michele | Caregiver Action Network


michele ortiz
Caregiver Relationship: 
Living Arrangements: 
Long Distance
Primary Illness: 

My name is Michele. I am 30 years old, married with 2 children, 5 and 2 years of age. My mother's name is Faye. She is 73. After my dad passed away, she lost his pension. My job and her SS paid the bills. After I married in 1996, she still relied upon my income to pay her bills. To make a long story short, she had a retail job for 3 years before she was let go. Healthwise, it was a blessing because she had an MI and a bleeding ulcer due to the stress she was under. Financially, it has been hard. We have lived with her twice and been very grateful. We paid her rent, which she used to pay utilities, cable, etc, and we bought groceries for all 5 of us. Her SS is enough to cover her rent and a couple of small bills. She watches my children for an hour and a half until my husband picks them up and if we go out (very, very rare!) Even though we moved out 4 months ago, I still have to pay the same bills. We make fairly good money, but it is a stretch every two weeks. Lately, I have been really stressed, angry, guilty, and powerless that I cannot do more even though I am doing all I can. My husband has been a godsend. He may be frustrated at times, but he has never told me that I cannot keep supporting her. I wish I could tell you more. Some days I do not know if I can keep doing this. My sisters and her brother cannot or will not help.

Wish List: 
A way to claim these expenses even though we do not live together, such as for applying for food stamps or student tuition aid.


My parents also live on a limited income.  A few years ago, I called the senior center in their area and asked if they had any programs to help my parents.  Someone from the senior center offered to come to their house and explain what programs were available.  I sat in on the meeting so I could help explain anything they didn't understand.  They ended up qualifying for several programs but they chose to pursue food stamps and heating oil, which they qualified for.  Every year their heating oil tank is filled for free at least once.  

In addition my parents live in a house that was paid for.  I encouraged them to consider a reverse mortgage.  That has helped them alot!  They have gotten $1500 a month for years now.  The senior center can recommend high integrity resources for this service too.

I hope this is helpful.  Let me know how it works out.