How to help when you're so faraway
November 2, 2010 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Dual FamilyFilter: helping Mom cope with upcoming change in residence (Greenville, SC) and helping her cope as best I can though I am so faraway.

To get the technical bits out of the way, my stepdad--who raised my sis and I more than my real dad--is afflicted with Parkinson's. When they purchased their current home nearly 10 years ago, he wasn't diagnosed then and was still working. It's a two-story house; quaint, cute, tidy little backyard. The kind of place my mom always wanted. (We pretty much did nothing but rent when I was a kid.) But now, years later, my stepdad isn't getting better, no longer works, and the disease has gotten to the point where his balance is shaky at best. My mom told me they will have to move out of the house soon because the stairs are a dangerous dangerous thing for him. She's resigned herself to living out the rest of their lives in an apartment, but I feel fairly sure that somewhere in Greenville, they can find a one-level townhome or such like.

That's the first part of my question. Can anyone recommend websites or anything where they can start looking for something nice? A small backyard is preferred because they have a dog and the dog's energy and love really help my stepdad when he feels low. They currently live in Simpsonville, but my sister and her family want them to move closer to their part of town, Taylors (a suburb of Greenville). My stepdad is sort of Internet-savvy but my mom not at all.

Second, how do I cope with my mom being so unhappy right now? She's a strong lady most of the time, solid in her Catholic faith, but she's been dealt some crappy cards the past couple of weeks. (My grandmother--her mother-- undergoing a series of strokes, the family cat going blind, and a recent nasty fall my stepdad suffered.) I live very faraway---Canada, due to marrying an amazing Canadian---and rarely get to home as often as I'd like. I manage about a couple of times a year. My mom and I talk on the phone all the time, but lately I feel so helpless. I try to be as helpful as I can, but being in another country, it feels like I am not doing much.

Help in either quarter would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Kitteh to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
As to your first question, is pretty much the go-to site for real estate. There's also Craigslist, of course, but it's more difficult to slog through.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:12 AM on November 2, 2010

What if you were to contact the church that your mother attends and ask if they have any support groups for people undergoing stressful life changes?

With that in hand, you could say to your mom the next time you're on the phone with her, "Momma, you are such a giving and caring person. I'm worried that you're not getting the support YOU need right now with all that's going on. Did you know that your church has x,y,z in place to provide guidance in these kinds of times? I feel bad that I'm so far away and can't be there for you as often as I'd like. I'd feel better knowing that you have people to turn to. What do you think?"
posted by patronuscharms at 11:34 AM on November 2, 2010

I don't know any good websites other than or

However if you want to get closer to Taylors/Greer I will tell you Pelham Rd. and surrounding area is the place to be as far as townhomes go. Close access to Patewood medical campus, Haywood Rd (shopping) and decently close to I-85. There's at least a dozen new or 2-3 year old townhomes on or near Pelham that are very inexpensive or have fallen in price sharply.
posted by somacore at 11:50 AM on November 2, 2010

Your stepfather's doctor may have leads on caregiver support groups, or you might be able to Google Parkinson's-specific groups in Greenville. Being a fulltime caregiver can take a lot out of a person, and even the people with the most internal strength can use a friendly ear or just some silent company once in a while.
posted by catlet at 5:32 PM on November 2, 2010

Is there any way they could just use the first floor of the house? Like turn a dining room into a bedroom? Or could they have an addition put on? Moving is going to be very stressful for both.
posted by mareli at 5:48 PM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

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