This situation forces you to confront so many emotions -- your true feelings toward your parent or in-law, your fear of watching him suffer and lose his independence, your sense of guilt because you may not want to care for him. But since it's a possible outcome for most of us, it should be dealt with. "There are lots of ways to compromise here, but you must get into the fine print of what's really involved," Rabinowitz says. Is your dad in poor health and unable to care for himself? Does he require a long-term stay until he's ready for a nursing home or hospice? Do you have room in your house? Will you hire a home health aide? Could you rotate caregiving with your siblings?
You and your husband should also discuss the possible effects on your family life and how to prevent the situation from driving a wedge between you. "One option might be to agree to let your parent or in-law move in -- with the understanding that the arrangement would be revisited in six months and a change made if necessary," says Rabinowitz.