Parents are frail and a little demented. Last year I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. We just moved our parents (85 and 91) to our town to look out for them (they're in a senior independent living situation, but they need a lot of support). Two weeks later, my brother's wife of 25 years left him out of the blue. Our mentally ill sister, who is in a wheelchair due to an osteonecrotic hip, was evicted this month, and convinced a friend to drop her off at my brother's house. He and his son are a mess, and can't handle the crazy. I am so panicky that I feel light headed and almost fell at work yesterday. We don't know how to keep our jobs and help everyone. Would appreciate any advice or sympathetic comments. We are in Oregon, if that is useful to your response.

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Thank you, blannie, sunnygirl and sophe. Your responses are comforting, and they show me that I am already doing some of the things I need to be doing, even though the situation blew up "out of nowhere" (not really, but that's how it can seem, when you're living your life thinking that everyone is okay, and you suddenly find out they were just one fall, or one eviction, away from complete helplessness.)

I am getting FMLA time at my job. I worry about using up all my paid time off, and losing wages, but that is a future worry. My sister has an appointment with Senior & Disabled Services. Once she has done an Intake with them, they will no doubt assign her to a caseworker. I am seeing a counselor twice a month, who suggested a support group for the families of the mentally ill, and who told me that my sister's SSDI benefits (700 a month) might seem pitiful, but there are programs of reduced rent, food stamps and other benefits that help the disabled live on their tiny incomes.

We are currently getting some help from home health aids, and I believe we can get an Aid and Attendance benefit from the VA, as my dad served in WWII. Everything is so overwhelming though. Especially the grief and loneliness of watching my friends and acquaintances living their easy, comfortable lives, the life I used to have, where their biggest worry is, the new counters don't match the cupboards.

Thank you again for reaching out and responding. Bless you for being there.
Helpful Answer (3)

Sounds like a whirlpool of disaster. First things first: your own health. I the rescuer is dead, no help left for the rest of them. Please do your very best to get to the best doctors for your care. Everybody else needs to take a number and get in line. Your appointments, your massages, or whatever else is associated with helping you live is the highest priority. Second, regarding your job, contact the Job Accommodation Network (aka JAN) by phone at: (800)526-7234 and have them explain to you your rights with the ADA and put you in touch with FMLA experts as well. Your job will be protected while you work on getting treatment for yourself. Best of wishes to you....keep us posted.
Helpful Answer (2)

Since brother is the one who has your sister who is mentally ill and wheelchair bound, assign him the duty of finding placement for her. Does anyone have her Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare POA? I would have him get that immediately if she is able to sign it.

Is your sister Disabled? Meaning does she receive disability benefits? If not, then I would see a Social Security Attorney immediately to see if she can qualify. If she is disabled, then she will get a monthly check and may receive other benefits such as housing, Medicare, etc. How old is she? Is she on Medicare? Getting her deemed Disabled will get her more access to benefits.

If sister is on Medicaid, see her caseworker as Blannie mentioned upthread. But, she may still qualify for disability. I'd see an attorney about that.

Are your parents still in Independent Living? How are they paying? You say they need more care. Does anyone have their Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare POA? Since you have your own health crisis, I'm not sure I would want to be designated as theirs. But, someone needs to be appointed, so they can act on their behalf.

I would discuss their needs with their doctor. If their doctor will sign off that they need more care, then find a facility they can move to that will provide more day to day care, such as Assisted Living. Here's a link for some information about services and ways to pay for it in Oregon. Good luck and don't take on so much. Your own health is at stake.
Helpful Answer (1)

Oh my goodness - big hugs to you for all you and your brother and your extended family are going through! If it was me, I'd take a day or two off work (if you can afford the time away) and start researching what options there are for your parents and your sister. Start with your Area Agency on Aging. Explain the situation and see what help is available.

Does your sister get any kind of help from anyone with her mental illness? If so, I'd start with them, if she has any kind of a caseworker. If she doesn't, I'd start with local agencies that might help with the mentally ill to find out resources (and living arrangements) for her. I'm sure others on here will have more good suggestions. Above all, keep your job! You need the money and the security of a place to get away from the drama in your life. And you need to take care of your OWN health, both physical and mental. If you go down, you can't help anyone! Hugs again...this seems like it's unbearable, but it is, if you take care of yourself, breathe deeply, and just start planning and inquiring...and keep coming back here to let us know how you're doing!
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