Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Senior Citizen Problems

Been busy, between Father's Day, getting together with the kids, and being nagged into a shopping trip with my old pal Joanie. Most it's good, some of it isn't, like Jim having a dust up with one of the former board members of the HOA who is hurtling personal insults when called on violating town and HOA building codes.

The other drag involves something going on with my Maw In Law. Five or six years ago when MIL contracted pneumonia down in Louisiana and almost died Jim was with her for three weeks at the hospital and later the nursing home. While taking care of her he discovered that she was spending huge sums at Publishers Clearing House and every scammy charity you could imagine. After his brother took over her long term care and moved her to a Texas retirement home he also discovered that their mother was spending large amounts on silly things. He cut off her access to money, taking over her checking account, paying her bills, taking away her credit cards.

My MIL has complained about this off and on to me since then, complaining that Jim's brother will not allow her to have cash, a check book or credit card. I've always told her that Jim's brother is doing this to protect her and to trust him.

At least until this Christmas from Hell we spent with her in Texas. There was lots of things that came out and Jim and I decided to try and move her here, to Virginia, to a nearby beautiful luxurious retirement community five minutes from our house. Predictably Jim's brother was furious, talking the MIL out of the move. It didn't exactly ease any of the hard feelings from Christmas in anyone.

Since then I've discussed what happened with my therapist and she had both a tentative diagnosis for the sister in law's problems and some suggestions on handling things moving forward. Jim has reached out to his brother and they have managed to talk weekly and take tentative steps to rebuild something of a relationship. I have followed my therapist Elise suggestions, I have stepped aside from the brother in law and I've gone completely 'no contact' with the sister in law while still staying in touch with my Maw in Law.  I even have an action plan for when my 94 year old Maw In Law passes, it involves saying the least possible words in the dullest possible fashion to the sister in law and sticking close to my mother. I owe her nothing and I refuse to either provide he with drama fodder or play her games. Boundaries are awesome!

But here's the problem. In the last week we've been getting a series of emails from the Maw in Law. She's getting increasingly agitated that Jim's brother refuses to allow her to have any cash and will not allow her to walk the roughly 200 feet from her retirement home to a nearby CVS or Walgreens to buy things. Now she's demanding the money and the emails are getting kind of crazy and hostile.

I get why the BIL is not wanting her to just jaunt over to the drug store with pockets of cash. She has decided she has IBS and wants to buy drugs to stop that, yet doesn't seem to understand that if she's taking Miralax daily and having diarrhea that she just needs to stop the Miralax.

Pointed out to Jim yesterday how unlikely it was that she would be able to get her hands on anything strong enough to do any real damage to herself or even likely to interact with the few meds she's on.

It's sad that she's not allowed to touch any of her money at all. The BIL has financial power of attorney over all her funds and he steadfastly refuses to allow her a penny of pocket money. Upon hearing this my mother has sent my Maw in Law an odd twenty for bingo. I get that BIL doesn't want her to fritter away her money on otc drugs or get rich quick schemes and that she has been experiencing some senility, but my heart breaks for her. I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be to have someone else so completely in control over every aspect of your life with no say so from you.

I'm contemplating having my mother or someone else call the Elder Abuse hotline in that area just to have them check into the situation because this is all ringing a warning bell for me. I don't dare do it myself because I never wish to give the SIL anything else to hold against me for her long list of my offenses, stuff like I pounded on the trunk of our car and yelled at Jim to pop the trunk and other things I have no memory of at all. And I know I'm not going senile....

This is a woman, my Maw in Law, who has only been wonderful to me during the past thirty years I've been married to her son. The whole hideous control freaking nature of this entire thing is just reinforcing my idea that my sister in law is responsible for all this tight control as part of the sick thing she has going on.

Jim is talking again about moving Maw in Law here. I hope he can pull it off. There has to be a middle way that makes everyone happy. I don't get why allowing this woman a few dollars cash in her pocket and allowing her to walk a few feet to the store is such an awful thing.

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