When I wrote to my uncle, here is what he wrote back.
Your email, unfortunately, confirms nothing has changed in years. We have been trying all different kinds of ideas to help your mother, but we meet with silence also. Did you know that we did some research and she could get an apartment in [Traditional Catholic enclave] for 30% of her income? She would be within a mile of church and the streets are safe. Well, her number one condition is she must have BOTH of her children with her in an apartment. She wouldn't be able to do that in subsidized housing and she cannot afford regular housing. There is no way [son] will qualify to get in the low income housing here, but your mother as a senior can, and [daughter] could, too - if she was SSI disabled. Your mother won't put [daughter] through "that" again.
That was just the latest idea, but over the years we offered to help [son] learn to drive, offered to get him an eye exam and glasses if needed, offered to get her set up with internet telephony, offered to help her through getting senior help to fix her house (roof, siding, windows assistance was available through RHA), etc. Each and every offer was met with dead silence. No explanation. Any idea we have when it hits your mother, dies.
Over the years I explained that her siblings could not support another household, which is what she is asking. She wants to keep her house and children under her wings no matter what it costs US. I started by explaining [my brother] was downsized, then [brother #2] was downsized, then [sister] retired, and now I am also no longer in the workforce. Where do we get the money to funnel to those who are fleecing her? Your mother has reasoned that we all made a bunch of money and had two incomes so we must have cash available. Each and every one of us has had the financial rug pulled from underneath us in our lives and we all had to adapt. Your mother sees herself as a victim and if she just made a bunch of money (or if she receives a bunch of money) everything would be fine. For her siblings, we all lucked out getting great jobs and she is grateful it worked out for us. Excuse me? I drove [many] miles each way to work for many years - not exactly a silver spoon. I got ONE raise during that time. Each one of your mother's siblings has similar stories. [brother] had to move [6 states away] and used boxes for furniture.
The challenge is what you noted: you get nothing out of your mother. How can she ask for help and then simply shut down? The bottom line is your Mom needs to look to solving problems and being open enough to discuss why it is she can't/won't take action. We don't like seeing her in distress, but she won't lift a finger to help herself and we cannot do it for her. As a matter of fact, she did fight with social security to NOT sign her up for Medicare.
Your Mom mentioned in her appeal that it has been X years since your father passed. And, she could sure use some financial help. Well, I don't think any of us have the wherewithal to give your mother the kind of cash she needs. And why throw good money after bad? The money flows from us through her fingers to swindlers who take her for whatever she can get from us. She commits to getting ripped off and THEN asks for help; never asking for ideas upfront BEFORE money is committed. The first rule of rescue is to make sure that you as a rescuer are secure; you don't jump into the rushing water because you feel you want to save someone. You have to be anchored and you don't let someone grab you. Ditto here. For us to toss what little cash we have and weaken our position is futile. Your Mom needs to grab the lifeline we toss. Figuratively, she rejects the lifeline because it is the wrong color, smells bad, is dirty or it doesn't come right to her.
The last lifeline was suggesting she look into moving to [Traditional Catholic enclave] where she has family, the church and sacraments close, she would be out of corrupt [home state], and the streets are safe. We would help make that happen; not by giving her cash, but by doing as much legwork as we could do so she doesn't drown in the details. We would have to spend cash and time to make the move, but this lifeline drifted like everything else we tried over the years. So yes, we are all experiencing the same thing.