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How do I reconcile the fact that I am 57 years old and must begin a brand new life as if I was a 20 something straight out of university? When all of my friends and acquatances are retiring to a comfortable life, I must start out brand new with an old body and old brain. In this economy I would be competing with 20 somethings with MA's and Phd's with fresh, bright, quick to learn new brains, while I only have a BA and a middle aged brain which has been burdened so long as a caregiver? If I were an employer I wouldn't hire me either and so I don't blame them. I cannot realistically compete with the young people. I cannot fantasize that I would get a good paying job, but only one that hopefully can only pay the rent, food, toilet paper, the necessities of life, never mind any type of small luxury--like expensive ice cream like Breyers would be a luxury.

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57 is not too old if you have (or regain) your health. I know a 50 plus lady who went back for a masters and has a new teaching career, and since I was only 40 something at the time I met her (was one of her students) I didn't appreciate what a challenge that actually was when she mentioned it in passing. She was a very good teacher so none of us thought the age was a big deal, and didn't really appreciate what she had to overcome. Learning IS slower when you're fifty plus but believe me it can still happen. I can speak a little Spanish now, enough to get started with a patient before the interpreter arrives, and I'm having to learn genomics which is one steep learning curve. Be patient with yourself and allow more time and more repetitions for that poor aging brain and you can still acheive your goals.

What's the difference between intelligence and wisdom? About 40 years. (You have experience and maturity the 20 somethings lack.) You may be down on yourself (I'm guessing from the "I wouldn't hire me" comment) or even depressed enough/still recovering enough that a grief group or counselor if there is anything free or affordable would be good.

Take care of yourself physically too, it will make a big difference - pick any kind of exercise you like and can do, start where you are, and go on from there...don't even worry if you can't do a 15 minute mile to start with, just check with yoru doc and see if you can get started swimming, doing Tai Chi, walking any pace, any distance if that's the case.

Let us know what you decide to be when you grow up (as my son still asks me sometimes :-), and how it all goes, OK?
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((((lefaucon)))) You are young. I am 75 and wondering about getting some part time work - more to get out with more people than anything else. I am also in a serious relationship with a man and it scares me silly to think of making a committment.again. Big changes are difficult, and more so when we have some "history" behind us..However experience does teach us some things. You have lots of skills. I taught at a college, and we loved the middle aged women. They had such wonderful work ethics. Research shows that the "older" mind may not be able to do somethings as quickly, but it does not make a practical difference, and the older person has other things they do better. My dear, nothing wrong with your brain., I love what you described about your hair. About 5 years ago I reinvented my appearance , and got more attention than I had in years - hence the sig other now. You have a whole new life ahead of you, burgundy hi-lites new make up, and more. Go for it girl! This is an adventure! (((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))
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Scared of the future? You bet I am! I am 61 years old, a widow and caring for my 87 year old mother in her home. She requires constant care and I cannot seek employment for fear that her dementia could cause her to fall or forget to turn off the stove. Like all of the other caregivers here, we ourselves are not young anymore, and it is frightening to think about starting over again when your loved one passes away. Reassessing the skills we once had and a bold step of faith is required for this extremely tough challenge particularly in our shrinking economy. In my situation, I am equally worried about where I am going to live as my mother took out a Reverse Mortgage on her home 5 years ago. After researching the net and talking to mortgage counselors, my only option would be to pay the bank back in full (like $268,000.00) and who in the world has this kind of money? I try to think of ways to make income from home but know there are many scams out there trying to suck me in to lose what little money I have. Both my mother and I have no assets and tho I am not on the deed of her home, the most viable option I have is to try and sell the home As Is, and pray for the best. At least this will buy me 4-12 months to figure out what I am going to do. The best way I handle all of this fear and anxiety is by attending church and praying, trusting that God will provide for me since I have followed his commandment of taking care of my parent. God's promises have never failed me or my mother as His protection for us is amazing. Even though I stay up at night and cry with worry and fear, I know when the time comes, God will give me the wisdom I need to carry out what needs to be done. So have faith, that God will meet your need to return to work....just begin today to ask Him to guide you and research your options. Good luck to all of us.
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Dear Aleeta,
I am going to Mac to get a whole new makeup session!!! Thank you for your uplifting advice!!
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My love and affection to all of you who have responded to my question. And yes, I realize now that I am cuttting myself too short and putting myself down--thru the depression I guess. But all the advice I've received above are things that I never even thought of and I am happy that I put my posted question out there to all of you. I acutally feel more confident and assured of myself. Baby steps, as one of you loved ones said to me. And yes, I did go out and have my hair shaped, trimmed, colored and even highlighted a beautiful burgundy color and it looks marvelous!!
My love and gratitude to all of you wonderful women and men out there who truly understand and care. God bless all of you!! My love, lefaucon.....
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You sound depressed and you are being so hard on yourself. It definitely is hard to begin again, but first I would get yourself to a doctor, have a full medical work up and make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Eat well, walk every day or do something physical to get your juices flowing.
I was much younger, but when my kids were little my ex husband and I divorced. I found out he'd been cheating on me most of our marriage. He never said anything nice to me. then he put all our money in a Swiss bank account! I had a hard time taking a compliment and if someone gave me one, I was the first person to say why I or 'it' wasn't a big deal. So I decided to cut that out right away. I just said 'thank you'. I figured perhaps they saw something that I didn't and I was going to go with that.
It is all baby steps. All our lives, whenever we have to start over.
You may not be 'feeling it' but just DO it and you mind will and can follow. You don't need a giant career right away. You just need to start.
Babyboomers - this is a fact - have been raised better (sorry to say!) than most of our kids' generation. We were not spoiled rotten, not given everything we ever wanted and have experience. But you have to believe you are a catch - to a new love or to an employer - to actually be one. Do the work and take it a day at a time. Much luck.
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Oh, and even though, when you were caregiving for a family member, it was still a "job" and you would want to put that on your resume. Please please please don't think negatively, it will likely come out in an interview....in your mind....pump yourself up!! ♥
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I was thinking the same thing as one of the others that posted, and that is that you've got plenty of experience as a caregiver, and there are people that hire a 1 on 1 caregiver, if you enjoyed the caregiving experience, that might be a place to start.
Walmart, Kohl's, Ross, Target etc. hires those of us that are in our 50's, and I would thing that right now is a good time to get hired, being that it's almost the Christmas shopping season.
Good luck and one thing you need to do before and during and interview, is think positive and tell yourself that you're a capable, hard working woman. Go online and search out to write a good resume and how to do a good job interview. And most of all...good luck!!!
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I am almost 50 lost my job got in school. I was working on an AS degree and got a fulltime job for seven weeks when found out my mom had dementia. I went to help her and lost my job both full and part time. I lost my mom to non profit in South Florida and now can only talk to her on the phone I cant afford to visit her I am states away. Because of her money they are seperating me the child from my mother in what small amount of time we could be sharing together before she totally forgets me. If you get to go to school do so. Today there are all ages going to school. I had people in their 60 in class as well as 19. Be grateful for the time you had as a caretaker. Now have time for you
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Just a thought -- get a new hair style, highlights, a manicure, and maybe make-up advice. I think it might lift your spirits and give you more self-confidence as you venture out.
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I AM actually going back to college, because I'm unable to handle the physical demand of being an Occupational Therapist anymore. Even though my new degree in counseling will actually pay less, it will allow me to sit down, which sounds great now! I also am worried, because in the course of taking care of my narcissitic and cruel mother's every need and whim for four years, and handling a complicated law suit for her, I lost so much income and also my marriage of 34 years, that I am risking everything to return to college. Still, it's a choice I've thought over carefully. It's not impossible to learn when you're older (I'm 57 also), because you often have better focus and habits. But it is expensive, for sure. Gonna have to do school loans again.
Regarding your own situation, would you consider being an elder sitter, or are you too burned out on the concept? You have experience, and a college degree, which is a sign of responsibility. There are sites that you can list your services on (caring for kids OR elders), assuming you are willing to pay for the background check. I found out about it when I was looking for respite care while taking care of my own mom, and it seemed like a good idea. Sitting for elders apparently pays fairly well, and if you got a Voc School degree as an LPN (I'm assuming your prior degree wasn't in a health field), you would probably get around $18/hour. Or, you could quickly become a CNA and that would help get those jobs in the home. Not sure what you're used to earning, but it might get your bills paid, and let you get that fancy ice cream! I'm going to do it while I'm in school, hoping I can study a little while I'm elder-sitting. Anyway, you're not alone in your worries, there's lots of us out there, and I'm sure we all wish you luck!
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Please don't worry too much about getting a job. Employers really do care about dependable qualified people. I have been caring for Mom almost 3 years now and saw an ad in the paper for PT computer work at home. I, like you, figured the younger competition was going to be a stumbling block (I'm 59). To my surprise, I scored really well on the data entry test and on the written paper tests. I did not think I was that impressive during the interview because I've been in the house with an 89 yr old for so long with very little outside activity. But, to my surprise, they did offer me the job and I have been working at home for about 5 months now from 8:00 pm to midnight (perfect hours for me after putting Mom to bed). So, be confident. We come from a generation of hard workers and are very dependable and take pride in our work ... not always the case with a lot of the younger generation (so I'm told). Good employers are looking for people like us. I figure I can give them at least 10 good years before I quit working for good. I'll keep you in my prayers.
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This is hard for me because I just turned 60 and I think I'm just as smart, if not smarter, than most 20 year olds. I love learning new things and I think you are selling yourself short. I don't have a college degree in anything, but I'm great at the computer and most of that is self taught.

I can tell that you're frightened, which is understandable, but when I read your post, the first thing I noticed was your attitude about yourself. "Old body and old brain." Okay, I'll go along with not feeling quite as limber as I used to, but you do have some control over how you feel mentally and physically. "If I were an employer I wouldn't hire me either." I know you're depressed, but really? I bet you have loads of things to offer an employer. Even if you haven't worked outside of your home in a while, you've been managing the care of another person. There's a lot involved in that, including good organizational skills, dependability, ability to work with little or no supervision. I'm betting you had to do some budgeting and are probably good with finances. What about insurance? I bet you've gotten good at deciphering that mess!

I'm not sure where you're looking, but I could easily see you starting out in a more entry level position and quickly moving up into more of a management one. I bet you have friends, family or a minister who could help you see the positive things you have to offer. Okay, 57 isn't 20, but it isn't 80 either, and there are plenty of people in their 80s still going strong.

I hope things get better for you. You shouldn't be feeling old and useless at 57!
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I agree with one of the other posts. You are valuable at any age. Keep your chin up. Take a long brisk walk that always snaps me out of a funk. Think of now not so much towards next week. Take care of you. As we age our bodies change and our lives change. We must go with it in a positive manner or we can fall into a depression. Things are never that bad and they can always be worse. I wish you the best and hope you find what you need. My prayers are with you.
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Wow, I never expected so much help from all of you!! Some extremely great advice above that I would never of thought of. Thank you for caring enough to respond to my depressed state and worry. And tigualil, while watching TV one night a pastor said, "Do you know how to be a miserable person? I'll tell you how. Regret and obsess about the past, and worry about the future." That is a surefire way to be miserable. Live one day at a time, the present has enough worries of its own to worry and stress about the future, even tomorrow has enough trouble and problems its own. Too bad sometimes I forget all about it. I am only human. Yes, I have so much experience in being a caregiver now. All I need is the extra training that an organziation will provide. Must pray and meditate on that one, but its a great thought and advice. My degree is in European history and my minor is in Political Science. But I do not want to be a teacher.
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I am also 58 and unemployed at this time. What I have noticed is there are a lot more people - especially women - who are working at jobs that they did not work at before. I see a lot of older women in gas stations, small stores, and in larger stores like Macy's and WalMart. This makes me sooo happy. I would rather deal with these women than some teenager who does not care about customer service. I used to have a well paying job in a very competitive industry. I do not miss that at all (well the money was nice) but the pressure was miserable. I just could not keep up anymore and did not want to. There are jobs out there, and there is certainly no shame in doing any job as long as you do it well and they treat you with respect. Good luck - try WalMart.
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I second what Aleeta (and others) have said. I am struggling to care for my father (dementia diagnosis) just a state away ... I drive up every 3 weeks or so and spend several days there, but moving him right now would be devastating (the only thing that seems to make him happy/engage him is taking care of the feral cat colony he has cared for for the last two or three years, and they are NOT movable) ... We are paying $18 an hour for caregivers through a local agency (of which, based on my own "temping" experience, I am sure the caregivers are getting maybe half), but I'd happily pay that whole amount directly to an experienced, qualified, reliable caregiver with patience, love, a good sense of humor, and a clean background check. As my Dad's diagnosis progresses, if I could find someone who was willing to take a lower hourly rate but actually live in with my Dad (free room and board), I'd be ecstatic. And frankly, I'd prefer older to younger ... whether it's true or not, I'd expect an older person to be more "grounded," more empathetic with my Dad about his physical frailties, better able to connect with him, more likely to have memories in common, and so on. So you might find your age to be less of a hindrance than you think if you were willing to consider "marketing" the experience you already have ...

I absolutely feel your fear and worry, and send you a huge hug. Hang in there! :-) I find that what I don't know and can't predict is always the most stressful, frightening thing ... you may feel better if you start to put out feelers and seek out information about what is possible and what isn't ... but in any case, don't dismiss what you know or who you are. You have valuable experience!
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People are desperate for compassionate, competent, dependable companions and sitters. We paid sitters/companions for my mother $15 an hour and were happy to do so. I agree with other commentors that your experience with caregiving just might lead you to a career as a companion for an aged or disabled adult or a child or a position as a nanny. Perhaps rehab facilities or hospices would be a place to start. We all are wishing you the best outcome and a brighter future.
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lefuacon, I, too, am 57, and just took early retirement from my job of 21 years to take care of my mom. My husband passed away suddenly in April and now I am left with living off social security for my 16 year old son, some of mom's income, and a small insurance policy. Nothing got paid off when my husband died because he had a bad heart and couldn't pass a physical. So...here I sit and think about my life too....I can relate. What I try to do is to be grateful for what I do have...a good exercise is to every day write down three things that you like about yourself and five things that are good about your life right now. It will seem really difficult at first, but in time you will see that even with those dark clouds looming on the horizon, there is some very good things in your life, the first one being YOU! There are days when it's all I can do to drag myself off my pity pot and flush! Loving you...praying for you.
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Lefaucon... I understand you feelings, starting over looks like a daunting proposition not to mention scary when looked at as 1 big piece. The other posters have offered some good ideas. Let me offer a couple more....In my area, AARP has an office for us older gals. Check with your local Senior Center to see if there is one near you....another option is a temp agency. You are not without resources and have found support and understanding on this forum. Good luck and keep your chin up.
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Oh my, you have just put out loud what I am thinking. I too am 57, just quite my job and relocated to a different state to start caregiving. My mom's health is ok, but she has diabetes. With little help from my family, I don't know what will happen to me when she's gone. My brother controls most of her assets and she's always been his piggybank. I know I should start looking for something now to prepare for the future, but I just can't seem to keep focused. After losing my job, I started working retail, and I really thought I would be able to do the same thing here (starting a career in a new place at 57 is iffy). I didn't realize how much help she needed and it is hard to be away even for a few hours, especially when it's not a regular schedule. I just found this site and hope that the support here will keep me going. I feel like I came here to die and I am pretty scared.
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lefaucon---I finally got to read a post from you! Don't let your age bother you from taking classes online. I am almost 55 and our Community College offers an ALL ONLINE LPN program. I finished the entire program in ONE year, not two...and that was a year ago. All I had left was the practicum (which is working in the hospital setting without pay for 6 weeks). Took another job for 3 months and that didn't work out so, called the college back to tell them I was ready to do the practicum at my local hospital and they would not let me! They said, "NO, once you leave the program, you cannot get back in". I took it to the Dean and everyone else I could find with no luck. THEN, I took the Coding Specialist program from another one of our local colleges..all online. I loved taking classes online. Still, when they told me I have to take one more test at a center in another state...my panic disorder kicked in as I knew it would and I failed the final test..got 364 and needed 400 to pass. It was a 2 hour test and I was done in 40 min. Anxiety is not good..panic disorder is bad too. But what I'm saying is...just don't let it get you down because of your age. People like you have LIFE experences...you are wanted!! Kids these days are just kind of lazy and show up late, don't call in a lot, etc. Age is a good thing sometimes!
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Another 57-year-old here, looking at a possible job loss (due to the EPIC system increasingly taking over the hospitals and my job going overseas) and having to care increasingly for my mom. I've been a medical transcriber for 37 years, lucky enough to have been able to do it from home for the past 16 years, so of course, that's about all that's on the resume. Can't image getting an interview for a local job, even at the hospital up the street, so hard to even get your foot in a door. No desire whatsoever (or time right now, Lord knows) to go back to the community college for one of the 2-year degrees; I understand those who graduate are lucky to land a $9-10 per hour job in those fields, though maybe a certificate program is more feasible, not sure yet. So I have to hope to land several part-time jobs to pay the rest of the mortgage. Tried to sell my house a few years ago when my last company cut my pay in half; didn't get a single bite, too many homes up for sale and rent around me, but luckily landed the job I have now. Too durn old for this stuff, ha-ha. But I sure know others are in worse shape. Mom is thankfully stable physically (my sister and I joke she's in better physical shape than we are) and lives nearby and yes, I could move in with her if worst comes to worst and am still optimistic about my options, but yes, it is scary having to look for another job at our age. Anyway, good luck to you, leufacon and others here.
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i am in the same position and i was freaking out so bad i got a therapist. she got me working in the here and now. worry is about the past and the future. i got into meditating at the local buddhist center. that is all about being in the here and now. it has got me enjoying being poor and i am selling off my stuff on ebay. i am walking my brain damaged husband daily in the park and am preparing myself and my special needs adopted daughter for homeless living if and when the day comes. i have no control over the fact that people don't want to help us. people never like me anyhow. that was why i took up computer programming in the first place. [it wasn't until i got my master's degree in graphic design/ visual communication, that i realized the depths of how much people hate me.] but i do have control over how i live every day. i am going to hold compassion in my heart and be fully human and continue on my life.
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You will be able to find a job in the future. Unemployment for people with college degrees is less than the unemployment level generally. You are certainly fit to be a companion or home health aide. However, I would look into getting certified as an LPN, RN or Lab tech. Get your transcript evaluated to see what can be accepted from what you completed earlier in your life. In most states you could be placed on a substitute teacher list if you have 2 yrs of college credit--you have your degree.

This is not to say starting over will be easy but having a degree will surely help. Imagine the number of people your age starting over without a degree under their belt--much more difficult.

Good Luck. I would go to the county workforce development office and see what is available for people re-entering the workforce.

Elizabeth
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Play up your strengths. You have experience in budgeting, nutrition, social services, problem solving.... lots of things that can translate into a job.
After a long absence from the workforce I found a job in the convenience store industry. We are constantly looking for cashiers...and promote the good ones to manager rather quickly. When I interviewed for my job I had no experience in convenience stores-- my background has always been in working with developmentally disabled folks. At my interview I was asked me if I was proficient in Excel. Knowing it was a deal breaker if I wasn't ... I replied, "I know everything the Professor had to teach me"... I got hired and I promply went home and spent the next 8 hours going through "The Professor Teaches Excel" on my computer. I highly recommend the Professor series (excel, word, outlook) as career preparation. The series is cheap.... or, if you want, you can also find tutorials online.
Also, in hiring for the convenience stores at least, it is difficult to find people who are drug free, arrive on time, and interact pleasantly with the public. Amazingly difficult. When you apply for a job, be sure to point out that you are punctual and haven't taken a sick day in years...
Best of luck to you!
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* In most schools too.
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Not sure where you live, but schools hire people our age to work in their kitchens. You get off during the Summer and receive unemployment. There are lunch aide positions Immanuel schools too.
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Don't give up on yourself. Are there any jobs you can do from home?
What is your degree in? I know it is tiring and we age alot being caregivers.
Do something you want to do. Go to a department store and get a facial or makeup put on for fun. Try a new hair style. I feel better when I get dressed and look my best. It doesn't change the situation with my motherinlaw but I don't have to be depressed because of her or it. Thrift stores are great places to buy clothes
get a new blouse or scarf something that you like.
You are valuable at any age. Your life is not over.
I am praying for the right man to be President and turn this country around and make it better for all of us financially, with jobs, housing, health and hunger issues.
Please take care of yourself.
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The most needed jobs available are for caregivers! And you Qualify! I know you just finished caring for your parent but it will give you the income you need.
You would lend insight and knowledge to a field. Please give it some thought.
Nursing homes are a good place to start..... pick one near your home and save on gas! All the Best to You.
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