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My husband is 79 and has dementia. I am 68. He's at the end of the moderate stage and entering the last stage. Our marriage was never a great one and now I find myself waiting on him hand and foot. He doesn't want me out of his sight and yet there's nothing there between us nor has there been for decades. I am lonely and want companionship. I don't know what to do. An old flame from High School has been contacting me and we have feelings for each other. No matter what, I want to care for my husband until he finally has no idea who I am or becomes so dependent he'll need additional care. Are there others out there like me? What have you done to help the loneliness?

I am one of those people...you know the kind...one that says...I would consider placing him so that you can start enjoying your life again.

My husband had cancer, I worked and continued to work...a long haul of 12 years...he got to the point that I could not leave him alone (dementia), so I hired a care taker, worked for awhile, then no one was getting any sleep, so I moved him and a 24/7 nurse to one of our rental properties, that lasted about 5 months, from there he went to hospice and died shortly thereafter.

I would never care take in my home again, knowing what I know now, for the last 5 years of his life I would have placed him in AL, a place with a step up program, next MC, then in facility hospice.

Basically, I had no life, my home looked like a medical ward, my friends all deserted me, I was a wreck. I was never cut out to be a care taker, I actually knew better, but I gave it a shot anyway, bad decision for all concerned.

You can care for your husband at an arms length away, he doesn't have to live with you. Take care of you, you are entitled to a life!
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Reply to DollyMe
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Your marriage was "never a great one" so why do his wants, which are irrational because his brain is broken, matter more than yours?

You want to not be lonely. There's only one way to do that and that is to get out of the house and be with people. Whether those people include your old flame or not is irrelevant.

If you continue to sublimate your own needs to the whims of your husband's broken brain you will continue to be lonely. If you want to not be lonely that starts with deciding that you matter and that your need for companionship matters enough to you to go out and seek it. It's not going to come to you.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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shad250 Jan 1, 2020
Sickness and health
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You're likely to get lots of negative responses here...........I've seen it before. MANY times, in fact. You know, the 'in sickness & in health' and 'till death do us part' statements? You may even get some bible quotes thrown in to make sure you feel guilty if you even CONSIDER stepping out for an evening!

Let it all go in one ear & out the other and do as YOU see fit.

You're not dead yet. You're still alive and caring for a husband who is reaching the end of HIS life. Please consider placing him in a Memory Care community now because the end stages of this dreadful disease can be TOO MUCH to deal with at home.

Wishing you all the best.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Being a caregiver is isolating. Hire someone to stay with your husband and take a break. You can’t take care of your husband if you are exhausted yourself.

Sending hugs your way.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Yatzeedog, you need to get out of the house and socialize. Nothing wrong with going out and socializing with an old flame. Hire caregivers to come in and give a respite or place him in a facility. Be happy and lead your life. We are only on this earth a very short time. Why spend each and every day miserable?
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pvw1948 Jan 1, 2020
Thank you for your advice. I am also feeling exhausted from caring for husband in Long Term facility. He asks every day to go home and has lost all feelings for me and family. I pray every day for strength.
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Yahtzee, do whatever makes you happy. Go out & be social. It’s ok to reconnect with an old flame, there’s no rule against being friends & letting it develop in to something more IF and WHEN you are ready. If you haven’t already, try to line help taking care of your husband, if finances allow, maybe you could get him a caregiver to work a few hours a day!
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Even people who have had good marriages find taking care of a husband with a Dementia very hard. They are not the person they married. Its caring with nothing in return because they no longer can express love.

Maybe its time to have him evaluated for LTC. You could become the Community Spouse and apply for Medicaid for him.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Dear Yahtzee, I have been semi-retired for a few years, and at first it was lonely, without my familiar work friends around. I volunteer at the Botanic Gardens, I started dance lessons ( a bit expensive) , and I take tennis lessons. I also have two big international trips planned for next year. Online, I joined a few meetup groups such as a book club and wine tastings. Is there anyone who could watch your husband for a few hours and/ or days so that you can get out of the house? Do you have any funds available to pay a company for some professional help with your husband?
If you must stay at his side 24/7, you could host gatherings at your house on a regular basis, such as a church potluck, or a book club, or wine and cheese tastings. Please know that you’re not truly all alone; I’m sending you a big virtual hug from Denver:))

About the gentleman, you can surely be friends for the time being, and perhaps meet for coffee or a movie once in a while. No harm at all in catching up with an old friend!
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Reply to gemswinner12
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Having friends in is a great idea. I have to do that when I can. Whatever you do, honor the vows you made. When you are free in the eyes of God you can pursue a relationship. You won't enjoy it if you move too soon.
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Reply to Graceneeded
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You know, caregivers sacrifice everything and I mean everything for the ones they are caring for and does it really help their loved ones? Most likely not if their medical situation is progressive and terminal. I don’t mean to sound cold but who really wins? The caregiver is drained, lonely, depressed, full of anxiety and sometimes develops health issues of their own. So, is it worth it?

It depends on finances if a person can afford a facility such as assisted living and sometimes they do not qualify for assisted living. There can be issues with attaining Medicaid so it’s complicated for some to be placed in a nursing home. They end up being stuck as a caregiver. Other than making them a ward of the state, what’s left?

It’s so hard being a full time caregiver. No one understands this unless they experience it themselves. Some people simply aren’t able to emotionally deal with it and when people place guilt on them it’s even worse.

If I could go back I would not have been a caregiver. It’s one of those situations where I became overwhelmed and blinded by it. It took me stepping away entirely before I truly saw how emotionally damaging it was for me. I pray all caregivers get respite care and are able to place their family members in facilities if desired.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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DollyMe Jan 1, 2020
I agree, until one has been faced with caretaking they have no idea what it entails, I lost myself, I gave up me for my husband and really nothing positive was accomplished. Never again, I will let the professionals deal with it and that is what I am doing with my LO's today, I am sane and they are happy and taken care of 24/7. It is a win, win!
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