dmdmetz Asked April 2011

How can I handle the feelings loneliness and isolation from caregiving?

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Hello, I'm just feeling very blue the last few days. I care for my father (82, with severe emphysema). He's having a pneumonia exacerbation today and is back on antibiotics and is sleeping most of the day.

With Easter tomorrow I'm feeling forgotten by people around me and it's making me feel blue. Dad and I had plans to do something together after church services, but he's having a bad day and we may end up having to stay home. As a busy caregiver, I sometimes feel invisible. Everyone depends on me that I'll take care of everything, but no one thinks of me and my needs. I can see people pulling away - invitations stopping, no cards or phone calls just to see how I'm doing or offer encouragement to me.

How do others handle the loneliness and isolation that can come with taking care of someone who is very sick? How can I get people to understand what I'm going through?

Thanks, I appreciate your thoughts.

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I know many seniors need nursing homes or assisted living but how about seniors who are well in the mind and mildly disabled just needing meals cooked, bed made, laundry done. Who can no longer make home repairs and clear the snow or do the lawn. Many go to nursing homes for just that, who don't need any personal care having mostly dementia patients around them. If these seniors can't get medicaid so will have to pay for these very costly nursing homes could do much better if they were former cruisers . How about living on a cruise ship with seniors who have healthy minds and just mildly disabled or just old.
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HeartVerse Sep 2014
I am in the same situation. My husband died in 2005 and my Dad died also. Mother wanted to build her dream home on the land she inherited and for me to move in with her. This was a mistake. Her dream home is my nightmare. The house is way to big as well as the yard. It is so far back in the woods and hardly any neighbors around. It is a long way from grocery stores and other places. I am a people person and this is driving me crazy. She says I will be her age someday and will feel the way she does. She enjoys her house but she doesn't have to take care of anything, I do. She doesn't give me any credit for what I do. She says she takes care of herself just fine. But I do all that for her. She doesn't want me out of her sight or go anywhere. Everyday is the same. My dreams at night are better than life itself. Everyday is the same. I just wish I could be on my own without her. This thought makes me ashamed of myself and feel guilty. I know at 82, she may not be around much longer and we once was so " very" close. Then again she may live to be 100 and outlive me, who knows. I feel verrry lonely and desperate at times. I feel smothered. When I do get to go somewhere, I am like a child on the playground and when I get home, it feels like gloom comes over me. Does anyone feel like me. I just don't know how to get my life back again. I moved in with her when I was 49 years old. Now I am 58. My life is passing me by quickly. Anyone who can offer me some ideas, please do.
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praying15 Jun 2013
How do others handle the loneliness and isolation that can come with taking care of someone who is very sick? How about someone who needs something constantly? It doesn't matter that the person loves you and you love them, that you also love God, I am all used up. I have been doing this for 10 years. I had my fortune told and the lady said I would live 20 more years - I can't stand the thought. I have lost my friends and my money and my hope. There are no good days, just some are less bad than others. My sibling is just fine, though, removed from it all.
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capnhardass Jun 2013
lets down about a half dozen zans and go trike riding.
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Let´s not lose our hope in a better future. Cecilia
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Martin53 May 2012
This is a great place for you come and be cheered on.

Take away from here knowing that GOD makes us givers strong and ensures the blessings are endless.

One of my Home bounds (94 years+) is praying the Rosary pretty much all her waking day. She is finishing her life... Not praying for herself... But for praying us.

Hope this give you the comfort you need... knowing what you are doing as a giver is a wonderful thing and is truly the purpose of life.

Martin
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Hey sweetie. It is good that you asked about loneliness and isolation from caregiving as I have been feeling the exact same way and kind of abandoned by my "so called friends". It is kind of hard to believe that the people that we thought cared about us are nowhere to be found when we need them or even the least bit concerned about if we (or our parents) are doing okay or not. Some people are just downright nosey and don't even care how we are doing. The only person so far that is available to me is a lady at our local careline because it is hard to talk to a stranger for ask for help that actually cares and understands and won't put you down. One good thing is that I finally got a job transcribing medical reports after graduating 6 months ago and the owner was kind of giving me a hard time. Also some of our neighbors are rude, aggrivating and noisy which makes for an unhealthy environment for an elderly couple and a burned out caregover that has nobody to really depend on for moral support. Anyway I am gonna go try to get some work done to avoid getting depressed, moody and get my mind off my problems to be more optimistic. Sometimes it is good to pick up some hobbies or things to keep us busy to meet new people and get our minds off our problems so we don't get too depressed. Thanks again for sharing as this is a good topic and nice to know other people feel this was and just hope it's not many of us. Hope things get better for you. Please keep posting on the forum as it does help so you don't feel so alone. Take care and do something nice for yourself
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bjrossheim May 2012
You have articulated well the situation for all caregivers who have devoted themselves to a person and a problem. There is no denying the reality of your situation. What to do about is another issue:
1. It really is very important for you to find counseling, either with a licensed professional counselor, licensed psychologist, social worker or pastoral counselor. Look for an individual who will partner with you in your deepest days of chronic sorrow and be there for you when life lightens up a bit or stabilizes for a time. This kind of individual is referred to as an "exquisite witness." He/she does not give you advice (you actually know more than he/she does) and does not expect you to perform miracles either in your caregiving or self-care. This is an arm to lean on, an ear to hear your misery and a shoulder to cry on. Use it as often as you can.
2. Make a time during the day (often early evening is best) to call at least one of your children, one friend, one supporting neighbor, etc. to try to maintain contact with the outside world. Talk about anything except caregiving. Try to find something lighthearted to discuss or something interesting.
3. Join a group--any group. A book club is often very good because reading takes you to places and states of mind other than your own. Often friendships are not forthcoming in book groups, but at least you will have the structure of the group and something else to focus on besides your situation.
4. Consider taking one course at a local adult education (high school, community college or university). Many of these are given free to seniors. Concentrate on some topic that interests you and do the work religiously. Be prepared for class and speak up. This is critically important to your self esteem and identity that is being pounded into the group by medical, etc. personnel. Take your course seriously--it can be a lifesaver.
5. Once a month go to the hairdresser and have your hair cut, styled, colored or whatever will make you look better. You will feel greatly improved!
6. If you are overweight, join Weight Watchers. They have a fabulous new Points Plus program that is really doable as well as an on-line tracking system that lets you know immediately if you are on the losing weight track by keeping tabs on what you are eating. If you don't like the meetings, just run in every few weeks and get weighed, then leave. The meetings are pretty much a bore anyway.
6. Set a schedule for fixing up and organizing the items in your home. Polish the silver, organize the paperwork, dump the old junk you don't want, polish the floors with BONA and see if you don't feel like you live in a a better place. If you have either time or energy, rearrange the furniture, accessories or anything else that shows a willingness to face life with creativity and toughness.
My suggestions come from my personal experience. I have been an active caregiver for over 15 years to my chronically ill husband and I have done everything I am suggesting for you. I even graduated in 2009 from a 3 year program in mental health counseling, taking one or two courses at a time including summers. Do I still feel as you do---of course, I do. That the reality part. But I try my best to join something, learn something, talk with someone and make an effort to look good (down 12 lbs on WW). Perhaps this will work for you, too.
Be of stout heart and take control of your situation.
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toadballet1 Apr 2011
Naheaton: I am so sorry for your loss. I didn't realize how serious your Mom's last battle with cancer was. My condolences.
I am also sorry that your MIL has had dental problems. Went through that with Mom in the dead of winter last year. She had partials installed and other dental work as well. It was more taxing getting to the docs offices than the actual work was. She is a "toughie." But her quality of life has improved because the partials work fairly well. I hope the same for your MIL.
And I know what you mean about self-pity. When seniors get older, and their world starts to shrink, they become very much, "it's-all-about-me." I have to remind Mom that, despite all her health challenges, she really is doing pretty well and that there are so many others who would gladly trade places. It works for a while, anyway.
Take care of yourself. What a good daughter and dil you have been. And I know your mom was a person of strong faith....she is in a lovely place right now.....Lilli
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IMPKL Apr 2011
I am so glad to find your posts. I totally understand how you feel...or I would not have been looking for some comfort tonight. This whole process is very, very sad but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It comes with many blessings. So many times I feel so alone...so tired. Thanks for the respite tonight.
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