What is the next chapter in my life after my caregiving days are over?
Where do I start? I came to care giving as a matter of economics and need. Mom moved in with us when her eyes from macular degeneration and hard of hearing were pretty much the extent of her fears of living alone. The dementia showed up a few years later. When it did, it was seldom and randomly occurring. I had a neighbor come in for a couple of hours a day while I worked full time and the kids were in school. Then when I was laid off in 2009, I thought why pay my neighbor to come over when I can do the care giving. I checked into what programs were out there and found that she qualified for some care and I could get paid to do it which helped both, mom and my family's income needs. I grew up in a household that had an elderly grandparent in it so it seemed natural to do it. Although, the extent I eventually was care giving in the end was so much more than my mom EVER did for grandpa.
Over the next 4 years, mom needed more and more care. By the end she was up to 10.5 hours a day of physically care. I always with much guilt wondered what would happen when she either had to be placed in a nursing facility or passed away. I hated that thought but realistically had to think about it. I never really admitted that to anyone...even my husband or family because to me it felt so wrong to talk about life after mom. So here I am now, just 74 days after her passing and I feel very lost and extremely stressed out.
I live in a very small community and the employment opportunities are extremely limited. There is a larger city 35 miles away but still the opportunities there are not a whole lot better. Lots of competition for every job and since I am 55 and have no college degrees the field is very small. It is very frustrating and my self esteem is getting quite bruised. Searching for a job at 55 and with the talents I have in a small town/area is disheartening enough but I think the most hurtful and frustrating part of this is that no one seems to understand nor does anyone care!
The care giving company I worked for has nothing more in this area for me, (not that I want to go back into care giving right now) and they pretty much don't care what life is for me now. No calls of concern, no program or support for a displaced worker. And there appears to be no support for a person in my situation. All of the extended family, friends and acquaintances, even hospice is supposed to be there up to a year after but have stopped asking what they can do, or how I am. No one calls or e-mails any support. Very few even ask what I am doing now or how I am. These days facebook is my access to the outside world since finances and my identity is pretty much nill.
I sit here at home looking online and in newspapers for job listings and send resumes or apply online to the few out there. I get those denial letters or denial e-mails.
To some of you this will sound like a pitty party but I can not be the only care giver out there that is feeling this and having these issues. I would like to start a blog about this or a support group or a post care giver employment company. SOMETHING! I just do not know how to get there. Any suggestions?
I need to vent and create MY new chapter. I have not found any where else to say these things and I am sure, at least here, on this site, you will understand better than anyone.