I'm writing this just to basically get it off my chest. Not that comments or suggestions aren't welcome...I just don't have very many people I can talk to. I have one or two, but the burden it's putting on them is too much for me.
If anyone recalls, for about 8 months I've been struggling with how to take care of/provide for my grandmother and aunt (she's schizophrenic). My aunt is on SSI and Medicaid, but hasn't been able to fully take care of herself financially for years because her mother, my grandmother, has always supplemented everything she needs. So that's left my aunt with a little spending money. Granted, who of us could truly live on 700 a month, plus 70 in food stamps? I don't know of many people who could. But the fact remains my grandmother conditioned and enabled her to be able to do nothing for herself, often making trips to take her to the store three or four times a week. And that's in addition to the trips I used to make.
That was some time ago, when my grandmother could still drive. Things have changed over the past year. A sudden series of health issues stunted my grandmother's ability to physically help my aunt, so I was left as POA to handle my grandmother's business, and try to juggle my aunt's needs.
As my grandmother's illnesses progressed (I'm eliminating months of turmoil for the sake of brevity), I had to apply for Medicaid. She's presently doing much better, in a retirement home that truly cares, and helps her with all of her needs. It's clean, beautiful, and she seems rather happy there. If she'd stayed at home, she would have been isolated and starved for attention. So the nursing facility, in my opinion, has been a win.
The only thing about it is that now, with being on Medicaid, she no longer has a paycheck. Which leaves me paying the bills of her house. Which means that month to month, I now have a disposable income of less than 200.
I've explained to my aunt that there is no longer money to help her. I've turned over every stone and looked in every crevice to find help for her, and found a community effort that helps mentally ill people to be more independent. Last week I found out that she called them and basically told them to **** off. She didn't need them anymore. Even though they were helping her with groceries, trips, etc.
Last Sunday my aunt had the audacity to tell me that this situation isn't fair to her, after I made the mistake of telling her how I feel. That it's not fair to me, a 36 year old, to be left with the responsibilities of her mother's house, the bills, all the time I've missed from work, all the caregiving in between, etc. How much I've done since last October baffles me, still. But she made sure to let me know it's not fair to her either, because she's never been able to take care of herself. It was like she was saying I've never been able to fully take care of myself, and it's your turn to take care of me.
I can't do it. Even if I wanted to, there's no money.
Which brings me to the house.
My grandmother's house is in my deceased grandfather's name. I don't know if I can even sell it or not. I can't afford to file a succession. I really can't afford to have another will drawn up. But I don't qualify for legal aid because on paper I make too much.
But then again, there's the fact that my aunt, due to her gross negligence with money, is past due over 200 on her rent. I've told her I can't help her. I've gone to a support group that advises me to let her feel the consequences of her actions. There's a good chance she'll be evicted soon, and if that happens, she'll need a place to go. But if she's in that house, she'll be more isolated than ever. At least now, my aunt has neighbors. But I don't know if she'd have any interaction at her mother's house. And I fear she wouldn't be able to afford the utilities there, which are only about 300 a month...but her rent now is 300 or so a month, and if she can't pay her rent there, and I can barely manage utilities in a home that no one is using, there's no possible way I can pay utilities that someone is using.
I'm scared. I'm selfish but I'll say it again-this isn't fair to me. There is no other family to help. I'm it. And I have no clue what to do. Just like I've stumbled through the past 8 months trying to figure stuff out. I tried to plan. I really did. I did the best I could with what little information I had. But now, I'm lost. Every day I get up depressed-feeling worthless. Hated (there's a whole other side story to that). No friends, or very few. Trying to work full time to pay all these other people's bills.
And as a ray of hope, I just found out I've been accepted to go back to school to finish my degree. I am excited but scared. A voice in my head says, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?? YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME IN A DAY AS IS?
But it's now or never. I hope I have the fortitude not to fail again. I've failed everyone else, it seems.
Life is Not Fair. I doubt that any of us would argue with that.
You have been burdened with responsibilities that you did not ask for. Life is Not Fair. You have done an excellent job fulfilling your responsibilities for Grandmother. How can you possibly consider yourself a failure? Great success with Grandmother! Take a bow.
Your aunt considers that it is now your turn to take care of her. Remember that she is mentally ill. Her judgment may not be the last word in living in reality. You have been very responsible in finding her some community help. It was Not Fair that you had to do this, but you did it anyway. Take another bow.
Having successfully fulfilled the responsibilities you so kindly took on, you now need to take your turn at getting your own help. Go back to school. Struggle if you have to. Many college students have to work and/or take out loans. With your life experience you can certainly manage to find ways to finish your education. In the end it will be worth it.
How can you go back to school and also take care of a woman with a challenging mental illness? I don't see how you can. But you very successfully found a way for Grandmother to get her needs met. Do your best (as you have been) to see that Aunt gets her needs met, too, through the agencies and organizations that are set up for that. Do not think you have to support her personally.
Two thoughts to end with:
1) Life is Not Fair. This is not your fault.
2) You are not a failure. On the contrary, you have achieved a lot!
I'm assuming that your aunt has no children? If so, I would contact them and tell them that for health reasons, you can no longer help her physically and for financial reasons, you can no longer assist with the house bills.
If there are no children, I would tell the aunt the same thing. You've put up with enough from her and she clearly isn't appreciative.
I know you feel very responsible for your aunt, reflected especially in your concern for where she might eventually have to live. But that responsibility isn't reciprocated, and you've compromised yourself financially with apparently no appreciation on her part.
As to your GM's house, as I understand it this is where your aunt is living? Was there a will or trust that provided that the house would go to your GM when your GF died? What if any claim does your aunt, and/or any other of your grandparents children, have on the house?
The best way is to consult an attorney to determine what has to be done, but given the cost, another alternative is to contact the title company which issued the title insurance and ask them what is needed to create authority for you to sell the house, subject to the rights of your aunt, and to convey it if you find a purchaser?
Depending on inheritance laws in your state, you may or may not have to create a conveyance, or something which grants you authority to sell on behalf of GM.
There may also be an issue with your aunt as a tenant, having rights that would require her to be formally evicted. This is an area about which I know little but I would investigate it if I could with a title company, skirting around the actual request for legal assistance.
But do go back to school and do something for yourself - you deserve it. You will regain a sense of purpose, self respect, and be relieved from the burdens you've been carrying for years.
BTW, what is your major?
my aunt is sitting in town wondering what happened to our almost daily country drives . shes put 10 bucks in my tank to my last 250.00 . she isnt stupid and im sure she' ll figure it out . if someone is using you , go point a finger in the mirror . theres the culprit . dont mean that in a snide way , but i sincerely mean it from my heart ..
Failure should not be part of your vocabulary. You have done just fine and now it is time to take care of you! Best of luck!