Stay, go, something else entirely?
November 6, 2016 8:14 AM   Subscribe

A few months ago I had to leave my apartment in a new city and move back in with my parents due to illness. Do I move back to apartment alone in unfamiliar city where I don't know people and hope I can somehow cope, some third option I haven't thought of yet? Hope and suggestions please?

The area where my parents live is very rural and isolated - I can't get anywhere without them driving me, there's not much to do anyway, and I basically am stuck in the house seeing only see them. It's a little crazymaking, to put it mildly.

The illness, if correctly diagnosed, has no cure or treatment. Some people experience remission or recovery, some don't. I've had it for nearly 5 years on the fairly severe end, been to many specialists to try to rule out other things, tried many treatments. So advice along the lines of "focus on recovery/see X doctor" etc is unlikely to be applicable.

There isn't anywhere that has enough of an existing support network of friends/family that I could just go to.

I know this is similar to my previous question but I hope by cutting it down to one aspect of the problem, it will be easier for people to make suggestions. Thanks again to everyone who replied to my last question and thanks in advance for this.
posted by bizarrenacle to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is there an urban or urban-ish area that you could move to that might offer you some independence and social interaction while still being close enough to your parents that they could be a support when necessary? Or is your existing apartment already your best option geographically?
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:29 AM on November 6, 2016

There is a closer city. That's an option, though one I'd hoped to get around since I have always felt very uncomfortable in this region for a variety of reasons.
posted by bizarrenacle at 8:34 AM on November 6, 2016

It might be easier to answer this if we knew what country you are in. Also, you mentioned in your last question that you might be able to hire assistance- is that still the case?

If you can afford to, you can and should definitely move. If you wind up having this illness for the rest of your life, you still deserve to have the best life you can build under those circumstances, and your parents' place doesn't sound like the place to do it.

My first thought is that a large city may very well have social groups for people with chronic illnesses, which might be ideal for you if you can only handle a little socializing at a time. You might also consider (if you're not religious and if they exist where you are) finding a Unitarian church in a city. They will have a built-in community that is likely to be supportive.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:45 AM on November 6, 2016

Well, if you like the city where you have the apartment and feel comfortable there in other ways, could you possibly go back there and make your first order of business to join a support group there for people with your illness? That might be a way of building more of a network there and finding other resources for coping, such as social services and other assistance. If that's hard for you to get together on your own, could you ask your parents for help in locating those resources? Maybe once you have that ground layer of support you could then start to work on the other stuff like a job, friends, etc.

It's a tough call, cities are exciting but if you aren't able to enjoy what the city offers or thrive there because of the illness, it can really grind you down.

It also seems like you have gone to the place you could "just go to". It's okay to just be where you are while you figure the rest of it out.

Hopefully this isn't totally off-base! It's hard to answer without knowing the general region or the nature of your illness.
posted by the offing at 9:00 AM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Are there any communal living situations you could look into? These are becoming more of a thing again, and vary widely, but might work out quite well for you. If you're clear about your condition and the challenges you'll be facing, the things you contribute to the group can be adjusted accordingly. And that way you wouldn't be alone all the time, but still have expectations of privacy unlike a living with a friend situation, because it would be a formal arrangement. Basically, you're a non-standard person, so look for non-standard living arrangements.
posted by Mizu at 9:25 AM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

This will depend heavily on how much support you need on a day to day basis and what kind of resources you have. Do you need to work to afford rent in a city? Are you able to work? Do you need day-to-day support (someone to shop and cook and do the basic cleaning) or personal medical support (someone to help you get out of bed/wash/feed yourself)? Or do you need one or both of these variously on good days or bad days? What kind of social services are available in your part of the world?

The answer to this might be that you have money to pay rent and you could find a roommate who would do all the cooking and housework for super-low-cost or free rent. It might be that you would have to work to pay the rent but aren't confident that you could reliably go to a job every day. If you can't afford to live on the amount of income you have or can generate, then moving to the city is probably not a great idea. If you can live financially but can't afford specialized medical care that you absolutely need, that's a different story, and you might be able to find social services or charitable organizations that can help you.

I guess I'm saying that the thing to do is to look at the resources you have and see how far they can get you. It does sound like moving out is what you want and what would make you happiest, so then the questions is how to do it. And to answer that, we need more info on what you have to work with.
posted by gideonfrog at 9:32 AM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

I don't know how to say more about location or my illness without becoming more identifiable than I'm comfortable with. I'm willing to do so privately over memail if anyone is inclined that way, though of course I understand if not.

showbiz_liz - yes, hiring assistance is still an option, though I'm not convinced I can organize it on my own. Thanks for your kind words and good suggestions.

Mizu - I'm not sure what you mean by communal living situations?
posted by bizarrenacle at 9:34 AM on November 6, 2016

gideonfrog - you're right, I realize my real questions are where and how, not if, but I don't know how to give the relevant information without compromising privacy too much.
posted by bizarrenacle at 9:44 AM on November 6, 2016

Like, a group home, commune, boarding house, or cohousing setup. Where adults live together in a larger place with individual private bedrooms but share communal spaces like the kitchen and living room(s), often share childcare responsibilities and stuff like meals and chores - cooking, cleaning, shopping for household stuff - and sharing the budget between them all, pooling resources to make it work.

They come in lots of forms and exist for different reasons. Sometimes there are houses that started out as a group of friends but then changes happened and they look for new residents to pick up slack, sometimes there's a collective goal like the caretaking of an important place or the continuation of a specific lifestyle (think monastery or kibbutz), sometimes there's a structure in place to help people live as full a life as possible like a recovery residence or halfway house (hate that term!) for folks who are disabled but are living semi-independently. That last one might have a space for someone like you where you could contribute greatly to the lives of others who have complimentary challenges to your own, but it'd be very luck of the draw.
posted by Mizu at 9:45 AM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thanks Mizu. Do you know how to find these kinds of things? I've had bad roommate experiences so it seems risky but it could be a promising possibility.

About location, I have moved around a lot so nowhere is really familiar or home, am open to suggestions within the US.

I hope this isn't threadsitting. It's all kind of complicated and I'm brainfogged and trying to clarify things where necessary.
posted by bizarrenacle at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

showbiz_liz - yes, hiring assistance is still an option, though I'm not convinced I can organize it on my own.

This is why I was asking about your location - it may be possible for you to hire someone who can coordinate finding an aide, a well-located apartment in a city, the moving process, etc. Like a short-term personal assistant who can do all of the difficult or exhausting parts of the task. In America there is such a thing as a private-practice social worker, which might be one option, but no idea if something like that is available in your country.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're in the US you could look into subsidized housing for handicapped and elderly people. I have a couple of younger friends who live in these and enjoy the privacy of their own apartments along with the sense and support of community.

Some of the apartment buildings in this category in my city are in prime downtown locations with easy access to anything you might need. Here's a US government link. If you're not in the US there may be something similar in your country.
posted by mareli at 10:01 AM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Unfortunately you really don't give enough information for the specific support you seem to seek. Assuming you are somewhere in the western world this may be helpful.

Do you know how to contact social workers? They should be able to help you work out what support is available in your location. Start with whatever kind of social services department you can find in your area.

If your condition requires medical treatment I assume you visit a medical provider regularly. They should be able to point you to local resources.

Also, any organisations that support people with your specific disability should be able to point you to resources. Even if they only operate nationally they may be able to point you to more local resources.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2016

It's a bit hard to provide concrete suggestions when the concrete information you're providing is about the problems but not about the resources. It would be helpful to know what country you are in, or even what continent. It would be helpful to know if you are on disability or what your income options are.

In the absence of that information, I'm left with the idea that you should move to a city with public transportation and a chronic illness support group; live with a roommate who you do not have to be friends with but who at least exists to limit your social isolation; hire someone to come in at least once a week for a few hours to help with cleaning, shopping, throwing you in the shower and starting a load of laundry or getting one together for a laundry service. You can also arrange to have a weekly delivery of groceries delivered in the time period when this person is with you if that service exists where you are.

When I needed these services they were provided by a home health aid through an agency. It took one call.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:21 PM on November 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

OP, you might want to contact the mods to see what your options are to render this ask/your follow-ups anonymous. That may increase your comfort in adding more specific detail for more targeted answers.
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 3:09 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Coming back to reread your ask, the specific question part of it is: "Do I move back to apartment alone in unfamiliar city where I don't know people and hope I can somehow cope, some third option I haven't thought of yet? Hope and suggestions please?"

This sounds like it's less about the practicalities than about whether it's a good idea. It sounds from what you're saying like it's a good idea. You need to build a life that contains things that you enjoy and appreciate and are good for you. It might not be the way you would have wanted or imagined before you were sick, but it sounds like moving would probably be a good idea for you, even though it involved some effort in building a support system.

As other people have said, though, the details of "how" will depend on a lot of information that we don't have. But I do believe you can do it, if you have the right resources and are in a place with good social services and look into supportive communities.
posted by gideonfrog at 3:27 PM on November 6, 2016

Thanks so much to everyone who has replied so far, there's a lot of useful info and suggestions here. I see that I do need to add some more specifics.

Location: in the UK but would rather not be, considering returning to the US, where I grew up, if I can figure out where to go (not sure how to do that) and how to make it feasible on my own.

Level of impairment varies from mostly confined to bed to able to manage some household tasks, go out a couple times a week. I also have mental illnesses/am not neurotypical.

Does that cover info people needed? Not sure it helps since the location stuff is complicated and vague.
posted by bizarrenacle at 11:19 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

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