How living with invalid in-laws can test a marriage

My father-in-law suffered a stroke about a year ago and has been bedridden since then. My mother-in-law, though able bodied, behaves like an invalid and expects all her chores to be done for her, including serving her bed tea and all meals.

This situation is very tough for us as a family since we have had to hire a male helper to help my father-in-law. We have two teenage daughters and it’s a constant source of concern for us that we now have this strange man spending long hours inside our home.

Both my husband and I, work long hours. As a result of this, our daughters end up catering to the needs of their grandparents, sometimes at the cost of their homework and study time. My mother-in-law will constantly call out to them for some chore or errand and the girls are also starting to feel burdened, though out of respect, they do not utter a word to her.

The situation is complicated further as my in-laws don’t get along with each other. They sleep in separate rooms and my mother-in-law doesn’t raise a finger to help her invalid husband. My mother-in-law is also a negative person and her complaining and nagging affects the environment at home.

Related reading: My mother-in-law did what even my mother wouldn’t do

My husband is very stressed and so am I. I am beginning to have stress related health issues and this situation has been very tough on all of us. The stressful situation passes on to every member of the house, as day to day living has been impacted.

I have been contemplating talking to my husband about moving them to an old age home, or another apartment close to ours, but I am not sure how he will respond. He is a dutiful son and while he has been asking his younger sister (who lives in another city), to share the burden of looking after them, he may not be able to take the step of moving them out.

Man in stress
I understand my husband’s burden

The thought of making this suggestion is also tough for me because I understand my husband’s burden. But there doesn’t seem to be any other solution in sight.

We have tried hard not to let this situation affect our relationship as a husband and wife. We talk things through and we try to support each other. Whenever a conflict arises, we function like a unit to resolve it but it is getting more difficult as time passes.

But to raise the topic of moving them to another place is still taboo and I am unsure of how he will react, even though I know he understands my point of view. He is very supportive, but he is also very stressed due to this situation.

Things are also a bit complicated since we belong to a community where it is accepted that only the son will look after ageing parents.

We have lived in a joint family system since we got married 18 years ago, and things were going from bad to worse, as my in-laws were never conscious of looking after their own health. This circumstance has made us pledge that we won’t become burdens on our daughters in our twilight years. We are contemplating buying an old age home or dwelling to be independent. What would you have done in my place?

After she read counsellor Deepak Kashyap’s reply to her query

“I am already doing a few options mentioned but he did give me food for thought…”

(As told to Ritu Goyal Harish by Prachi Khanna)

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Readers Comments On “How living with invalid in-laws can test a marriage”

  1. I understand it is tough. I personally feel sending them old age home will give more negative impact to both of you as well as them. When children are born, they are almost like invalid stage and they can,t do anything on their own. It takes lot efforts( and years ) from parents to bring them to adolesce stage. Similarly, when they are aged, u can,t leave them in old age home leaving to their fate. It will be an emotional breakdown issue for his parents as well as to their son . Imner Conscious keep biting for lifelong which is very difficult to cope up with. Best thing
    1. Keep personal attendant at home for their care when u both are not available I.e during office hrs.
    2. Keep domestic help during evenings for cooking and cleaning evening hrs so that u are offloaded.
    3. One of the spouse opt for work.from etc.
    If u keep them old age home, parents perception would be that they have become burden to you people and hence they were been thrown out. That would do more damage emotionally. The feeling of being cared makes magic and some times even people have recovered from the worst.
    4. Also take spiritual help for mental peace and innerstrength to withstand the tough situation.
    Being a lonely son & without any sibnlings to my parents I am sharing my views. Aplogies if any of views causes hurt to you.

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