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#8-Where is the Dividing Line for Spouses Caring for an In-law?

Over the years we have had many cases where a person’s spouse becomes the primary caregiver for their in-law. This arrangement arises for any number of reasons: women are natural caregivers, to avoid having to pay home health aides, or freeing the adult child to continue to work.


This Caregiver arrangement works as a temporary stop-gap measure. It generally is not sustainable long-term. The core reason shared by families is that the caregiving spouse married the adult child, not his parents. The adult child spouse should understand that the caregiving spouse is making significant sacrifices, both personally and professionally, to become a caregiver. Resentment just seems to creep into the situation if the arrangement becomes long-term.


Once the parents cannot handle cleaning themselves after using the bathroom, it is time to hire a home health aide to relieve the spouse of this responsibility. This is the dividing line between what is sustainable and what is not. The disabled parent often finds this situation humiliating. The caregiving spouse becomes angry and resentful, even though they may deny having these emotions and feelings.




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