We are trying to help a poor homeless elderly woman to get off the streets, or out of friends home (when they can find her). She refuses any help, such as not going to a shelter, or asking for it. She is making poor decisions for herself, such as rather sleep in chairs at the local 24 hour check cashing store, or on a bus stop bench, than move to Florida, where her son lives, & is willing to assist her. She feels we are trying to hurt her & is very secretive. We feel she has very little means to pay for any needs she has.We are not sure how to proceed. Can you help? Thanks. Norbert

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If this lady has mental illness on top of some type of dementia, she will never be able to do the sensible thing and take help to improve herself.

I would call the area agency on aging to alert them of this situation and ask for help. Maybe resources are getting hung up on the homeless detail and are missing the dementia factor. If you called them about your mother wandering the streets, dirty, hungry, off her meds, they would go looking for her.

I think (totally opinion) that homeless people get categorized a certain way, and if there isn't a specific service setup to help homeless people with that problem, they don't get help like the rest of us would.

She needs to have a court appointed guardian - which doesn't have to be you. I can attest to the fact this is MUCH easier if the guardian/conservator is in the same state as her. But she doesn't sound fit to travel at this point. I would not do a long trip with someone in that state.

A social worker is the person who can go to court, and get a guardian assigned to watch over her, make sure she goes into care, and is clean, safe, fed, and is getting mental & medical attention. It might be very bare bones, but it's better than nothing.

If her son can come get her once she's fit to travel, he can work through the court's guardian to arrange it and get all the official permissions to relocate her.

As a side note, I used to work with a guy in our office who said he preferred to be homeless. He was not able to come into work predictably, complete assignments, or be clean. I refuse to believe there was not some underlying mental condition causing him to be this way. He ended up losing his job over unexcused absences.
To my knowledge, nobody ever asked him *why* he prefers homelessness, or what he's trying to escape that makes homelessness and its dangers more appealing than a stable residence and existence.
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Maggie, absolutely brilliant suggestions!
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No small percentage are homeless because they want to be. Many are mentally ill.

If you can't get her help YOUR way, think outside the box. Bring her a small thermos bag with fried chicken, food that doesn't spoil that she can carry with her. Energy bars, high protein bars. Buy her some warm clothes, insulated underwear. Not fancy, maybe even scruff it up so no one will try to steal it. Give her your phone number on a laminated card, and tell her to call you if she needs help. Give her the addresses of a shelter or two close to where she hangs. Ask if there's anything she needs. Soap...whatever.

Sometimes we have to do things that are counter-intuitive to help the homeless.

Bless you for caring.
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Apparently she isn't going to allow help voluntarily, so the only way I can see is to involve APS.

It's so sad to learn of someone who's in such a deplorable situation but doesn't understand how bad it is.

ghtful to want to help. Unfortunately, unless you have any legal authority over her, to my knowledge only law enforcement or APS could legally become involved to overcome her existing situation. And she probably would resist that as well.
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We can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. It can be very frustrating at times.
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I'm afraid this situation is far more common than anyone wishes it were.

Adults are allowed to make their own decisions -- even very poor, self-destructive ones -- unless they are declared incompetent by a court. Do you think your friend would fall into that category if she were examined by doctors?

Is it possible for her son to come and get her? Perhaps he would be more successful in persuading her in person. If necessary, could some of the people concerned about her help finance his trip?

I am truly very sad about the number of homeless people who have impaired judgement and cannot take care of themselves. I am so glad you are willing to try to help. I hope others will have better and more specific suggestions for how to go about providing help.
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