I Am a Stressed-Out Family Caregiver: Meet Jeanne Painter

Denise

I Am a Stressed-Out Family Caregiver: Meet Jeanne Painter

Denise
jeanne_painter(Editor’s Note: We’re putting the spotlight on the stress involved in caring for a family member or friend and we’re sharing the stories of stressed-out family caregivers. Today, we introduce you to Jeanne Painter, who cares for her dad. You can connect with Jeanne on her profile page: @jeanne, Our questions and her answers follow.)

Caregiving.com: Tell us about your stress.
Jeanne: I was crazy enough to take in my dad eight years ago when he had a stroke. I have supported him, housed him, fed him, and everything.

Caregiving.com: What have you tried to minimize the stress? Tell us about agencies you've called, organizations you've contacted, individuals you've reached out to for help.
Jeanne: I have tried getting Dad on food stamps. He has been diagnosed with beginnings of dementia, and has paranoid schizophrenia. My dad gets a check every month but will not use any of it for his support. He gives his bank account or card number out to any telemarketer that calls him. He pays for stuff he will never use. In the meantime, I broke my ankle and could not work for three months. I could get no help, no food stamps, no help with food or electric so had very little to eat, and no electric for three months. I almost lost my house, but he still wouldn't help. No one would. I was earning $8 something an hour, my insurance came out of that, my friend helped with the mortgage at the time so I wouldn't lose my home. I have tried different agencies and there is no help out there for those who help themselves. Dad's doctors don't want him alone and now I can't work and look after him, too. He tries to cook and leaves grease on a burner that he don't turn off. He leaves water running. I can't even put him in a home; I don't have the power to do so. I've been trying to get guardianship for almost a year. I need that doctors note; they keep saying its coming. In the meantime, he has lost 27 pounds. Doctor asks, Why? I tell them the truth, I can't afford food anymore. I am diabetic and can't even take my medicine anymore or go to the doctor myself. So stressed out.

Caregiving.com: How has your stress affected your family, your career and your health?
Jeanne: I don't have much time for my family anymore. I can't afford to look after my health now.

Caregiving.com: What would help you most right now?
Jeanne: Money to pay the bills and buy food and someone to give me a break every now and then.

Caregiving.com: What resource has been most helpful to you?
Jeanne: There are no resources available to people who work for a living.

Caregiving.com: What's it like to live with caregiving stress?
Jeanne: Terrible, no one to talk to or to understand.

Caregiving.com: Briefly tell us about your caregiving situation.
Jeanne: Right now I am feeling like my dad would be better off on the streets where he could at least get help.

(We’d love to feature your story–just complete our “I Am a Stressed-Out Family Caregiver” questionnaire. And, be sure to tell us how stressed you are in our simple survey.)