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

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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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Dmanbro, you've hit on one of the key mental issues of caregiving - under stimulation, at least of positive issues and challenges.

I was thinking of that this morning, specifically the differences between the challenges of working vs. the challenges of caregiving. In a work environment, generally staff are working toward common goals. Even though there can typically be some who aren't team players or have their own agendas, there's a higher level of corporate or firm/company commitment and mission to help guide the stragglers back into compliance.

With caregiving, there's a similar approach of commitment and mission, but there are many more levels of participation, some of which are cast in concrete (like the governmental regulations).

Sometimes I think of health care as comparable to dog competitions in which dogs race through hoops, speed up and down dog runs, and slither through slalom type courses. That's how I often see the medical field - one of challenges and adherence to rules made by unknowns somewhere, someplace...and sometimes akin to a nonphysical and nonmilitary equivalent of obstacle courses.

Goals, while set by medical staff, family and patients, are often as much adherence to sometimes silly regs than the welfare of the patient.

I do recognize though that administration of Medicare and health care is a lot more complex than the fields I've worked in, so perhaps I am prejudiced.

For several years I worked in government contracting, bound by federal regs for procurement. There were so many levels of issues, of compliance, and after awhile that compliance seemed to supercede the goals of the projects.

It wasn't a question of the best method of doing something, but that consideration as well as how it can be accomplished within the onerous constraints of regulations.

When I went back to the private sector afterward, it was so much different - decisions made after careful consideration based on statutes, legal precedents and good business principles, but the governmental involvement was minimal and cooperative. I vowed I would never again work in any field that was so dominated by regulations as the previous contract admin position.

Caregiving has so many of the characteristics of government work - strangled by regulation at so many levels. After a while jumping through hoops seems to be the goal to even get to the real goal of patient care.

One thing you can do to keep brain cells from atrophying is read while you're waiting, and there is a LOT of waiting. Read something stimulating. I always have gardening magazines and a sketch pad with me so I can create different formal garden configurations. It's very invigorating mentally, for me at least because I'm designing. I may never get the beds planted, but at least the brain cells aren't being stifled by the omnipresent sitting and waiting aspect of caregiving.
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Yup, I know exactly what you mean. In my case I can't say I feel stupider or anything but my brain is definitely dulled, no question. And I feel really boring too, like I'm under-stimulated.
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I am FRIED @52!!!!!!
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Too many times lately I have been thinking I am starting to get Alzheimer's/Dementia myself and plan to talk that over with my primary doctor this coming Monday to see what she suggests.

I am hoping it is just stress related and the fact I hadn't had a good night sleep in two months since my fall where I got injured and sleeping is a bear. Or that I am over-thinking because I now know too much about memory issues :P
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Ah ha, some of my brain cells have return since this past Monday when my parents finally signed an updated Will, Power of Attorney, yada, yada, yada.

I've been after my parents for several years to update all this paperwork and they kept dragging their feet.... lot of sleepless nights thinking that I might have to deal with their old Will which was a landmine.
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Yes. I need intellectual stimulation. Feels like I am getting "dumber." Feels like the rest of the world has been living life & I have been "waiting" for my turn. In the meantime, I have been stagnating. So, I'm making some changes so I will be learning, & growing & really living. I figured, it's my life-- I choose to live it & live it up as much as I can from now on. o far, so good. blou
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SusanA43, oh my gosh, I was embarrassed last year when I was at the Hallmark store and instead of handing the cashier my credit card, I handed her my grocery store saving card :P
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SusanA43 I have done that also and whem i realized what the problem was i just started laughing. Always laugh at things like that because laughter is good for the soul. God Bless
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Definitely losing some brain cells today....went to the grocery store and when my debit card was declined as being invalid, I stood and stared at the machine like an idiot until I realized I had swiped a library card and not my debit card....
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Ekkkkk... today I was having chit-chat with a new co-worker and I found myself stumbling over words because I was over-thinking how jumbled my brain feels... the co-worker must be thinking what is wrong with that woman :P

I am obsessing too much thinking I have lost some brain cells, that I might have dementia already. I have to stop and think of the more current times this week with another co-worker where I was helping her learn a software program where I find I still feel smart :) The program was distracting me and I was able to concentrate.
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