How do you plan to take care of your DH's mum in her old age?

How does one properly take care one's elderly parent in England if you don't wish for them to be in a home?

I'm early 40s and my hubs is mid 50s. He has a brother and sister. He's the first and the one who does the most for his mum. His siblings combined don't do up to a quater of what he does for their mum. He has a deeply caring and dependable disposition. We got married 2yrs and are very happy. So much so a couple of times in the 1st year of our marriage my MIL was irritated by my husband being attentive and caring towards me. She has improved on this front.

We've been living in DH's flat as I moved out of mine after marriage.
We're looking to move to a house. We don't have kids yet but plan to. So ideally 4 bed house. So although per age we're not young but we're just starting our in marriage and building a family.

The crux is that my 87 Yr old MIL lives alone in the very large family house with a big garden 100 miles way. She has a gardener come in every other week but my husband has to go down from London every other week to help with the garden and veg patch etc. She says she will never live in a home. She talks down on homes and negatively about her friends and family there. She says she'll like to live with us. My MIL wasn't happy when my husband informed her of me and then of us getting married cos of my race. Two years later we get on very well but I worry if her living with us will change the dynamic of my husband and I's relationship. We love eachother very much and get on very well.

Initially she said she'll like to live near us and is happy to move whenever we choose. Then it became a granny annexe. To be honest I don't mind. My mum passed away when I was quite young. I don't have close family in the country and I enjoyed having my grandmother come on long visits when I was younger. Ofcourse this is my MIL not my grandma and that was on a continent were labour was so cheap so it's super affordable to employ people to help domestically. 

I just wonder if I'm being terribly naïve and somehow things can change drastically if she had a granny annexe on our property. As I said, my husband is very kind and believes looking after family is the right thing to do. I'm of the same vein. However, I worry that my husband will end up being totally devoted to his mum if she lived with us. The way he puts it, "she's heavily emotionally invested" in him. She talks to him everyday, thinks the world of him (apart from marrying me) so much so on Christmas day last year his brother said if their mum could marry my husband she would. She smiled, didn't deny it and briefly stated how even though he's so mentally talented ie very intelligent, he's an all rounder as he's talented in many other aspects of life too etc. Everyone knows she's his priced possession. I find it admirable and I'm glad my husband is who he is but at the back of my mind I wonder if it's a bad idea to have her live with us. I've also had a couple of people ask if I really think it's a good idea as they're worried we're not making the right decision about this.

The truth is I don't think I would be comfortable with her being in a home. In my culture it was heard of but things are changing now. In my country of origin homes for the elderly are a rarity. Grandparents etc move in with their children. However, labour is very cheap, so you'll have a number of people on staff for domestics. However, things are much more costlier here and I worry that I don't fully understand how things work in the UK in that regard. I've lived here 14yrs.

How do you plan to take care of your DH's or your mum in her old age? 


  • edited 11 November 2021 at 12:08AM
    Ms_ChocaholicMs_Chocaholic Forumite
    12.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 11 November 2021 at 12:08AM
    Where does MIL live in comparison to your DH's siblings? Can your DH not speak to his siblings so they all do their fair share in terms of helping their mum with the gardening etc so he doesn't have to go every other week to do this.
    Are both of your DH's siblings married - could this be the reason DH does more, was he single till his early 50s?

    Thrifty Till 50 Then Spend Till the End
    You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time
  • london21london21 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I will say might be better living close by than in the same home.

    Also your husband's siblings also need to help out to lessen the weight on your husband. 
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
    33.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Savvy Shopper!

    How do you plan to take care of your DH's or your mum in her old age? 
    For most people, caring for someone at home who needs a lot of care is simply not practical.
    Our Mum was in a care home then a nursing home until her death a couple of months ago.
    There is no way either me or my sister could have coped.

    Even if your MIL is currently in good heath that could change fairly quickly.
    Are you prepared to physically lift her in and out of bed?
    Change her clothes if she is incontinent?
    And clean her up?

    Who would take on the majority of the caring?
    You? Or your husband?

    You also need to look into the financial side if she sells her house and moves into your house - even into a granny annexe.

  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
    10.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I think it is something you and your husband would need to think about very carefully - having an extra person in the house will affect your relationship, and if she moved to live with you because she was no longer able to live alone then there is the issue of who will care for her - of course, it may be that if she sold her house and moved in with you, or paid for a granny annex and lived there, that she would also have funds available to pay for carers.

    Another issue is the practicalities. It sounds as though at the moment, she is able to live alone. If that changes, the reality is that it may not be possible for you to move to a new home with an annex, or get one built, in the timeframe needed for her care, so it may not be a realistic option any way. 

    IF she is talking about moving now, then perhaps your husband needs to discuss with her what her plans are and encourage her to look at supported living or moving to a bungalow or ground floor flat that can be adapted for any needs she may have. 

    You and he will also need to think about the finances. If, for instance, she sold her house and put money towards buying a property for you, with an annex, you would need to get legal advice to ensure that you would not then be forced to sell your home if she died or to pay care fees..
    You'd also need to discuss what the practical plan was for any care she may need -  - you and he may not have the capacity to provide significant levels of care, it sounds unlikely that his siblings will be able to do so, so is she able to afford to pay for cleaners, carers etc if she needs them?

    How would this all work if you do have children, and are perhaps busy caring for a bay or toddler?

    The fact that she was originally hostile and racist and that she is jealous of your relationship with your husband are all big red flags. She may have improved but those underlying attitudes may well still be there and would be very difficult to live with.

    What does your husband want? 

    I think you and he need to have a frank discussion with each other and then he needs to be very clear with him mum about what is and isn't possible (e.g. that might be supporting and helping her if she would like to move to a smaller , more manageable property closer to where you live, helping her to source paid-for support to stay in her own home (if she can afford it and/or if he or his siblings can help) r support through the council if she qualifies.

    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • Pixie5740Pixie5740 Forumite
    14.5K Posts
    10,000 Posts Eighth Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
    london21 said:
    I will say might be better living close by than in the same home.

    Also your husband's siblings also need to help out to lessen the weight on your husband. 
    I dunno. If the husband has always been the golden child and the siblings have always known they were playing second fiddle I wouldn’t be busting a gut to help the old dear. 
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
    45.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Well the first thing is that you and you DH need to talk about what you're prepared to do. And frankly moving your MIL in when DH is the Golden Child, would probably be disastrous. 

    And your MIL can talk down about homes all she likes, but if she can no longer manage to look after herself, it's one of the options. 

    Your DH needs to ask if she's intending to stay in a house bigger than she needs, with a garden she can't maintain, in the long term. And if not, suggest she moves to suitable accommodation near you, but not with you.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • edited 11 November 2021 at 7:19PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
    29.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 11 November 2021 at 7:19PM
    It’s a conversation your OH needs to have with his mother, not you.
    My mother doesn’t wish to go into a home, and her LPA says to keep her at home for as long as practicable, but it’s not always possible and she accepts that. She’d hate it but she can see there are circumstances which may lead to that in the end. 
    What if MIL develops physical ill health, loses her mobility and needs 2 carers to hoist her? What if she develops dementia and starts going walkabout at night. Or accuses you all of poisoning her and stealing her money? Or she takes against your children because they are too noisy.

    OH must be clear with her about what is possible, that such promises can’t be made, but also the point may come when your lifestyle and hers just aren’t compatible.

    Do you and OH both work? So as her needs increase (and they wil) who gets to juggle work, caring, arranging appointments, running her round if she can’t get around herself? If she needs personal and continence care who will be doing that. Even if you have paid carers coming in it’s a massive strain on a relationship. Particularly if you also have children to prioritise.

    These arrangements worked better in the past when women didn’t go out to paid employment and when there was a large extended family close to hand to pick up the strain. That isn’t the world most of us live in any more.
    Some people make it work for as long as they can. But if it’s a route you’re considering you all need to be on the same page about where you will draw the line - it is likely to be the woman who ends up doing most of the day caring on top of everything else. 
    You cannot promise a home for life. There are too many unknowns for that. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • edited 11 November 2021 at 7:31PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
    29.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    edited 11 November 2021 at 7:31PM
    Also to add as far as paid care goes, whether at home or in a care home, she would have a financial assessment to see whether she needs to contribute or not. If her assets are over K23.5 she would be fully self funding and would pay for her own care.
    If she’s in her own home, that’s not taken into account as an asset. That’s why if she does move into/pay towards an annexe you need to have absolute financial clarity around who owns what. Many people do not need to go into a care home. But you must plan for it as a possibility either way.

    Another thought - how realistic is it that she’d stay put in her annexe and not keep popping round to visit her golden child? If he’s as involved as he is when you’re 100 miles away, there are going to be far higher expectations when he’s only next door?

    I love my mother dearly, but I’d end up swinging for her if I was her live in carer, and neither of us want to put the other in that position. 

    Has MIL considered making a power of attorney for both finances and health/welfare. If not, she really should. If she loses mental capacity around money and there’s no LPA then you would need a deputyship to access her bank accounts or do anything on her behalf and there is a huge backlog - you’re probably talking closer to a year now for an application to be actioned. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Did you know there's an MSE app?

It's free & available on iOS & Android


Regifting: good idea or not?

Add your two cents to the discussion

MSE Forum

Energy Price Guarantee calculator

How much you'll likely pay from April

MSE Tools