A few years back I was picking up a couple of things from the dollar store. I met a woman who was attractive and well dressed. We struck up a conversation and she seems to be a lovely person who has fallen on hard times has family issues as well.
She has a car with insurance. She is on Medicare and a supplement. She has a post office box and a cell phone. We exchanged numbers after running into each other a few times and had pleasant conversations.
We speak on the phone. I meet her for coffee occasionally. She is 70 years old. She pays for her expenses with her social security income. She is a caregiver to the elderly for an agency from time to time. Her car is not in the best of shape and will need to be replaced one day.
Here is my dilemma. She absolutely refuses to admit to being homeless. I know for a fact that she lives in her car. I personally have seen her car. It is filled to the brim with all her belongings.
I have seen her sleeping in her car as have many others. The police have chased her out of certain parking lots that she frequents. I have inquired in the community about her circumstances and all have testified to her being homeless.
She washes up in public bathrooms. She is a very pretty woman who keeps herself very neat. You would never suspect that she is homeless.
Whenever people bring up the topic to help her she gets flustered, angry and hurt. I’d like to be able to help her further but not even sure how to help someone who isn’t honest about their life situation. I’m sure she’s embarrassed to be homeless. Breaks my heart to see it.
She has only asked me for money a couple of times and she paid back every cent even though I told her she didn’t have to. She carries herself with pride. She is intelligent and pleasant to be around.
She has started to develop a few health issues. She does make and keep her doctor appointments.
On very cold nights she has spent the night at other people’s homes showing up on their doorstep with interesting excuses and no one wants to upset her by forcing her to admit she is homeless. She will end up cleaning their homes for them even though they tell her that isn’t necessary for her to do. Then she will often stay longer than the couple of nights that she asks to stay.
I have never given her my home address because I am not comfortable with her showing up unannounced and staying more than a couple of nights.
She is estranged from her grown children and grandchildren. Her marriage ended badly. He remarried. She says she didn’t receive alimony or a settlement. She says that her children are close to their dad.
She is always on facebook. She says she is lonely. She goes to different charities for food, churches and the food bank. She does not accept meat or food that she has to cook. She keeps peanut and crackers in her car. She hangs out a lot in 24 hour stores and restaurants.
She loves to read so she loves to go to the bookstores and library.
My questions to you are, how common do you think this is among seniors? Not just homelessness but those who hide it like she does.
Do you know of any way to help someone that won’t open up about not having a home? She has mentioned that she suffers with anxiety. She rarely shows being deeply depressed.
I have introduced her to a couple of my friends. They see her around town and are concerned for her as well.
It’s just so sad. She is always in the back of my mind. Yes, we all care about all of the homeless. It is hard walking or driving past the homeless. I do give money to them. It’s hard with this woman because I got to know her.
Any ideas or thoughts in general? Thanks for feedback.