Is it unrealistic to expect my father-in-law to help contribute to household expenses?

38 answers | Last updated: Jul 10, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Hello, My father-in-law has been living with us for six years. He is now 81 years old. After his wife died, he was lonely so he sold his home after we renovated our garden style basement into a three room "apartment" for him. The finished space is about 1000sf. He has his own kitchenette, bathroom with large shower, bedroom and living room. He reimbursed us for most of the renovation cost which was about 45K. He is a lovely man whom we all love and appreciate. He still drives and although he gets a little bored once in a while, he enjoys his life. We include him in all visits (family or non-family)which he enjoys. There is just one issue that I find I am a little resentful of. In our initial arrangement, it was agreed that after 2 years of living here, Dad would start paying rent. He sold his house when he moved in and has multiple hundred-thousands in the bank collecting interest. After 2 years, he made a comment about how our arrangement had been to contribute after 3 years and how he already contributes by taking us out for dinner (maybe twice a month). He also brings up things that he bought for us on our birthdays. We just let it go at first since we were in such a new situation and didn't know how to navigate it. It has been six years now, and Dad has never offered to contribute on a regular or any other type of basis. Although I don't think our own finances have anything to do with the appropriateness of him contributing financially, we have paid out of pocket for all three girls college tuitions. We have just finished paying double tuition for our second daughter and are still paying for our third daughter. In all my searches on the web, I have never seen anyone talking about elderly parents contributing to the household expenses. Am I being unrealistic? Are there any rules to follow here?

Expert Answers

Mikol Davis, PhD has worked in community hospitals with geriatric patients suffering from dementia, depression, and other psychiatric problems. He has a doctorate in Psychology from the University of San Francisco and has been in private practice in Marin County, California. Davis co-founded with his wife, Carolyn Rosenblatt.

Here is my short answer based on my professionally consulting with hundreds of families that are caring for their aging parents. Answer "YES" demand that Dad contribute to the household expenses.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Your father is getting up in age.  Unless you can't pay your bills I would enjoy the time you have left with him.  He sounds set in his ways and really believes that dinner and gifts once in a while makes up for it.  My dad is similar and unless it is completely unbearable financially, just enjoy the time left.

Love @ home answered...

I'd like to hear more on this subject.  Should an elderly parent who is well off help in some financial way?  Especially when it is financially taxing to the caregiver. answered...

Getting up in age? He sounds miserly if you ask me, but now that its gone on this long, it  probably wont be worth the fight if youy don't really need the rent $$ from him.

A fellow caregiver answered...

You know, it really sounds to me like you have an ideal situation.  You were able to accomodate your father in law with his financial help.  He is evidently sweet and kind and you can include him in events with and without friends.   He evidently cares enough and has the brains to remember and shop for gifts.  If you can afford to pay for 3 college tuitions, you dont need his money on a monthly basis.  How much could an extra 1,000 sf add to your electric bill?   How much food could an 81 year old possibly eat?

I say all this so you can realize what you do have, and how much longer will you have him?   I lost my wonderful, caring, sweet, kind mom 6 months ago.   She did everything for my father who has macular degeneration and can not drive.   He was nasty and ugly to her all their married life, almost 50 years.   She was a saint and a doormat for staying married to him because she knew no one else would be able to deal with him, and he was unable to care for himself.  The burden of caring for this angry man has fallen to me.  I've done everything to take care of him and have, over the past 6 months, spent less and less time with him.  He has proven he is unable to care for himself properly, is losing weight and may eventually suffer the effects of not eating correctly as a diabetic.  He WILL eventually lose toes, possibly damage his kidneys.   I've been unable to teach him to eat right, nor has a nurse who was going to his house.  He is unteachable.   I wish, oh how I wish I had a father that was not half crazy, addle brained and nice.  Someone I'd be happy to have live with me and care for him.   I want to care for him properly, but he is so nasty and ugly that I cant be around him.  I wont put up with verbal abuse, and he sometimes gets physical and pushes me.  I absoutely wont put up with it!

Please realize what you have.  You dont need the rent each month.  You need to go give that man an hug and thank him for being normal, nice and kind.

Galowa answered...

need more info...

1)  has the living arrangement been formalized with a written contract?  

2)  was the cost for the renovations given to you as a gift? or does he own a percent of your house?

3)  was their any witness besides yourselves to the development or discussion of any part of this exchange?

4)  does he have other children?

5)  does he have a will, and has "the arrangement" and/or the 40k payment been addressed in the context of his will?  has he named a power of attorney?


6)  does he eat with you or prepare his own meals? (shopping, food prep, clean-up...)

7)  does he do his own laundry?

8)  does he have his own circle of friends or is he socially dependent on your family? does he vacation with you?  can you and your spouse go out and leave him home alone

9)  when he is sick are you expected to care for him? have you discussed what will happen should he become incapacitated?

10)  does he really LIVE in the basement apartment, or does he just sleep there?  Does he have unlimited access to your home and vice versa?  If you go out for an evening without him, does he hang out in his apartment or in your living room?  Does he have his own telephone?


11)  for how much could you rent the apartment to a stranger?  take that amount and multiply it by 12, then again by six.  have you hit 40k yet?

12)  what is the impact of his presence on your taxes, water, energy bills , etc?





A fellow caregiver answered...

did anonymous see the part that said financially taxing?  Maybe someone doesn't like to complain & is ALREADY very good @ seeing the good side of life.  That doesn't mean that the caregiver is free from financial stress.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Thank you to all for your responses.   You have provided thoughtful input to us which we can consider as we move forward.  Any time a family willingly becomes a caregiver, there will be things to work out, particularly over a six year and growing time frame.  We love our father, he loves us, and our kids have a special relationship with him that would not have occurred had he not moved in with us.  That is priceless.  We are not trying to relegate our relationship to an expense sheet, however we were curious as to how other families cope with shared living expenses in a long term situation such as ours.  Thank you all for your thoughts.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Don't you think a $45,000 investment in YOUR home is worth quite a bit?  He won't realize any financial benefit from the renovations, but you surely will if and when you decide to sell your house! 

While Dad is physically healthy now, if that situation should change, and he is forced to live in assisted living or long-term care, his savings could be depleted rapidly.  Keep that in mind.

Any financial agreement should be in writing, especially if it is with a relative.  That type of situation can "go south" more easily than with a stranger, it seems. 

A fellow caregiver answered...

To the contributor who said "  Isn't a $45,000 investment in your house enough?"===Wow!  I thought this site was for support- not a feel better by attacking others zone!  I have not given all our personal information per my husband's wishes.  We are incurring huge electric and heating fuel bills as well as living in one of the most expensive tax areas in the country so the addition, though great for Dad has only added expense to us.  All that aside, we love him and I am committed to his having the right to dignity in his old age.  This question line is such a SMALL part of our life.  Now I'm sorry I ever looked for direction from the members of this website.  The only helpful response came from GALOWA-Thanks by the Way-Our goal is to all survive with fond memories and the knowledge that we honored an honorable man without sacrificing our children's education to do it.  PLEASE READ THE RULES AGAIN BEFORE RESPONDING.  I'M NOT A COMPLAINER NOR DO I POST PUBLICLY ABOUT TRIVIAL STUFF so that should tell you SOMETHING if you have any sensitivity at all.  Sorry if I took this wrong but I just got back from the seventh DR visit this month.  Try a little understanding.  Your comments make me wonder how much of THAT you give your own parent.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Hi there,

I apologize if you took my answer (mine was the one that ended "get a hug and enjoy him") as slamming you.   This website, I've found has a lot of different views, and I've found it helpful as it makes you think about a different side of things you didnt see before.  Only you know your financial situation, and if you truly need financial help based on the property taxes and electric bill, then approach him about it.     If he is as kind and sweet as you say he is, then he will understand a serious plea for assistance.  When and if he needs to go into an assisted living, or if you ever sell your home when he's gone, you can take the portion of what he invested into your home and put it in a trust in his name, give it to charity, anything that would help the family as a whole feel that you didnt receive any unfair advantage.

it is all a lot to consider and deal with.  Hang in there. 

Galowa answered...

 to anonymous (topic initiator)

"Father-in-law's Contribution to Family Expenses"

you are most welcome for anything of value i may have posted.  it was never my intention that you reveal all your personal info on the site - only to make clear how complicated these situations are, and how MANY perspectives and questions there are to consider.  

my 81 yo mother has alzheimer's disease and has now lived with me and my family for  4 1/2 years.  I am responsible for every aspect of her life and her affairs.  we too live in an expensive area (marin county, california) and her presence has far-reaching impacts on every aspect of ALL our lives, not the least of which being the financial.  

we understand that even a SLIGHTLY dependent elder can never be "just a tenant..."  after all, if that were the case your father-in-law could have chosen to live ANYWHERE.  but he is old, lonely, afraid, and needy, and as time passes his needs will grow greater.  and he does expect and DEPEND on the fact that you will be there for him. and too, you obviously are willing to be there for him, or the situation would not have developed to this point.

so - you are ONE household.  everyone helps everyone else.  someone can cook, someone can shop.  someone needs help and reassurance at doctor visits - or an advocate!  someone may even feel the need for a buffer between himself and certain other family members who offer him little but are overly interested in his "estate."

we received a lot of help from a social worker who specializes in elder issues and facilitated some very open and frank conversations for all of us (adults) about the way things were, how and why they had become that way, what it meant to and for ALL parties involved (yes, your children have a financial stake in this, something i doubt your father-in-law has considered,) what we all meant to one another (not just emotionally) AND what that was "worth" both in value and money.  she was GREAT.

it strikes me that what is happening at your house is a gradual, but profound, evolution of  your household dynamics - a direct result of your "dad's" gradually increasing needs - the bulk of the responsibility for which falls upon you as mother-nurturer-caregiver-woman.   as the load subtly increases, we begin to ask "is it worth it?" and naturally look first to the monetary impacts as they are easily quantifiable and emotionally neutral.  

but you are asking legitimate questions, starting in the most obvious and logical place, and you WILL figure it all out.  meanwhile, you are not alone.  

most people on this site are much further along this road of questioning you are just beginning to travel, and their answers reflect their exhaustion, their pain, their lack of support, and their internal conflicts.  all have unique stories, all cope as well as possible, and all mean well.  but we all sacrifice and we all suffer and we all love, and we struggle with our limitations.

my mother cruelly abused me both physically and psychologically when i was a child, and she continued psychologically when i became an adult.  i was her most "successful" child, yet her least loved.  she lives with me because no one else wants her, busy as they are with "their own lives," and i cannot bring myself to institutionalize her.  

my family comes first, and though she is a part of my family, she represents the past, not the future. when i explain this to her, that my children come first, she tells me proudly that she really does understand.  "after all" she'll say, "in my life, your sister and brother ALWAYS came first." 

hang in there.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Thank You Galowa, you provided a very thoughtful answer, eloquent and insightful, and captured in words the essence of what we were trying to learn in asking our original question.  The sharing of your own situation, and how it has been resolved has given us questions to ask of ourselves and a new way to look at each of our roles and responsibilties.  Your comment regarding the responses from other members and how they relect the particular foxholes these people find themselves entrenched in is a very gracious reminder to me to be patient and gracious as well.  Thanks for your help.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Thanks to Mikol DAvis for your response. We just don't know how to bring up Dad contributing to the household, how to ask or demand or even what would be fair. The space could rent for $1000 (not including the garage space for his car), but we're not looking for rental equivalance.

Galowa answered...


if you send me a hug or prayer, and include your email, we can communicate privately. i cannot send YOU one since you "anonymous."

thinking of you... : )


Galowa answered...

Dear anonymous,

Here are a few links which might help. I would be happy to offer my two cents if you were to get in touch via "hug."





AND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST (even though it is after the fact...)

PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO "Point #5." "Will your family member contribute financially?" (below)

($45,000, as you NOW know, is NOT what it used to be... NOR is it nearly enough for what you and your family have had to and will continue to have to give up...)

Wishing YOU the VERY best!


Good luck!


Galowa answered...


You do not mention whether or not your husband's father has any disabilities or dementing conditions such as Alzheimer's. However, you DO refer to yourself as a "caregiver." Is "Dad" in need of care for some reason?

If so, posting it would go a long way toward clarifying for the community why you feel the need for help with expenses. My own mother has AD, and I can tell you that I (along with my husband) provide personal housekeeping, shopping-food prep-cooking-serving-cleanup, scheduling, entertaining, laundry, personal cleaning-hygiene-grooming-dressing/undressing-bedtime preparation, med management, financial management, PROPERTY management for TWO PROPERTIES (not our own,) exercise...


From a COST perspective, she showers longer than anyone, uses the toilet TEN times more often, leaves the water partly on after washing her hands, leaves lights on ALL over the house, eats like a hose, craves SWEETS and TREATS (complaining if not available,) causes untold DAMAGE to the house, its contents, and our psyches (often by "trying" to help.)

To date she has broken my blender jar and my laptop computer screen, the porcelain toilet bowl in her bathroom, torn clothing while folding it, destroyed garden plantings by "weeding them out...," broken THREE vacuum cleaners..., broom handles, plates-dishes-utensils-glasses, MY eyeglasses, a car door handle, car's leather upholstery, and several telephones. This list is by no means complete. It's all I can think of right now.

Additionally, her presence in our home/lives required that we purchase a larger vehicle (family van that seats seven) which cost $21,000 and drove up our car insurance.

We also needed to increase our home liability insurance in case she's injured on our property (and my sister or brother decide to sue us...)

TELEPHONE has skyrocketed as we attempt to keep her connected to all the family who never call HER.

But, worst of all, SHE CAN NEVER BE LEFT ALONE... This makes ME (usually me) a VIRTUAL PRISONER IN MY OWN HOME, literally trapped with a tragically pathetic LUNATIC. It is EXHAUSTING. NO ONE should have to listen to "Hi" (like its the FIRST time) over fifty times a day...

I can't handle going on right now, (lucky for you,) but perhaps another time.



Cmacp answered...

A very common problem. I suggest you speak with your father-in-law (actually, your husband should take on this responsibility - it's his Dad). Just explain to him that the increase in monthly bills has become a bit of a burden. If you haven't asked him, you just don't know yet if he would mind chipping in a bit. Be specific re the additional electric, gas, etc. He may be perfectly willing to help pay his costs if he knows the situation. You also mention 7 Dr visits in one month. Can he take a taxi or is there a Senior Citizen transportation service in your area? It sounds like your father-in-law is a lovely man. I think charging him rent would be crass, but asking him to contribute monthly to the additional financial burden seems reasonable.

Cmacp answered...

Galowa is right. If he has disabilities and/or Dementia etc., or if he's a healthy independent Senior, makes all the difference in how the community responds with suggestions.

Cmacp answered...

I detect that most of the community sees the $45,000 for renovation as a red flag re family reaction. My husband had a traumatic brain injury and was self employed. In an instant, our income plumetted, while our costs sky rocketed. I have been his sole care giver. We were forced to our assets to live and for his medical needs while waiting 2yrs and 5 mos for Medicare to start.

His family still refuses to help - even though it's their brother and their son, because they keep focusing on the small savings we had when the injury happened. They seem to think it's still in tact and that I've been living on a gravy train. They seem oblivious to hiow much it has cost to live and care for him this last 2 1/2 yrs. They ignore the value of my time and the fact I've been unable to return to work, - thus loosing income. As his TBI induced Dementia increased, I've I've had to absorb costs of household items broken when he gets into a rage. Then there are dental costs from grinding my teeth from stress and treatment for a new ulcer. Yet, they concentrate on the $40,000 savings. They act as though we don't need help. His mother repeatedly asks for a 15 yr gift to be repaid (she now claims it was a loan)- given before I met my husband - as though we have vast finances laying around. My point is that family can get very "squirrelly" when money is in the picture. Unless you are your father-in-laws sole heir, I'm sure the $45,000 renovation of your home is a BIG issue in their minds. Extended family probably even think that you are continuing to benefit from your father-in-laws presence - taking you all out to dinner etc.

A fellow caregiver answered...

I'm not sure why this should even be a question for you. Everyone should contribute to a household. Just as adult "kids" who move home should pay room/board or rent, so should your father in law. If he didn't have your home, he would be paying lots of money to live in a senior or assisted living facility. Although you say he's a lovely man, it sounds to me like he is taking advantage of you and your husband.

Not myself answered...

I've skimmed each post, and see but one constant; regardless of how much money anyone has, there are some pure and simple facts that are inarguable. Every person added to a household adds an equivalent expense. X people divided by X square feet--Utility bill divided by X people = ? Grocery bill divided by X people = ? Time for laundry, cleaning, shopping, etc. = ? Gas and milage for doctors office trips, time off from work = ? Extras given age or disabilities (such as "depends", sweet tooth feeding, nutrient supplements, vitamins, orthopedic hardware . . . and on and on. Not for nothing do most nursing homes charge upwards of $5,000. per person per month. A 45K investment in your house is eaten alive in nine months!

My own father (who, with my mother, lives with me and my husband) figured out all these numbers for himself when they moved in with us. He GAVE me his power of attorney, and added my name to all his accounts. I borrowed (and I do mean borrowed) money from him to cover surgery I needed--without it I would not have been sufficiently capable of caring for them--and he KNOWS me, and knows that it will be repaid. More than that, though, he doesn't care if it is or not. He gets it. Your time, your money, your marriage, your life? Not exactly items we would like to think of as negotiable. It takes what it takes, and anyone who hasn't done it may say whatever they like. The cost can be your marriage, your life, your home, your health. Don't kid yourself--you are asking the question "AM I WORTH ANYTHING?" The answer, I hope you know, is OF COURSE YOU ARE! Best of thoughts and hopes for your well being!

PS: I'm not even sure if this is a response or a "vent". Whatever: given the nature of the website I assume it's my prerogative. Apologies if necessary, but I should hope not!

Galowa answered...

Dear Anon...

Something just caught my eye -

"Garage space for his car..."

I certainly hope that doesn't mean that one of YOUR vehicles is living in the DRIVEWAY!!? If he feels the need to garage his car - let him build you a new GARAGE while he's at it!

I have posted many times before, so I am going to keep this brief.



Your father-in-law is NOT YOUR EQUAL in your home.

He, like your children, is "passing through..." He, like your children, is "dependent."

Unlike your children, he has assets. But if your children HAD assets, along with special needs they needed you to fulfill, you would use those assets to:


And that's what you need to do now.

Start sharing some of the wilder stories with your father-in-law and husband. Then toss this one into the mix. Don't share any info that would reveal that it's YOUR POST, of course. BUT BRING UP THE TOPIC THIS WAY.




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Jenny seymour answered...

Way too many answers to read each- but I would like to give my opinion on this matter. I think considering that you made an agreement that he would pay, there is no reason to expect less than what you agreed upon. I'm not sure of the relationship, but speaking from my own relationship with my parents I would just sit him down and talk things through and explain that this is what you initially agreed upon, and think that it's time to discuss and move forward with the agreement, maybe even write a formal agreement from this point forward so that there is no disagreeing on what you initially discussed.

Hope this helps! Good luck to you! ~Jenny

A fellow caregiver answered...

I agree with the commenter who mentioned a will and other legal matters. This area needs to be settled in writing and with legal advice. For legal "peace of mind" power of attorney, medical power-of-attorney, a will, etc., must be in place, also where his financial papers and records are. If there are siblings involved, this should definitely be resolved before he dies. Possibly, you could bring this up by talking about your own will and wishes or mention the problems a "friend" had/has because a family member does not have these areas in place. And last, but not least, mention the cost of probate if he dies without a will. I know about most of this because of my father's death,seven siblings and no will or directions or knowledge of paperwork. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't cheap. Good luck -

Silvia isabel answered...

My dad with dementia lives with me and my family. If he didn't have any money or income, he would still live with me. My dad is difficult, and takes so much of my time. The extra expense includes foods, space heater as he likes his room hot, clothing, etc. I see it as a given that he contributes money to the household. Why wouldn't he? At the end, either the government will take it if he has to enter a home, or my brothers will get it (evenly split with me) when he passes. My brothers are not doing a thing for my dad. Not even a phone call. The money does not equal the work, emotions, and time that I give, but it does help with the expenses. And as his caregiver, that helps with my stress.

A fellow caregiver answered...

I'm afraid I don't have the answer for you. I feel as though my elderly father-in-law has been fortunate to have lived at his parents home 30 years, married, had three children and paid $35.00 a month rent for fifty years and now lives with us for the past three plus years and pays an average of $400.00 per month for Assisted Living Services we provide in our home. He has our master bedroom, private bath, his own thermostat, fridge, the Hockey, Baseball and Football Channels, laundry services, taxi, Rx pick-up, meals served on his time schedule: 8:00 am, 11:30 am and 5:30 pm. He gets taken to the barber, the bank, the pharmacy on Saturday and gets taken out to dinner on Sunday (at the resturant of his choice). We don't get to choose and there happens to be no respite in site! He is 94 years old and still does his own personal care. I've forgotten what it was like to have a life! We have helped been helping for the past eight years! I am so burnt! Oh, did I mention his only daughter ripped him off for about $36,000 and she had been our only form of respite! My wonderful brother-in-law was supposed to take him in, but instead moved one of his son's friends in the house instead! What a croc!!!!!

A fellow caregiver answered...

If he understand that there was an agreement to contribute after three years, then do as Galowa suggested, it's important that these agreements, and his wishes are in writing and signed by your father-in-law, so he will not feel as if he is being mistreated or losing control of this life as and the dinners are quality time spent together and gifts are just explain to him, by paying maybe a third of his monthly income for his expenses, housing and utilities,this allows him to be independent. keep love and peace in your home always. enjoy your parents while you can.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Would asking for help for education expenses for your children be an appropriate tradeoff? Many grandparents contribute to education costs that is a totally tax free gift. Maybe it could bring everyone closer?

Kristenhonore answered...

HI - I've read through a lot of the responses and skimmed the rest, so forgive me if I repeat someone's story or response.

My story:

My mother sold her mobile home about 15 years ago to "pay for renovating my second floor" - (I have a cape cod style house which at the time, had an unfinished upstairs when we built it.) It barely covered a third of the renovation. I brought my mom to my home, for a lot of reasons - struggling financial situation and health issues being the most prominent ... I have 4 siblings of which are no help except unwanted advice, a typical story of so many of us here. In the beginning we discussed and planned on her making the payments for our equity loan that we took out to finance the renovation, we are still waiting for that to happen. Money is always there for one of my siblings or something she needs... she too will mention all the free day care she gave us and the laundry and dishes she did... never the hours, days and even weeks I've had to take off for illnesses and countless surgeries over the years, the vacations we didn't take the tension of two households living together. We too had all of our utilities as well as our property taxes double. Many people told us how lucky we were to have our upstairs finished... that we should feel her "donation" was payment enough for living with us. We should be so blessed to have her live with us and help raise our son... I don't need to even discuss with any of you who's mothers have come to live with you how difficult it is to be a daughter and a mother to your children and your own mother. Every persons situation is different but also so much the same... as she has gotten older she has become completely dependent on me for her health as well as her relationship as a daughter has changed to that of a mother to her... a very difficult situation for both of us, a life change that comes to all of us who decide to have our parents move in with will come to you too eventually, which is why you need to settle this now.

My advice for what it's worth: I love my mother dearly, although I have to admit I've learned to accept that I do not always like her, as I'm sure she would say the same. But discussing money is a very difficult thing to talk to a parent about especially when they are financially able to help pay.
All the things they do are appreciated... the dinners out, the child care and helping in other ways... but doing something nice for those you love and live with is part of living in a household and has nothing to do with sharing the financial burdens of living together...(either that or I need a refund from some where...) It isn't about whether you "need the money." Obviously you could use the extra money to help with your children's college expenses. One thing I haven't seen mentioned here (I might have missed it) is how does your husband feel about all of this... does he feel his father should contribute? If he feels the same as you, you BOTH can talk with your father-in-law. I would sit down with your monthly expenses and show him how much money it takes to run the household, divided by three and show him what his share of "living " there means...(I assume even if any of your children still live with you they don't have their own apartments.) Although you may not expect him to pay 1/3 of the expenses it gives you a starting point...If your husband does not feel the need to have him pay a share(for any reason) than you need to just let go of it and let it be. Or you could always give him brochures for senior living because you want to down size, now that the kids are grown... :)

Please don't give up on the forum here ... we all have good days and bad, great advice and insightful thoughts ... but sometimes anger filled responses. Some responses are blinded by our own discomfort and pain ... It's all part of this journey we are all on... and why this forum is so very important.

Daug-in-law answered...

Short comment:

  1. What about your husband's thoughts on this. If he doesn't see a problem - drop it!
  2. Stop letting him buy dinner. Those dinners out are costing you more than if you picked up the tab yourself - pick up the tab!
  3. Speaking of which, you and your husband need to have some dinners on your own.
  4. If your husband is as frustrated as you - he needs to approach his Dad, with you behind him... but don't gang up - 2 against one is never nice (just bite your tongue).
  5. Start high in the discussion, about how much rent you could get if you rented to a stranger (make sure you've done some research on this...)

Good luck!

A fellow caregiver answered...


He is old, based on studies men get cranky with age due to low testosterone. I worked in a nursing home before and I notice most of the unhappy ones are men. In fact there were a lot more men than women, the women were also mostly not capable of helping themselves (thus they were put in a home). Most of the men were able bodied. They just change I guess, mood-wise. Some of them have severed family ties or not in speaking terms with their family.

Personal experience as well, my dad has been working overseas for most of my life. He used to be positive and carign towards us. Later in his career he got fired for some reason, i think a fight with one of his colleagues. He has not able to budget his pension well, leaving me to become an overnight breadwinner on my extremely meager salary. Good thing I am single for now but my family has become a crutch.

Before I didnt have a job, and he would call me names and pick fights with me out of nowhere. I didnt understand it at first, then I eventually felt bitter resentment in the course of 2 years when most of my life remmebers him fondly. I was traumatized by his tauntings that it drove me to have anorexia. How can you not, when every time you go to the kitchen you are told that you're fat or what you're eating is fatty?

When I got a job the teasings stopped, due to the fact I wanted to avoid him, I wasnt eating anymore since he hung out in the kitchen most of the time.

He had some money to pay for some house bills while I pay for groceries and other services. Then one day he just finished up all his month's budget and looked towards me for bills money.

Anyway to cut it short, men change on the older times of their life. In terms of maslows heirarchy of needs if he isnt contributing and if he isnt in a healthy state of mind it is better off that u leave him alone. Forcing him to contribute will or might lead to depression and seriously you dont want that.

A fellow caregiver answered...

In my opinion wether your dad in law is rich enough to contribute financially it doesnt matter. You should not be asking him to contribute anything. Like you said he financially contributed towards the flat he is living in which by the way will bring you in loads of revenue should the time arrive for him to leave this world. besides the fact that he is the father of your husband and like you are paying for your kids expenses so did he when your husband was growing up. One can never reapy ones parents for what they do for us so the little time they have left make it memorable. And dont also forget if he is as well off as he says ultimately your husband will be inheriting from that bundle of wealth anyway.

A fellow caregiver answered...

My Father in law and mother in law living with me for 11 years now, father in law works and has a decent job earning $100k per year. He does not contribute anything at home, no etiquette, manners, very stingy and does not mind taking money from me. And my wife does not take like to take anything from them. He is emotionally black mailing here and we had lots of fights but every time I had to give up. What else can I say, I can write a book on it.

Anomoly answered...

My mother-in-law and father- in-law both live in the home with my sis in-law and her kids. Its her parents. They do not contribute to any expenses and is pretty taxing on the entire family. It ended up breaking up her marriage. I suggest having rules and agreements in place before or if a situation like this needs to happen. It leaves people resenting each other.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Think you should drop the word 'contribute' entirely. Dad, we have talked to our accountant and have decided to turn your space into a rental. Beginning in January, we will be charging you $600 a month for your space and report on a Schedule E on our tax return. Doing this will allow us to make improvements and add-ons that will benefit you directly as well as increase the value of the home. Everybody pays rent Dad. If the kids were out of college and wanted to come home, after a short grace period, we would be charging rent. Period. Let him see some benefit by professional housecleaning of his space, better lighting, accessible improvements to his kitchen and bath. Everybody pays rent. Charge him rent, report the income and take all the tax deductions, treat it as a business and don't be afraid to make improvements of all kinds, those will be tax favored because they'll be business deductions using simple depreciation. We can't expect them to understand today's cost him, he paid for life with that 45K which was probably three times what he paid for his house. 'Everybody pays rent, Dad'. We're going to start treating this is a business, the rent is This, and it starts in January.

Countrypumpkin answered...

I have read every ones situation and I have one of my own. I recently moved a relative in with my husband and I. He's 84 , can take care of his self, cleans his room, bathroom, pays his cell phone bill, buys my fuel to take him places like getting his hair cut, to get his medication, shopping. He buys food, mows my yard with a riding mower, helps me in the flower beds does his own laundry feeds his dog and buys her food, will clear the table and has washed dishes. If we go out to eat he will pay. My husband is on disability and thinks my uncle should pay 2,000 a month. He didn't pay the house payment cause he wants my uncle to pay it. I told him it is your bill you payed it before he came. He does enough to pay his share. My uncle has given me money if I need something and remodeled his bathroom which he payed for to make it easier for him. Any suggestions on what I should do? Is 2,000 a month to much