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Hi everyone.

My name is Mari, and I am so glad I found this site today. I really needed it! I am a former nurse and lab tech, spent my life teaching health courses in adult schools. I've also been my family's caretaker since I was 16. However, back then I at least had other relatives and friends to help out. It was not as overwhelming as it is for me now.

I took care of my mom with Parkinsons (and other illnesses) for many years until she passed away. In the last 3 years of her life my dad suddenly developed esophageal cancer and passed away within 6 months. At the very same time my uncle developed Alzheimers and could no longer take care of himself, so I moved him in with us for about a year. Eventually had to place him in a nursing home just before my dad died.

Due to things that their medical insurance would not pay for, as well as funeral expenses, I lost alot of my money with it all, including our house, and declared a bankruptcy 10 years ago.

Now I am looking after my 80 year old aunt. She helped me take care of the family, and now she is needing care. She has diabetes, asthma, emphysema, osteoporosis, and other problems. She had always been very independent, but is now needing more help.

My last teaching job last year (an hour and a half from home) was riddled with phone calls from my aunt regarding medical issues that I would need to take care of on my lunches, or go home for. In February I developed a clot in my leg and needed to take a leave for temporary disability. One month later I was replaced. At the moment I am still on unemployment, and obviously the income is not what it had been. I have also lost my health insurance not being able to afford COBRA. And I have some health matters of my own that I now have to pay out of pocket for. As a result I have no more savings, and am actually behind in many of my bills. If it had not been for loans from some of my friends, I don't know what I would do.

My point is, for the first time, I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed worrying about overdue bills while trying to be a decent caretaker for my aunt.

Thanks for listening.
Mari

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HI MARI, IT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN SOMEONES ANGEL YOUR WHOLE LIFE....NOW WE NEED TO FIND ONE TO HELP YOU. I ALSO AGREE WITH SUE. I CANT ADD ANYTHING BECAUSE IM JUST LEARNING ALL THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME, WITH TAKING CARE OF MY MOM. PLEASE TRY TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

AND LADYDI, WHAT NICE THINGS YOU SAY, GOD BLESS YOU TO. I THINK WE ALL NEED TO READ THESE THEY MAKE YOU FEEL SO NOT ALONE. TRACY
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Hi Mari,
My heart goes out to you. I agree with Sue's advice and also would ask you to look into "Charity Care" at your local hospital. Many people I know that are in similar situations used the service and they received help. Also, if you aunt is decling and has medicare, you might want to contact hospice. They are a wonderful organization and not only is used for patients with 6 months or less to live, as I thought. My dad was diagnosed with "failure to thrive" and hospice was with us for 1 1/2 years. They came 5 days a week for a few hours to bath him, feed him and keep him and mom company. I don't know what I would have done without them. They were "angels from God". The nurses would come a few house per week and also a social worker once per month. The offer wonderful services! May God Bless you in your plight and hopefully you will soon get on your feet and back to work. I will keep you in my prayers. Ladydi
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Hello Mari,

I just read your sittuation and I wish you the best. Because you did not state what state you reside in, we do not know what specific resources are available to you and your aunt. However, here are some suggestions.

1. Contact your local town or county council of aging. They may be able to offer a support group for you, and/or home care for your aunt.

2. Find a way to take care of yourself!!!!!!!! This is most important. Find a part-time job, (anything with health benefits) and do it for yourself. I can let you know that as you were growing up, taking care of your relatives, not one of them wanted you to neglect yourself to assist them. You first and them second.

-Airlines inform us to put the mask on ourselves first and then assist in cases of emergencies.

3. Ask your aunt what she wants. If she is unable to care for herself, maybe she would welcome assisted living or a nursing home. Does she want home care services in house? Does she want to go to Adult Day Care so you can have some time to job hunt and work?

4. Keep writing and talking. Talk to others about their sittuations and seek advice. Talk to your Aunt's primary care doctor about different options.

Take care.

Sue
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