I care for my mom who has Post-Polio Syndrome. I want some advice on steps to take to move on.

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She is totally disabled and I am burnt-out. I am single and have been caring for her since 2010. I am working part-time, cooking, cleaning, running her errands (pharmacy, bank, etc .) cleaning her up and using a patient lift to transfer her to a scooter a 3-5 times a month so she can take the handicapped bus to church or the doctor. I have no life of my own. She thinks nothing about me and acts like I should have my whole life consumed with her care. It is all about her. She never shows concern about how this situation has effected my life. She is judgemental, critical, of everything a do. We can't afford someone to come in to help us. In fact, I am finally bankrupt because of the whole situation. I officially filed for bankruptcy a year ago. We rent a house together and we really need to move. When we moved in 2008 and had a full time job and split the rent and utilities. Now, she pays the rent and I can only afford to pay the water and Gas. Long story short we have had one or more utilities shut-off or endanger of it over the past 3 years. Now, I had to get a credit to turn the gas on and keep electric on $1500 in total. I just am tired of feeling powerless to get out of this situation. I make $9.67 an hour @ 28 hours a week and I can't afford to leave. I am her only child and this is how we have struggled financially all my life. I am 47 now, never married, lived apart from her, and not really any close friends. My life had always been absorbed with her. We don't have a healthy mother daughter relationship. She doesn't see me as an adult child. She still thinks I am an adolescent child. I just want some advice on steps to take to move on.

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Just addressing a few issues....

1. Change the utilities to your mother's name to get the benefit of (a) no shut-off policy for seniors and (b) lower rates for seniors.

2. Check your county and state for elder agencies to see what's offered. Contact Senior Centers and food distribution sources such as Forgotten Harvest to determine what you can get for free (Forgotten Harvest if I recall correctly has regular distributions of food for people in need.) There might be other programs that could help.

3. I think it's time your mother began paying you for care, or paying all of the utilities. I assume she's getting SS as well as some disability income? If so, some of that should be paid to you for providing care, especially if her income is more than yours, which seems to be the case.

4. If by "move on" you mean move out and live separately, I think the first thing to do is figure out how to care for each of you, separately. You might be able to get into subsidized housing. I'm not sure about her.

5. But I also think that at 47, unmarried, having lived with your mother all your life, it's time to start planning for her own life as well as yours. With the kind of care she needs b/c of her polio disability, she might be better off in some kind of facility. I'm not sure if she would qualify for Assisted Living though, b/c of the level of care she needs.

Have you discussed any of these issues with any of her doctors to see what they recommend?

Others here will probably have better suggestions on the living arrangements, such as the various kinds of facilities. I do think that perhaps the first step, underlying all the others to come, is to continue to separate yourself from her in terms of living your lives.

Good luck; this isn't going to be any easy project.
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