Author Topic: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.  (Read 5611 times)

Dave1442397

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Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« on: December 16, 2016, 12:16:18 PM »
Situation: My FIL died last April. My MIL is 87, doesn't drive, doesn't want to move closer, currently lives in Atlantic City, NJ. We live in an NJ suburb of Philadelphia, and it's 63 miles of fairly heavy traffic for us to get to AC.

The problem is that most of her friends and social activities are here in our town, so she's constantly looking for rides to and from AC. My wife has been doing that at least every two weeks, sometimes once a week, since April.

I stayed out of it until now, but this week MIL wants someone to drive to AC on Sunday morning, bring her here for some lunch date, and then drive her back to AC. That's about five hours in the car, plus of course the $22 in gas and tolls for each round trip.

She can't really deal with the train (she's afraid she'll trip and fall, which I admit is a possibility). My suggestion to my wife is that she use Uber, which would cost around $45 - $50 each way. If she did that two or three times a month, it would be no big deal money wise. She has roughly $3000/month to spend after expenses.

My wife says she won't want to do that because she doesn't trust strangers. I say she should either learn to trust strangers or admit that she needs to move closer. 

I know I'm being selfish here too. I detest that drive to AC, plus I hate blowing an afternoon or evening sitting in a car basically going nowhere.

What do you guys think? Uber? Keep doing taxi duty? Any other options?

swick

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2016, 12:22:43 PM »
Have you considered the possibility that your MIL might be lonely after loosing her husband and this is the perfect reason/excuse for her to spend extra time (even if it is in the car) with her children?

Aside from that, you could say you are willing to drive x number of times per month up front and let her choose which events are important to use that allotment. Then you can all figure out the next best solution if she wants more than that.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2016, 12:27:52 PM »
It was not easy but I eventually got my parents on Uber. They are in their early 70s so maybe they were more open to this and an 80 yr old.  They finally realized with the smart phone and uber app they can watch the map the whole way and there is a safety benefit to the whole thing being tracked on the phone instead of a taxi driver driving around a bit to much.

But, I suspect she really just wants to see you guys more :)

marielle

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2016, 01:11:33 PM »
How hard would it really be to move? Perhaps you can find a nice place, movers to pack and move everything, and offer to set everything up in the new place to make things easy? If you do all the work it might not be that hard to convince. I agree with the Uber part of it to an extent, but then it's just time she is essentially spending alone (unless she's interested in having conversations with strangers which I doubt). At that age, time is worth a lot more than money and she would be spending 2+ hours doing nothing. I don't blame her for not wanting to spend that much time in a car with a stranger.

tonysemail

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2016, 01:26:04 PM »
yeah, moving seems to be the best option.

If mastering a smart phone is a problem, there are phone concierge services which let seniors use uber and lyft without owning a smartphone-
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/reader-recommendations/using-uberlyft-without-a-smart-phone/

Maybe you can pay an under-employed neighbor to drive her.
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/advice-on-elder-transportation/msg1076704/#msg1076704
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 01:34:03 PM by tonysemail »

Cpa Cat

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2016, 02:04:17 PM »
Move closer or Uber. There really is no other reasonable option. The gas cost is no big deal, but the time suck is outrageous. It is not reasonable for her to expect you and your wife to cart her around at this distance.

I think sometimes we are inclined to coddle the elderly. But this lady is 87, living independently, and has an active social life. Treat her like the grown up she is and explain that you'd love to have her closer to you, but you are not playing taxi anymore.

Once she lives in town, she likely can access ride-services for the elderly that aren't available to her currently because they aren't willing to truck her between towns.

She's learned new technology before and she can do it again - Uber isn't difficult. And you know what? I know people who get to know some Uber drivers and keep a list ones they like and make arrangements to schedule rides in advance with them, so that they don't spend a lot of time with strangers.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2016, 02:04:27 PM »
I think you should have a discussion where you explain to her what a burden this is.  Tell her between now and next April to consider moving closer (I say next April because that marks the one year anniversary of the death of her husband).  Then, see what she suggests.

human

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2016, 02:17:41 PM »
When it comes to family of the spouse I would draw a line and say honey you drive your own mother around, have fun with that. She can then deal with it or figure out something else.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 02:20:04 PM by human »

GizmoTX

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2016, 02:25:59 PM »
My 90 year old MIL was asking my SIL to drive her everywhere since she no longer felt competent to drive herself. It was a 3 hour round trip for SIL. We couldn't help because they were in the Chicago area & we live in TX. My MIL was almost a hermit in her money pit house since my FIL & most of her friends had died & she was afraid of breaking a bone. When SIL found herself doing the trip almost every other day, SIL finally went looking & found a fantastic senior living place just 10 minutes away from her in the western suburbs. It had both independent & assisted living facilities, an amazing dining room, many organized activities, & a beautiful attached 100 year old chapel in her religious faith. Initially MIL totally fought this move until she realized that her daughter was serious about not doing the trips anymore, since they were affecting her health & quality of life. After much angst, everyone realized that MIL could not see how on earth her house contents would fit into an apartment. Of course they don't, but cherry picking her best things fit just fine. We think the move completely gave MIL her life back & allowed her to live happily until 99. 

Tris Prior

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 03:48:28 PM »

If mastering a smart phone is a problem, there are phone concierge services which let seniors use uber and lyft without owning a smartphone-
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/reader-recommendations/using-uberlyft-without-a-smart-phone/


THANK YOU for posting this. My mother still drives, but I'm sure the day will come when she can't. She's about an hour away from me and I don't have a car, so I've been stressing out for a long time how I would deal with her needing to be driven anywhere, as she also has no friends and has pretty much turned all the neighbors against her. :( She doesn't have a smartphone but this seems like a great workaround. I really appreciate this info.

tonysemail

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2016, 04:24:25 PM »
THANK YOU for posting this. My mother still drives, but I'm sure the day will come when she can't. She's about an hour away from me and I don't have a car, so I've been stressing out for a long time how I would deal with her needing to be driven anywhere, as she also has no friends and has pretty much turned all the neighbors against her. :( She doesn't have a smartphone but this seems like a great workaround. I really appreciate this info.

Your welcome!  I hope it's available in your mom's area and that she finds it useful.

Tris Prior

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2016, 05:29:42 PM »
It is - I put in her zip code and it said they service her area. She doesn't need it now, but it's good to know for when the time comes.

And now I will stop hijacking this thread!

Dave, you have my sympathy, as after my father died my mother definitely wanted things done Her Way with no thought of whether I had the time, energy, or ability to do what she wanted. You're fortunate that MIL has the means to afford a driver, but of course that doesn't mean she actually will take advantage of the services that are out there. :/

Dave1442397

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2016, 08:29:40 PM »
Thank you all for the input.

I bring up moving closer all the time. My daughter says she would love to visit her Lola every day after school.

MIL has never dealt with finances in her lifetime. My FIL handled everything, and died with $18 in his checking account, which freaked everyone out until I went through all his files and figured out that there was $100,000 in investments, and their condos would probably bring in another $150k if my MIL were to sell them.

I think part of her problem is that she thinks moving would eat up all her money, but really, she has $250k (property and investments) and Social Security and a small pension brings in around $3000 a month.

At age 87, I don't think she has to worry about outliving her assets.

I think our best course of action may be to investigate some sort of assisted living arrangement and get some pricing. If I can show her a better option than where she lives now, she might go for it.

As for this weekend, my wife announced that she will go pick her up in AC tomorrow and bring her back home on Sunday. I asked what the trip is for, seeing as she's coming next week for Christmas. Apparently one of her not-very-close acquaintances asked her to a Grade school kids' piano recital. I told my wife that in my opinion she should just say no to her mom. Driving five hours for that, with the crappy weather forecast? No thanks. However, seeing as DW has barely talked to me since I voiced my opinion on Wednesday, I'm not pushing too hard on this one. I'm also not driving to AC, and I'm not feeling guilty about it either.

RedwoodDreams

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2016, 09:10:54 PM »
Uprooting at age 87 is a big deal. If rides to/from are the only problem with her living so far away, why not try doing the Uber *with* her one time so she can see what it's like? If she likes the driver, I don't know how Uber works, but can you have favorite drivers that you work with / schedule in advance? Maybe just having a companion on the first trip will help her get over her fear.

PS-- This is her first holiday season without her husband. Extra TLC and attention are in order.

Cranky

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2016, 05:42:56 AM »
I have found Uber drivers to be *plenty* chatty, and at least in my area, lots of them are older people.

snogirl

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2016, 07:52:27 AM »
Maybe there is senior services in the area? This is my part time gig. It isn't about the money so much (I'm fire) but giving back for cheap fills my soul. There are so many in your MIL situation. I know it stinks for I'm going through this with my own Mom. Growing old sucks for I've seen it first hand with many of my clients. No they don't want to move most of the time. They are lonely, depressed, and fearful. I don't mean to broad brush it. There are times when both spouses are alive & healthy and everything is ok. I find even in this situation they still need help!  But the norm is the man dies first & has done everything & not necessarily done it well.
Most of my clients want small stuff done, rides & company.  I would try to find a well recommended small business owner or senior helping hands non profit agency with references & insurance to help your loved one.

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« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 07:55:54 AM by snogirl »

frugaldrummer

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2016, 03:54:13 AM »
I agree that it would make sense to move her closer. One caveat though: many elderly with early dementia will decompensate when moved to an unfamiliar environment.

Cranky

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2016, 06:36:30 AM »
OTOH, that's an argument for doing it sooner rather than later, IMO. My mom fought us tooth and nail over moving, until there really was no other option, and once she got there, she loved it. She'd have loved it even more if she'd gone 5 years earlier, though.

choppingwood

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2016, 08:12:11 AM »
Maybe there is senior services in the area? This is my part time gig. It isn't about the money so much (I'm fire) but giving back for cheap fills my soul. There are so many in your MIL situation. I know it stinks for I'm going through this with my own Mom. Growing old sucks for I've seen it first hand with many of my clients. No they don't want to move most of the time. They are lonely, depressed, and fearful. I don't mean to broad brush it. There are times when both spouses are alive & healthy and everything is ok. I find even in this situation they still need help!  But the norm is the man dies first & has done everything & not necessarily done it well.
Most of my clients want small stuff done, rides & company.  I would try to find a well recommended small business owner or senior helping hands non profit agency with references & insurance to help your loved one.

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+1

My dad used this at your MIL's age. He enjoyed the time with the driver. But don't rule out some trips, because spending time with her is part of what she needs, though it is also OK to say no when it really won't fit.

The move is too big a deal just for your convenience. For her safety? If that's an issue, that's a different thing.


little_brown_dog

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2016, 11:19:46 AM »
At 87 she really should be closer to family anyway or in an assisted living facility for high functioning/independent older people.  The sad truth is, unless she dies in her house  suddenly from a stroke/cardiac event/accident, chances are she will have to move whether she likes it or not. A fall or general physical deterioration will at some point render her incapable of being on her own. She might be able to pay for daily carers but that is also very expensive and wouldn't change the fact that she would still be extremely isolated otherwise.

My healthy, very capable 90yr old grandmother was living on her own in her house when she fell. Her neighbor found her lying on the floor with broken bones, and within a few days we all had to scramble to move her into an assisted living facility. The entire situation was rushed and hectic and it was an absolutely awful way to make such a transition, which made her resent the process even more. Of course, the family had been trying to get her to move to a facility for a few years by that point, but she had refused to seriously consider it.

My grandmother hated moving and still holds resentment towards her kids for refusing to let her move home after she recovered. But there is no doubt her situation is a million times better than when she was alone. She complains and makes snarky comments still, but you can easily see how well she is doing because of her new living arrangement. She has meals with other residents every day, goes on weekly group outings and engages in different activities, watches the football game Sunday night with friends, sees her kids 2x a week because she now lives so close to them, sees her grandkids and great grandbabies far more frequently, and she is healthier looking because she is eating better (before she would barely cook for herself and ate like a bird). Hell, even her memory has improved from all the additional social interaction…she remembers the names of people she doesn’t see as frequently much better than when she was more isolated. There is no doubt in my mind that her new living arrangement has been the #1 factor in her improved mental and physical health.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 11:21:44 AM by little_brown_dog »

GizmoTX

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2016, 11:41:24 AM »
At 87 she really should be closer to family anyway or in an assisted living facility for high functioning/independent older people.  The sad truth is, unless she dies in her house  suddenly from a stroke/cardiac event/accident, chances are she will have to move whether she likes it or not. A fall or general physical deterioration will at some point render her incapable of being on her own. She might be able to pay for daily carers but that is also very expensive and wouldn't change the fact that she would still be extremely isolated otherwise.

My healthy, very capable 90yr old grandmother was living on her own in her house when she fell. Her neighbor found her lying on the floor with broken bones, and within a few days we all had to scramble to move her into an assisted living facility. The entire situation was rushed and hectic and it was an absolutely awful way to make such a transition, which made her resent the process even more. Of course, the family had been trying to get her to move to a facility for a few years by that point, but she had refused to seriously consider it.

My grandmother hated moving and still holds resentment towards her kids for refusing to let her move home after she recovered. But there is no doubt her situation is a million times better than when she was alone. She complains and makes snarky comments still, but you can easily see how well she is doing because of her new living arrangement. She has meals with other residents every day, goes on weekly group outings and engages in different activities, watches the football game Sunday night with friends, sees her kids 2x a week because she now lives so close to them, sees her grandkids and great grandbabies far more frequently, and she is healthier looking because she is eating better (before she would barely cook for herself and ate like a bird). Hell, even her memory has improved from all the additional social interaction…she remembers the names of people she doesn’t see as frequently much better than when she was more isolated. There is no doubt in my mind that her new living arrangement has been the #1 factor in her improved mental and physical health.

Exactly. The driving is just a symptom of bigger issues to come. It's far better to make the move when there isn't a catastrophe, and preventing one can literally save & prolong quality of life.

Dave1442397

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2016, 05:00:08 PM »
At 87 she really should be closer to family anyway or in an assisted living facility for high functioning/independent older people.  The sad truth is, unless she dies in her house  suddenly from a stroke/cardiac event/accident, chances are she will have to move whether she likes it or not. A fall or general physical deterioration will at some point render her incapable of being on her own. She might be able to pay for daily carers but that is also very expensive and wouldn't change the fact that she would still be extremely isolated otherwise.

My healthy, very capable 90yr old grandmother was living on her own in her house when she fell. Her neighbor found her lying on the floor with broken bones, and within a few days we all had to scramble to move her into an assisted living facility. The entire situation was rushed and hectic and it was an absolutely awful way to make such a transition, which made her resent the process even more. Of course, the family had been trying to get her to move to a facility for a few years by that point, but she had refused to seriously consider it.

My grandmother hated moving and still holds resentment towards her kids for refusing to let her move home after she recovered. But there is no doubt her situation is a million times better than when she was alone. She complains and makes snarky comments still, but you can easily see how well she is doing because of her new living arrangement. She has meals with other residents every day, goes on weekly group outings and engages in different activities, watches the football game Sunday night with friends, sees her kids 2x a week because she now lives so close to them, sees her grandkids and great grandbabies far more frequently, and she is healthier looking because she is eating better (before she would barely cook for herself and ate like a bird). Hell, even her memory has improved from all the additional social interaction…she remembers the names of people she doesn’t see as frequently much better than when she was more isolated. There is no doubt in my mind that her new living arrangement has been the #1 factor in her improved mental and physical health.

Yes, I agree. I think the main attraction at her current apartment is that it's next door to a Casino, and she likes to play slot machines (luckily, not much). She can also walk out the door onto the boardwalk, which is nice when the weather is good.


GetItRight

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2016, 05:32:38 PM »
Sounds like she need to take the gambler's express and you can pick her up at a local station or she needs to take Uber. I also like the suggestion of someone to let your wife deal with it, since it's her mother. Bottom line is you playing chauffeur is a huge time sink. There goes half your weekend that you have to waste half the day driving and work the rest of your day around her. No thanks. I would make the trip occasionally if it worked into my schedule but it's time to put your foot down and ensure it's no longer expected. It'll continue as long as you allow it to.

mousebandit

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2016, 07:39:15 PM »
I would also second the opinion that moving at that age could be very upsetting.  Consider looking into a part time companion for her.  A granny-nanny.  For her prides sake, call it household help, like someone to do housecleaning, make some meals, take her shopping, and cruise her to the city when she wants.  As time passes, and her needs increase, the granny-nanny could transition into a live-in caregiver.  My mom couldn't even cope with the idea of a major change like moving from her home, even if it was to move in with one of us kids.  The routine is what kept her world together.  And what was simply increasing forgetfulness, turned into very serious dementia after she had a long hospitalization and instead of going home, she ended up in dementia-specific foster care.  Not saying that would happen to your MIL, just don't underestimate the importance of routine and stability for folks in their 80s and older.  I really couldn't understand it with my mom, and I was often frustrated with her about it, but I sure saw how it played out when she was forced from her routine.

Dave1442397

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2016, 08:19:33 AM »
I would also second the opinion that moving at that age could be very upsetting.  Consider looking into a part time companion for her.  A granny-nanny.  For her prides sake, call it household help, like someone to do housecleaning, make some meals, take her shopping, and cruise her to the city when she wants.  As time passes, and her needs increase, the granny-nanny could transition into a live-in caregiver.  My mom couldn't even cope with the idea of a major change like moving from her home, even if it was to move in with one of us kids.  The routine is what kept her world together.  And what was simply increasing forgetfulness, turned into very serious dementia after she had a long hospitalization and instead of going home, she ended up in dementia-specific foster care.  Not saying that would happen to your MIL, just don't underestimate the importance of routine and stability for folks in their 80s and older.  I really couldn't understand it with my mom, and I was often frustrated with her about it, but I sure saw how it played out when she was forced from her routine.

She actually has a younger (late 60s, I think) single woman friend who is retired and spends a lot of time with her, so I guess she's kind of a granny-nanny (I like the term!).

The dementia thing is a worry for us, too. She's one of those people who doesn't read, and has some "news" channel blaring in the background all day long. Lack of exercise for the brain is as bad as lack of physical exercise for the body, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm handling all her finances, and have drilled into her that people who say they're calling from the IRS or calling to help her sell her timeshare (working on that one) are not legit. She has friends who fell for the sell-your-timeshare scam, and they've forked over more money in "fees"than they'll ever get from selling it. At least she's aware of that.

Tris Prior

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Re: Mother-in-law taxi service advice needed.
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2016, 10:41:02 AM »
She has meals with other residents every day, goes on weekly group outings and engages in different activities, watches the football game Sunday night with friends, sees her kids 2x a week because she now lives so close to them, sees her grandkids and great grandbabies far more frequently, and she is healthier looking because she is eating better (before she would barely cook for herself and ate like a bird). Hell, even her memory has improved from all the additional social interaction…she remembers the names of people she doesn’t see as frequently much better than when she was more isolated. There is no doubt in my mind that her new living arrangement has been the #1 factor in her improved mental and physical health.

Sigh. This is the sort of life I wish for my mom. Currently, her entire life is trying to maintain her house and property on a very limited income. She's always talking about how much she hates doing it (other than the gardening, which she enjoys), but will not even entertain the thought of moving.

(of course, given what retirement communities and assisted living costs around here - $4k to $5k a month minimum - it's not like those are an option for her. I will say that her situation has made me extra vigilant about saving so I don't end up broke like her when I'm old!)