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This is like trying to convince you all that the moon is made of green cheese.
I'm a caregiver for an elderly woman and live in a shed in her backyard. It's warm, has electric and internet access so it's not that bad, but the woman I care for is poverty stricken mainly because she refuses to stop paying on credit cards that have her completely broke every single month. I understand her wanting to be noble and pay her debts,but these are 30-40% interest cards and the hell of it is she believes she lives off of them. She pays each about $100 every month then in return gets roughly $10 in "credit" which is no credit at all.It's $90 going to them leaving her $10 at est each month. This month alone she'll pay close to $600 out to various companies and have an available balance of about $40 which is roughly what we eat on anymore. Almost every day we eat one Banquet TV diner and that's just about it. We have the occasional treat of bread or once in a while fresh fruit and vegis, but it's getting more and more rare.
Whats more is her knees are shot so getting from room to room is nearly impossible for her and she's in desperate need of a wheel chair, but the house is so cluttered she couldn't possibly get one through the house so she hobbles at a snails pace to the bathroom after she's already sat in her own stench for hours because she refuses to allow me to get rid of all the junk in the way. She says she'll do it, but I've listened to the same thing now going on 5 years.
The hell of it is is that I am not related to her, but her own kids do NOTHING for her and all 3 live within an hours drive and yet I'm the bad guy here because i have no income. I don't really mind that, but how do I get her to listen to reason?
She refuses to ask her kids for help out of fear they will put her in a nursing home so I'm forced to cover for her and myself, well, my own legs are shot and getting worse every day too. I have an undiagnosed disease eating away the muscles in my legs so i get around with a cane barely myself.
I could leave and stay with my own kids, but then what would become of her? Here I have relative peace and quiet most days out here in the shed alone, but over the years I have become a virtual slave to her because of some of my own issues I can't really divulge here.
I still can't get through to her to understand that she lives in poverty because of these credit card companies. She lives despite them, not because of them, but i can't get her to see that. How do I get her to see this?
I've offered for the past 5 years to clear the junk, but she refuses and it rips my heart out to have to wash urine soaked towels for her which is extremely embarrassing to her.. Where do i go from here?

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I have to add that if i were on the outside looking in I would wholeheartedly agree with everyone, but I'm on the inside where making those decisions are nowhere as easy as they are from the outside. Being on the outside is kind of like watching a porno flick saying, "No wait..do it in THIS position..It'll be so much more comfortable." This is by no means a porno flick so take it for what it's worth i guess..
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ashamed... I appreciate the sentiment, but we have one dog here who is spayed and quite healthy and I am able to do the things that absolutely have to be done.. i just need a way to get her to see reason and nothing i can say seems to get through.More times than not they just end up in needless arguments that leave me wanting to leave and forget the whole mess, but I'm in no real position to leave myself and throwing her out of here would be almost certain death because i know the kind of person she is. if she were removed forcibly she would merely clam up, stop eating and die. At least this way her last days are the way she wants them even if they're miserable.
I have to step back sometimes and realize what i think of as misery isn't misery to everyone else.
I think of these things.. Sure.
I think about people who are suicidal and society will spare no expense to prevent anyone from killing themselves regardless of how miserable their lives are. We'll stop people from ending a life of utter misery so we can say we made something better for them when we do nothing but prolong their misery. Is it really better to leave people in extreme pain than to allow them to end it when it can save society millions, save a LOT of needless pain and misery so we can claim the humanitarian label? Many people now get medical attention only one way..attempting suicide. If they don't attempt it they're left in misery, but the minute they try to off themselves society and the hospitals spare no expenses to keep them alive and then once the outwardly obvious crisis is over we send them right back to the very problems that put them in that situation in the first place...more misery, more pain and more thoughts of ending their lives until the next attempt. Ad all the time we measure misery by our own standards seldom asking what misery is to the person actually experiencing it.
For that matter some of you think a crisis is having to see someone else pick their nose or having to use cheap toilet paper instead of 'the soft stuff".. For that matter many now think their lives would just go to hell and crumble if their cell phones stop working..the same device that didn't even exist 20 years ago for the vast majority of the population of earth..
Misery is a relative term and pain is only pain if YOU are personally experiencing it. When it's someone else you don't know it's just someone else complaining and few even want to listen to it much less care..
I've given up any hope of our society ever getting back any of its real compassion because compassion now is just a word thrown about for a short period in late December. Once X-MESS is over we all go right back to our selfish, arrogant ways and do everything we can to get back any of the so called compassion we might have handed out in late December when it was fashionable to pretend to be compassionate.

Sorry..my cynicism is kicking in again.. The climate is so conducive to cynicism anymore and it is just to easy to be comfortable as an authentic, certified cynic.
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I had an older friend. I beat myself up emotionally because I could not bring myself to turn her in. She had lived there for almost 70 years. Her home was a disaster - unsafe is an extreme understatement. Lack of maintanance for years coupled with being filled literally top to bottom with STUFF. Her neighbors were upset but also didn't even know where to start to help her. Everyone knew if they turned her in she would be removed. I got so upset everytime I went there. She had a few indoor house cats for pets but cats, unspayed, and they all had litters of unhealthy kittens. It was a slow progression ( years) but it just eventually was so out of control. Eventually I couldn't face her even. I tried talking with her son but he never returned my calls. She had family that lived nearby and I wasn't family. What could I do? I couldn't afford to take her in. I tried getting her to get rid of some of the cats. I found myself spending more and more on cat food and groceries for her. It got to the point that I stayed away and only called to see if she was OK. I called and left messages which she didn't return. I was very busy that summer for a few weeks. One day I got a call from an acquaintance telling me what happened in the end . Apparently she fell. She was alone with the cats. Had she had one of those "Help I fell but can't get up devices " perhaps she could have called for help. Had the mailman been more alert he would have reported that she hadn't taken in the mail for several days perhaps they still could have saved her but he figured she was away visiting or something. It was hot summertime. She kept windows closed because she had indoor cats and for airconditioning reasons. No one is really sure how many days it took for her to die in the end. Not hearing noise or seeing her around the neighbors came to the same conclusion. Finally neighbors noticed massive amounts of flies in the windows and a smell starting to seep out from the building and called the police. Just thinking about what the police found when they entered still gives me nightmares. Her precious kitties, according to the police numbered including kittens at 35, had been locked in the sweltering home all that time too with no access to fresh water or food. They actually started knawing on her corpse. They found only three cats still alive. Thirty two were dead and of course she was dead. I'm not sure what my point is here. I can't go back and change it. So many people - No one knowing quite what to do or how to help. Everyone hoping the next would step up and do something. Everyone trying to be a friend and not turn her in. What a horrible end and shamefull on all of us.
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Well then, I suppose there isn't much help to be had on the forum here. I'm sure we all feel badly for your situation, and hers, however an action WILL have to be taken to change things. There is no easy answer as long as you choose to abide by the guidelines you've stated. The only other advice I'd give is to ask her open ended questions, leading her to talk herself into making better choices. "How does it feel to have this clutter around? What would you do if a neighbor reported unsafe living conditions in your behalf?" etc

But, ultimately, your actions are up to you.
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Urine isn't the end of the world as we know it. if i sent her elsewhere the problem would likely remain if not get worse. I’ve been in nursing homes and have seen worse. Actually i probably over stated things because it's not an all day, every day thing and we do eat more than one meal a day period, but we don't splurge much either. When she urinates and makes the mess she does go change.. The part really bothering is that she tries to dry the towels out by hanging them up in the room which of course makes the room unbearable so I grab them and put them in the laundry. I've asked her to put them in a plastic bag and she says she will, but always does the same thing. She has a bed, but never uses it instead sleeps on the couch that has the springs completely collapsed and around it is all her papers and assorted junk she'll never part with. if I could move that couch to take t to the dump i would, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin to drag it out from under everything.
If I called anyone i know she would never forgive me plus there would be a good chance I would end up homeless. At my age and condition homeless has zero appeal. If i believed they could help her without removing her from her home i would call right now, but that old fear always returns.
I do the laundry and cook her meals and sit with her to calm her tears and fears. She drives me crazy, but she's the only person who gave a damned when I was out on my own with no place to go so long ago and whatever I have to do for her I will do, but one thing I will NOT do is to betray her trust under any circumstances.
I would LOVE to get her out of this house into an apartment without all the clutter, but she'll never part with her junk she's accumulated over 52 years here and there's no way I could ever move it now would I even think of dragging it all along.
In all of the piles of junk she believes there is a paper she can't part with..a paper that has the mortgage or an insurance policy long expired or even just an old photo of family that doesn't care about her.
it’s such a hopeless situation, but asking me to call protective services is asking me to betray promises I've made to her and I will not do that. I've done a lot of things in my life i regret, but I've been loyal to people to a flaw. You can't ask me to betray her wishes even if those wishes go against what so many believe to be right or wrong. They are her wishes and I'll continue to respect those.
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Sometimes the most loving and kind thing you can do is allow others to take control of a situation that you can not manage. I understand promises made and promises kept, but what you described is inhumane living conditions. I suspect that you did not ever promise that you would allow her to live in filth, without even basic nutrition and safety. She CAN NOT "listen to reason", if she were able to "reason" she would not allow herself to remain in the conditions she is existing in. Can you consider that the best way to honor your love and friendship may be to call adult protective services and allow them to put in services that you can not provide. Adult protective services will do everything they can to assist her in staying in her own home but will improve her conditions. Removal from a persons home against their will is the last resort of adult protective services in all cases. Laws protect the fragile and elderly even when they can not protect themselves.
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Ruth.. there are some things I cannot go into detail here over that keep me from acting in ways i know should be done. Neither of us qualifies for food stamps and I don't qualify for any assistance because of my background and I also have no realistic place to go...My kids maybe, but they too are broke caring for their kids. I also refuse to leave her on her own or send her to a nursing home because she would hate me the rest of her days.
I just want a way to convince her that remaining broke all the time and refusing to allow me to clean up the path to the bathroom is in no way in her best interest.
As for myself..Well, I too have a hard time getting around, but I'm still able to walk somewhat. 3 years ago I was selling scrap metal able to lift a stove over my head and now I have days when brushing my own hair is tough.
Realistically she IS my best and only friend I can never bring myself to betray. Perhaps in your eyes it's a mistake and perhaps it is, but I was taught to be loyal and to treat people the way I want to be treated. I'll respect her wishes as long as I possibly can, but there will undoubtedly come a breaking point when I can no longer do what I promised, but til then I'll keep those promises.
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This situation is beyond belief. One or both of you surely qualify for at least a 'Meals on Wheels' type assistance, if not government food cards. The conditions of her home, and the resulting time spent in her own bodily fluids, is something which should be reported to the proper authorities for her own health's sake. If there were an emergency of some kind, responding crews would be hampered by the chaos, and a life could be lost. You, having full knowledge of the situation, must act.
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Thanks, but my kids live 1000 miles away. Her kids flat out don't care. She called every one of them last mothers day begging for help with food and they all turned her down. That sure makes me want to have some more kids at my age..No..come to think about it a root canal through my rectum sounds more appealing. LOL
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well sweetie bless ur heart but ur not doing either of you any good by eatting once a day- u need to call in home suportive services and they will direct u to the right place- then u can move in with ur kids- havent ur kids come to c the way live- im sure they would not approve
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