Now what... life after caregiving.

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Hi. I have classic burnout syndrome, typical family problems, and a physically demanding (not emotionally, thank God) patient who happens to be my last living Grandparent. I've been with him for 18 months and in the last month he has been steadily heading down hill. I was convinced the last episode of delirium was just like all the others... lasting 3 - 4 days followed by 6 - 7 good days. Well, that 3 - 4 ended but ended at 1:30am today with him peacefully slipping away from us.

NOW WHAT??? What am I supposed to do with myself? Where do I go from here? What is my life if it's not "caretaker"? What do I do with the grief on top of the lost feelings?

Burnout over, right? Family problems gone, right? Physical demands done, right? NOW WHAT DO I DO????


I am so sorry about you loosing your dad.... and for the void now left in your life... you are still a caregiver, and will always be one... this job changes us. Forever... but what do you do now, you grieve, you smile when you think of the good times, you laugh at the memories... you cry from wanting to hear his voice one more time.... you live... you pick up the peices... you sleep more than normal, you think you hear him and go check, and you cry... you come here and tell us how you are feeling, how you feel lost, and then eventually you will be telling us about something that makes you happy... maybe even something that reminds you of dad, and you won't feel the wind blowing thru your heart, you'll always miss him.... but you will put one foot in front of the other... you will set for awhile, you will run or drive to just to get away from the quiet. You will be looking toward the TV but not at it, you will be lost in thought, or you will be numb.... you will grieve...
Come back and tell us about him if you want to... we are here for this part too... many were here for me... we are sending you hugs, angels, and shoulders to cry on and lean on.... we are here for you...
Give yourself time to not expect yourself to do anything much-I joined a caregivers support group-all those years of caregiving might help others. I was able to get while my husband was ill so I had friends in place and then got into more activities as time went on-do what brings you joy for a while after caregiving-think of yourself for a change.
The comment from ladeeM was like she was talking to me. I just lost my Dad 2 weeks ago he was 84 years old and I can't seem to stop crying. I took care of my mom for 5 years before she died almost 18 years ago and have been taking care of my Dad for that length of time. I made that promise to my Mom on her death bed that I would take care of him as long as I was able. I have been a caregiver for almost 22 years almost half my life. I am 54 years old and I am lost, scared and not sure what to do with the rest of my life. I have a job a job I work from home, but I don't make a whole lot of money so I can't take this big vacation that some comments I read on other sites have stated. I have guilt that maybe I didn't do enough for him, my sister and brother said I did and thanked me at the service for taking care and giving my life to our parents. That was nice, but he tried to hurt himself that is why he was in the hospital. He had never said anything like or done anything like that before or stated he wanted to die so he wouldn't be a burden to me anymore. I would fuss at him for spilling his coffee, peeing on the floor in the bathroom, he had a colostomy bag I had to change for him because he had colon cancer that was removed, for which I hated doing that and I believe he knew it, when it was really bad I would gag and run out of the bathroom. I didn't mean to say and fuss at him for those things. My dad was so laid back, never thought he would feel bad. The psych doctor said he probably was embarrassed. He would wake me up 3 and 4 times a night and not remember why, he couldn't remember where his bedroom was half the time, he didn't have Alzheimer the psych doctor said he possibly was depressed and elderly suicide rate is higher than any other age, for which surprised me considerably. As soon as he was well in the hospital the psych doctor would transfer him to another hospital for two weeks and get him on some depression medicine. Unfortunately later that night he died. I guess he didn't want any of that. Anyway anyone out there that is taking care of a elderly person, look for signs, if they say there hearing voices, said they are seeing people, can't remember where the pantry is, take them to a doctor for depression. Just don't think it old age or alzhiemers. I would give anything to have him back. I miss him and I need to move on. I read that my grief is normal. I just want the what if's to go away. I do feel a little better right now telling strangers my story. Thanks for caring.
you wake up in the morning and feel like there is something you forgot to do. You remind yourself to ask them.........or tell them...... but you remember they are not there. You almost pick up something at the store for them... You pick up the phone.....and you remember. Give yourself time. Cherish the good memories, when your thoughts are dark, redirect yourself to a better memory. You will see them in your dreams and talk to them then.
It has been almost two years since my husband died, after a ten-year dementia journey. I don't think I still have an answer to "who am I now?" I'm working on it, and I think that is all I can do.
im one year post dementia care for mom . i have no dam idea what will fill this void but thankfully an md customer of mine saw i needed therapy and gave me an endless firewood cutting job . my aunt will be gone soon and the void will only get bigger . i need my g - kids but they live in fla ( for now ) .
let your flaws go . you werent born knowing how to emotionally and physically care for elders . my mom was a dam sight smarter than me even with dementia and she could see i was struggling for patience . she had imperfections too . we made it work , i filled the need , im letting my shortcomings go , little by little .

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