Hello all. I am 33 years old and I am the only caregiver to my elderly deaf aunt. She is also diabetic and doesn't take to the diets I provide for her. I have been reduced to hiding food in my room and locking the door to keep her from certain foods that could be harmful to her. I have tried very hard to explain to her why it is that she can't have all the foods that other people can have. My grandmother found out that my aunt was deaf when she was very young. She then promptly removed my aunt from school. She cannot read, and she cannot sign. The only way of communicating with her is for her to read your lips, which she is fairly good at. The problem comes in when she decides she doesn't want to "listen to me" anymore, she just puts her head down and refuses to look at me. She has a pet cat who I have also moved into my home even though it had made my home uncomfortable for my cats. She has since almost killed her cat because she refuses to listen to me. She feeds him anything she can get her hands on. We almost had to put him down last year because I did not have the funds for the very large vet bill that was due to her not following instructions and hiding things from me.
Her bills continue to climb and climb. Every year the medications she is on become more plentiful and also more expensive. She also is becoming very poor with her personal hyigene. I have to argue with her frequently to shower. This has resulted in a few UTI's. Actually she fights with me daily about just about anything.
I love my aunt dearly, but the heavy load of caring for her is becoming harder and harder being that I am only one person. I have been her caregiver for 11 years, and she has been living at my home for 2 years now. We have no other family that could assist us. My mother(her sister)passed on after battling cancer 8 years ago. There is no other family. Everytime I tell my story the first response is "Don't you have any other family members who could help you?". I can't tell you how frustrating it is. I truly HAVE NO ONE ELSE. I don't have parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles...Myself and my aunt are the only family we have. I love her immensely, but I just don't know how long I can keep up with this without some kind of help. I can't be with her constantly since I have to work to support us, and I'm afraid I don't have enough money to pay for an outside caregiver to come to the house and help. Even if I found a good senior community for her I'm not sure I could afford it. I guess what my question is, is does anyone know of where I should start in looking for some assistance? Who could I talk to that would have some suggestions?

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Your username understates just how helpful a caregiver you are to your aunt, helpfulniece. Eleven years is a long time to fulfill caregiving responsibilities, so be sure to give yourself a whole lot of credit for your enduring care of your aunt. I understand your annoyance at being asked whether there are relatives who can help. I feel the same way for many, many reasons.

I think I may be right behind you as a craegiver, but I have never counted the passage of time. I don't think I will. lol

You don't mention your state of residence. A good place to start your research may be your state's Attorney General's website, under their consumer protection services, and, specifically long-term care or nursing home information. At a minimum if you call their consumer protection hotline for nursing home related issues, they should be able to point you to the right local agency for your specific situation. Area Agencies on Aging across the USA, though named differently in some states are a good resource.

If all else fails, make an appointment with your own doctor and let your doctor know the stress you are under and ask for a referral to a local agency, hospital geriatric social worker, or some skilled professional who is able to steer you right. I say you need relief, pronto because I agree with you. Talking to someone locally who is able to steer you right will feel like a huge burden lifted. Sherriff offices also keep contact information on individuals who work to assist the community in making appropriate referrals to senior day care and other valuable senior support services.
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oh boy ... i hear you loud and clear. I would contact the agency of Elder Affairs. Depending on her age she may qualify for help through Medicaid programs for Assisted Living Facilities or skilled nursing centers. The programs I am aware of are called Divergence Program and the Waiver program. They evaluate the patient on a couple of things. Physically they would interview her and you to see were she falls in line of needing the assistance and they will also review her finances to see if she qualifies for these programs. I actually sought out an attorney to help me through this process but you can try and go directly through the programs themselves. They will also provide some direction on other things she could qualify for. Another resource to review is Medicaid on the internet. They have a list of programs outside of the two I mentioned you might want to look at depending on her situation.
Keep educating yourself. I did a lot on research on the internet and I also attended a free presentation on medicaid and medicare. That is a great place to start. I also recommend meeting with an attorney. It gave me a great piece of mind knowing someone was handling the process for me and I was doing everything legal and getting programs my mom was eligible for. I hope you get some answers that work for her and you.
Best regards, you are in my thoughts.
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I have family and they still do not help.

Do you belong to a church? Do you live in a area that has local woman's clubs? Look in your local papers for support groups that may be able to help you. You need a break! Hopefully you can find local support and have a few people assist you.

Good luck and
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