MIL in home wants to leave

We are wondering what will happen. MIL moved in with us a year ago and sold her own house. We have looked after her but she has got to the stage where she cannot walk, is sometimes incontinent and requires both of us to be at home 24 hours a day. We decided that we could not continue and made the very hard decision to tell her we could no longer cope and she needed to go into a home. She is self funding and we found a nice home and she moved in. She has completely shut down and is telling the staff she does not want to be there and will hurt herself so she goes to hospital and then come home to us. The coming home to us is not an option we cannot do it at our age.

What I want to know is if she has mental capacity but not physical capacity what would happen to her is she got to the stage where the home cannot keep her because she says she wants to leave, albeit she could not physically leave.

She can choose to move out but that does NOT give her the right to move in with you at your place.

Hello Paul

I just wanted to welcome you to the forum and highlight some other ways you can connect with carers. I’m not sure if you are aware but we are currently running a series of online weekly meet ups for carers to get together and chat informally. People say they’ve found it really helpful and supportive and it’s nice to be able to take a little bit of time for yourself. There’s no pressure to share any more than you’re comfortable with. Join up details are here:

We are also now running a weekly Share and Learn sessions, where we run a series of fun and relaxed online sessions where visiting speakers who share tips and skills on a range of topics - please have a look at the link and see if one grabs your attention.

Do join if you’d like to, we’ve had a lot of new carers join the sessions recently and it’s a great way to meet other carers.

There is also Carers UK’s helpline should you need advice or support - Our Telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email

with best wishes


Hi Paul

That must be distressing for you all.

Some thought processes for you to consider-
why doesn’t she want to be there.
Could she try another home or is there no choice?
Is there someone who is upsetting her/inadvertently upsetting her?
Does she need a welbeing/safeguarding chat with the manager/whoever there?

One of my grans had to go into a dementia home and she was very upset and quiet.
The outcome was that she worried about the polystyrene tiles on the ceiling.
She feared that if one of them fell it could kill someone. So my dad took one in next visit.

it might not be easy or down to anything, but there might be something that could be sorted out.

If she has the required level of mental capacity then yes.

I think the best way with this is to first tell your MIL in no uncertain terms that there is no way on earth that she can come back to live with you. And now she has the choice of staying at the home she’s in, or moving to another one. That’s it. Legally you are under no obligation to your MIL to provide care, and even if you were legally responsible for her care that doesn’t mean you have to do it.

She can choose where she wants to live, but it’s your house and you can choose to say no. In which case she needs an alternative. And she has to get used to that.

It won’t be easy, especially if she’s an individual who is used to getting her own way, but it’s the only way to do it.

Hi Paul

You don’t say how long your Mother has in the care home but it’s not uncommon for new residents in a care home setting to want to go home soon after arriving - it can take some weeks, even months, for them to settle. The care home management and staff will be aware of this and should be making allowances. At the same time they should have warned you that this was likely to happen.

When my Mum took up residence in one we were advised not to visit for the first week or so and then to limit our visits in the following weeks to give her a chance to settle. It took 2-3 months before she stopped asking to go home - sadly Mum passed away after 6 months in the home (She had Alzheimer’s) but by the time she died she had settled. Due to the dementia she never did accept the care home as “home” - to her that was her childhood home with her parents and sisters.

If your Mum has mental capacity then she cannot be forced to stay there and I think it’s going to take some straight talking from you and maybe her GP to point out that she really needs to stay where she is safe and will be cared for 24/7. As her house has been sold she can’t move back there and as you say moving back in with you is not an option then the only other option might be assisted living with carers visiting a few times a day; but then she would not have 24/7 company and as her mobility is compromised then really the best option for all concerned is the care home.

It is hard I am going to try and explain it to her in no uncertain terms that she will end up under the care of SS if she does not try and like the home

Sometimes parents turn into “Elderly Toddlers” who have tantrums or turn on the tears or similar when they don’t get their own way, and I get the feeling your mum may well do this, so be prepared. It may not be that particular care home she doesn’t like, but the fact she is old and frail and needs ANY care home. Write yourself a list of all the issues there were when she was at home. If she starts any unreasonable behaviour, leave the room. As an adult, you do NOT deserve a telling off. You did your best but it wasn’t enough for her. Future care as her needs increase and you get older won’t work. That is why she needs residential care.