What can/should we do to help my father-in-law?
January 12, 2009 10:36 AM Subscribe
What can/should we do to help my father-in-law? He's mismanaged his money, he's unemployed and he's in danger of losing everything.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My father-in-law is unemployed and in danger of losing his house. He has a history of mismanaging money and has not paid his bills, so everything is turned off except for the electric and water. He doesn't appear to be actively seeking work; as far as we know he has only applied for a small handful of jobs in the last few months. He does have a pension because he worked for the city, but it's not enough to cover everything. Until recently, his daughter lived with him and helped with expenses, but she just moved in with her boyfriend. She has two small children and really can't help much now that she's paying rent elsewhere.
He's either a compulsive hoarder or just an extreme slob; the house is barely fit for human habitation. He is probably depressed and has been diagnosed with ADD, but won't take medication nor seek therapy. His health insurance runs out next month and he's too young for Medicare. Fortunately, there are no drug/alcohol issues, and he's in OK health for his age. Considering his dire financial situation, he's surprisingly chipper and enjoyable to be around.
He has been divorced from my husband's mother for 30 years and is in a new relationship with a single mother of three. I am sure she can't afford to help out, even if she is willing (they've only been dating a few months). Right now she's out of the country until April. He's previously borrowed money from his 2nd (ex) wife, but she holds it over his head as she hopes they'll get back together.
We really can't help him with the bills. We are living paycheck-to-paycheck as it is, and my husband is having to take a pay cut due to the economy. This is totally stressing out my husband, and I don't know how to approach this. His family tends to be "rescuers" - everyone in his family has bailed another member out of a bad situation caused by poor decision-making. My family is pretty self-sufficient, so I have no experience with this kind of dynamic. I'm floored that my father-in-law doesn't seem to appreciate the gravity of the situation and DO something about it. It's completely foreign to me.
My husband is thinking that he might have to move in with us. I certainly don't want to see this guy on the street, but I'm also afraid of him becoming a semi-permanent resident. I don't expect him to be any more motivated to change while he's living with us, and meanwhile our standard of living will decrease. I have nightmares of piles of laundry and garbage and dishes. My husband and a previous girlfriend lived with his father before we met, and the stress of the living conditions were a factor in my husband's breakup with the girl. No amount of cajoling and encouragement has helped motivate my father-in-law to go to a doctor or find work. What do we do? What do I do if he has to move in?