Author Topic: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!  (Read 4605 times)

MandalayVA

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Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« on: March 20, 2015, 01:56:06 PM »
I'll try to keep this brief as I tend to be wordy.

My father-in-law died in December.  Mr. Mandalay has four sisters, one of whom is blind.  I've had some experience with blind people, my most notable being an ex-boyfriend.  All of them were very self-sufficient, having gone to hard-core training schools as teenagers.

My sister-in-law is not like that.  She does live by herself and she has a guide dog but these days he's a pet--I'm also pretty sure he's past service age.  She lives on frozen entrees and stuff like cereal because she can't cut up food or cook.  She uses some public transit but mostly depends on another sister to take her shopping and other places.  I totally blame Mr. Mandalay's family for this situation.  They had the money to send her to one of these schools but chose not to for whatever reason, and they--and yes, I include my husband--tend to treat her like a retarded six-year-old (she's 54). 

She and two of my other sisters-in-law live in Virginia Beach while the other lives in Charleston, West Virginia.  She wants to leave Virginia Beach, mainly because one of the VB Contingent is borderline psycho while the one who helps her out has a martyr complex and clearly doesn't want to help anymore.  Charleston SIL said "absolutely not" to the possibility of Blind SIL coming out there, which leaves ... Richmond.

Now in some ways Richmond would be good since there are more services available here.  Under the circumstances, however, I'm not sure.  Money is not an issue--she has a pretty fat nest egg and gets some sort of disability payments.  There are two apartment complexes only a few blocks from where we live that would work for her in terms of security.  Each has pros and cons.  Virginia Beach is basically one huge suburb; there's no such thing as "downtown Virginia Beach."  Where we live is very urban and I know for certain that Blind SIL has never been in any sort of urban environment.  Richmond can be challenging to able-bodied people with no street smarts.  Add in blindness and I sense a train wreck coming.  Mr. Mandalay is very gung-ho on the idea and doesn't seem to realize that even if Blind SIL does want to come this is going to be a huge change for her and she's going to have to learn some stuff or at the very least get a new guide dog. 

Anyone have any advice or experience in something like this?



YTProphet

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 02:06:57 PM »
Not to nit-pick, but it seems like you're pretty dismissive of the sister who's been helping the blind sister out. Helping out a family member who has a disability is a ton of work and it takes a big physical and emotional toll. It seems pretty rude and insensitive of you to say she has a "martyr complex" when she's the one doing a lot of the work (from the sounds of things) while you and your husband probably haven't done much since you don't live nearby. Even if the sister helping is a bit of a whiner or "martyr", she's still the one helping more than anyone else.

Forgive my assumptions about you doing little work if they're wrong, but if you're not in the same town as her I doubt you're doing much on a weekly basis to help. Weekend trips every now and again are NOT the same thing as consistently caring for someone's needs on a weekly basis.

I'm rather sensitive to this given my family situation. My Uncle cared for my grandparents more than any of his siblings since he lived in the same town. All the othe siblings just assumed he should do it since he lived closest to them. When my Uncle was getting tired from all the work, the other siblings basically called him a complainer and said he had a martyr complex. I found that pretty rich since they did diddly squat while my Uncle helped my grandpa on a weekly basis. Just because one sibling lives nearby and you don't, doesn't mean you can assume that they should do the work or that you have a right to call them a complainer when they get tired of helping (even if they are complaining).
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 02:08:37 PM by YTProphet »

MandalayVA

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 02:44:38 PM »
Not to nit-pick, but it seems like you're pretty dismissive of the sister who's been helping the blind sister out. Helping out a family member who has a disability is a ton of work and it takes a big physical and emotional toll. It seems pretty rude and insensitive of you to say she has a "martyr complex" when she's the one doing a lot of the work (from the sounds of things) while you and your husband probably haven't done much since you don't live nearby. Even if the sister helping is a bit of a whiner or "martyr", she's still the one helping more than anyone else.

Forgive my assumptions about you doing little work if they're wrong, but if you're not in the same town as her I doubt you're doing much on a weekly basis to help. Weekend trips every now and again are NOT the same thing as consistently caring for someone's needs on a weekly basis.

Sighted SIL's main job is to take Blind SIL places; she doesn't physically take care of her, so that's a different situation than from what your family experienced.  And this isn't every day, it's maybe an hour a week added up.  There's a service in Virginia Beach called Handi Rides which will take disabled people door to door--I found out about it a couple of years ago and brought it up at a gathering (Richmond has a similar program).  Blind SIL was interested but the rest of the family was like "no, it costs money."  Yeah--a whopping FOUR DOLLARS round-trip.  There are a couple of supermarkets that deliver and orders can be placed by phone.  "Oh, she doesn't know what she wants."  There are so many services that could help Blind SIL but the VB Contingent refused to even consider them.  So yeah, martyr.

If she comes to Richmond, we are definitely going to get her into some programs to help her out.  She's very sweet and sociable and not dumb despite how her family acts.  I just worry about someone taking advantage of her. 

Sibley

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 02:48:00 PM »
My first thought is to talk with your husband about what you and he are willing to do for his sister if she moves to the area. Everything that your other SIL is currently doing - are you or he willing? If not, what's the plan? He may not realize how much his sister is doing for the blind sister. If that's the case, his enthusiasm may wane very quickly once he does.

You should also do some research into options. I'm pulling things out of a hat here, but if there's a group home for blind adults, etc. I'm sure there's a local community/culture that if you can find it can help with this. Libraries tend to know all sorts of things, ask them for guidance.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 03:10:10 PM »
And this isn't every day, it's maybe an hour a week added up.

If she comes to Richmond, we are definitely going to get her into some programs to help her out.  She's very sweet and sociable and not dumb despite how her family acts.  I just worry about someone taking advantage of her.

It doesn't sound like there is a whole lot to be worried about. Just help her out like you would any family member 1hr/wk is not a lot to ask of family.

-- Vik

ltt

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 03:58:26 PM »

Here is a list of resources in the state of West Virginia:


http://wvadvocates.org/resources/categories/blindness/



ambimammular

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 06:37:24 PM »

Sighted SIL's main job is to take Blind SIL places; she doesn't physically take care of her, so that's a different situation than from what your family experienced.  And this isn't every day, it's maybe an hour a week added up. 

An hour sounds like it may be your estimation. I'd check in with the Sighted Sis to see how many hours she estimates. There may be a lot of grocery/meal planning/bill bill paying/house upkeep/emergency on call type stuff that you don't see from the outside looking in.

caliq

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2015, 06:52:46 PM »

Sighted SIL's main job is to take Blind SIL places; she doesn't physically take care of her, so that's a different situation than from what your family experienced.  And this isn't every day, it's maybe an hour a week added up. 

An hour sounds like it may be your estimation. I'd check in with the Sighted Sis to see how many hours she estimates. There may be a lot of grocery/meal planning/bill paying/house upkeep/emergency on call type stuff that you don't see from the outside looking in.
+1

Yeah, seriously.  DH can't drive and yeah, it's only once or twice a week, but it's a hugely impacting thing to have to drive him to doctor's appointments.  It's a 3 hour production each time, between the drive there, the appointment, and the drive home.  And of course the VA is only open 9-4 so there's no chance of having a normal 40 hour work week -- have to cross that bridge when I graduate...and even now, I'm on campus 40 hours a week between classes and work, then have 20 hours of studying at least, and then when you add in caretaking (aka doing basically everything around the house and making all substantial household decisions) and driving...it's a lot. 

OP, maybe you think that's being whiny but I've talked to several mental health professionals who have made it very clear that I have a shit ton of stuff on my plate right now and have every right to feel overwhelmed.  Your SIL may be doing a lot more than you think, and may be suffering from caregiver fatigue.  Please don't discount that, it's a very valid and serious thing. 

To be frank and perhaps a bit harsh, this entire thread stinks of you complaining about the imposition of having to spend some time caring for a disabled family member.  I didn't reply previously because I have a strong personal bias on the subject, but the fact that you're acting like being someone's exclusive form of transportation is no big deal is a little too much for me to stomach without saying something. 

Spondulix

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 07:31:24 PM »
There was an NPR show earlier this year about how people with disabilities (especially blind people) act differently because of the expectations non-blind people have on them. They follow a blind guy who was a media sensation a couple years ago cause he could ride a bike. It might be worth listening to for a matter of perspective.

http://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/378577902/how-to-become-batman

MandalayVA

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Re: Blind sister-in-law may be moving near us--help!
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 07:41:13 PM »
@ambimammular:   not an estimation, fact.  Blind SIL is healthy and only requires a twice-a-year-checkup.  Sighted SIL takes her to the grocery store, period.

New developments:  Mr. Mandalay insisted that Blind SIL required a pool at her complex, but Blind SIL shot him down.  The complex nearest us has the manager and maintenance guy living on site and the reviews are universally high.  I spoke to the manager earlier and she totally sounds like she'd work with us about helping Blind SIL find a place to walk her dog and help out with other things.  Also EVERYTHING is combined in rent, including DirecTV and internet access.  Richmond has pretty awesome resources regarding blind people as well.  Now I'm optimistic.

We do not have to care for her.  We just need to make sure she can get to places and socialize.  Both Mr. Mandalay and I are totally willing to help with that.  And I'll totally cook for her to keep her from eating that Lean Cuisine crap she eats now.