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Neglected mother-in-law

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Elderly advice My mother in law is 90. My husband (her son) died and I have since re-married. We are close and I see her every week. She has one other son and a daughter. She has no relationship with the daughter who is a troublemaker. Her husband has also passed away.

My problem is that the son lives an hour away (I live closer) but rarely visits his mother. She stayed for 2 nights over Christmas and I don't think she has seen him since. Neither of his children visit (they see her at Christmas when she stops over)

She lives in sheltered housing so is well enough looked after but I think she is lonely and misses her family. One of my sons who lives close also visits regularly and my other children visit when they're in the area (one's overseas and one over 3 hours away)

This weekend she had a fall. She is slightly bruised and battered but incredibly shaken up and upset. I have been over and done some shopping for her but I feel something must be said to the son about not seeing his mother

To be honest I don't know what to do or what to say. Frankly I am disgusted that he pays her so little attention and gives so little of his time. Is it my place to say anything or should I just butt out and keep doing what I think is right for her. I know this upsets her but she keeps making excuses for him: "he works so hard" "He is so busy" "He has his wife's (recently widowed Dad) to look after". I'm finding it increasingly difficult to hold my piece.

Any advice please

Neglected mother-in-law

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My advice is to continue your role as friend and not feel you have any more responsibility than that. In reality, you don’t ( unless you are her guardian or next of kin).

You say she is in “ sheltered” care. Does that mean a nursing home or some place where there are professional caretakers or medical help on hand? If so, speak to the Administrator about your concerns. That person should have called next of kin to inform them and seek a solution about the future.

You sound like a caring person. Just don’t care more than you really are able to. Let those responsible step up, and someone else can call on them to do that.

Neglected mother-in-law

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Hello Christy:

It is a good thing that she is physically taken care of, sheltered, fed, has medical care. Regarding her son not being motivated to visit her: what if this is a natural consequence of her not attending to him when he was a child, through years of him reaching out to her, trying to get her attention and failing at it?

I am not suggested, that if this is the case, that this ninety year old woman should be punished. What I am suggesting is that children naturally love their (present) parent more than anything, wanting nothing more intensely than to get the parent's attention and approval. Maybe her son tried to many times and gave up.

When we see a ninety year old woman, sweet and kind perhaps, we don't imagine how things might have been for way too long.

anita

Neglected mother-in-law

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Thanks for both your replies. Sensible advice yet again. I have wondered about her past relationship with her son. She and her husband moved around quite a bit with his job and the son stayed put once he was 18. My late husband was the youngest child and stayed with his parents - moving schools to suit them. His mum was very close to him and I wonder if the other son felt left out and not really part of the family.

I have simply messaged him to say she had the fall and was shaken up and I will continue my relationship with her in the way I have always done. We enjoy each other's company. As long as I can come on here and vent my frustrations about my brother in law!!!

Thanks friends

Neglected mother-in-law

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You are welcome, Christy. Post again anytime.

anita

Neglected mother-in-law

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CHRISTY- I've been where you are. The advice you got here is excellent, and I wish I'd taken those sentiments closer to heart. I just wanted to add:

Take your path of least regret, and make the choices you can live with. And let everyone else do the same. Whatever they choose now, they'll have to live with. Spend your time focusing on the relationship you have with her, and stop trying to make sense of how anyone else behaves. I watched as FIVE adult children- all within a couple hours' drive- ignored their mother for three years, while she was dying. It infuriated me. Until I remembered 1) it's none of my business how anyone else behaves, and 2) I could only make choices for myself. It wasn't easy, but I eventually worked my way through to gratitude. Their neglect gave me more time with her, and we got much closer than we would have otherwise. I was selfish in that regard. I know it hurt her a lot (she was living with us during treatment so I saw and heard her pain). I hate that, but there was nothing I could do about it. I could only control how I reacted to it. I could let it go and love her harder, or I could let my anger infect my time with her. So I let go of my anger, in favor of holding onto my mother-in-law's hand. I hope you can do the same. For your sake, and hers.

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