Ann, I agree 100% with John and Ann. You have to take care of yourself first, or you will be no good to anyone. Next in line of priority would be your children. There is help out there for your sister. The suggestion to talk to the transplant social worker is an excellent one. They have knowledge of what would be available to your sister and can help her get lodging, food stamps, Medicaid, or whatever she needs and qualifies for. As a former drinker, she may be able to get into an AA halfway house, which would be good for her as they have mandatory in-house 12-step meetings. (I'm a sober alcoholic and have lived in a number of halfway houses. Their one requirement is sobriety...or the offender is kicked out.) You might also try finding out if there are Federal HUD apts. in your area. There is sure to be a waiting list, but she may as well get on it. Try looking in your yellow pages under Social Services. You may find an agency there that can help in some way. The point is, there are things available to your sister that she probably is not even aware of, and that would free you up from carrying the burden or feeling guilty because it's just too much to take on. BTW, one slogan I learned in AA and love is "Don't should on yourself!"
Please come back and let us know how things are going.
Sue, that's interesting about the priority status re: housing. I am on the waiting list for 2 senior complexes at the beach, but was told the wait is a year or more. They do know that I am on SSD and what my disabilities are. The only thing I was asked was if I require special equipment, services, etc., if I live there. I have my own equipment and services in place, so I answered in the negative. I am glad that both complexes have elevators, as I have stairs where I am, which often present a problem when carrying anything heavy. Maybe it's worth a call to find out if disability status would move me up the list. It is becoming outright dangerous here--break-ins, purse snatching, even some muggings...not to mention the rowdy teens, etc. This was a safe and well maintained place when I moved here 9 1/2 yrs. ago, but the past 2 years it has gone down the tubes. I kept hoping we would get a manager who would turn things around, but nobody is ever here long enough for that to happen. So I have surrendered to the idea that I will have to move. I had planned to live out the rest of my life here. Just goes to show that you have to be flexible. The only thing we can be sure of (aside from death and taxes) is change.
Some social service listings I found here are as follows:
Thanks for clarifying that, Sue! I think I should qualify based on that. I know I could switch to a downstairs apt. here, but I've always preferred being on the 2nd floor, with nobody over me. I feel safer up here, too. Also, the cats love the balcony. When I do move, I am fairly certain I will only take one cat with me, if I can find a vet to put down the other one. He's 18 1/2 and has lived a very good life with me, but is becoming more than I can handle. They also charge a $300 pet deposit. Not sure if they even allow more than one pet.