As her husband’s health deteriorated, Helen made the decision to retire from her job as a housekeeper to stay home with him as his full-time caregiver. He passed away four years later, leaving Helen unsure of how she would survive without him.
1. Full-Time Caregiver
Helen: I became a widow, my husband passed away last June and I didn’t know what was going to become of me. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to stay in my apartment, but I am able to do that and then I found out about getting a free box of food every month so I signed up for that. I get food stamps, so that’s been a big help to me too because when your spouse dies you only have that one income and it’s not easy to live off of. I’m very grateful for what I get, in fact when I first got the first box I cried, because I was very happy to get it and I was very glad that I was eligible for it you know. So, I’m glad to get it every month, it’s a big help with my food.
2. Unsure Future
Helen: I do have a little money in the bank but you know if you keep taking it out and nothing is going back in… you’re broke. And then medicine, that’s another big thing. I put $1,000 on my debit card to pay for my medicine, but it’s gone down to $800 already so I don’t know what is going to happen when that disappears.
3. Tapping MFB Resources
Helen: You get a big box of rice and I have made that up and that’s good. That’s really good. So, it’s things you need, they give you pasta and they give you so many canned goods – corn, potatoes peas, it’s a lot of healthy stuff. It (doesn’t) have a lot of sodium in it which I have to cut down on because my blood pressure kind of shot up on me. So it’s good, healthy food, it’s good for you which means a lot too.
4. Her Happy Place
Helen: I was scared, I didn’t know what to think. You lose your loved one, am I going to have enough money to live, can I stay here? How am I going to afford this? But it has worked out so well. I like living here, it’s a nice place and I have wonderful neighbors. We all look after each other. If you need something, I got it. If they need something I got it, you know. We work together real well you know. So I’m really happy here and I think I’ll stay here until whatever happens.
5. Maintaining Independence
Helen: Before I get my food stamps, I got my list ready for the next time around and I always look at my ads and I use coupons too to try and save money which is a big help too. So um, yeah I’m very happy, very happy. So it’s a big help, it really is, so when I do go to the store, I can get meats and everything. Things I don’t get from the food box. So It’s a big help, it really is.
It’s fine now, I’m happy. I got everything I need. Don’t need nothing else.