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Does anyone else feel that they are losing brain cells because of caregiving?

I have noticed that I do not feel as "sharp" or "smart" as I used to before I became a caregiver. I can only compare this to the mommy brain that I had when my children were both infants. When I am in a social situation lately I am at a loss for conversation. This is distressing to me because I look so forward to getting out and being around non-demented people and then when I am there I have nothing to say and feel out of place. I feel that people avoid me because of my situation. I may be sensitive but there are others out there who have a great amount of guilt about not taking care of their elderly parents and I think they feel awkward around me also. Being in the situation of having a low level stress at all times makes my mind simple. I read crappy magazines and watch dumbed down TV just like my Mom. I know there are gifts that go along with the difficult task of taking care of our elders and I appreciate those. I just do not want to become an empty shell with no personality.

 
 
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Marialake

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Jul 7, 2014

I really understand your comments and it's scary isn't it? I feel like I've fallen into a rut and it takes too much energy to get out. A little bit like grief. Maybe we are grieving the life we can't have............the life we are sacrificing.
It really helps to get my MIL away from me for several days. It's.a pain to organize and make happen................but it gets me to feeling like a human being again. Is it worth the expense and effort (getting respite care at a nursing home for five nights)? For me - yes. It helps to keep one foot in the real world so that once we're finally free, we won't have forgotten how to live and enjoy life again.

 
 

JessieBelle

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Jul 7, 2014

hadenough, I feel the same way when I go out. I usually end up listening a lot, which most people don't mind. Even when I'm listening, though, my brain starts tuning out.

It sounds like heaven to send our parent out so we can have respite. When we have pets, going somewhere ourselves carries extra stress. I wish I could get my mother to go somewhere for a week. She would if my brother would take her, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. Majorly jealous, Maria.

 
 

vjohnson

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Jul 7, 2014

OMG yes! I am going crazy myself. Everyday is a new drama. I would also like to get my mother away from the lady next door but I can't lock her in her room? Or can I ? Just kidding..... I would never do anything to hurt my mother or any other human being for that matter but you know I suddenly see why some elders get abused and left in nursing homes, as horrible as that is it is because they are so mean to us. I think it is very important for us care givers to get some help ourselves!

 
 

hadenough

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Jul 7, 2014

Thanks all - so good to know that I am not alone in this difficult time. Respite is so important and so hard to get. I have been my Moms caregiver for 3 years now and have had a total of 10 days off! Three years - more than 900 days and my dear sibs have given me a total of 10 days of respite. I really do not know what to do anymore. It is just so boring and tedious.

 
 

Marialake

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Jul 7, 2014

I've done respite twice in 18 months for a total of 7 days and 6 nights and it was worth it :) If you can get hospice, there is no cost. With hospice, MIL qualifies for 4 days and 3 nights every month but I've only done it twice. Guilt monster gets me. BUT when I've done it...................it's been wonderful.
They pick her up in ambulance and bring her back too.
I highly recommend hospice

 
 

SusanA43

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Jul 7, 2014

I know what you mean. Going out for breakfast with other family members (taking Mom along) is just not that fun for me anymore. Everyone talks about their newest car, their latest fun night out with friends, etc and what can I say? I sat at my desk and worked all day, and in between work I battled with Mom to get her to go to the bathroom on time so she wouldn't have an accident and then cleaned up when she had an accident because she refused to go? I washed 5 sets of sheets and 8 pairs of underwear today - go me!?! I listened to Mom snore all afternoon? Made a dinnner that I didn't feel like eating? Wooo, such excitement!

SIL occasionally asks me to go to the movies with her. I'd love to go, but I probably wouldn't enjoy it, because I'd be worried about Mom at home alone all the time - just like when I go to get groceries.

 
 

trenur

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Jul 7, 2014

I feel that way too sometimes. I try my hardest to keep doing things that I enjoy such as the simplest thing of listening to music. I've had to really just work around everything. Like right now for instance. I'm feeding my grandmother breakfast haha. Feels like the only interaction I have with the outside world is social media so I'm checking it every hour so I don't miss anything being that I'm only 23. Even when I go out with my friends, I feel guilty when they ask me how my nana is because I really don't want to talk about her or think about her. I just want a few hours to be one person and not two. You just have to remind yourself that you do it because you care for your parents. I can't even bring myself to put my nana in respite care because I'm scared she'll pass away without me there.

 
 

kazzaa

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Jul 7, 2014

Im off for a weeks holiday and im nervous as i dont go out at all? so im nervous about socialising? yeh like what have i got to talk about mum flinging her depends out her bedroom window!! i go to my friends next door at weekend for a drink but as her mum died from als the conversation always reverts back to this so i cant really get away from it.
another friend used to call every week but shes go a man now and dosnt bother calling which i miss.
Yes its going to be scary and interesting meeting new people and having stuff to talk about just hope i dont bump into another CARER!!! LOL

 
 

trenur

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Jul 7, 2014

Lol @ kazzaa! When you're on holiday just reinvent yourself hahaha say that you're stripper if someone asks you your occupation. Make up an answer and have fun with it! You'll have something to chuckle about when you're cleaning up an accident lol

 
 

hadenough

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Jul 7, 2014

So good to know that I am not alone. Does not mean it is easier but at least others understand how isolating being a caregiver can be. Family dinners which used to be fun are now just filled with resentments. I am now working up my letter to my sibs about needing more respite and some kind of compensation for what I am doing. In reality I am just saving them all money. No one sends anymore money for Mom since I moved in, my savings are being eaten up because my Mom still thinks it is the depression and will not spend a dime on anything. I refused to live in her home the way it was and cleaned, fixed all the crap, redid the backyard and put in hardwood floors. All out of my own pocket. I am sick of this and ready to leave if my brother and sister do not step up. I get so angry thinking about it that I can not even approach them because I am afraid the volcano will erupt and I will say things that can never be taken back.

 
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