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I've got a disabled sister, an elderly dad who needs care round the clock, and a strict job with little free time. There is a neighbor who grew up in a group home setting and now lives alone close to me. She isn't the most pleasant person to be around, has part time staff to help her, but needs friendship. I simply can't be the one to give her my cell number to comfort her when she gets lonely. How can we help someone like that? She is a little selfish and difficult but so needy and shouldn't be abandoned to solitude. (yes, she has pets, a nice place, and lives ok, just lonely and she's sort of a pariah around here cause she's so needy.) She has balance issues and doesn't walk well, lost use of one arm, and is a cancer survivor, in her 40s I think.

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Wow, somehow you do feel for this person and it sounds like you are torn about offering a hand to her. I feel like although your heart may be in a good place, you cannot and should not put this additional burden on yourself at this time. Your plate sounds like it is full to overflowing with your own family, not to mention, do you have any time to yourself?

If I were in your shoes, I might try to contact someone to see if they could make a house call to visit her or as someone mentioned, meals on wheels or a church group. Under no circumstances would I open up my phone line to this person so she can vent to you....you need to be as upbeat as possible and around positive people.

Take a pass on this and concentrate on your own family and YOURSELF!

God Bless you!
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All these together is one awesome set of knowledge and guidance. I'm really glad I reached out to you. I have since heard even worse things about her behavior. That she has cussed out people for no reason. So yes to the underlying conditions. People still have moments in pain when human contact can lessen the symptoms and the personal pain. Will think of some way to make unobtrusive contact. I don't want to encourage or reward her needy behavior. I understand the need to establish a feeling of power when your body, mind, or life has forces at work that prevent you from being who you want to be. So she gets a little sympathy from me. But that's all, and some warm thoughts and wishes for peace and happiness. Corny as that sounds. Thanks so much.
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..forgot to add, that when a person is as you describe, "keeping things light" conversationally, will fail...all conversations will likely turn to her troubles and drama. If she gets your phone, she'll call at all hours.
If she starts in on attempting to get you to agree to her supposings--that is, guessing at what others might be thinking or doing, or catastrophizing, she's got you sucked into her vortex--those are really hard to get out of gracefully.
Please keep your technical distance, and keep contacts, if at all, to distancing things, like dropping off a goodie every once in awhile, or, offering her some information about agencies that might help her.
You've got plenty on your plate to keep any 5 people busy 24/7
....that you feel a drive to interact with this person, is commendable, but really, I agree with someone who posted above, that you might want to look carefully at your feeling need to care-take so many sick puppies.
Please take care of yourself, because others do rely on you...taking on too many or too much, can break even the strongest.
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There are many different resources to help your neighbor. No, you do not need to give her your cell no. Hook her up with agencies who can call and visit her like churches, call your city's resources, meals on wheels can help too, and just let her know that she is not alone, but that your family needs all your help now and if and when those circumstances change, you will get in touch. Keep it friendly, but firm. Hanging barnacles never do detach themselves, they grow.
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Hi ruralwannabe, I think it is sweet that you are worried about your neighbor. I truly think that as humans we should try and help our neighbors out. But what does that mean? Does that mean you should sacrifice your own well being to take on someone eles's ? Does that mean you need to be on constant call for your neighbor? IDK. But I do think that by reaching out to the forum for answers you have already decided that , maybe, you can be of some help to her and want to be. And I think that noble. And I think that if you try and ignore her needs it will bother you.

I guess I would just try and set up boundaries with the neighbor but let her know you do care. Maybe establish a set time when you visit with her-once a week- stop by for 20 minutes? I would not give her your cell phone number. That puts her too much in charge. My advice is keep the visits light hearted , not about her care-she should have agencies for that. Make it just social calls. Light chatter. Let her know she is not alone but you are not her caregiver. If she seems in need of help call APS. Just be a neighbor. A friend. But not a caregiver to her.

Blessings to you both.
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When a person behaves as you describe, there ARE underlying mental health issues, not simply her physical issues.
The person's childhood was probably terrible, and/or, had some terrible events in life, which may OR NOT, have been her choices.
She may have a Personaltiy Disorder, could be high-functioning ASD like Asperger's Syndrome....those folks do not LIKE being isolated, but it is usually the only way they can cope with life--and they have real problems making social contacts.
Whatever that woman's issues are, you are NOT in a good condition to take on helping her, EXCEPT...
==finding resources she might pursue herself
==suggesting ideas for groups she might join
==MAYbe mentioning to those at your church or other groups, about this person's plight, to see if there might be any in those groups who are better equipped to help her.
IF you still feel obligated [!?!] to help her in some way, make it "distant"...that is, AVOID giving your phone number or email address.
Restrict gifts to small things like a food item or flowers, or a card.
Most of us have one or more persons we deal with, who have some behaviors like that.
Each of us can only do so within our own limits...if we fail to set our own limits on other's use of our time, energy & resources, we soon find ourselves bankrupt on every possible level.
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There is a reason she has no support and it is most likely because of all the behaviors you describe drive people away. I used to believe that I could help needy people but if there is an underlying personality disorder you are just banging your head against a wall anyway. You can try and drop off a meal but unless you set very firm boundaries it will not end there. Difficult to do, so most people will just cut someone like this out of their lives.
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Wow--do you have a karmic tie to this woman? Why does it have to be YOU? Because you will put up with unacceptable behavior longer than anyone she has already driven out of her life?
You are a big enough hero with what you are doing:) xo
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Unless your neighbor was born with an underlying condition that prevented her from making rational, intelligent decisions as she grew up, I have to agree with Pstiegman .. even though it sounds cold. We are all an amalgam of our life choices.

I'd just gently tell her that your life is too full, but that you'll pray/light a candle/think a kind thought for her every day, and that it's the best you can do.

And then believe it.
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She is alone by choice. Send her a little homemade treat once a week or flowers from the garden, and let her enjoy her solitude.
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has she reached out to you for friendship? someone like that is among has creeped into your mind,thoughts, prayers for a reason? examine your own heart,mind & behaviour before sitting in judgement of another-
as far as support- are you the neighborly type? get clear about your motives and move on from there
no one deserves to be feel abandoned - not the elderly, the sick, the well

if i were in your shoes id drop a meal by and thats that
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If she needs friendship , their are plenty of cancer support groups . Tell her to look for one in her area.
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No is a answer too. What nerve of this woman. Sounds like a selfish ( B *%^$#) to me. I had a elderly woman with NO family in the state that I looked in on for 5 years but this was way before my own parents needed care. A woman in her 40s has no family or friends? I would question that and wonder why? You have more than enough to handle without dealing with the ( Neighbor) that sounds like NOBODY else wants to deal with either.
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You have enough on your plate with your own family needs. What you could do, if you wanted, is to encourage your neighbor to go to church, join a gym, reach out to her own family, request support through a local government agency or volunteer center. Make your boundaries clear. You can POINT her to community agencies that could help her, if you wanted.
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