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Has anyone else experienced friends letting them down or disappearing altogether after taking on caregiving responsibilities? Being a gold-medal codependent, I've always been there for my friends in their difficult times, so it was a bit of a shock when mine let me down as soon as I was suddenly responsible for my failing elderly mom. During some of this time, I didn't even have a working car! Some of them offered to visit her when I couldn't...and then didn't. Instead I was accused of "being distracted" and suddenly not attentive, as though I was doing something wrong when I was dealing with Medicaid eligibility guidelines, bills, nursing home staff, etc. I know I'm better off without unreliable, entitled people in my life, but I'd like to hear others' experiences in this regard. It's been a bizarre two years.

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Shinigami

It's called Survival, In other words, everyone for him/herself.
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In my experience I had have felt I'm not thought of unless I reach out first. Then it's "Heyyyyy! How are you?!?! So good to hear from you!" But nothing from them first. I have decided I'm not wasting my energy anymore. AMYGRACE, your story made me just shake my head as that is how so many people are. When you are out of people's everyday lives they move on and don't look back. I don't understand how you can be friends and friendly with someone on a daily basis, talk everyday and not care about hearing from them anymore. it's very sad.
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I have been trying to find a Dear Abby article that mentioned this. A married couple, "befriended" or so they thought, medical personnel, (doctors, nurses, etc) that cared for the husband's wife. The wife would bake them goodies and take them to these people. Long story short, the wife passed. The same people that they doted over, they never heard from again. The husband even drove a long distance to go to take his wife to this office, yet none offered any condolences, called him or even sent a card. He was very upset about this,

Abby's advice was to forgive them and move on. She reasoned, they are "cold" so as not to get too personally involved in case the person passes. Maybe some of the friends some of you speak feel the same.
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I hate to say it, but people are people no matter what the circumstances. (Not to say there aren't wonderful, loyal people because there are and they are precious gems (like my niece), but they are the minority.) Human nature is "out of sight, out of mind" and people move on if you are not around.
Its not only for caregiving reasons that "friends" disappear. We experienced the same elsewhere too - we are 70, no longer "young" and appealing to the boomers and gen exers. For 15 years we freely gave of our time, many many hours of physical efforts and money (carrying petitions in 90 degree and 30 degree temperatures, assembling signs and putting them up, picking them up, running fundraisers, everything you can think of for campaigns and never missed a meeting) All this for our town and the political committee.
With Mom ill and passing, and realizing time was running out for us to do those things we always wanted to do, we decided to take a break for a year and dropped out. I had also served 6 years as secty to one of the town boards (a job that paid about $5 hr and was a lot of work sometimes taking as much as 40 hours to type up one meeting and I had no backup. I never missed a meeting!)
That was 10 months ago. We have not heard from one - NOT ONE - person since then. A councilwoman I thought of as a friend, someone I encouraged to run and help get elected (we used to talk regularly) has not called or returned one phone call. I am personally very hurt and feel "used" and thrown away . Needless to say, we will never go back although that was our intent a year ago.
Anyone who is retired - have any of you (after a few months or years) heard from the company or co-workers you committed to for 20-30 years? We haven't. People move on if you are not around.
Life moves on, and so have we and have put it behind us and tried to accept it isn't personal. But, as you must feel, we are saddened that what we believed in and trusted to be there for us, really wasn't ever permanent in the first place.
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Im sorry my post was cut off. They stole $2,500.00 from us. My husband was in there temporarily, after rehab, and after he left, they ran the check,that was not supposed to be cashed unless he was there another 30 days. I along with another smiling placement person had him out of there after 2 and a half weeks. I have been fighting all of this on my own. And that is bc all friends went away. It stinks. if i was 20 years younger, i could continue fighting. I am still going, but at the end of my rope.
do not wait as long as i did bc at my age its very hard to be social anymore.
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Everyone including our neighbors disappeared. No calls returned, nothing. it all happened 7 months before my husband had to leave due to his ALzheimers and violent, paranoid behaviour. Today I am dealing with medicaid, RCFS, one place stole 2,5000
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Gershun, Feeling hurt....Are we still cyber-friends?
I too lost friends when I married my husband, but I understand.
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Gershun--Amen! My best friend is the TV and internet. And my cats. I wish they could talk.
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Friends? What are they?
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In my case my friends have been fantastic and as understanding as I could have expected anyone to be. Unfortunately though, mom's three granddaughters have been a gigantic disappointment in every way. They're all adults now (29, 23, 18) and they live five minutes from here. They lost their mother seven years ago and obviously it was a massive blow, no one could question that. However my mother was always more than a "typical" grandma to those kids bother before and after my sister died. Their father is a total deadbeat and mom picked up that slack, she poured more time, effort, money and love into my sister and her kids than anyone in their lives did, by a huge margin in fact. To this day I'm still working on the financial fallout from that care.

When she first came home last September they still visited regularly, although they didn't contribute anything more than that. I told them all that they had full visiting privileges as long as they followed a few simple requests, like a little notice, be on time (they're always excessively late for everything) and that the exercised a little understanding and patience with her and the "new normal" of her current reality. And they more or less totally ignored me, showing up at problematic times with no notice, arriving hours after they said they would and worst of all, being awful during their visits. Bombarding her with questions and getting impatient and upset with her replies, trying to ask for money, questioning me as to whether she should be in a hospital, bursting into tears when she mentioned her deceased daughter even in passing, exactly what I explicitly asked them not to do.

Still, I didn't complain and always told them they were totally welcome to visit whenever they liked. Then right after Xmas the visits stopped. When I asked what was up it was excuse after excuse, just obvious BS. I guilted them into visiting in April for her birthday and since then they haven't come back. I informed them she is well aware that they aren't visiting and she doesn't like it but I guess they're unmoved by that. On Mother's Day them oldest one sent me a text at quarter after eleven in the evening asking if it was "too late" to visit and of course I replied that yeah, it was, she's 83 years old. After that I decided to stop reaching out, as IMO it was pointless. I just tell mom they're "working" or whatever, why they refuse to respect her enough to visit is beyond me but frankly I have enough to do already without trying to mollycoddle those kids, the door is still open but after this is all over I seriously doubt I'll maintain much of a relationship with them. My dearest friends are more "family" to me than they are these days, they've been golden to me and it'll never be forgotten either.
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I'm lucky that my two best friends have or are going through the same things I;m going though.. ALZ/dementia/frail parents/spouse. I would not call them lucky, but we all get the situation and support each other. Yep,, some friends are not as close.. but I have to admit I've probably been less able to be "friendly and outgoing " as well...
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I think most of us just want someone to have fun with and also vent too. It doesn't have to be 24/7 crazy life talk, but I could use someone who understands how my life has changed and accept that. I guess I realized that some don't know how to deal with it or have dealt with it and don't want my misery reminding them of their past misery.
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Yeah, there are only a few friends in my life right now. I find that I am not "fun" any more. I have said no to invites and now I don't get invited anymore. When I did go I was stressed and found myself having a conversation about my stress and crazy life. Most "friends" don't want to hear it after awhile. The few that are in my life now are going through similar things or have gone through the caregiver experience. I am working on not focusing on my issues when I am out with other people. But it is great to have this forum and a few that understand how care giving takes a lot of your own life away and it is difficult to be "fun"
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It's sad when friends disappear. I didn't have many to begin with, just 2 or 3. My late sis was my ally and best friend and I miss her every second. My "friends" are the type to wait for me to post on Facebook or Social media so they can like it and feel they did their friend duty. I used to post my problems on social media but realized that when I did they would just read my business and still not contact me. If they ever do I'm ignoring them. I don't need a friend who MIGHT text me once a year. They have no idea what I'm going through right now and never even tried to contact me to see where I've been for over a year. Some friends!
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For me it all started when I got breast cancer, before I was in the thick of helping my parents. I wasn't user friendly because I was still in shock, and had zero energy to do fun things. My friends tried to get me out of the house, and I probably would have gone if they rang the doorbell and kidnapped me. It was easier to say "no" on the telephone. My shyness made me want to hide. There were times I wouldn't even answer the phone :(

Once I was back to work plus my parents needed more of my time, I was once again too exhausted to do things with my friends. The phone calls started to be few and far between. They couldn't relate, either because their parents had passed many years ago, or their parents lived in other States and siblings were doing the caring.

I recently started to reach out to my cousins who live out of state, and we have been able to share caregiving stories... two of my cousins can really make me laugh which I really need. Makes me wish I had reached out to them years ago.

I did gain a new friend who is dealing with elderly in-laws who live in India, and who would come for a 6 month to a year vacation to the States to stay with her. It was so interesting to see we have parallel issues and frustrations, no matter the culture.
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Yep vanished. The one I was really close too claims she is just busy but she can make it to a football game 200 miles away every weekend. I'm only 24.5 miles away. I get it. Everyone is living there life and mine has come to a halt. The sad thing is on my part, I love my friends and I figure when Mom is gone they will need to be caregiving their parents (most my friends are 10 yrs younger than myself) and I hope I can bring myself to be there for them but I'm afraid if I ever get out of this situation I will be like a gypsy just landing where I want at that particular time. Then maybe when they see how frustrating it is and how you just wished you had someone to listen to you cry once in awhile then I'll pop back in to help. Most of them have been with me 20 yrs and I might let them suffer just a little and then I will pop in and help them. I still think there needs to be a caregivers retreat!!
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BlackHole, such a perfect answer, as sometimes we just don't know the right way to comfort, and sometimes our own lives get in the way of realizing just how much our friends need us! I'm so glad that you were able to reconnect with ykur friends! It's OK, to say your sorry, and that you didn't get it at the time! Accept friends failures to see the obvious, because it isn't always so obvious tomyou at that moment!
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Hopefully good friends -- true friends -- can reconnect. Looking back, I now realize I was under-supportive with 2 dear friends. Their caregiving journies began and ended a few years before I hopped on this sh*tty train ride. Wow. I Just. Didn't. Know.

Now that I have more perspective, I wish I had reached out to them more effectively. Or perhaps more creatively.

But because we are real friends, we picked up the slack when life was less brutal. And they unconditionally accepted me when I was sentenced to being half a person with half a weekend.
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I am blessed with good family, friends, and colleagues. I work mostly from home but am asked about mom often. My children come often and bring grandkids so I get Grammy time... They will take care of mom so I can go to the zoo or museum for a bit....or to dinner with my amazing husband who supports me too. My brother and sister check in....I have friends that call....I truly am blessed.
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Nevermind friends disappearing- that's understandable but what the heck with direct relatives disappearing other than to put in their two cents on occasion - what am I supposed to do when someone offers up helpful words like well she's had a long life it's time for her to go - wtf?

Jessie
I get your point - it's harder to make new friends after 50 and then you're tied down and so it goes - I have found as send mentions above that friends and kind words come from unexpected places too - the barista at Starbucks bought my coffee yesterday and thanked me for being a good daughter taking care of mom - so you know I'll pay that kindness forward
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Most of my friends busy with their own lives, and me not being available to do the same things with them, today I was speaking with a complete stranger and she could just as well have been a good friend from long ago. With people like that in the world, I am greatly encouraged. She was a grandma too, whose grandkids also say: "Why do you speak to strangers, it's so embarrassing!" Lol.
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Jessebelle, The more you share, the more you are known, people will just like you and enjoy you all the more. It takes a little more time to get to know you? You are more careful? That just makes you all the more good to know. imo.
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It isn't easy for me to get close to people. I had some friends in TX, but those friendships faded over time. I haven't made any real friends here, just some acquaintances. It isn't really people's fault. I'm a bit shy about getting close to people and don't feel I have much to offer at the moment. I can't invite anyone home, since Mom likes to sit in her old pajamas all day and the house is kind of embarrassing to me. I do wish I had one or two good friends I could have lunch with and go to movies. I have been so alone since I left the ex in TX. I wish we lived in a 55+ community. Our neighborhood is very young. I get along with everyone, but they're young enough to be my kids and grandkids. Strange -- I'm one of those people that people seem to like, but no one gets to know. I have a feeling it is my fault. :(
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Some of the friends have become much closer. Some of the oldest friends have disappeared. I'd say it's been about 50/50.

Those friends I have helped the most, as also the ones helping me now. Sometimes it is just a phone call and someone to tell the crap to...sometimes it has been an afternoon out to enjoy myself and just get out of the house.. You can be sure, I will not be one to disappear if they ever call me for help
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narcsurvivor

Not only "friends" disappear, Medical people your loved one has seen,some for many years, disappear as well.

A few months ago, a man wrote to Dear Abby, because he was upset that medical people his wife saw, forgot him and her after she passed. She made them baked goods, and he thought that these folks were their friends. Abby gave good advice, which you may take as well, and told him to forgive them.
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i had one ( female ) friend stick with me thru bed bugs , caregiving relief , and many other trials . i'd helped her thru her mothers unexpected death 7 yrs earlier .
her mom was a 72 yr old meth head . her heart blew so hard that it took out most of the kitchen ceiling drywall .
ahh, good memories . the next time i see betsy i think ill punch her in the face .
i didnt realize how long that fn idiot has been sticking by me .
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narcsurvivor....I'm sorry your "Friends" disappeared on you.I know it hurts because mine did too.Even my closest friend was invisible when I needed her most.I just needed a friend to talk to,a listening ear.I always thought she'd be there for me...I don't know why they disappear.Maybe they are scared about what may be ahead for them or maybe they feel guilty because they would never do all we do for our loved ones,maybe they don't know what to say,I don't know,except that it hurts.That's why I'm extra thankful for this site Agingcare.Iv'e met kinder people on here than many I have known for years and they really care.Take care.......
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