Never in my life have I have thought I would do this, but I'm considering writing a cardboard sign and begging on the corner. I'm essentially a full-time caregiver for my 83-year-old mother. The only things she can still do for herself are walk to the bathroom and dress herself. I can't leave her alone for longer than it takes me to go shopping or get her medicine. She can't carry anything for herself, not even a small glass of water, and is prone to falls (she broke her arm a few months ago).
Other than her $863 social security every month, we have very little money. Last month I made less than $300 from part-time work I was able to find online. I used to support us fairly well as an eBay dealer, but eBay isn't what it used to be and my business slowly died (it’s happened to a lot of us who have been on there since the beginning of eBay). I tried selling used books on Amazon, and put 800+ items on, but made less than $100 a month from those. I tried signing up for Amazon Turk, but though I’m a 58-year-old, who was born and raised in the US who has lived in the same rental for a decade, Amazon wasn’t able to “verify” my identity and refused to let me work for them. I’ve now moved onto Etsy, where I have two stores, but between the two make almost nothing.
Tonight is the last night we’ll have internet service. It gets turned off tomorrow. My cell phone was turned off a couple of days ago. I’ve applied for a free low income phone, but from what I hear, it takes weeks to be approved and for you to receive the phone. I’ve got the utilities covered for this month with LIHEAP for low income families, but what happens after that…no clue.
I’m really scared. I’d say, okay, well I guess we go live in the car (not that my mother could handle that), but it’s essentially dead in the driveway. It can only make it a mile or two before it overheats, the registration is expired and I have no money to insure it.
Believe me, I’ve checked out every low-income service available in my state, which is one of the poorest, while conversely having a minimum of services available to the poor. The waiting list for low-income housing is about 3+ years long. There's currently nothing open in our area as far as low-income assisted living for the elderly. I checked into the program that provides a small stipend to family members who are full-time caregivers. The wait for that is an astounding 10 years. This is the same program that's supposed to provide care for the elderly who want to stay in their homes, but can't afford a paid caregiver, so finding someone who can be there for her while I go to a job is also out.
Today, I scraped together 100 pennies and bought a loaf of bread to keep us going until SNAP day on Friday, embarrassingly having to feed the pennies into the self-check out one at a time. How did I get to be such a loser? Why can’t I be a better provider for us?
One top of all of this… I. Am. Just. So. Tired. I feel like I’m in prison, living the life of an eighty-year-old, instead of someone in her 50s. I have no one to turn to. No friends. No family. No support system of any kind.
Has anyone here ever begged? It’s humiliating, I know, but does it work? I’m thinking a freeway off-ramp would be best, because grocery stores will chase you away, but I’m worried about being arrested, or something going wrong. If it does and I don’t come home within an hour or two, my mother will be frantic, with no one to help her. I’m afraid she could hurt herself while trying to figure out what to do.