Hi. My name is Michelle, and I'm 30. My boyfriend of 10 years and I decided to try living on a boat, and we moved in on October 1st of last year.

In December, I hadn't yet met the boat neighbor I'm inquiring about, but he fell ill then. And nobody knew. Only when his daughter from out of state called did someone finally call an ambulance, because he was too confused to answer her questions. He'd had a heart attack, had pneumonia, and had laid confused in his bed, in his own filth, for two weeks.. and this is on top of the pulmonary fibrosis that will eventually claim him if nothing else does.

After learning about his situation, I went over to introduce myself and to let him know someone was nearby who could help sometime in January, after he'd returned from the hospital. Since then, I've been assisting him with absolutely everything. I take him to his appointments, do his grocery shopping, help him fix things around his house, laundry.. you name it, I'm involved. And, because he lives on a boat, that means the dock we're on rises and falls with the tide. During anything but high tide, he needs to be pushed up the incredibly steep ramp in his walker/foldy seat because it's too difficult for him to breathe and make it alone. He is probably around 250 pounds.. big, tall guy.

Now that it's June, I'm becoming extremely exhausted. Every time I hope to run over and take care of a simple thing, I get stuck for an hour (or more) because he's lonely and has no other help. It wears me down so much. I love the guy, and he's enjoyable to be around, but I just don't have that much in me to genuinely be there 100% of the time.

I don't mind helping. He's 80 and very sick, and he probably won't be around much longer. But I can't be his only source of EVERYTHING. What if something happens to me?

I'd like to know, what help is available to him? I was finally able to set up an in-home nurse for his regular two-week check-ups, and I finally talked him into having his prescriptions mailed to him so that a special pharmacy trip isn't needed, since I already check his mail for him. But, how can he get more socialization? What about shopping? Can someone help with around-the-house things like changing out light bulbs or getting things for him? There's just so much he needs help with.

Even if it's only a community volunteer who can come sit with him, or go for a walk with him, that would be so great for him. His family has been pushing him to resign to living in a home, but he doesn't want to leave his boat. His nurse, case worker, and I talked him into at least touring an assisted living home, which I took him to, and he seemed to like the idea, but ultimately decided it wasn't right for him. So, he doesn't want to go anywhere, but where he lives, with his condition, makes everything a huge issue.

We live in South San Francisco, California, in San Mateo County. He's a veteran, 80, has Medicare and a Kaiser senior plan of some sort. He has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cannot stand/walk for any extended amount of time. He is on oxygen 24/7. He doesn't have much money. He has three daughters, all out of state, and he is divorced with his ex having already passed away.

Please, if anyone has ideas, I'd appreciate them being shared. If you need any other information, please let me know! Thank you in advance!

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First of all, what a blessing you are to your neighbor!!!

I think you need to call Hospice. They have some fantastic resources. It sounds like he needs to get into assisted living - and his daughters should be stepping up.

A few questions:

Why are his daughters not helping their father?? Distance should not be an excuse Does he have money to get into assisted living? Insurance? Does he have medicaid? Do you know if he has given anyone a Power of Attorney or Health Directive?

What a huge responsibility you've taken on (God bless you).
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