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I have been taking care of my mother, with AD and MID for 15 years, and my husband, who has a broken back and cancer for 6 years. I have 2 children, 19 and 22, who were neglected by me during their formative years as teenagers because of all of the demands I had taking care of my mother and husband.

I live in rural Arizona, where there are few to no jobs available. I have a degree in Health Care Services and want to work with families/caregivers get through this difficult period of their life.

I started to write a book about all of my experiences, focusing on the mistakes and then followed up with a better way to handle the incident.

The trouble that I am having is that bringing back all of the pain that I have gone through taking care of my mother: such as being accused of stealing all of her money, my siblings believing I did and cutting off all ties with me, and my children and husband resenting my obligations to my mother.

Even when I do complete the book I don't know how to go about editing, publishing, or marketing it. I am just not sure that reliving each painful period over the last 15 years will do anyone any good. Yet, I know that what I have learned by experience can help others.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to reduce my pain and have hope that my efforts will succeed in helping others? It is rather a strange request, but once you complete the caregiving process, you kind of flounder and wonder, what do I do now? I have been so stressed out and exhausted for years that my ability to think rationally may be compromised.

Thanks for your words of wisdom.

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Thanks Sooz for your wonderful response. I think that people who have agreed to become primary caregiver and know what other caregivers are going through are the few people who understand how painful the situation is and how sometimes you feel that hope doesn't exist. Since I don't have any family members to turn to, I have become completely isolated, but during the last year or two, I have found solace and peace through God. Perhaps that is what I needed all along and didn't realize it. You certainly don't get thanks or appreciation from your parent. I'm lucky if my parent looks at me. But, I am no longer offended. This is just another symptom of dementia and out of my control.

When you tend to be a Type A personality and spend your life striving for perfection and controlling situations that are distressful for you, dementia brings you to your knees in a hurry. It is truly a disease where the best that you can hope for is that your parent isn't experiencing any pain.

One major change that I have made in my life is to stop looking at the negative and try and find the positive in people and situations. That does help a lot.

Can you share some of your experiences with me?

Michele/Recovery
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what a lovely lady you are. find a catchy title for your book and go for it. focus on the family member that most appreciates you for who you are and get out for a nice vacation in the sun and water. come home and paint the rooms fresh and clean. something NEW helps the soul. get it, for you! you deserve it. i wish you and i could get together and compare notes. we would have a great time. there is a lot of "wrong" in the world and we can't change it. but you can find some good, a little at a time and overcome all the pain you've endured. start with one person and a smile. you'll make it. i love who you are. and i feel , i know you well. love, sooz
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