I don't know where to post this, but need your help

leibrookJanuary 4, 2008

I just don't know where to turn to help my sister...she is the one grieving, but there's even more. She is 77, moved here with her husband 2-1/2 yrs ago after leaving her homeland....New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina. She and her 82 yr old husband lost their home and all material possessions. They were married 61 years...They headed in our direction with their son and wife. They stayed with us for a couple few months. In short, I am a caretaker and took on helping them with every need, lodging, comfort, support, medical, insurance, FEMA, apt hunnting, social security, and whatever it takes, etc. I don't regret one bit of it. It got worse. After many tributions, falls, broken hip, wrist, rehab, my BIL died in 2007, after the return of a vengeful skin cancer. It has been a sad situation. My sister now lives alone in a one bed room apt, about 10 miles from us, has had medical issues, but tests come out negative...probably stress related. Her son has his own health issues, cirrhosis and Hep C, and emphysema. He and I are the only two she will call on. My husband and I have no children, but he does have his own business which is our livelihood. The daughter in law has finally gone back to N.O. It was really not a functional marriage. To top it off, my sister does not drive, so she depends on me or my nephew, who is struggling with his own health and life issues. We know she is grieving but don't know how what more to do. I want to get back to living but can't just not help. She won't search out contacts through the available resources, i.e., senior services, referrals. We have suggested an adult living housing arrangement for 55+ yrs, but says it's too far from us.. and she would not see us as often. That would be about 40 minutes away. She has not been open to housing that offers their own transportation. She could possibly go back home and even get her old job back. But there is no immediate family there, but there are friends and a job. Of course, the city has high crime.....Help....it's so hard, especialy, for her to accept the things that have happened to her. Please share your thoughts.

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I can understand your situation. My dad died in 2005 suddenly and very unexpectedly. My mom and he were married 39 years. He was only 68 and now my mom is a wreck. She moved out of her apt. because she couldnt afford it with my dads income cut. Then she moved in with me and my husband and 2 kids. It was disasterous. I love her very dearly but we just clash. She is now living with her older sister. She has bad anxiety. She is depressed but wont admit it and she is convinced she is sick. The doc put her on meds but I dont think she takes them. Anyway it seems she quit living life and she doesnt even want to help herself and it makes hard on everyone around her. She drives but she wont work or join social activities. She is only 65 but is acting like a 4 yr old who needs looking after. I dont know if something triggers this behavior when someone is thrown a bad apple in life. Like your sister, one day, they had normal lifes and the next day everything was gone and I guess its very hard to try and start over. I worry very much about my mom. I think she has no will to live anymore. I quess we just have to be there for them and try and help when we can. I wont go out of my way anymore and I told my mom she needs to start living again. They are the only ones who can help themselves. I dont know if this helps you or not but I just wanted to let you know that you and your sister are not alone. Alot of people are put in life changing situations and you just have to make the best of it. ZGOod luck and God Bless

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 8:11AM
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Gosh, what a lot of sorrow your poor sister has had.

There's a Caregivers Forum that might offer some more perspectives or advice.

I wish all of you the best.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 2:39PM
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It sounds like you are experiencing care giver stress. You said that your sister moved up "here", and I am not sure where here is. I live in Minnesota and here we have something called an Elderly Waiver through the counties. She would have to qualify, but if she does it can offer many great services such as bath aids, nurses, it will help pay for any needed equipment, etc. It sounds like your sister is going through a depression, and rightfully so. She has been through a lot. She will probably not be agreeable to doing many new things because she will have to face the world when she would rather crawl in a hole. Many of her "physical ailments" may also be related to depression. Trying an antidepressant might be helpful. In the end, you need to do what is right for you as well. Do not feel guilty for wanting to get on with your life. I hope this helps. I am a social worker, working with the elderly, so I have many family members that come to me feeling the way you do. I will check back again if you have any question.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 5:47PM
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You can always call your state's Division of Senior Services hotline and let them know that she needs help. You can do it anonymously. The state will send out a counselor to assess her needs and help her get the assistance she requires.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 8:52PM
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Difficult situation; you have my sympathy. The Caregivers forum suggestion was a good one.

Is she inclined to go to church? I'm not ordinarily a big fan of organized religion, but churches can serve as a wonderful community for their members. It can be a lifesaver.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 11:49AM
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