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Help needed for Mother-in-law.


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My MIL lives 2000 miles away. She has been married for over 15yrs.

She has some serious medical and psych issues. We suspect Bipolar, but it's never been confirmed. She has ALL the signs of it though.

DH has been worried about her so he flew out to visit her for a few days last month. He didn't expect to find her in the condition she was in. She quit taking all of her meds months ago & hasn't been managing her diabetes. She has taken to staying in the house 24/7, sleeping for 90% of the time. She also isn't taking care of herself, no showering and has taken to wearing depends for whatever reason.

It is now obvious she is in a pretty deep depression. Dh talked to her husband, who, up until now hasn't done a thing for her. He was working 3rd shift and when he was home, he would lock himself in his room to get away from her. Yes, they have seperate bedrooms.

Her husband said he was going to get her help. So instead of taking her to the hospital, or calling 911, he took her to a walk-in clinic, where they discovered her blood sugar was through the roof. Aparently they got it stablized and let her go. Then, he got a referral to take her to a counselor. She went twice, but refuses to go back. Her husband is pushing for marriage counseling and thinks it will cure everything.

We think she needs inpatient care. Both for her medical needs & her psych needs. But, her husband either won't, or doesn't want to, pursue that.

So dh is frustrated. Talking to MIL's husband is a waste of time. He'll listen, but then will tell you what you want to hear. It's obvious he isn't going to do what needs to be done to get her on the path to being stable again.

So we're wondering if there is anything we can do. Is it possible to have human services or another agency step in and go above her husbands head to get her the care she needs? How would we go about doing this from 2000 miles away??

We are at a loss and it's obvious something needs to be done.


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Guest ASchwartz

HI wisconsinwoman,

Yes, there are some options available:

1. Your husband(DH?) can call Adult Protective Services, report neglect of a sick and possibly mentally ill woman, and they will go there, do an assessment and that will get things started.

2. Call Visiting Nurse Service, they have a mobile unit, report neglect and abuse of your mother in law, also with illness and dangerous depression and they will go in and take it from there.

3. Tell DH to take her by the hand and bring her to the hospital emergency room and report suicidal depression and neglect and they can assess her for mental illness and even get her started on medication or they will transfer her to a psychiatric hospital if they find her to be suicidal.

4. This last idea is very "iffy." Have DH call 911 and report his mother as suicidally depressed. They will come and do an assessment there. However, if they do not believe it is that bad, they will leave.

Anyway, these are a few ideas. It's a matter of convincing these people listed above of how bad off and vulnerable she is.

When do you expect DH back and can you tell us more about the situation?


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Thank You, Allan!

My dh is back here at home now. He went to visit her for 3 days at the end of September. We've been checking in with MIL's husband, via phone, several times a week since then. Dh was very hopeful that MIL's husband was going to get her the help she needed, but it's very obvious now that he is not. :)

In the weeks prior to dh going there to visit, we tried calling MIL numerous times. Sometimes she seemed really coherent, and other times she sounded really out of it. Many times she wouldn't even answer the phone. We couldn't even get ahold of MIL's husband on his cell phone. :mad: Because of this, we called the police in her city and asked them to do a welfare check on 2 seperate occasions. Each time they found everything to be OK. :mad: MIL offered no explanation as to why she wouldn't answer the phone, or call us following the welfare checks.

Dh is so frustrated and feels really helpless right now. He's come right out and told MIL's husband that the best thing for MIL right now is some type of inpatient care. We are baffled as to why he would not want to get her the proper care. But something has to be done, and soon.

I know dh would love to go back out there and bring her back to WI, so she can get the proper care she needs and deserves. I'm just not sure how much dh can do for her, since she does have a husband. kwim?

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It is a very scary thing to think of loosing your life partner... to mental illness or other... MILs Husband is probiably scared. I know when I went down Hill Hubs was scared. He wanted to fix things himself. He didn't want all those ousiders in there. I think her husband cares and probiably knows how bad she is ... but is scared. Be patient with him. But you must do what you must do. In the long run it will be best.


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