Submitted by: Anna Hairston, MSW - Awakenings Care Coordinator
The Awakenings team received a referral from a community health agency regarding a woman in her 60’s. She was living in a small dilapidated trailer with her son and daughter-in-law, her dog, and the daughter-in-law’s 14 cats. The trailer’s floor was caving in and there were concerns of hoarding and other health hazards. Along with these poor living conditions, her son and daughter-in-law were taking advantage of her financially. Because she is unable to read or write, they had convinced her to have her Social Security check direct deposited into their bank account each month which they were using to pay off the trailer that was in their names. Additionally, her daughter-in-law had assumed control over her food stamps she was receiving, of which she saw nothing. While her family had new clothing and other good quality items, she was living in clothing with holes that were covered in animal feces and urine.
The outreach worker with the community health agency saw her come in each visit with them same stained and ripped clothing and built a relationship with her hoping she would share what was going on at home. After several months, she finally invited her to the home and the worker saw the state of the trailer and was told about the financial exploitation. Adult Protective Services encouraged her to reach out to the Area Agency on Aging 3 Awakenings Program for additional help.
With help from Deb’s Dogs taking her dog in, she had the confidence to move into Awakening’s emergency housing to start fresh. We were able to provide her with a safe place to recover, a clean apartment, and hygiene items while she got her finances in order and back in her name. With everything corrected, within 2 months she was able to save money, sign a lease with an apartment in the area, purchase some home goods for herself, and move out on her own. As she settled in her new apartment, she stated she is so grateful because she is now able to go meet up with her sisters who live near her and live independently and without fear.