhere, .. and/or we both go, and take her for a bite out somewhere on occasion.

The above is just the reality of the situation. Thus the reason that we all jump through hoops and dance like circus clowns, like I said, trying to meet the needs of an ever increasingly demanding situation.

Thus the reason for the vent. The needs increasing. When I started this original post, it had to do with what should be my expectations as to what the daughter in this situation (who lives 1K miles away from here) should be doing to help, and for how long.

It's apparent through much weighing in and out, .. and discussion, that as long as I and the g'daughters will continue jumping thru hoops and dancing like circus clowns the needs will continue, .. and increase, .. and the status quo will continue, unabated. Thus my vent that I can't seem to get dh and/or his sister (her two bio children) to understand, and more importantly "act", .. on the fact that there needs to be nore help here, hired help. I don't know if that means, that there is a home health aide that comes in 2x's weekly, for a few hours, .. I don't know if that means sil comes here for longer stays (see previous posts, complications with that as a theory, in that mil doesn't like her daughter's husband).

What's my option, lay it in my husband's lap, "she's your mom, need you to stay home from work today and coordinate getting these two doc appts scheduled, and remember she also needs to go for lab work on Tuesday a.m., before the doc appts., so will need you to see about getting her to that, oh and in the meantime, she also has to go to the grocery store, .. and you know .. that takes a couple of hours if not more with her, so do plan on doing that, probably today since she has asked now when will one of us come get her, and ya know, she does typically throw in a 2nd and 3rd destination, .. when you go there, .. oh and she does need help now, with someone being present so she can bathe .... in case she falls, so I guess you better plan on doing that too, once you finish with staying in her master bedroom, while she showers, ... would you also go ahead and take a look at that ____________that needs fixing, but then go ahead with her to the grocery and whatever 2nd and 3rd destination she designates a need for the day and do spend some time with her also, just sit and visit with her, you know, she's so very lonely, she has no other social outlet.

How in all of that is he going to work for a living, and keep a roof over our heads. He can't. Thus, the reason we, as I said, dance like circus clowns seeing to her many needs.

The bottom line to it all is, the needs are increasing, as is to be expected with the aged. But getting the attn of those who SHOULD be seeing to it, .. is the problem. Her son (my husband) literally, can't .. be seeing to all the above, not if I wish to have a roof over my head. And I don't wish to become homeless in the interest of forcing the point "she's your mom, don't know how you're gonna do it, .. but figure it out".

It's sort of akin to, .. that's precisely what should occur, precisely so that he can see just how bad the need is, ... as opposed to his nagging wife and daughters who mention this at every turn, which is quite different. There needs to be natural consequences, so he can experience it. Sort of like when your child keeps forgetting their school lunch on the counter here at home daily, then a call from school, "will you bring my lunch, I forgot it", and you run it there, day after day. Not until the child sits at lunch a few days with nothing to eat, do they learn they need to develop a mechanism that they figure out how to get that lunch in their b'pack daily and to school with them.

He probably should be forced to see to all the above, .. and then some, so he can "see for himself". But the reality is, .. he has to work, and maintain the livelihood, he is the breadwinner, in this household, .. and it's his own biz, he doesn't work for someone where he an qualify for a "leave" and still get paid.

Thus the saga, it goes on and on.

So there are, in fact, some things that can't change, to improve the situation. The above being one of them. But how to get he and his sister to see, (they are the bio children, I am an in law, and can easily be made to be the big bad meanie in this whole thing .. and interestingly enough, am the one with both feet dug in, and see it more up close and personal than either of the bio children). I won't go there ... and be the one that sits mil down and gives her the what-for, and how-to's .. of how this is all going to play out, that she's going to quit putting arbitrary demands on our time, .. either she can plan accordingly, for our visits ... and make a list of what's needed, or she can wait, .. and in the interim she's going to allow some outside services, .. or do without. I can't do that, I'm an in-law, in the end.

What I can do, is what has been suggested, pull back some, don't be at the ready to answer to phone calls/texts, .. and that's what I intend to do.

If mil goes a week or more without getting to the makeup counter at the mall, when that has been suddenly thrown into the mix as a "need". So be it. If mil goes a week or more, .. without the special dog food addition she includes that can only be purchased at the pet food store, ... so be it. I'm not going to now run through the ropes to get her there, as has been done. If mil goes a few days with absolutely no cash on hand (why does she need cash on hand, she rarely gets in her own car and drives it to go anywhere), .. if she goes a few days with no cash in her wallet, .. because she failed to tell me when I was on my way out there, "gee ya know I really need some cash, I'm out, I have not one dollar on me, do you think you could stop and just cash a check of your own for say $20, and I'll write you a check ...", .. all of which is so do-able, as opposed to arriving there and then hearing this is a need, and now having to load her up and take her to the bank.

All of the above, not answering to her many needs, will then create a scenario wherein, I am being hounded by phone calls/texts from sil, "mom really needs to get to the bank, she mentioned that she'd asked you the other day but you didn't have time, do you know when you might have time to run out there and get her some cash".

Or, not seeing to it that the special add-in concoction that her dog needs in his food, that is only available at the pet store, .. more texts, phone calls, "you know .. mom really needs to get that add-in she puts in __________'s food, ... he is getting an upset stomach and has thrown up a few times, she really needs to have that on hand, it's not good that he can't have that in his food, I know she said you were too busy the other day .. and so if you have time, maybe as soon as you can, maybe just run by the pet store and pick that up for her, and she can pay you back when you bring it to her, I know you're busy".

This is the reality that goes on.

Those kinds of texts, will go unanswered. Or, an answer of, "I'm aware, and will do my best", and leave it at that.

I also intend to get with mil, to sorta go down a list, as it were, of the items that are specialty kind of items ... the special skin cream from the makeup counter, maybe that could be ordered online, with enough notice. The special add'in to her dog food (there are numerous add-ins, dog has lots of health problems), maybe those too can be ordered online in advance, given enough notice.

The problem lies in the fact that her only bio child that lives here, my husband, he is the breadwinner for our family and as such, can't be at her beckon call. That puts the onus on those of us who can work with somewhat of a jump through hoops order of the day, to meet those needs. But the needs are continuing to increase, .. and it's becoming more and more burdensome on those of us who do so, .. and getting the attention and "action", more importantly, of those who SHOULD be addressing it, is the problem.

The only thing I know to do, at this point, since her two bio children don't seem to see that it needs any "action", or if they do, they choose to ignore it, .. is to back off ... and not be as, at the ready. The follow through that will result, in sil's repeated phone calls/texts, mil's repeated phone calls, will be a challenge to ignore, .. but that, I must learn to do. Selective "deafness" as another poster put it.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by nnyl View Post
.

The problem lies in the fact that her only bio child that lives here, my husband, he is the breadwinner for our family and as such, can't be at her beckon call. That puts the onus on those of us who can work with somewhat of a jump through hoops order of the day, to meet those needs.
But the needs are continuing to increase, .. and it's becoming more and more burdensome on those of us who do so, .. and getting the attention and "action", more importantly, of those who SHOULD be addressing it, is the problem.

The only thing I know to do, at this point, since her two bio children don't seem to see that it needs any "action", or if they do, they choose to ignore it, .. is to back off ... and not be as, at the ready. The follow through that will result, in sil's repeated phone calls/texts, mil's repeated phone calls, will be a challenge to ignore, .. but that, I must learn to do. Selective "deafness" as another poster put it.
I was reading some of the things that your MIL considered "needs" that had to be done immediately and I literally laughed out loud! Needing to go to the make-up counter at the mall and both MIL & SIL considering it something that HAD to be right away?!?!

Of course, everyone is different but I'm in my 60s and it is not unusual for me to go five or six months between trips to the mall or a department store. I find it incredible that a woman in her 80s would consider a trip to the make-up counter at the mall as an "emergency". Accidently running out of medication can be an emergency, but IMHO running out of face cream is not.

While I normally go to the bank once a month, my adult children, who use on-line banking & debit cards can go many months, if not a year or more, without physically going to a brick & mortar bank. Both of my adult children do almost all of their shopping (except for groceries & medications) on-line and I know many older people who do that as well.

I really hope that you start to set some boundaries and limits on the constant demands by your MIL (& SIL speaking for your MIL). I am hoping that by setting limits and making a schedule, perhaps there will be opportunities for you & your family to actually spend some quality with your MIL.

Good luck to you.


PS. I am curious who walks your mother's dog and picks up the poop?

PPS. I wonder if when SIL texts & calls you with Mom's "needs" you can suggest things that SIL can do from her house 1,000 miles away, such as order the special dog food additive or the special face cream on-line and have it delivered to her Mom. As someone mentioned earlier, you could also have the name of local handyman to give to her and if SIL feels that Mom can't wait until your husband has time to fix things then she can hire & pay for a handyman to do the work.

I looked back at one of your posts from eight years ago. What happened to the granddaughter that your MIL loved so much? The one that traveled the world, flying first class & stayed in five star hotels? Perhaps, she should "step up" just like the local granddaughters have done. That granddaughter can plan regular visits to help or maybe handle on-line shopping & deliveries for Grandma.


If your daughters are "doing their share" (actually more than their share) shouldn't the other grandchildren be helping, too?

Last edited by germaine2626; 02-14-2016 at 08:12 AM.. Reason: Added PS., then added PPS.
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
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You and your daughters need to have a long weekend away. A good 4 or 5 days where you are out of town and you don't answer your phones! Then your husband will see how much work his mother is. You really need to learn to say NO. you need to take charge of your life.
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:36 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnyl View Post

What I can do, is what has been suggested, pull back some, don't be at the ready to answer to phone calls/texts, .. and that's what I intend to do.

If mil goes a week or more without getting to the makeup counter at the mall, when that has been suddenly thrown into the mix as a "need". So be it. If mil goes a week or more, .. without the special dog food addition she includes that can only be purchased at the pet food store, ... so be it. I'm not going to now run through the ropes to get her there, as has been done. If mil goes a few days with absolutely no cash on hand (why does she need cash on hand, she rarely gets in her own car and drives it to go anywhere), .. if she goes a few days with no cash in her wallet, .. because she failed to tell me when I was on my way out there, "gee ya know I really need some cash, I'm out, I have not one dollar on me, do you think you could stop and just cash a check of your own for say $20, and I'll write you a check ...", .. all of which is so do-able, as opposed to arriving there and then hearing this is a need, and now having to load her up and take her to the bank.

All of the above, not answering to her many needs, will then create a scenario wherein, I am being hounded by phone calls/texts from sil, "mom really needs to get to the bank, she mentioned that she'd asked you the other day but you didn't have time, do you know when you might have time to run out there and get her some cash".

Or, not seeing to it that the special add-in concoction that her dog needs in his food, that is only available at the pet store, .. more texts, phone calls, "you know .. mom really needs to get that add-in she puts in __________'s food, ... he is getting an upset stomach and has thrown up a few times, she really needs to have that on hand, it's not good that he can't have that in his food, I know she said you were too busy the other day .. and so if you have time, maybe as soon as you can, maybe just run by the pet store and pick that up for her, and she can pay you back when you bring it to her, I know you're busy".

This is the reality that goes on.

Those kinds of texts, will go unanswered. Or, an answer of, "I'm aware, and will do my best", and leave it at that.
What would happen if you told your long-distance sister-in-law that she is now in charge of keeping her mother supplied with the add-in the dog needs and the lotions or creams her mother needs? All those kinds of things are available online and could be mailed to her mother. It's not rocket science for her to figure out how much and when your M-I-L will need restocking of basic supplies. Heck, now days a lot of groceries can be ordered and shipped. It seems to me the sister-in-law wants to be helpful to her mother (thus all the calls to you) except the way she tries to help is really doing more harm than help because it adds extra stress on you. She needs a firm mandate and some directions on HOW to be helpful i.e. take on some responsibilities, however small.

To me, it sounds like your husband is long over due to talk to his sister and give her a list of things that SHE should be doing to help out including her trying to get her mother to be more patient with those of you doing hands-on help. "Mom, be patient. They are doing their best and won't forget." Even long distance there are many things she could arrange, track down, do to help like paying for like a Home Companion to spend an afternoon with your M-I-L running errands. Anything that could be done by phone could easily be taken over by a long-distance daughter including her becoming the point person in charge of researching what kinds of help and services are available where her mother lives and passes the list on to you to use if needed. I just heard yesterday that a friend set his mother up with Uber rides so she can go run errands on her own.

You have to be creativity when dealing with a long-term care situation like yours. Your husband should also tell his sister that she could/should show some appreciation for you and your daughters occasionally by sending something like gift certificates for massages, pedicures, nice restaurant or a movie theater. The bottom line in this post is it would really reduce your stress level if your deal with the sister, head on, in a more productive way than just saying "I am aware of it" or ignoring her calls. Give her something to do beside trying to remind you of things you already know. Besides, wouldn't it be fun to call her and say, "Hey, your mom needs her cream. Did you order it?"
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