Am I being selfish to want to start anew?

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I’m 58. I alone have been taking care of my mother, who has dementia for 8 years while working full time. Last year I changed my hours to 30 hrs weekly, which caused me to bring home paperwork. I have an adult care provided for her when I work. I feed her, bathe her, change her, stay up with her at night even when I work the next morning (she has sun-downers). Because of her incontinence, I'm constantly changing her bedding and I basically take care of all her needs. I can’t even remember when I haven’t been tired. I only nap now. I get up, dress, brush my teeth and put my hair up in a band. It takes about 5 minutes. I eat on the go since my mother can only drink ensures or protein drinks. I’ve been told I’ve aged years and I feel years older than I am. She is currently at the end stage. I was told at most, she has a few months left. I was thinking of taking a 3 week vacation after she passes, then look for another less stressful job. I am currently a Lead Internal Auditor and Production Assistant. I have enough money saved to take an 8 week break. I want to make a clean start. I’ve been working at the same job for over 16 years. I had asked to have my work load decreased at my current job, especially when I went from salary to hourly but I was told "you can handle it." The work load did not decrease but increased because of employee cuts. I’m thinking a clean break will make me feel refreshed and renewed. I've bought paint, matts, rugs, furniture and other things to upgrade and refresh my house when my mother passes. I currently have them stored in my garage. I am ready for a change. Am I being selfish to want to start anew?

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Go for it and great luck to you. We all need dreams. :)

Before you leave your job, make sure you can get another of your choosing. So you will be able to manage financially.

When you do go, have a drink for me. :D Hugs
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Makes sense to me. You have been a caring daughter, kept mom safe and cared for and now you need a break!

Just be careful about your expectations of when that will be. My mom has been on hospice for over 11 months. My husband and I make plans for our future life, but know that could not be for a year or two, or it could be in months.
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I’m so glad my mother finally died. At church a man asked me how I was coping, and suddenly I pour out how long it had been, how very difficult the last 14 years were, and how glad I was it was over. He seemed shocked...
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I'm impressed that you are optimistic and making plans. I'm not sure why you think it's selfish to have a game plan to provide income and be happy. We have to be our own best advocate in life. Enjoy. Why not?

I agree though, about timing. My LO has been in Late stage dementia for over a year. She was even close to hospice, but, seems to be holding on okay. Even though Vascular Dementia normal life expectancy is average 4 years, I anticipate that she may have much more time. I might have a backup plan to get some respite time, just in case she does survive a while yet.

Good luck with your plans.
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Of course you're not being selfish.

However, an 8-week break will fly by in the blink of an eye, and it is very hard to find a job after you're 50.

I took what I planned to be a few months' break after an exhausting job ended in 2010. Living on unemployment and then savings, somehow several years flew by. (I had no problem finding things to do!) I had a college degree and many years' solid experience and thought it would be easy to find another job. I've been job hunting since I was 59 and have had no luck finding a good job. I've also tried a series of make-do low level jobs that were unbearable.

Before you let your job go you might google articles, statistics and comments on age discrimination. Maybe you could get a long break from your present job after your mother passes and when you go back it would be more bearable with less on your plate at home.

If I'd known about this problem I would have settled into a job in my late 40s and stayed there through retirement.
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You're a hero

I often feel like quitting my very stressful job and have purposely not taken vacation in years so I can use it when needed at the end of mom's life, but realistically know that I do not have enough saved for retirement and have no pension or health care benefits

Do you have access to early retirement benefits? If not, then yes take that needed vacation, but honestly 8 weeks savings is not enough when you're job seeking in your late 50s

For those without pensions, here are some rules of thumb for retirement savings

8-12x annual salary
1-2x annual salary in emergency funds
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Sometimes I think we feel that because they are suffering that we too must suffer. It’s like if we give up "our lives" then we are a good person. So emphatically NO there is nothing selfish about wanting to have a life that brings peace, happiness and fulfillment. Now that my dad is in NH, I’m grappling with how to handle my life. I’m sick to death of going there and hearing how depressed he is and one negative complaint after another. I told my sisters who all live in other states I’m going to pretend I’m them and not go there so much. In some ways that feels like I’m being mean but I’m just trying to protect my own brain...which dammit, I need!! I’m sorry he’s gotten to this point but it’s not my fault. I have to remind myself his basic needs are taken care of. He wants to die....it’s just all so pitiful.
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Yes you deserve some well earned down time. Enjoy.
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You're not selfish at all, especially after what you've been through and what you do for your mother! Start anew! You sound exhausted. For your peace of mind and by all that's right, take care of you and indulge.
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Auntiedodo: Honesty can be shocking for those who have no idea how hard this is. Good for you!
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