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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 07/29/09

My sister has MS and lives in CO. I live in MO. Her husband of 33 years passed away suddenly at home in March and her youngest son, 29 years old, has been left to take care of her. The stress is overwhelming him and he is having issues of his own. She then fell at home and broke her hip and was hospitalized for a month to heal.

She has noone to help her as her son was in a terrible auto accident and now is hurt. I am told by other family members that neither her or her son are eating right. She can't get her house clean or do the other chores needed to keep her house up. My question is this. Is there any financial help so I can go live out by her to help her with the day to day care she needs? I want to relocate to do this and my funds are limited. I am worried sick everyday and always told her I would be there to help her. She is only 51! Please, her life has been a downward spiral and she is my baby sister. She has always been there for me. Her and her husband. Please let me know what I can do to make this possible! Thank-You!


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Name: Nadine Cornish - The Caregiver's Guardian
Location: Denver, CO
Date: 07/29/2009
Time: 06:13 AM


I'm unaware of funds available for relocation, however if your sister is connected to a church, even remotely, they may be willing to help in this situation. I'm a caregiver consultant and would be willing to assist you in this effort. Email me @ or call me 303.394-1963. Peace & Blessings

Name: June Archer
Location: Connecticut
Date: 07/29/2009
Time: 07:56 AM


I have no ready answers for you, but I will pray for you, your sister and her son. I hope you find the support you all need!

Name: Jeanne Palmer
Location: Margate, FL 33063
Date: 07/29/2009
Time: 09:01 AM


Hi, I just read your note about your sister having MS, and that you want to care for her. I am not familiar with your Workforce Agency there in MO, or in your sister's state - but here in FL, at home, family caregivers can get a stipend of about $200.00 a month to help out with their expenses. If you can't locate the number for your Workforce Agency, it should be here on the internet under your state's formal website. I hope that this info helps you. Jeanne Palmer

Name: Jim Heffley
Location: Maryland
Date: 07/29/2009
Time: 12:13 PM


 First, call the Well Spouse Association at 1-800-838-0879 or 1-732-577-8899, fax 1-732-677-8644. They should be able to get you in contact with a support group in MO who can help you find out what to do in CO to save the lives of her son and her. They are in a critical situation and donítí know it. Since I donít know all the circumstances of your sisterís husband I am going to assume he died of a heart attack and most likely was not taking care of himself. If it was an accident or other disease, then thatís different. Just assuming because there is a saying in the caregiving community that the caregiver always goes first. Not a joke but a realization that caregiving CAN kill you if you donít get help. That is why Well Spouse was formed by Maggie Strong years ago. Your sisterís son is already affected and needs someone to turn to for help if the family wonít help. Since I donít know how bad her disability has gotten, I can only suggest he get in contact with Social Services to get things rolling to get her benefits from the state of CO. They both need to get in contact with an Elder Care lawyer to set up a ďspecial needsĒ trust to protect her money that she got from her husbandís life insurance before any application for Medicaid is started. This life insurance and some of the estate will be unavailable to Medicaid which is a poverty program. The ENTIRE FAMILY needs to get going on this stuff now because it takes time to contact and evaluate Elder care attorneys, etc. This needs to be done now while your sister is cognitive enough to make decisions that need to be made and signed by her. My wife was 55 when she had two massive brain hemorrhages and as a result had to go to a nursing home after I took care of her for five years and then had a heart attack from caring for her and not myself as well. You have so much to get started and finding a good Elder Care attorney takes time. A regular lawyer CANNOT do this. You need a specialist in this area because it is very complicated and you cannot get up to speed fast enough to know what all you need to do now. I have been there and it is overwhelming and that is also why you need a family meeting and make decisions to protect her and her son. Because if he goes, who in the family will ďstep-upĒ and become the next caregiver? Most family members donítí ďstep-upĒ like you have. Do you have room to move her to your home? Her son is old enough to take care of himself or move into your home until he gets started in MO. That will take time also because jobs are scarce everywhere but if he has a job in CO he should keep for now and it sounds like he may not be able to work for a while because of the accident injuries. Letís hope he recovers soon. You have you prayers and I hope some of this helps get things started because MS waits for no one. Jim Heffley in Maryland



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