Built Her A Granny Flat, Now We Want Her OUT!

by Unappreciated DIL
(Sunny SoCal)

In 2009, my husband and I went to a great deal of expense to add a secondary dwelling unit to our home. The idea was that his mother, now 83, could live out the rest of her days there rent and worry-free.


She has her own address, a nice little yard, a balcony, a full kitchen and even a jetted walk-in tub in the bathroom. At 650 s/f it's perfect for an older person. We are walking distance to a safe downtown shopping and dining area as well as the beach, public transit, etc.

To say this idea has backfired is the understatement of the century. Instead of being happy and grateful, she has become bitter, angry and isolated. She's put on a lot of weight. The situation just worsened when she had to give up driving due to macular degeneration which she lied about having until she was too blind to get away with it.

She's also going deaf but won't admit that, either. We made her go through a full battery of tests to make sure she isn't developing dementia, which runs in her family. All the doctors agreed that aside from her vision, she's in excellent health.

We have done everything we can to make her comfortable, from buying her a reading machine to setting her up with transit passes and showing her how to get around. We drive her wherever she needs to go.

But she just sits up in her apartment, watching TV and drinking too much because she's bored. She lashes out at us, her friends, total strangers and even her other family members (who are useless and dumped her on us) on a regular basis and just says the ugliest, meanest things you can imagine. Then she gets all weepy and apologizes. I'm over it. Even her own son says he won't be terribly upset when she passes away.

I recently found a wonderful independent senior apartment complex about 10 miles away. Because of all the activities, transportation and recreational facilities I think she's be much happier there, and I KNOW we would be. We could swing it financially by renting out her granny flat.

How would you go about convincing her this is the best for all concerned? She's still independent enough to take full advantage of a place like that and I really think it would improve her outlook 100% while giving us a much-needed break from her.

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New Horizons
by: Anonymous

Since I first posted on this thread some months ago, my husband and I have relocated for a new job about 300 miles away from our former home and the Mother In Law's granny flat. Best solution ALL around!

We gave her the choice of coming with us to a beautiful, safe and more convenient beach community, she threw a fit. So we told her she could stay put as long as she could maintain her independence.

We moved a family friend into our former residence and in return for (greatly) reduced rent she helps out with her shopping and transportation needs. We visit frequently and stay in our old master suite.

Absence in this case did seem to make the heart grow fonder, although if we stay longer than 48 hours she manages to do or say something that makes us appreciate the physical distance between us now!

And in another fortunate development, the city where she wants to remain is building a fabulous new rent-controlled apartment complex for low-income seniors. About a year ago I put her name on their list and forgot all about it. They recently contacted her and said she was high on the list for being among the first residents. She has NO idea I put her on the list, so she's very gung-ho to move there.

It's right across the street from the senior center and public transit is at the front door, so she'll be able to take better advantage of both.

And we will finally be able to get fair market rent for her granny flat as well as the main home, or sell it -- which having her there was keeping us from doing.

Not a fairy-tale ending, but a pretty good one if you ask me!

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Get your sanity back!
by: Anonymous

I agree w/ third sister. Don't feel bad. Do what you need to do to save your own health! This can lead to your own anxiety issues and depression! Are you the Power of Attorney? If so just do it! My heart goes out to you..

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A Solution!
by: Anonymous

Since I first posted, my husband started working in a new career that is about an hour's commute away. We have decided to get a small second home there, spend part of each week there, and weekends back at our main house, where my unhappy Mother in Law is still living upstairs in her granny flat.

She's had to give up driving but at our insistence is mastering the local bus system. If pressed for time, she has money for a taxi. We drive her on errands when it's convenient for us, which has taught her to get dressed at a reasonable hour and be ready to go at any time.

We will probably move her downstairs into our main house and start renting out her flat to defray the cost of a second home. I feel I can handle it knowing I have a place to escape when she's too much to take.

She's still pretty independent, so assisted living isn't really necessary at this point. But we've found it to be good leverage about keeping herself in shape or else.

I've told her in no uncertain terms that this is her home only as long as she can maintain herself in it. I will not be her caretaker, nor will her son.

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Just move her
by: Anonymous

I am feeling your angst. She probably will still complain in assisted living but will manage and your life will be much better. I am not one who believes that we are to give our lives to our elderly parents who expect much. That is what assisted living is for - and they get paid to do the job that we are expected to do for free.

Not only am I my Mothers 24 hour caregiver, I also am expected to financially help out even though my Mother has much more money than I have. In 5 months she is going to assisted living - period. Many of my friends have been in the same situation and it is always the same story. There is an adjustment period and then they are OK.

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Sensitivity
by: Anonymous

Giving her marching orders is ignorant and insensitive. From experience of an elder I think that she is probably afraid and insecure. ARMD and hearing problems can be EXTREMELY distressing for the elderly. She needs to be spoken to properly and everyone's position made clear. She is vulnerable and needs emotional security and a clear sense of belonging as distinct from materialistic matters.

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My Suggestion?
by: Third Sister

Give up the idea of convincing her. Tell her she's going, and move her. She should be grateful her family can pay for a nice facility for her and is willing to do so, despite her crappy attitude and abusive behavior. Don't apologize. You deserve to get your life back.

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