My husband has a little sister that is learning disabled. She is now 25. She never attended main stream schools and never got “into the system.” She has been severely coddled her entire life and honestly, I have no idea what her true limitations are.
She did use social services to help with job placement and worked as a bag girl at a grocery for over a year, until her parents thought it would be better for her to go on vacation than have a job.
She took driving lessons for YEARS and will only drive somewhere she has been taught to drive. (scary, eh?) Her parents would not consider teaching her to use public transportation.
She can cook for herself and do basic household stuff. She has never been exposed to paying bills or I would guess, any sort of money management.
I’ve always known that one day her care would fall to us. Her other sister is a flake to say the least. I don’t think she is nearly as crippled as she has been raised to be. Sure, she has limitations but I’ve seen folks with more, do much more.
That’s the background on her.
Her parents are divorced. Her mother lives halfway across the country and travels extensively for her job. Her father is a doctor that has severe heart problems and has recently lost his ability to perform surgeries and really, is likely to die at any time. He’s been having pretty severe heart attacks for years. He’s had a defibulator installed on his chest for a year or so, he recently had a huge one, had stints or whatever put in. His outlook is grim. To top it off, he is a RAGING alcoholic and whatever limitations he had before, are pretty much gone. The general feeling is that he and his new alcoholic wife are soon to do the whole “Leaving Las Vegas” thing.
So in their infinite wisdom, they are moving SIL across the country to where her mother lives and putting her in her own apartment for the first time in her life. The bills will be paid by her father. Right after she is scheduled to move in, her mother has to leave town for 2 weeks. So she will be sitting there in a strange city, unable to drive around, with no job and no one that knows her. I am absolutely flabbergasted.
I have suggested to everyone that since we are moving to the country, that we get either a large enough parcel or two adjoining parcels to allow the SIL to have a house very close to us. It would allow her the autonomy of living alone but with a parachute close enough that we could keep an eye on her and help her. I see it that she could work on being independent at her own pace rather than just being thrown out there.
As far as I can figure, the safeguards we need to have in place are:
A. She needs to have her own house.
B. She needs to have some sort of income to be able to pay her own way (SSDI, father, job, whatever)
I do not think that she should live WITH us. She has been raised to be more dependent than if they had bound her feet. However, the light is going on and she has been fighting that for the last year or two. I think she stands a good chance of being able to take care of herself and function in somewhat normal society, but she will need help/encouragement to do so.
Anyone else familiar with this? What safeguards would you recommend I put in place? What should I ask of her parents? What should I ask of her?
For the record: She does have a trust fund already, her father has wanted to buy her a townhouse, but they haven’t gotten around to it, so I know that the ability is there for her to buy/build a house outright as long as it is reasonably modest. We would have to buy a 2 acre parcel at least to have two living structures on it, which would raise our price up for certain. I guess I need to ask them what they would be willing to do.
Any advice would be appreciated, even if the advice is “Divorce your husband and run far, far away!”