Paging Mary Poppins for adults....
January 7, 2010 9:09 PM Subscribe
How do I help my aunt (who has largely undiagnosed mental illness issues) avoid homelessness? Do they make nannies for adults? (details below)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My aunt is currently living in a hospital halfway house. She's there because she got kicked out of her current housing (living with friends), had been in the hospital with an infection, and really had no other place to go. They have said that she has 30 days (starting Dec. 30) to find new housing. I would like to do what I can to help her avoid homelessness/get the help that she needs, given that I am NOT in the area (though if it would help for me or another sane family member to be there temporarily for a week or two, that could be arranged).
This is unfortunately not the first time that she has been kicked out of shared housing and family do not have the space or ability to take her in at the moment. I think the ideal situation would be somewhere where she could get some supervised treatment for her issues/help learning how to function in the real world, but I don't know if arrangements like that exist or how to help her find one.
(N.B. I've read other hoarding/mental health threads, but didn't find anything apropos so if I missed something good, I apologize)
(This is going to get very long with details to help get the most helpful advice. I think the summary at the top is enough for the basics, but the rest might be helpful.)
Potentially helpful details:
* Aunt lives in Richmond, VA
* She has very limited income, which includes child support for my cousin (16, currently temporarily living with her boyfriend), but it is apparently just high enough (~$1200/month) to disqualify her for most social services. However, part of the job of the halfway house is supposed to be to enroll her in helpful services...I am not sure how well they do at this and if there may be other things we could do/help with that they are not aware of.
* She is recently divorced and has never held a job...until 2 years ago when my grandmother went into a nursing home her primary job was taking care of my grandmother. It is unclear if given her physical and mental health issues (some diagnosed/some not), if she is capable of holding a job.
* She has never balanced a checkbook and has a history of really bad financial mismanagement (until my mother took over the finances for my grandmother so that the nursing home got paid, she was spending all of my grandmother's income (~$5000/month) on incidentals--no savings, no payments to anything, we're still not entirely sure what it's been spent on). Since my mother took over grandma's finances and put her on an allowance, she's incurred overdraft fees almost every month.
* She currently has no working vehicle. When we tried to give her money to fix her vehicle, it was spent on other things.
* She is a hoarder.
* There is both a paid off house and an apartment she pays for available...unfortunately, they're so full of stuff (mostly rotten food and other garbage) and so poorly maintained (no working fridge/heat/air conditioning and in the house plumbing) that they are not currently livable and they are sufficiently deteriorated that is is unlikely they could be made sufficiently livable in the time allotted.
* The hoarding is diagnosed along with severe depression, but she does NOT currently have medical insurance, nor has she had it for at least 5 years. There are pretty clearly other non-diagnosed mental illness issues and the severity of the former 2 has worsened since the last time she saw a doctor.
* I'm happy to work to get her legal advice, but despite my own training, I'm not even sure who would be an appropriate person to talk to or if the law has a solution at this point. While she's lay incompetent, I'm fairly sure she's not legally incompetent (though, you know, different judges/psychiatrists...). And even if she is, I'm not sure who would be willing/able to manage her affairs for her.
Side question: If the halfway house has assigned a caseworker to her, would that person be able to talk with me (not to give me details of what's going on with her, but so I can share hoarding/ways family would be willing to help/what financial help family has been/can give)? If they haven't assigned one, how hard would it be to get someone to evaluate her for services?