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I am 69 years old and am seeing the need for help of some sort, but live too far from family. My husband is with me, but he has cancer, heart problems, and possibly dementia. We have no one to look out for us. I recently became incapacitated because of arthritis in my ankle and back. Hopefully, this will get better, but in the meantime, who takes care of us?

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I think most States have an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). Don't expect much (nothing financial), but they may be able to connect you places that can provide the services you need, be them governmental or private. I believe the organization was created for exactly this reason. Hopefully, you live in a State that funds it.
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I take care off people in this situation all the time and I don't know what area you live in but like myself some caregivers will volunteer there time for tax purposes
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I left my family home in my early 20's and have lived in England for most of my life. Now my mum who is 87 is quite ill with osteoarthritis, collapsed spine and lots of crippling sciatic pain. My Brother who lives near her in America demands that I go and look after her, since I am the daughter and women are supposed to do the caring. I cannot live my whole life here work, mortgage, healthcare, friends, etc I constructed over the past 40 years to take over from him. My mother has a paid carer to look after her during the day but a the moment my brother is doing ll the red tape and dealing with specialists. He makes me feel bad and says he is at breaking point with stress, but I' m miles away and I cannot drop my entire life at 62 to go and help. Please advise
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After my dad's retirement my parents lived an extremely isolated/cloistered life. I agree with Eddie. It IS our responsibility to build a support network...AND as you stated, Eddie, to expand it over the years. Family is good for some things but seriously cannot be depended upon to do everything. Friends are there as well and so are church or other community service people. It is MY responsibility now to enlarge my Mom's circle of friends (my Dad is deceased one year now) and that is difficult because of her resistance and also finding friends her age. She won't go to community senior center, church activities etc. The lesson I am learning is this: even though I have great relationships with my children (grown/adults with their own families) it is unfair for me to think they are "friends" who will be there for me. I raised them to be grown, mature, independent individuals and that's what I want for them. So it is my responsibility while in my 50s to have friends, enlarge that circle, and hope that when I am in my 80s I have a million people I can depend on (ok: that's exaggeration, I know). If one does not have that support group, one is alone BY CHOICE ... I agree with what you wrote, Eddie. Thanks for the reminder that ultimately I am responsible for me. SDPeg
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GC:

You can pray all you want to the Mountain (family), but I doubt it's going to come to a disabled Mohammed. It's always comforting to have the sort of safety net that the family represents. When that doesn't work out, it's our responsibility to build a support network and continue expanding it as the years go by. You can't always count on family. When push comes to shove sometimes they're the first ones to stab you in the back or smile as they prey upon you. If there's nothing but scraps, they'll fight over that too.
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The fact is many people don't have people close to them who are willing or able to care for them. I, myself, live in a city where there is no "community". Things have changed and people don't care for others the way they used to. And to try and navigate through all the programs, reverse mortgages, Medicare, moving, etc., when your ill is next to impossible. If worse comes to worse, dial 911. I totally understand the fear you must be feeling.
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Are you on Medicare or is it Medicaid? Anyway my Mother and Daddy had one of those and they got assistance to help with the laundry and cleaning and fixing meals until she passed away a few weeks ago. Hospice kicked in 2 years also before she passed away and they were very nice people. My Mother had someone come in and sponge bathe her every day of the week also as she hurt too bad to bathe herself. If you make too much money, I don't know if you can get that kind of help providied. I wish you and your husband the best. Family if they live close could help some but they are not your answer to long term care even if they lived close. Thats a burden no-one should put their children through especially if they have a family at home and they have to work for a living themselves. Thats from experience. God will provide.
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Do you own your house?
Sell it or look into a reverse mortgage. You might be able to add $2000 a month to your income flow. That can go a long way. $400 towards a house keeper. Get groceries delivered. Have a LVN come two days a week to get everyone a good bath and all the laundry done. Once you have run through the money in your mortgage the government will help.
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ayagbe1 You are forgiven. I went back and re-read my answer and it looks like it I didn't finish my sentence. I meant to say ask questions or vent or tell us what works for you etc. I just didn't feel that it had to be done in 150 words or less.
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Good question. I worry about the same problem for my Mother who lives 1500 mi. away. I got in touch with her local ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center) and Interfaith, though neither really provides a whole lot and depends on your State's funding of the program. Also, if you or your husband was in the military, there may a benefit available for care in your home if for medical reasons. It's very complicated and I got the info from my cousin who referred me to an American Legion contact who helped me in WI.

I feel for you as I will be facing the same problem myself as I have no husband or children, and the rest of my family (aside from my 88 yr. old Mom) has passed away.
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BethC gave really good advice. When I started looking for what's available in my area I was happily surprised at all the options - and I live in a small town. Your physician's office should be able to direct you to the right places to help you get the information you need. There is also the Agency on Aging and other senior services who can direct you to the people you need to talk to. Good luck and God bless.
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I would recommend that you consult with a geriatric care manager who can help establish a plan of care that involves community resources. The geriatric care manager can also establish communication with long distance children to help keep them in the loop. The geriatric care manager will oversee the care and make sure that nothing falls between the cracks.
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I am sure we are all here for similar reasons, but we have different styles. I have never had elderly relatives, so this is all new to me. My own mother passed 15+ years ago at age 59. I grew up with only parents and siblings, no extended family. I am the primary caregiver for my 84 year old mother-in-law. She has dementia, hearing aids, just had cataract surgery, and I have six children of my own. Four at home, homeschooling. One in college out of state, and one disabled adult child who live a half hour away. My own plate is more than full, and most days, it's hard to get out of bed (fibromyalgia). If it weren't for my strong faith, I would have no reason to go on (being brutally honest here). My husband is a good man, but he works long hours to care for us all. I have the job of 10 people to do on a regular basis. Not complaining, just sharing my perspective. My MIL is a difficult person, but husband is an only child, so she is my FT job, in addition to my children. I will do my best to share and help as I can. GrandmaCarol's words spoke to me, because I can only hope that when I am older and in need of care, my own children will help. I do believe family has a responsibility to help. Doesn't mean her children have to take her in, but they should be aware of her (and her husband's) needs. They can choose to help (or not), but I would be most upset if my MIL had not let us know she needed serious help. My responsibility is to care for those in need. I am learning to care for myself in the process.
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Oops on my part. I thought this site was to offer plausible answers to aging problems. Did not know its primary focus was venting. Harsh was not the emote I was trying to achieve--Efficiency was my goal. Forgive the misstep.
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JPB It takes time to learn a new site. I feel that this forum is for venting and telling us what is on your mind. I happen to be one that is very descriptive. Maybe you are too. Nothing wrong with that. Please stay with us as you will find many good answers to your questions. I didn't think we were locked into 150 words? If you are busy and don't want to read a full answer do what a lot of us do. Just skim and when you are not so busy re-read the full answer. Sorry, but I feel that ayagbe1 has been a little harsh. Hugs to you.
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Best of luck in your difficult situation. If you don't have one already, you and your husband need a medical alert system.
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If you area has an Elder Care service, call them. They can help set you up with a service that will come in and provice some of the care you need, or at least give you suggestions of who to call. Also, as one person mentioned, ask your doctor or healthcare service. There's also an organization (and other's like it) called "Home Instead" that you can hire to assist you if nothing else is available. I'm currently in the process of having to set up something for my mother because, though she lives with me, I work full-time, and she requires someone with her. Good luck!
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Sometimes when writing a longer response than preferred by another we are working through issues and also another person can glean what they need from the lengthy answer. Just because someone posts a longer than 150 word response does not mean I have to read it. If I have time I do as that's respect; if I am in a rush I glance through it and revisit it later.
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This is what I found when I goggled. Hope it is what you are looking for. Peg

Is There Life After Birth?

By levent

They had been in the dark.
Two embryos, in a mothers womb…
they had been waiting together ignorant of everything, in a watery cradle…
They had put their arms around each other and slept just in that way…
Weeks had passed and the twins had grown up.
Their hands and feet had become clear.
Soon their eyes came to light,
Both of them had realised what was happening around them…
What a comfort, what a dependable world it had been
Heat, wet, full with love
“Such a wonderful world we live in” they had said “…Thankfully”

Then time had gone by and they explored around.
They had gone further into a dark world and a source of life.
Then they had become aware of the cord that was feeding them
They had thanked their mother who called them into being with that cord.
Then an arguing had begun on existence:
“Where did we come from? How do we exist?” …they had asked
“It is our mom” …one of twins had said. “She created us”
“How could you know this? You have never seen your mom” …the other had protested.
“Maybe she is only in our mind. Belief in a Mother is a thing that we made-up just because it puts us at ease”

This discussion continues on for a while.
They had begun kicking when they didn’t fit into womb.
They had had ears and fingers now.
They had understood that the end of the road is close
This wonderful life will come to an end, in good time.
Darkness journey will pull them towards another land

“We are moving towards our life’s end” one of twins had whispered.
The other one had insisted “I don’t want to go away. I am not ready to leave this life yet”
“But things that are fated to happen are destined; pray, maybe there is a life after birth”
The pessimist one had asked:
“This cord will be cut someday. What will happen to us then?”
The optimist one had answered this with a poem:
“Many of those leaving – seem happy with the place where they went – many years passed – nobody returned from that journey”

And one fine day the ground started to shake, walls began to close in.
The twins had understood the expected day had come by insufferable pains.
They had hugged each other for the last time with their puckered arms
And they had cried together saying “our life is ending”
A hand -which they supposed was that of the angel of death-, had cut their cord
They had been pulled into another land through the dark corridor
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If anyone has ever read the poem, Is There Life After Birth, or has access to it, I'd appreciate your help in finding it again.
It was read to me after my husband died.
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I apologize if I was too wordy in my first reply. I am new here. I also felt that GrandmaCarol was looking for some comfort and reassurance, as well as practical help. I will try to be more concise in the future, but I will continue to offer prayers and virtual hugs!
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1st suggestion--people limit your answers to 150 and get to the point. My mom's doctor referred her to Advantage Care--an assisted living private care organization funded entirely by MEDICADE and Heartland--a certified nursing program funded entirely by MEDICARE. I am looking for an honest LTC insurance to purchase if anyone out there has a positive experience with any.
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This is the situation that requires LTC insurance. Hopefully you have some financial means ( not physical) for which you and your husband can be cared.
You don't need family near-by. You need them only to place you once and have a
contact with the Independent Living Facility or Assisted Living Facility. Your husband will probably need this type of care first. At age 69, you will not, unless there is some underlying serious health problem that you may have.
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Hello Grandma Carol, If you have health insurance you can go see you and your husbands primary doctors or get an appointment setup with a Geriatric doctor who specializes in caring for the elderly. Many times this type of Doctor will give you the support you need for your Insurance Company to setup care or help that is available for you. Now days there are also company's that specifically help with Elder Care Management, these company's are good at letting you know what services are available to you that you qualify for. They can give you directions in setting up services or help set them up for you. Since you can use the computer I would "google" your zip code and Elder Care Management and go from there. If you feel that this is to much for you to handle on your own by all means call your children and let them know you need help.
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JPB has some good points and specifically about communication. If family knew the severity of your situation would any come to your aid. Relocation for you or them could happen. Nothing is impossible.
Yes there is home health care and also church members (I have one for my mom) and also I found (we live in a small town) some other people who would LOVE to spend time with my mom. I just have to convince mom it is a good idea. So I am the one to make phone calls.
My mom was moved to independent living just six weeks after my dad's death but with her house here and me available we moved back into it in March. It is a good move as mom and dad spent time here. So far mom has no major health issues. Her cognition is low but doc says that may be due to thyroid. So when mom feels down about forgetting we blame it on the thyroid ... helps her mood, she lightens up.
Family, friends, church, community, and also there are those taking classes for caregiving, social work, gerontology etc in the colleges/universities who need "units" for community work. You could contact them.
Keep posting as well, networking on this site is good.
Peg
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My heart goes out to you! You say you live too far from family....Are they aware of your situation? Maybe they don't know just how bad things are, and need to know? My husband and I moved his mother (84) near us last fall, 6 months after her husband passed away, and after she fell and broke her arms. She did not want to move, but really had no choice. She has settled into an independent senior apartment a mile from us, and really loves it. She can see her six grandchildren more often now. We were 900 miles apart before this, and we could see her only once or twice a year at most (because she could not travel, and we didn't have enough vacation time or money to go).

If your family knows about your situation and cannot help, perhaps you should make some calls to find out what services are available in your area. Most cities have senior services information, and they can steer you in the right direction. You could also look into independent or assisted living. You certainly have your plate full! Independent living might not be a good fit, given both your health limitations. Assisted living is NOT a nursing home, you know. It is very similar to an independent apartment, but you have the benefit of meals, assistance with bathing, medications, etc. and that sounds like it could be good for your husband....

I am so sorry for what you're going through. My own mother passed away at 59, over 15 years ago. My elderly mother-in-law's needs are getting increasingly more complicated, so we are looking into assisted living for her in the near future. Change is hard, but please do reach out and find out what is available. If not family, then the change in housing may be in order. Another option is home health care. Depends upon your budget, of course, but there are people who can come in and help on a daily basis.

I wish you the best as you navigate your path on this journey....Blessings.
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