Former MIL Update
It turns out my former MIL fell while taking a 5” step up onto the exterior concrete pad outside the garage door when coming in from the back garden. I gently suggested she could have the house assessed for fall hazards. She said an assessment had been done when her husband was ailing. Evidently none of the recommendations had been instituted (hand rails at the front porch, stretching out the wrinkly wall-to-wall carpeting, etc). She talked in circles about this stuff. She doesn’t need anyone to assess the house, but she knows things need doing in order to make it safer for her to continue living at home, but this accident happened because, “I was just careless, and didn’t look carefully enough when I stepped up onto the (concrete) pad.”
She’s had three front-right teeth removed because they, and the bone their roots were in, broke. This was a significant fall.
After talking with my FMIL, I called her neighbor, who has been helping her. While the neighbor is the same age, she sounds more grounded, more stable. She discussed frankly that when her children think it’s time for her to change her living situation (widowed elderly lady living on acreage, in a somewhat remote location), she’ll listen to them and work out something different. The neighbor has many of the same concerns I do, but swore me to secrecy. I assured her my lips were glued shut.
This is so reminiscent of what I went through with my mom. The flavors are different, of course, but my FMIL seems unable to address that she really needs to make a change, now. At least she sees it in the distant future, after she finishes all the ‘artificial’ tasks that are keeping her from making a change, a change that would very likely alleviate so much of her anxiety and stress.