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Working full-time & caring for husband with mental illness


I work full-time as a caregiver to seniors in assisted living. I started in late January 2018. The job is rewarding but taxing on me. (I just turned 58) My husband is unable to work due to mental illness. Because he can feed himself and dress himself, I am not able to get any assistance, nor do I qualify to be paid as his caregiver. Everyone tells me to take care of myself, but my question is how? I would like to know why mental illness is not recognized as an issue...sigh...

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Honored Social Butterfly

Hello, Deborah and welcome to the AARP Boards


Mental Health covers lots of ground - everything from a diagnosed mental illness, one or more, to behavioral illnesses, like drug and alcohol addition, even some learning disabilities.


There has been a lot of success using meds to treat many of the mental health conditions, allowing the individual to function somewhat.  However, since I took care of my mother who had some severe mental conditons unless controlled by lots of medication, I know how hard it is to not just keep them on their medication regiment but also to watch for the severe side effects which many of these powerful meds can produce - and then begin the search for another one and hope it works.  A continuous cycle.


You did not say what health coverage your husband has -  is he on Medicaid?

Is he under the care of the VA Health Care System?  I will assume when you say you would like to be paid for your caregiving services to him, you mean some sort of government program payment.


Medicaid coverage and other type special programs are defined by the state where he and you reside.  And yes, most often, under the paid family caregiving services if a state has such, they are talking mostly about daily living services. 


What type of things do you have to do for him?  What are your concerns about him while you are out working - who stays with him or who does he stay with, while you are working?


If he is younger than full retirement age for An Old Age SS benefit, and if he has worked long enough to be vest into the SS program, has he applied for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance ) if he has been declared disabled by his mental or physical health professionals?  It sounds like this would be a longterm problem.   The Social Security Administration would have to evaluate his claim for SSDI as everyone else has to do.


There maybe other services that could help you with him, depending upon the situation and his needs.  There may also be some help for you too - like group discussions of people in the same or similar situations or some sort of respite care to give you a break.  


NAMI is a good resource and gives some thoughts on Taking Care of Yourself and also has a support group locator.


Posting on the AARP - Caregiving Board could bring you more exposure to your post.  A good place to share too.


I will ask the moderator to move this thread to the Caregiving Board.







It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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