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How do I handle my mother in law's constant demands?

Everything is an emergency with her and she expects my husband to drop everything to assist her. Last week she called saying she was injured in a bad fall, my husband tried to tell her to call 911 but she said she was in too much pain for that and that if he was a good son he would come and help her. He of course went over and found that she had a nickel sized bruise on her hand from her "bad fall". My husband is walking out on our kid's soccer games, family dinners and during the middle of the night. Coincidentally she never calls him while he is at work.
Status: Open    Mar 01, 2016 - 07:00 AM


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Apr 06, 2016 - 08:26 AM

What may be "minor" to us could feel "major" to a senior. Falls especially can be scary for them, and are indeed a primary cause of injury among the elderly population. Having said that, she could be simply be crying out for attention/visitors and subtly, or even unknowingly, saying she needs a caregiver.

Maybe regularly scheduled visits, assuming you already don't do this, would be helpful for her. Also "insisting" on a part-time caregiver or a "help alert" device could help. You may also find a check-in service to be helpful.


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By capricornucopia on Sep 13, 2016 - 12:58 PM | Like (0)  |  Report

My question is similar. My mother-in-law is in 24/7 care because of a stroke and is wheelchair bound. I understand her needs and am compassionate toward it. I am also trying to claim some boundaries and preserve my relationship with my spouse. Currently he visits her three days/nights a week and she calls constantly. Already we reserve every Sunday for her which includes breakfast or dinner out with an additional outing whether it be a visit to the Kangaroo farm or a little road trip which she enjoy. Sometimes she comes home which involves me assisting with toileting. I cook all the meals and do my best to make it special. Where I am struggling is when I ask my spouse for a date night. I asked him if he thought that 3 days a week with his mom was maybe too much. She is well cared for and that in asking if perhaps we could also pencil in the occasional date night for ourselves; (something besides stuffing our faces in front of the television), I have been labelled as jealous. Help.

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Apr 12, 2016 - 08:09 AM

It sounds like your husband may need to establish some healthy boundaries with his mother. Talking with a counselor may help him determine the best way to do that as well as how to communicate these boundaries to his mother. Your husband will have to consistently stick to these boundaries even in the face of his mother’s requests and demands in order for her to respect them.

If your mother-in-law’s demands represent a change in her behavior – and if she has experienced several falls – she may require an evaluation from a social worker/case worker/physician to determine whether she is safe to continue living home alone without assistance. Her behavior toward your husband, if a change from how she used to relate to him, may indicate a decline in cognitive status or the onset of a disease process.



Mar 12, 2016 - 05:42 AM

It sounds like she needs more attention than she is getting in her current living situation. Is she on her own? If so, maybe it's time to find a companion to be with her part of the day or maybe its time to move to where there are people around her more. I know my own mom will fixate on a negative event if nobody is there to distract her and get her mind on something else!
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