I have noticed it can take me 1-2 hours just to get out the door to have time for myself when the hired caregiver assistant arrives.

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I haven't always been like this at all, so not sure just what is going on with me. I am a super organized person. It's almost like I just shut down in decision making, etc. I have been caretaking now almost 6 yrs. This seems to be happening in other areas of my life as well. When I have things to do, it seems to take an enormous time doing it to the point a neighbor, who used to help out with giving me rides to do errands, finally confronted me about this. I don't think this is burnout.....possibly overload of things on my mind. Feedback anyone?


I get like that when I'm clinically depressed. I think it stems from the overall lack of energy I feel when I'm in that state.

You might start by going to your doctor for a complete physical and talking about this as a symptom.
Overload? Very likely.
Stress? Yup.
Preoccupation with things to come? I wouldn't be surprised.
Mourning? I think this kind of distraction is very common during a period of severe loss. (At least it was for me.) And when you are caring for someone with dementia, the losses come before death.

When we are bereaved in the usual sense, other people make allowances for our volatile emotions and easy distractability. No one "confronts" us about being slower or less organized. They empathize, even if they don't know what to say. They bring hot dishes and cakes, thinking we might not be up to ordinary chores and hospitality tasks. They send flowers and card. They call. But when we are suffering from "ambiguous" losses, we are more likely to be left to our own devices. People really don't understand we are in mourning -- and we may not understand it ourselves.

Does that fit, at all?
I know where Babalou is coming from. This does sound like depression also. But mourning is NOT the same as clinical depression. And mourning an ambiguous loss is not pathological. It is just something we need to experience and pass through (as a psychiatrist, psychologist, and therapist all assured me).

The book "Loving Someone who has Dementia" by therapist Pauline Boss deals with mourning losses before the loved one is gone. She is the person who coined the term "ambiguous loss" when counseling persons with loved ones MIA, and then later persons who lost loved ones on 9/11 and had no body to bury. She sees a real similarity to persons whose loved ones have dementia and are still "with us" and yet "not with us" in another sense.

Being treated for depression might help. But the first step is to be extra kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. It is OK not to function 100% while we are in mourning. If you need some additional help while you are in this state, I hope you have a few very good friends you can share your needs with.
I agree with Jeanne. It might NOT be depression. But I'd get it ruled out.

Contrary to much popular belief, depression doesn't necessarily get triggered by events. Sometimes, when one becomes depressed, an event that happens by coincidence within the same time frame gets blamed as the trigger.

Yes, be kind to you. Accept the fact that you are grieving what to many folks is an invisible loss. (The next person who tells me I'm so lucky to still have my mom alive is gonna get it!....that's not really my mom anymore, folks. It's a frightened shell). But since this is new, it's a symptom in my book and should be checked out. Stuff like anemia, thyroid problems can cause what I think of as mental fog. A good physician will listen and investigate.
I'm going into 9th year caregiver for my husband with AD, I find I don't even want to put forth the effort to actually leave my home when a friend gives me a couple of hours for myself, then I do nothing different then I was doing before he left just hoping he gets back safe and no issues came up. I also find lately the only way I can continue on is to remember him as he was before AD, that makes me happy and gives me enough momentum to deal with the other husband. Gotta love him, just as he is 💜
cadams, I know exactly what you are going through, I do the same thing myself. I also was quite organized to a point of being OCD, getting things done... now it takes me weeks to make a decision regarding myself. But for my aging parents, it's immediate decisions.

I will drag my feet big time making doctor appointments for myself, I am a year over due on many... oh well, what will a few more months make :P I dread making telephone calls for repairs to my house, bought new outdoor lighting which is still sitting in their boxes, I have yet to call the electrician. The estimate on remodeling a bathroom was back in 2013, I still haven't scheduled it, in the mean time the water stain on the ceiling keeps getting bigger and bigger.

I am just plain exhausted physically and emotionally due to dealing with two people in their mid-90's who still wanted to live at home, who refused outside help, who stopped driving 6 years ago and guess who's been driving them ever since. I can't keep up two single family homes/yards not at my age. And I still work at my career.

Hey, where's the off switch to my mind so I can finally get some sleep???
Thanks for the feedback. I feel jeannegibbs is right on in many ways. I think it may be a combination of overload and stress. I don't have a lack of energy. I am back to taking my morning walks for an hour before mom is up and that helps. I hadn't considered that I might be in "mourning". I do see that I have slipped back into some level of denial and will have to make concerted effort to pull back out of that. I DO feel increasingly isolated, alone, no one to talk to. I am very much a people person, so this has been hard on me. Everyone has their own stuff to deal with and don't want to listen. Can you relate?
Now what? How to pull out of this "funk"? cadams
freqflyer......OMG.......that really does sound more like me after all---immediate caretaking decisions for mom and her dog, but for me.......months and months go by before I take care of things for self. I can't fathom how you do as much as you do....two parents PLUS a career. Makes me bleary eyed just thinking of it. Amazing! cadams
cadams, I now have caregivers for my Dad, and my Mom was recently placed in long term care.... and I am still dragging my feet.... all I want to do is nap when I get home from work :P

It's all brain overload, we now how to remember soooo much more.... their pills and my own pills, when to reorder.... their doctor appointments and my own appointments, one year I went 70 times to medical related appts, no wonder I stopped going to my own..... their groceries, and my groceries, like I love going to the grocery store twice a week, not.... their car inspection and my own car inspection, gasoline, oil changes, etc. [kept their car because Mom couldn't climb up into my vehicle]..... their hair appointments and barber shop appointments, no wonder I grew my hair into a pony tail :P Yada, yada, yada.
Cadams, it certainly seems like you are experiencing some sort of burnout to me. Your post caught my eye because it's nearly impossible for my husband and I to get away from my dad once we go visit him. We have been his only caregivers ever and now he's 87 years old and in need of far more care than we are capable of giving. I can't keep a thought in my head, sometimes I'm afraid I'm getting Alzheimer's. I was once a very organized person just like you, now I have to write everything down and sometimes forget where I wrote those very important notes. This is an example of why there are professional caregivers in assisted living facilities. caregiving needs to be left to professionals and not family members. it will ruin your life, your marriage and any other relationships you have if you let it. And in the end, the parent won't remember anything you did. If we were at my dads yesterday he would swear he hadn't heard from us in a month. he should have been using that extremely expensive long term care insurance he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on over the years. we finally let the policy go because we knew he would never use it. What a waste in so many ways. if I knew then what I know now I would have never started. I would have given him resources to contact and I would always stay in touch, but never cross the line into caregiving. I hope you get out while you still have some of your sanity. My husband and I are going to save ourselves now that I have cancer and he has suffered a heart attack and we are only 50. both diseases were caused by excessive stress. Excessive and unrelenting stress. That is what it is when a child is a caregiver to an abusive, bitter selfish parent. We were lucky enough to have children that were perfectly behaved so now we have to learn how to discipline an 87 year old child. Daddy is about to learn the word no from us. when we say it over the phone, he says he can't hear us. So we will go have a face to face with him and draw it with a crayon if we must. He has lived a first-rate life, but has taken over a decade from us. 55 happy, healthy years he had with my mom. We will be lucky if we live to be 55. Thanks, daddy.

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