or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Personal Growth › Anyone else out there with a homeless parent? How do you cope?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anyone else out there with a homeless parent? How do you cope?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Does anyone else out there have a chronic homeless parent? ...particularly due to alcohol/substance abuse? How do you cope? How do you provide for your parent while balancing your own obligations to your own children (or self/husband)?

I really struggle with this one. I've spent thousands and a lot of time, energy, emotion, and nothing helps the problem, and I don't have endless resources.
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 
No one?

(I didn't think it was a common situation. )
post #3 of 21
Give it a little more time. You're right, this probably isn't a common problem, but you may get more responses yet.

In the mean time, tell us more about what you're experiencing. You have a parent who is homeless? What do you do to try to help? How does your parent respond?

Do you have siblings?
post #4 of 21
What a difficult situation for you. I never had a homeless parent, so I dont know if I can help you out at all. I just wanted to extend some sympathy. My father had really bad health problems, depresion and very little money for help. He lived in a one room apartment that he couldnt clean. it was hard to take my kids there, put them in front of the tv, and then take care of my father and the apartment. I know that is not as difficult as your situation, but it was stressful dividing time between him and my children. and also worrying about him. i also felt resentful that he took away what little energy i had. i hope that someone else has more advice for you.
post #5 of 21
This is hard. I did. My mom was addicted to various substances and alcohol. She also had bipolar disorder. She was, for all intensive purposes, homeless at various times in the last several years. I would talk to her on the phone (like when she was in jail or rehab) and write letters to her when she was in those places. I also sent her some money when she was in jail to buy some things she needed. I sent her a box of clothes and things when she got out of jail and went into rehab. I only helped her if I knew she somehow wasn't going to use what I gave her to purchase drugs.

It was a very difficult struggle for me and my siblings. We all wanted to help her but she would not help herself. It was a never ending battle. She was bipolar and an alcoholic my whole life but didn't become a drug addict till the last 6 years of her life. She died last year by her own hand.

When it comes to addicts you cannot help them. They can only help themselves. There are resources out there for them. Maybe you should look into Alanon or Narcanon if you haven't already. If you send them money, the WILL use it for drugs. They will steal from you and your family. You cannot let them into your life. They will take you down with them.

I gave my mother so much money over the years. I bought her a mobile home to live in so she could leave her abusive boyfriend/druggie buddy. She trashed it and tried to sell it to get money for drugs. In her moments of clarity she wanted to get better but I guess ultimately for her she decided life wasn't worth living for anymore.

For me the best thing I did for myself and my sanity was to try really hard to not think about her when she was running around doing god knows what. I couldn't save her and you can't save your parent. There might be times when you think you can help and you should but ultimately it's up to them.

PM me if you want to talk more... I don't really want to post anymore here.....s
post #6 of 21
My dad isn't homeless (yet) but I always look twice at the old bearded homeless guys downtown afraid that I will see him. he is luckily living with a friend in a surely ramshackle house( i've never been there) but I am just glad he's with someone and not me or my mom!! It is hard to balance things when you have to deal with something like you are dealing with. Hugs to you!
post #7 of 21
Have you read The Glass Castle? You might find it therapeutic.
post #8 of 21
My dad isn't quite homeless but close to it. When my Mom died unexpectedly almost 5 years ago, my Dad lost it and honestly he has never been the same (they were married 31 years). He lives in a transient hotel, with addicts, he does work but pretty much drinks a lot. My dad is a former pastor, was a regular guy so him living this way is hard on me and my brother.

I know a lot of its tied up in his grief but he doesn't want counseling. In the first couple years after my Mom's death I tried so hard to get him back on the right track now I just pray. That and we check in weekly to make sure he is alive, its all I can do.

In my case, this is a complete shift from the man he was which makes it hard because when my brother & needed him after our Mom's death he emotionally shut down.

I second reading the Glass Castle, great read.

Shay
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by avengingophelia View Post
Have you read The Glass Castle? You might find it therapeutic.
:


And just remember, you can't save people from themselves.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
Give it a little more time. You're right, this probably isn't a common problem, but you may get more responses yet.

In the mean time, tell us more about what you're experiencing. You have a parent who is homeless? What do you do to try to help? How does your parent respond?

Do you have siblings?
I have siblings. They, with the exception of one, live a very hand to mouth existence. They are not formally educated, and they do not have good jobs, or potential for good jobs. They don't have enough resources for themselves, let alone to help another person. They also have issues with criminal behavior, and alcohol/drug dependency, and many other issues.

I used to try to help the siblings, but I've been cheated and lied to, and used too many times, that I've since cut them all out.

I have a harder time with an aging, ailing parent who is suffering from alcohol/drug dependency, a host of health issues, and more than likely mental illness, probably bi-polar disorder, but I can not know for sure.

I have done everything I know to help - thrown much money, time, and effort at the problem. Looked for jobs on their behalf. Looked for housing on their behalf. Looked for treatment programs on their behalf. For years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Proudmomoftwins View Post
but it was stressful dividing time between him and my children. and also worrying about him. i also felt resentful that he took away what little energy i had. i hope that someone else has more advice for you.


Yes. I understand. I know exactly what you mean. It is stressful. It is zapping of all energy. It does take precious time and resources away from your own children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tumblingstar View Post
This is hard. I did. My mom was addicted to various substances and alcohol. She also had bipolar disorder. She was, for all intensive purposes, homeless at various times in the last several years. I would talk to her on the phone (like when she was in jail or rehab) and write letters to her when she was in those places.

For me the best thing I did for myself and my sanity was to try really hard to not think about her when she was running around doing god knows what. I couldn't save her and you can't save your parent. There might be times when you think you can help and you should but ultimately it's up to them.


This sounds so familar. I can really relate, and it is hard and heartbreaking.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Deir View Post
My dad isn't homeless (yet) but I always look twice at the old bearded homeless guys downtown afraid that I will see him. he is luckily living with a friend in a surely ramshackle house( i've never been there) but I am just glad he's with someone and not me or my mom!! It is hard to balance things when you have to deal with something like you are dealing with. Hugs to you!
This sounds familar, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avengingophelia View Post
Have you read The Glass Castle? You might find it therapeutic.
I have. I liked that book a great deal. I could really relate to the author's personal story growing up.

The book didn't give much hope for any resolution, which was probably the author's point. There isn't a resolution. It's such a harsh reality.

It was a very good book, however, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shayinme View Post
My dad isn't quite homeless but close to it. When my Mom died unexpectedly almost 5 years ago, my Dad lost it and honestly he has never been the same (they were married 31 years). He lives in a transient hotel, with addicts, he does work but pretty much drinks a lot. My dad is a former pastor, was a regular guy so him living this way is hard on me and my brother.

I know a lot of its tied up in his grief but he doesn't want counseling. In the first couple years after my Mom's death I tried so hard to get him back on the right track now I just pray. That and we check in weekly to make sure he is alive, its all I can do.

In my case, this is a complete shift from the man he was which makes it hard because when my brother & needed him after our Mom's death he emotionally shut down.

I second reading the Glass Castle, great read.

Shay


Thanks for that post. It is hard, isn't it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
:


And just remember, you can't save people from themselves.
Thanks. Yes, I do try to remember that. My head does anyway. The heart is another story. I have really had a hard time emotionally disconnecting. I hate to think of people being cold and hungry, etc, or feeling abandoned.

I've done too much already, but it didn't solve anything. It's such a harsh reality.

They do need to change themselves, and, of course, my parent is not at that point, and probably will never be at that point. That is the crippling side of alcohol/drug abuse. It's a parasite on their mind that keeps them from making good decisions for themselves.
post #11 of 21
That Is Nice,
I don't have a homeless parent right now, but I wanted to share that for a lot of my childhood my dad was homeless and an alcholic. It's not as rare as it seems considering how many homeless people there are out there. I believe that most of them have kids. I think a lot of people are ashamed to admit their parents are on the street.

My dad is currently in a halfway house, and I can see him being on the streets again, but I really hope that doesn't happen. My contribution to him is phone calls and letters. I try to make him feel loved and respected, even though he's done so many horrible things in the past. I figure those things are more valuable than monetary gifts, but I can understand how you want to help in that way too.

It's so frustrating, but unfortunately we can't "fix" people. to you.
post #12 of 21

How to cope with a homeless parent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Does anyone else out there have a chronic homeless parent? ...particularly due to alcohol/substance abuse? How do you cope? How do you provide for your parent while balancing your own obligations to your own children (or self/husband)?

I really struggle with this one. I've spent thousands and a lot of time, energy, emotion, and nothing helps the problem, and I don't have endless resources.
I don't have a chronic homeless parent, and it is not an uncommon situation. It sounds like you are doing everything a loving daughter can do. Finding the balance is key to keeping an even keel between your family and your dad, and it sounds like you are doing well at it. As LibertyBelle says, we can't fix others. Only you can "fix" you--and I mean this in a very loving way. From what you say, your dad doesn't appear to have good coping skills.

Have you ever asked him what he wants? and what he would like to do about his life's situation? Can you directly ask him, "Dad, would you like to do about your situation, and how can I support that effort?" Have you ever had an intervention? Or, have you made an appointment with a mental health agency beforehand and taken him for evaluation or counseling to get the meds he may need?

There are programs in communities for folks like your dad. They vary in what they can do for a person (sometimes geared to age group) with the bottom line being what an individual is willing to do to help themselves. My experience is familiarity with nutrition programs, housing, county/city senior programs, federal and city nutrition programs, and groups like Catholic Charities, YWCA, YMCA, Salvation Army, church groups, etc. People fall through the cracks when no one keeps an eye out for such individuals. I believe in compassionate attachment and social responsiblity. There are caregiver groups for people like yourself.

Personally, I'd spend time on Dad and not the adult siblings, which I've done in my life. My parents raised me and I feel I have moral duty to them by helping them to the extent that I can (no throwing money at a situation.) We are the "sandwich generation". In my life, to keep my keel even, I do not hold myself up to what the siblings do or do not do, especially as it pertains to our parents, because that family unit changed when we all left home. Their personal relationships to our parents is as individual as they are. (The only time I get rialed is when they want to mind my business, but that is an entirely different story ) The only other thing I can mention is: people need to know someone is there to support us, usually expressed to the individual needing the help, even if they don't take the help. It is comforting to know that support is out there.

Good luck on your personal journey. :
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LibertyBelle View Post
I try to make him feel loved and respected, even though he's done so many horrible things in the past. I figure those things are more valuable than monetary gifts, but I can understand how you want to help in that way too.
Thanks. You summed up how I feel, too. I want to make sure that my father never feels abandoned and that he knows someone loves him. So many other people have turned their backs on him in life, and I feel like he needs someone out there to love him.

If he ever gets to the point where he is ready to help himself, then I'll be there to help him, too.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LibertyBelle View Post
My dad is currently in a halfway house, and I can see him being on the streets again, but I really hope that doesn't happen.
I hope so, too. I hope the half-way house will be a good place for him to heal, and find a better way for himself.

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdEyeMom View Post
I don't have a chronic homeless parent, and it is not an uncommon situation. It sounds like you are doing everything a loving daughter can do. Finding the balance is key to keeping an even keel between your family and your dad, and it sounds like you are doing well at it. As LibertyBelle says, we can't fix others. Only you can "fix" you--and I mean this in a very loving way. From what you say, your dad doesn't appear to have good coping skills.

Have you ever asked him what he wants? and what he would like to do about his life's situation? Can you directly ask him, "Dad, would you like to do about your situation, and how can I support that effort?" Have you ever had an intervention? Or, have you made an appointment with a mental health agency beforehand and taken him for evaluation or counseling to get the meds he may need?

There are programs in communities for folks like your dad. They vary in what they can do for a person (sometimes geared to age group) with the bottom line being what an individual is willing to do to help themselves. My experience is familiarity with nutrition programs, housing, county/city senior programs, federal and city nutrition programs, and groups like Catholic Charities, YWCA, YMCA, Salvation Army, church groups, etc. People fall through the cracks when no one keeps an eye out for such individuals. I believe in compassionate attachment and social responsiblity. There are caregiver groups for people like yourself.

Personally, I'd spend time on Dad and not the adult siblings, which I've done in my life. My parents raised me and I feel I have moral duty to them by helping them to the extent that I can (no throwing money at a situation.) We are the "sandwich generation". In my life, to keep my keel even, I do not hold myself up to what the siblings do or do not do, especially as it pertains to our parents, because that family unit changed when we all left home. Their personal relationships to our parents is as individual as they are. (The only time I get rialed is when they want to mind my business, but that is an entirely different story ) The only other thing I can mention is: people need to know someone is there to support us, usually expressed to the individual needing the help, even if they don't take the help. It is comforting to know that support is out there.

Good luck on your personal journey. :
Thanks for this post. I have looked into all those kinds of programs, multiple times, and I've helped to enroll my parent, only to have my parent skip out on them when it came time to enter the program. I've asked my parent all those questions...year after sad year. In some ways, I suppose, it does help to ask the questions even if they don't result in a resolution because I know I went the distance with my dad. I tried and tried and tried. So I feel good about that and know that I didn't turn my back on him when perhaps he was serious about seeking treatment (he wasn't).

I'll be there again for him if he is ever serious, and he knows that.

What you wrote about siblings is really helpful to me. My siblings are...how to put it nicely...not very reliable or empathetic or involved. And that's putting it nicely. I tried for years to be a good sibling to them, and to help them, but mostly they just used me and did bad things to me and each other. So, I closed that part of my life. The way you phrased it was nice. That family unit ended when we were all done being raised. So true! I definitely do not feel like a family unit anymore after the things they have done and continue to do.

But I still feel connection with my father because he never did anything bad intentionally.

Thanks for your post.
post #16 of 21
My FIL is chronically homeless but thank goodness he's been sober for 25 years, so we don't have that added to it.

He's never slept in the streets but for several years has only rented rooms, sublets, etc. for short times while he can afford it. And he often rents from crazy people so it never works out. He's lived with us on and off, and also with other friends on and off. We give him money when he needs it so that he can eat.

For a while, it was driving me crazy, as he was living with us and not doing anything to get help and support. But finally he did get Medicaid and food stamps, etc. and for a while he's had a job and someone else's house to live in. She lost her job so now he's out again but is living with an elderly lady for free in exchange for driving her around and helping her.

I've had to be very assertive, and in order to get him to get help initially, I had to do a lot of the paperwork, etc. for him and force him to do it. Now he's more in the habit and he's even found a legal aid attorney to help him get his social security issues straight!
post #17 of 21


couldn't read and not post.

My mom is a functional alcoholic, but, thankfully, isn't homeless and is stable financially.

Sounds like a really really tough situation and I'm sorry, TIN, that on top of the other issues in your life, you also have this going on.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post


couldn't read and not post.

My mom is a functional alcoholic, but, thankfully, isn't homeless and is stable financially.

Sounds like a really really tough situation and I'm sorry, TIN, that on top of the other issues in your life, you also have this going on.
Thanks. This has been going on for years and years. It's a chronic problem. Actually, I think it's very much related to the other problem (with DH) in a way. It's the reason I really don't have anywhere else to turn except to rely on myself. I've always been the bedrock of my family and the one they rely on...financially, emotionally, etc.

And I think in many ways, my DH knows that I have no family to rely on, and no where to turn, so he feels emboldened by that.

Oh, well. I'm definitely getting better at dealing with it all, but somedays it's rough.
post #19 of 21

First, I'm so sorry that you're going through this.  No, my parents were never homeless, but my son is, due to alcohol mostly.

I have found help through Families Anonymous, but that is primarily for parents. Have you tried Al-Anon?

They have many sound teachings to help with letting go, accepting what you can't change, and focusing

on your own well-being and that of your immediate family.

 

I wish you well. 

post #20 of 21

I was happy to find this post. 

 

I have a bordering homeless family. At one point, through a few years my sister (and nieces), mother and father were all homeless at different times. I am still struggling with my father's homelessness and addiction to alcohol and pain pills. It's very hard. I have had years of therapy to help me draw firm and loving bounaries. Like you ThatisNice - my dad never did anything intentionally to hurt me and used to be quite functional until his chronic pain and pill intake increased. One of the things that has helped is to have small measurable goals for my family with what I can help or support with. Sadly, often times I would rush to the crisis or the problem and help save the day...only to watch them change their minds, not take the help or choose to live in the problem. 

 

It can feel very lonely. I have a few good friends that I can talk to  and share and run things by to make sure I'm not just trying to save them again. 

 

I will say a prayer for you, the strength of prayer and centering myself has kept me sane - that and the people that come along side and see how painful it is and just sit with it in me for a moment. 

 

Good luck to you and your family. 

 

A few recommendations - therapy to help with boundary setting - especially for your parents, reading Safe People by Cloud and Townsend since that tends to get damaged when you're brought up with people who intentionally or unintentionally cause you to be on your guard or not have one and like others said The Glass Castle. 

 

I try to take it day by day and do my best to stay as healthy as possible (yoga, prayer, active lifestyle) 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Personal Growth
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Personal Growth › Anyone else out there with a homeless parent? How do you cope?