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I'm caring for my 90 yo mother who has dementia as well as the usual problems that beset folks of this age. I've given up my home, my career and my life to do this. Everything I do revolves around her. I care for her 24/7 and I have had one day off in 7 years. I am 61 years old and I'm living the life of a 90 year old. Mom is an easy care patient and I'm very grateful for that, but there is a big difference in what someone her age and condition wants to do and what someone my age would like to do. Perhaps the biggest thing I miss in this caregiving role is having fun. There is no fun in life anymore. I cannot go anywhere or do anything that brings me joy, how I long for a beautiful hike in the mountains.
I have chosen this role and I do believe I'm doing the right thing for Mom. She seems happy and content but boy some days it's really hard. I've heard some people say that caring for an older person is a lot like caring for a child but I have not found this to be true. With a child everyday you see them learning something new that will lead to their independence and your freedom. With the old folks, through no fault of their own, they become more frail and you more confined as they require more care.
Well, I've vented and I do feel a little better. Thanks for this site.

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Took Mom to the Senior Center for lunch today. A few years ago Mom went every Tuesday to the center for lunch and bingo by herself. As she drifted further into dementia land she quit going. Today she did not even know the place or remember any of the folks who greeted her. Mom can't follow a conversation, a TV show or movie, nor the written word very well anymore. So it is very understandable that she didn't want to stay and try bingo. But, it was good for both of us to get out of the house and around others. One of you mentioned about adult day programs. I thought of this also but I don't think she would attend. One thing I've noticed about a lot of dementia pts is how dependent they become on someone else and I guess if you think about the world they now live in it makes sense. It may be hard on us, but it does make sense. We will try and get back to the center next week for lunch again.
Thanks again for your ideas and suggestions. It's nice to know that there are others out there who understand what you're going through.
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Nojoy3, I could have written your letter, word for word almost, myself. I'm 58 and live with my 97 year old mom who sounds like she is in about the same shape as you mother. I used to love to raft, kayak, hike, and ride horses. I gave all that up 15 years ago when I moved in with her after my dad died. Right now, my saving grace is I try to get out twice a week and play tennis for two hours. I have a pet/mom sitter come visit her while I am out. If I didn't have those few hours I don't know what I would do. If your mom will go to a senior center or play bingo that is a step towards a little freedom for you if you can leave her there for awhile. I know it isn't much but it's a start. I just joined this group today but I can see it will be a help. Good luck to you.
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Nojoy3, have you considered an adult day health program for your mother?
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You're right! I am in a situational depression and I've decided I would'nt do well as a captive in prison. That being said, I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I don't feel like a martyr, more like a daughter who's just doing what she feels is right for her Mom. Tomorrow I'm taking Mom to the senior center for lunch and maybe to try and play some Bingo. Not really my thing but I'm smart enough to know that the isolation that comes with caregiving is not at all good for one's mental health. So I'll take what I can get!
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This site has been very enlightening to me and with that being said, you're right, caring for an elderly person matches nothing to that of a lovely child. I'm in that position with an 82-year old curmudgeon and I'm slowly pulling away because I simply cannot stand being constantly stifled and suffocated. I'd never do this again!!
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nojoy, you sound somewhat depressed and in need to not have to care for your mother 24/7. Getting some help to restore some balance to your life would probably lift this depression.
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Caring for an elderly person, especially one who has dementia, is in NO WAY like caring for a child. You are sure right about that!

But, Nojoy3, even if you made this choice freely and even if you are doing the "right" thing, you are not required to be a martyr about it. It is OK -- in fact it is necessary -- for you to have some fun along the way. Really!

If hiking is your thing, join a group of hikers, maybe casual hikers rather than dedicated gung-ho hikers, and arrange care for your mother during their meetings and hikes. Or join a book club. Or go to a Karaoke bar a couple times a month. Whatever you consider fun, find a way to fit it into your life. You do need to see that mother is cared for, but you don't have to provide every minute of the care personally.

Venting is good. Taking action is better. :)
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