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My Dad was recently declared fully disabled, he has had depression for years and needs to move closer to me. He is unable to complete any of his paperwork and no longer has enough money to pay his bills and eat. I am relatively stable financially but at 26 and a single mom, I did not plan to care for my Dad for many years to come. I do not know where to start or who to turn to. There is no family he can move in with near him and get out of his depression. He cries most afternoons when we talk and last Thanksgiving attempted suicide and was in rehab for 2 weeks. I would like to move him as quickly as possible, and may have space for him in the interim but without his disability or Medicare I don't foresee him moving out anytime soon.

Ahh! Someone please give me a direction.

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Daughter: That is good he was a CG.He should tell this to the psychiatrist as this may be a crucial link to his depression.
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Daughter, he can apply the underlying principles of helping and caring for people in a manner different than that of direct medical care. The medical principles of data gathering, analysis, assessment, diagnosis, and solution development apply to many areas that he can still use to share his skills.

The same principles apply to animal care; he could become involved in rescue groups, or in something like Big Brothers, sharing his own experiences and battles to help guide others in dealing with their own issues.
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I have been lucky in the fact that my Dad was a professional, medical caregiver for my entire life. I have seen him care for many people up through their passing and helping the family they left behind. That is part of his depression, is that he no longer knows how to help people now that he is physically disabled. I hope to help him find that once we get the paperwork figured out.
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You know, many of us who had to be CG's were not in the medical profession. This is even harder work because what if you make mistake in the caregiving?
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Someone mentioned a very good point earlier. APS..Adult Protective Services should get involved and can help if due to your fathers mental illness, he is no longer able to care for himself..its called Self Neglect. He can't buy food, he is neglecting his personal hygiene, he can't maintain a safe and healthy enviornment, etc.. If this is the reality of his situalion, APS must step in and get him into a safe place. He is a vunerable adult by virtue of his mental illness, not his age.
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Dear Hisdaughter,
I own an assisted living home in Alaska. It sounds like you are aware of the fact that you really aren't able to "take care" of your father. Its clear that you feel that you are the only one who can help him. The reality is that you can't take on the full burden of his care yourself...you are a young parent and on active duty. So, you are thinking above your emotions...this is very good. Here is the point..your father DOES have financial resourced that he can tap into. He is fortunate that he owns a home that has equity in it and he does have a retirement plan Its true, no one likes to have to use these assets too early in life. But right now, your father needs to use his money. The State (all States), will not be able to assist him with anything as long as he has assets.
Secondly, the best way to catch the attention of the persons and agencies that can take over his care for you, is at the height of a crisis. In other words, if you father feels suicidal, he should go to an emergency room to be evaluated and hopefully be admitted to a psyiatric instution for stabilation. Then he becomes the responsibility of the social workers. Hopefully, they will determine that he can no longer live alone. He needs to be placed in an assisted living home. There is usually State funding programs that will kick in immediately to pay the ALH until he can liquidate his assets. He needs a conservator to manage these matters and control his finances. He should consider asking the court to get him a state guardian. If he can get a state guardian, then you won't have the responsibility for his wellbeing, housing, food, safety...the guardian will be responsible. This may all sound extreme but it is an effective way of getting your dad the support he needs.
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Been: Wow! You suffered from 2 life threatening diseases-depression and alcoholism! I agree. This man needs to get seen by a psychiatrist STAT! My own husband suffers from inherited clinical depression. None of the disease is pretty!
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This is going to be a little long but at 57 I was in EXACTLY in the same place your Dad is in so I hope you will take the time to read it.
I am 61 and a recovering alcoholic with 18 continuous years of sobriety. Though my depression began years ago and I was on medication, between January and Sept of 2011 I was so distressed I had called the Employees Assistance Program twice for a referral to a counselor. The 2nd time they referred me to a counselor that was certified in addiction/alcoholism. He recognized that the medication I was taking was no longer working, and, with some changes, I did get better.
But it didn’t last. I just got deeper and deeper. In Sept 2011 I lost my job and my insurance so was unable to continue my visits to the therapist. And I was trying to stretch my medication and wasn’t taking it as prescribed. Just after I lost my job, my dog of 13 years died and then 4 short months later my Mom passed. I had a complete come apart and was contemplating suicide. Finally, thanks to the love of some good friends, I wrote a 2-page typed letter and faxed it to both my therapist and my Internist. Because I couldn’t concentrate or think, didn’t want to shower or dress or do anything else to take care of myself, it took me two weeks to put that letter together. I held nothing back. Both my therapist and my doctor told me to file for disability.
It took me a while to get it done but thanks to their support, I was approved for benefits the very first time I applied, which is completely unheard of. I had to meet with their psychiatrist and the process took 7 months from submission to approval. I have a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. So, having experienced this whole process, here are my suggestions.
1. Decide in which city your Dad will reside and begin the process in that city. It will be easier. I worked with the local SS/Disability office.
2. Get him to a therapist ASAP. Get him diagnosed, on medication, whatever they deem he needs.
3. File for disability IMMEDIATELY. If he is approved, they will pay him retroactive to the date he first filed no matter how long it takes to get approved. Be sure to keep copies of everything!
4. Once you file, go ahead and line up an attorney. I had all my paperwork signed and complete so that if I received notification that I was denied I could pick up the phone and the attorney could immediately respond and do their thing. I think all the Disability attorneys work on contingency. Here in Alabama, there is a cap as to the amount they can receive for their services. Fortunately, I didn’t have to utilize their services and still took me 5 months to get approved.
5. A person on Disability does not become eligible for Medicare for 18 months after submission. In my case, it was determined I was completely disabled after my Mom died even though it was three months later before I applied.
6. Be 100% straightforward on the Disability application. No need to be concerned about being embarrassed. Just tell it like it is!
I shared my personal information so you can see just how deep your Dad is in that tornado of dark feelings. However he got there, it is hell on earth and a horrible place to be. He does need some help. I will pray for you both. God bless!
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Daughter: He needs to get to a psychiatrist, who can give him an RX for depression meds STAT! Also, is he on a suicide warch, as he's already attempted it once?
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Wow, at such a relatively young age, may I ask how he got himself in such a predicament? Didn't he have a job and a pension? And can he file for Section 8 housing?
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Try getting ahold of a social worker at the rehab facility he was in recently, and explain that he really cannot take care of himself. They may be able to find somewhere for him pending the disability and possible Medicaid that could lead to a permanent living arrangement for him, as well as continuing therapy. If he could stay in his local area, it might be less stress on him.
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Can you get temporary base housing for your father?
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Yes, VA should help. Talk to your Area Agency on Aging or equivalent, and that will be the first thing they will ask. If he just got approved for disability, they will probably be sending a check soon that would cover from the date of application, and that usually entails having Medicaid which will cover some things as well. It sounds like he needs ongoing outpatient psych care, which should be achievable under those circumstances.

Welcome to the journey of finding out about all kinds of resources you never knew existed, and how to access them. Keep good notes on everything you find. You are probably going to use the phrase "Hi, I'm ____ and I am looking for help for my dad who is on disability and needs ____" about 106 times...a month for the first couple months. You will probably have to get POA and help him with finances and paperwork. And if he owns anything he can sell, maybe that could fund the cost of the actual transportation and reduce the amount of stuff you need to move and the size of the U-Haul you have to rent if it can't all fit in your vehicle.

(You'd be amazed what can be put in a little hatchback with the rear seat down, though.) All kidding aside I wish you well.
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Just thought of something....could you get some compassionate leave to take some time off when your father comes to help him work through his depression?

And is there a JAG office near that could help him with applications for disability and perhaps other assistance?
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Daughter, you're quite welcome. I feel so badly for your father, and for anyone really who is depressed.

I'm wondering if you can get counseling for him through the support groups at your base. I don't know if they extend to parents, but it makes sense since some of the groups focus on family, and your father is certainly family.

I'm also wondering if the VA has any help that's available for the parent of an active duty servicewoman.

Good luck, and please keep us posted.
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Thank you for your support, GardenArtist. My Dad has battled depression, drug addiction, and alcoholism for most of his life. He is sober and has been for some time, but I am still learning the depth of his issues. He has extremely low self-esteem and feels that he is a bother, which I have only realized, he has never said these things. It comes out in his mannerisms. He is very lonely and last year attempted to take his own life. He is especially depressed in the winter because it is more difficult to socialize since he is living in a rural area.

No, my parents were never married and my Dad raised me as a single father with help from my Grandmother, who passed in April. Her passing has had a large affect on him and he has difficulty dealing with it. My Aunts and Uncle, unfortunately, are all older than him and also have medical issues they are dealing with. Let's just say that the 70s had an impact on them all! (haha). There is a 15 year age gap between my Dad and my Uncle and at 70 my cousins are beginning to become caregivers to him.

I love your suggestion about doing fun things in between the more serious tasks. That is a really great idea. I have also sought out some help through the military (I'm Active Duty) and hope we can some free assistance to make a plan, but I am still waiting to get more information, since my case is relatively unique.

Thank you! I appreciate you!
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Daughter, there are a lot of issues you and your father are facing right now. I'm almost feeling overwhelmed just reading about them.

Start writing out a plan of action, prioritizing them as it will help keep things in perspective.

You can tell your father there's nothing to be ashamed of in accepting help, or for becoming depressed. Try to avoid words such as "need" which implies that he is in fact unable to address his issues.

Depression is another illness that unfortunately still is stigmatized in the minds of many people. Compare it to other illnesses that people can get - severe life-threatening ones for example. It's not necessarily a reflection on them, or your father, to be battling medical issues.

The real point though is how they're handled, and what someone does about an illness that can be controlled, kept in check, or cured. And reaching out to accept help from his daughter is just natural; his acceptance of your assistance is a major step forward. Taking that approach might allow him to see your involvement in more of a positive light.

You can also remind him of things he did for you as you were growing up; it's only natural that you reciprocate if he needs it.

I take it that he hasn't had depression over his adult life? What changes occurred that might have caused it? You don't mention your mother, so I assume she's not in the picture. Are there aunts and uncles that can help with emotional or financial support?

I think bringing your father for a visit is a great idea. Plan your days so that you do something positive to lighten his mood before addressing the financial issues. Then follow anything stressful with another relaxing or fun activity.

And gradually work in the care issues while you're also trying to resurrect his self confidence and motivation level.
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When applying for disability, he needs to see an attorney. I have heard that the attorneys get their fee if he prevails, so perhaps there would be no upfront costs. It's easy enough to make some calls. There are attorneys who handle only Social Security Disability. I would consult with them. This stress is probably not helping your dad. If he can get his disability, he may then also qualify for many other programs like Medicaid.

I would pursue all other options before bringing him into your home, since I have read many stories on this site about the challenges of dealing with parents in their home.
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Thank you for your help. It is so difficult because he is not elderly and, at 55, feels as if he should still be able to live as he always had. I am debating asking him to move in while we settle his paperwork and sell his house (which depresses him) and find him an apartment near me. It will have to be for a limited time but it may be the only option if he can not even eat everyday. That will give him the chance to create a plan and get things in order, although it will be a change, it may be the best option for this transition.
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If it was me, I would call adult protective services in his area ..not to report anything, but because they are an awesome resource for what services in his area he might be eligible for. He wil probably need to apply for medicaid and general assistance because it takes a while to get disability applications approved. They may be able to have a conversation with him about his options...sometimes hearing from a professional that a change is needed makes it easier to hear. There might be some sort of safely home type program that can help get him to you...not sure, but worth checking. Some places have assisted living waiver programs to help with housing...check with the local area on aging.....good luck!
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I am attempting to fly him to me for a week or so and go over everything, but he is reluctant to take any of my help. He does not want to burden me and has a lot of guilt. I am happy to help but he is just shutting down and is so unhappy that it is making all this difficult to talk to him.
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Double check about his pension. The tax penalty for early payment has an exemption for disability. There would be a reduction for early payment, in the same manner as Social Security, if the plan is one that pays a lifetime benefit. However, if someone either needs to start payments early or has a likelihood of dying early it may make sense to start payments at the earliest opportunity. His pension plan ought to be able to send you a Summary Plan Description which would describe the payment options and timing.

Is it possible you could spend a few days with him and help him fill out the paperwork for his disability, pension, and whatever other help he may be eligible for?
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He recently turned 55. He is supposed to be filing for disability, Medicaid, and a for compensation from a bad surgery, but at this point it sounds like he has done none of those things. He complains about the 6 inch stack of papers that he needs to complete, but rarely does any of it. He will not receive a pension and can not touch his retirement fund for a few more years, as far as I understand, without a penalty. He most definitely needs to socialize.
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hisdaughter, may I ask how old is your father? If he is a senior, there are senior apartments that are based on one's income, maybe being around people in his own age group could be beneficial for him. His social security and any pension from work would be considered his income.

Could your Dad qualify for Medicaid? Check with your State Medicaid office to see if your Dad could get into that program to help him out.
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