Mother in Law needs help

We moved about 7 months ago across the country and we had my MIL come with us. Let me start by saying that she is an amazing MIL. She has always been so loving to us and is an amazing woman who the children, I and my wife love. We all had a culture shock moving here, and we do not intend the move to be permanent. She had a receptionist job at our local hospital back home and then moved here and lived with us for about 5 months until she was in a position to move to her own apartment and get a job. She got a job and is not working very much but moved out to her own apartment.

She has always been a little creature of comfort and in some things kind of fearful. She will not ever drive on the freeway and is very “routine” oriented. This all came to a head recently when she has been having “panic attacks” where she cannot sleep and freaks out. Several nights she has stayed over since moving into her own apartment a month and a half ago.

Recently she has made the rash decision that she MUST move back to our old town ASAP and is willing to abandon her stuff, and her job, break her lease, and leave. She has called me several times crying and says she is just sick to her stomach and cannot function. The catch is, she cannot get back without our help. She is scared to fly and has no plan for when she is back. 2 weeks ago she went to the emergency room and they put her on Zanex. But she has not made a follow up appointment and is “spacing” the pills out only when she has the attacks. I can get her into the doctor next tuesday, which is the day she wanted me to drive her back home. I agreed to take her back if that is what she wanted but I do not feel comfortable doing so until she is stabilized. Her “plan” is to get her old job back which she says she can do, and move in with her mom (grandma) who has her own issues as well. I feel responsible to make sure she is going to be ok.

I think I have realized that I need to be the one to take control and make some decisions for her, which she will probably let me do. But I am starting from zero here. I don’t know her healthcare insurance or even if she has any. I don’t know where to start with getting her some and all I hear about is horror healthcare stories.

I think for now we are going to move her back in with us until she can get stabalized and make some sound decisions and then talk about getting her back home.

She loves her grandkids and they love her.

Any suggestions or experiences would be appreciated.

I need information on:
1)Getting her out of her apartment and if they will be understanding about breaking the lease because of medical issues.
2)Helping her get to a doctor and getting correct treatment for her problems.
3)Getting her insurance situation figured out. If she has any or if she can be on medicaid. And where and how to get that taken care of.
4) Guidance on how to get her back if that is what she really wants and how to make sure that her problem is not 1800 miles away for us to deal with instead of right here.

A little info on us.
I am a stay at home homeschooling dad.
My wife is a genetic plant scientist who is also in an MBA program
We have 4 kids

We have a lot on our plate, and as a family we can handle the MIL situation if we just have a plan of attack. But this has to be done by me as much as possible as my wife is stressed out enough as it is.

Again, on paper we might look flooded with stress but honestly my days are pretty routine and the kids are the easiest part of our lives.

I just need to know where to start and what to say to my MIL.

Oh and of course. Prayers.

I’m very familiar with the nature of anxiety disorder. Going back to her original town is not going to cure it and living with her mother might even facilitate her hiding away from the world more. She needs to have professional help in overcoming this and she needs to realise that with counselling, cbt and mild medication, she can return to normal life. A lot of people experiencing this horrible condition of ‘panic attacks’ cannot imagine ever being free from it and embark on a process of avoidance rather than attacking it. It’s reported that only about half the people experiencing anxiety disorder actually seek professional help which is so sad. She’ll end up with agoraphobia if she just lets it go. However, I’m not in the US so I can’t give any advice on medical insurance. In Australia, your normal GP can prescribe mild anti anxiety medication and follow through to make sure you aren’t having a negative reaction to the particular medication. It takes a month or two for the medication to take its effect so people have to be patient and consistent with their treatment. The good thing is though, that this condition can be managed really well with treatment and medication can be reduced and abandoned eventually when the body has learned a new way of dealing.

God bless your MIL. She is lucky to have you and her daughter to watch out for her.

HoosierDaddy said:

“Recently she has made the rash decision that she MUST move back to our old town ASAP and is willing to abandon her stuff, and her job, break her lease, and leave. She has called me several times crying and says she is just sick to her stomach and cannot function. The catch is, she cannot get back without our help. She is scared to fly and has no plan for when she is back. 2 weeks ago she went to the emergency room and they put her on Zanex. But she has not made a follow up appointment and is “spacing” the pills out only when she has the attacks. I can get her into the doctor next tuesday, which is the day she wanted me to drive her back home. I agreed to take her back if that is what she wanted but I do not feel comfortable doing so until she is stabilized. Her “plan” is to get her old job back which she says she can do, and move in with her mom (grandma) who has her own issues as well. I feel responsible to make sure she is going to be ok.”

I can see why you put “plan” in quotation marks. None of this sounds like the product of a rational mind.

Maybe add conditions to moving her back as a way to reassure her but put the breaks on that plan? Here are some possible conditions: 1) She goes on the medication and stays on it until a doctor takes her off. 2) She clears the plan to move in with grandma with grandma (and you should confirm that with grandma). 3) She gets a job back home or makes up a list of a dozen possible places to work before moving back. 4) She starts saving money for the move.

You can adjust that according to your needs, but definitely don’t move her back until you are totally comfortable with the situation. She could easily wind up wigging out and in a homeless shelter thousands of miles from anybody who can help her if you move her back right now.

You may want to consult a professional to see if it’s safe to have her in your home, as that would be a good compromise to taking her back.

“I think I have realized that I need to be the one to take control and make some decisions for her, which she will probably let me do.”

Yes. You sound really level-headed. It is on some level an advantage that this is not your mother.

“1)Getting her out of her apartment and if they will be understanding about breaking the lease because of medical issues.”

You can try to find a replacement tenant. But if that doesn’t work and if she is as close to indigent as it sounds, there’s nothing they can do to her if she has no money. Don’t be afraid of breaking the lease if push comes to shove, but I would not be in a hurry to give up that apartment if there’s money to pay the lease right now.

Best wishes!

Moving can be very stressful for an older person -even if she’s not very old. Disrupted routines, new stores, traffic, doctor, etc to get used to, a new job, making new friends at an age when most people are very settled. It is all hard. Also, the holidays have probaly added to her stress and “disorder” in her life.

I’d ask her to come back and live with your family for a bit while you get things organized. Having her where she’s not alone and not on her own (for errands, etc.) may help her feel better and will give you time to determine a compete plan.

Call her apartment complex and find out what her lease says. The fee to break the lease may be an amount you are willing to pay. Since she hasn’t lived there long, they may be willing to negotiate on the amount they take for cleaning/wear & tear. If there is a clause for medical reasons, than use it. I’m not familiar with what that might entail.

Yes, she needs to see a doctor. If she’s not working full-time, she probably doesn’t have insurance through work, but may be eligable for medicaid/medicare depending on her age and income. As your wife’s mother, she may also be eligable to be on her plan if she is living with your family.

Ask your doctor’s office about insurance and make an appointment there. The office will likely be able to give you advice about how best to get her care.

You may also want to get a power of attorney and a medical release as well. Even if she moves back, it will be good for someone to already have that who is willing and able to help her.

How long did you plan to live in this area? If it for a year or two (rather than 5 or 6) she may be OK staying as long as she can live with you. Are you and your wife ready for that?

God bless you. I’ll be praying for your situation. Please pray for my mother who recently had a health scare.

I wish I had some advice. I wish you luck. I’ll say a prayer for you and your family.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

:gopray:

From me also, a prayer for your mother-in-law, you, and your family.

God bless you for the love you are showing your mother-in-law, and God bless you for your kindness and patience! Clearly you are a good Christian husband and father and want to do the right thing for your mother-in-law, please be assured of my prayers.

Unfortunately some of the factors impacting your decision requires specific knowledge that we don’t have, such as details of her lease, what her health insurance is like, how much money she has in the bank, what her employment/living possibilities are back “home” and other things. My suggestion is that you sit down and put all of these things together before driving anywhere or doing anything.

You are right not to want to jump up and drive her across the country on short notice. She is in a crisis situation and is making rash decisions because she is in panic mode. Someone else mentioned that moving away may not even help and they are probably right, she is seeking to escape her feelings but her feelings will be going right along with her.

One thing you might have to accept too, is that some of this may be out of your hands. I say this because you seem like a very organized, clear-headed, take charge kind of person, and I don’t want you to be disappointed or too hard on yourself if (despite your best efforts) your mother-in-law still has anxieties even though you are helping her. Please be assured of my prayers and please update when you can if you are up to it on how things are going, God bless you.

Postpone her making any decisions and taking any action until she has been to see a doctor and a psychiatrist and has her mental health issues under control. It can literally take months to find the right combination of therapy and medications that work for a specific person. You don’t want her doing anything rash until you know she is thinking clearly and in the habit of taking her meds and seeing her doctor regularly for therapy and medication adjustments. Her sudden and not well planned decision to try to move back might be caused by the Xanax. Some people respond well to the medication others experience muddled thinking and need to have the dosage adjusted, an additional medication added, or to be taken off it altogether in favor of another medication.

There should be a state agency that handles applications for medicaid. Here, it is the Department of Health and Human Services.

How old is your mom? Does she quality for Medicare yet? Also, are you are on her HIPPA forms? Docs cannot tell you anything otherwise.

I think a good talk with a financial planner would help tons.

First of all,Thanks everyone for posting. I am amazed at CAF because while we all love to spout our opinions, everyone seems to come together for those who are in need of advice.
I appreciate your posts and prayers.

I also like when others update threads like this so this is my little update. We had a really good talk with MIL and we got her to agree to move in with us until she is stable. SHe has no health insurance so we got started with medicaid forms for her. We took her into a hospital for a mental evaluation and they said that moving in with us sounds like a good plan and that she needs to keep and go to her doctor appointment on Tuesday. She has stayed with us the past two days and it has been better. While, it is stressful I am just glad to start taking steps in the right direction. We still need prayers and advice so keep it coming. She may have to pay a substantial penalty on her lease but perhaps they will work with us.

Make sure you talk to them about what is going on.

When my mom died, we tried to have my father live alone, but he just wasn’t able to.

So we moved him in with us. It was kind of sudden. One day he was there, and the next he was with us. And we were cleaning out his stuff. It kind of happened all in one weekend.

He got his deposit back, as well as them telling him that they hoped he would do better with us. :wink:

Hoosier Daddy,

You move fast!

Best wishes!

Good news! Keep us updated. I’ll be praying for you.

I’m happy that things are improving for your MIL. I know it’s stressful to live with relatives in your house, but you’ll get through it! Maybe your MIL will improve enough with medical intervention that she’ll be able to live on her own again.

Depending on her mental health, she may not be liable for her lease. Might want to explore that angle when talking to the landlord.

I strongly second the idea of her seeking medical advice. She needs a full physical workup (to rule out any physical causes) and a mental health evaluation.

From the sounds of it, she may have panic disorder. The interesting thing about panic disorder and other anxiety disorders is that they actually respond better to antidepressants than antianxiety drugs. Antidepressants have less abuse potential and work to treat the underlying cause, rather than the symptoms of the problem. A visit with a family physician is essential to determine the cause of her issues and find an appropriate treatment plan. Fortunately, many people with anxiety disorders (myself included; I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder) are able to live very normal, productive lives with the assistance of medication and possibly counselling. She can have a discussion with a doctor to determine the best treatment plan for her situation.

*This is not intended as medical advice. In a similar situation, please consult your regular care provider.

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