When her 87-year-old mother, Mankuar, fractured her back, it fell upon her daughter Diwantie to pick up the pieces, becoming her mother’s voice and caretaker through the travails of hospital and rehabilitation center visits.
Today, Diwantie, age 58, works round the clock to take care of her wheelchair-bound mother who suffers from dementia and struggles with other ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain from osteoarthritis. Her mother’s Medicaid managed care company has been uncooperative in providing the assistance and supplies her mother needs to live safely at home.
“It’s a 24-hour job for me to take care of my mother,” Diwantie says. “I’ve been home with her since March. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Diwantie says her mother wasn’t ready to go home when the last skilled nursing facility discharged her. She begged them to keep her so her mother would receive the care she needed, but they refused. Since March, Covid-19 has surged in Florida, with nursing home patients suffering the highest death rates. Diwantie is glad her mother is with her, but she needs help.
Diwante and her 17-year-old son have no income, and she has been borrowing money from family members to pay rent and other bills. Her mother receives a Social Security check and food stamps. Her mother’s diabetes requires a special diet so she and her son have limited their own nutrition to one meal a day, she says.
Diwantie was forced to leave her job as a tutor after her mother became incapacitated. She has been unable to go back to work.