MIL is finally "considering" residential care

Should we strike while the iron is hot or give her a while to get her head around it and come to terms that its the right decision?

From my other recent posts here, you may have seen that MIL has a frequent “choking” issue when she is eating. She lives alone, carers cook her lunch and within 5 minutes of them leaving, she is struggling, presses her lifeline or calls the care company and we have to drop everything and rush down to her. Finally had another SaLT assessment last week, and although not really conclusive, the SLT said MIL appears to have a problem synchronising her breathing and swallowing mechanisms. The carers toilet her with hoist transfers at lunchtime, return her to her chair already a little breathless from the effort, and then plonk a meal in front of her and leave her to it. I have asked Social services to extend her lunchtime visit, to allow her to have someone with her, but the care company don’t have the capacity to offer this and we are limited on other choices for this locally, so stuck with the current provider.

Today, we had only just returned from dropping in her shopping and laundry this morning, when we had a call that she was choking again. Hubby went back to find she had coughed up the first few mouthfuls of her lunch, but had recovered by the time he got there. He had a long chat with her … pointed out all the things that I usually say and I always get the “choking” call being closer during the week whilst he is at work. She has told me in the past that I must think again if I have any ideas of putting her into care home. He says I always bring the worst out of her … perhaps thats true, but she needed to hear it from him as well!

He told her there is nothing left for her at home now … she cannot get out to her huge garden, which she used to love and is now going to rack and ruin, she cannot do anything for herself, so spends every day sitting in her living room alone other than her 4x daily care visits, which is not doing her any good. She rarely even puts the TV on these days, as she gets muddled with the remote buttons and messes up the settings. She can hardly read the paper as she said she cannot see it, then we remind her to put her specs on … She is so isolated, alone, unstimulated, and if eating unaccompanied, perhaps even at risk … basically she is just looking at 4 walls and waiting to die … He thinks he finally made a break through today, and when he left she said she would think about moving in somewhere … is this a false hope on our part? Should I call Social services on Monday to see what the process is as I suspect it may take a while to find a suitable space and somewhere MIL will actually accept … she has previously said she would never go into certain care homes as other members of the family (her mum, brother and husband) all passed away in different homes locally so that cuts down our options. One place she did once mention as being “lovely” when she used to visit a friend, has recently had a very bad inspection report.

I don’t want to make it sound Iike I am jumping for joy that she is coming around to the idea, but it would do her so much good the have things going on around her, company and above all be safer. We don’t want to steamroller her, but should we be making tentative enquiries, or even going to look around any likely places (without mum initially), or should we wait a bit longer to ensure she is ready for this … we don’t want to get something in place only for her to change her mind. Its something we have felt is long overdue, but we don’t want to rush and mess it up now … sorry for the long post and thanks for reading :slight_smile:

I don’t think YOU should do anything. This has to be managed by your husband. Totally.
He needs to find out where the nearest homes are, vacancies, prices, etc. etc. and then tell mum.
You’ve been the Bogey Woman for far too long!

TBH, he wouldn’t know where to start. I am happy to make calls, visit etc, and he can deliver the message to her afterwards!

Agreeing with BB that it all has to come from him.
By all means do the research for him.

Tread carefully, the seeds are being sown.
Sow a few more, he can tell her the positives - the social aspect of a residential placement, the benefits of trained staff on hand round the clock, he wants her to be safe and have some friends and happy times.
When there are more positive vibes from her then he can offer to find about some places for his next visit.
It might be plain sailing to do it or she could have a few changes of heart along the way, there’s no crystal ball, please don’t give up on it, keep trying, if she changes her mind - ask why, because of? why? because of what? to get to the crux of objections and allay fears.

Thanks for replies. I know I need HIM to take the lead, but sadly this morning he is backtracking … I wanted to get GP/Dementia nurse out to do an assessment, as MIL is so muddled some days she even gets our names wrong, which is not helping her eating/choking issues. She was given advice to eat slowly, take a few sips of water before she starts a meal and take her time, but she forgets all this within hours/days of the SaLT assessment. Yesterday apparently she was asking to go into hospital to get an operation to sort it all out … never going to happen as a) she is far too frail, and b) there is not “magic bullet” cure … HE told her there is no quick fix and nothing can make it any better as she needs someone with her when she is eating.

He tells me this morning that he doesn’t want me to do anything to set up any arrangements or even enquire about the next steps or dementia assessment yet … over to you mate, you sort it … Pi$$ed off doesn’t come close to how I am feeling. Totally fed up with our weekends being governed by having to visit HER and the constant back of my mind feeling that we may get a lifeline call at any time. Seems I need to work on HIM more yet, before I can even take anything for HER forwards …:frowning: My 83 year old Dad is coming for lunch today and I am awaiting a call to say SHE needs us … lunch in the microwave for hubby me thinks … HE needs to go every time now, as I am done with all this … My boss is an absolute Saint letting me out of work several time a week, to go when MIL calls, but if this carries on, her patience will wear thin. I told MIL a few weeks ago that if this carries on, I will lose my job, but she doesn’t remember how many times I have had the call to drop and run recently …

You can’t force others to change, but you can change yourself.
Do NOT leave work any more even if there is a call. You need your job and if you don’t stick up for yourself, who else will.
It sounds very much like your relationship is at risk.
Why not have the it’s “her or me” conversation. If hubby is always putting her first, don’t you matter???

Hi Witch Hazel,

I feel your frustration.

I think you should start making enquiries now, visiting homes and doing the research - this all takes time. You can get this ready whilst hubby gets used to the idea. Needn’t share your findings at first. Then when he is ready, you need only suggest suitable homes, which will prevent him getting put off by the unsuitable ones …

To help him make up his mind, would it be possible for him to start responding to the choking calls whilst at work instead of you? I know he is further away, but it might just help him realise how difficult the choking calls are for you to deal with and bring it home that his Mum needs someone on hand when she eats.


My father in law absolutely refused point blank to look at residential care for MIL.
One of the best homes in the area was half a mile away from his home.
Then there was a crisis, bed needed immediately, only bed available was 18 miles away.
Then FIL kept wanting my husband to drive him over there, completely ignoring the fact that whilst we were both at home, we were running a business and needed to work to earn a living!!
Hubby needs to realise the importance of at least looking at nearby homes, talking to matron etc. as the best homes have waiting lists!!!

I absolutely agree with replies, get information ready so that he can set it all in motion when ready.
He doesn’t need to know that you are doing it.

Your frustration is understandable but don’t get into a battle with it if you think he will dig his heels in.
It’s a major thing to put a parent into a home, he will have feelings about it in various ways I guess and his mothers objections to it, he’s not in an easy position caught between you both, awful as it is for you. I am not qualified to advise on this, only you know what will work, the waiting game or the ultimatum. I hope it is resolved soon and she is in a residential home.

Sounds to me like your husband needs to step up more and you need to take a step back. :wink:

It is a huge decision to make and my Mum spent over 3 years in care homes. the first one was 8 months and was not a good experience as they were not very caring and preferred family not to get involved but the second one was 3 years and was truly brilliant and they loved my Mum and she was happy and well cared for ‘til the day she died.

My Mum was not safe at home, was having repeated falls, not eating properly and very anxious. Even with carers going in and me there a lot of the time. There was no other choice than a care home because neither of my siblings took much of an active role in caring for her and although I had her at my house every weekend for 14 years she then became unable to use the stairs and also one of my kids came back home so I no longer had a spare bedroom.

I hope things work out for you all.

I guess it depends on how close to the end of your rope you are and how much you’ve been able to get through to your husband that that’s where you are.

If it were me and I had had too many conversations, but I was still the one picking up most of the pieces, I would do a spreadsheet - (don’t judge me, it really helps me!) Something needs to change and sometimes seeing things in clear terms like this can help get the message across. You can keep things as they are but you might lose your job, your MIL (through choking etc) & your marriage. One of you could give up work and claim carers allowance and get £128 of part time work but she’d be safe & you’re time together would be managed around meal times so no call outs. You could increase the carers which would have the same effect but obviously there would be x or y cost and it’s not available locally so you might have to increase it more than you’d like (we found they couldn’t help for the odd hours or just weekends but could provide help for a ‘larger order’ as it were.) She could have a live in carer so she’d be safe & you both would have peace of mind but it’s expensive and you’d still have bills and living expenses & there’s no back up if they leave or are ill (or pay extra for an agency). Or you could find 3 homes say, giving a range of cost options, and wouldn’t have extra expenses but would have the back up etc. Each option has costs, benefits and consequences. Here you are husband - which one of these do you want to advise her to choose?

Obviously there might be more or less options depending on if she is self funding or not and how much you think she is really at risk. If I thought my MIL was really unsafe and needed an assessment etc, I would say that you are not responsible for the consequences if they choose not to have one, or to delay it because they don’t happen overnight. My dad is expected to wait at least 12 weeks for someone to be appointed as his social worker. It won’t be an easy conversation but I get the feeling that if you don’t put your foot down, you’ll still be needing to be called away from work months and months from now, if something serious doesn’t happen in the meantime. Your own parents deserve some of your time too.