How has this impacted and changed your life. Mentally and socially? What advice and tips would you have?

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I took Care of my dying grandma im early 20s. It makes me realize how short life is and makes me more cautious as a human overall. It makes me realize how vulnerable we really are, despite how we act day to day. If you cant help yourself, you sure as heck cant help someone who relies entirely on you.
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I can't imagine having that responsiblity so young. But I think it makes people mature very quickly and like you mention give you a different out look on life. Thank you for responding and I wish the best for you.
Hi Alani,

I believe you may have cut your range too short! I am 46, do I still qualify? :) I’m single and had a very successful career in finance, loved to travel, really enjoy antiques so I loved flea markets and antique shops, still dream on owning one one day! also really enjoy good art galleries and I do some painting myself. Oh! And love music and dancing.

When I read my self description, it seems like I’m talking about someone that is taking a long break from life, and I think that’s exactly how I feel, like I’m taking a long undefined break from all that was my life.

But, in all fairness my journey and all the things I’ve left behind are probably more radical than for most, as in order to be my mom’s caregiver I had to move overseas two years ago and really gave up my entire life (job, house, friends, hobbies, all). For others I figure the choice or need to become a caregiver shouldn’t imply changes so drastic.

I think that answers your first question about how has caregiving changed my life, in a nutshell, completely. But there is another important aspect you mentioned, mentally; I’m struggling, really struggling to keep my sanity, some days (like today) more than others. Although I know that the way my mom acts is just the result of aging and illness and she cannot control it, but it is very, very hard to remember that all day, everyday when her behavior towards me is not necessarily fair. That takes a huge toll on me, because aside from how I feel as a result of the emotional roller coasters that I live due to my mom’s emotional instability, I also feel guilty for not being able to handle the situation better and let it get to me. I really try not to react to my mom’s actions and words, but I end up keeping everything inside, which is also hurtful.

My advice would be, number 1, realize what I just mentioned, your loved one cannot control what they say or do as a healthy/younger person would. Negative and angry reactions are the result of physical and emotional pain. So, do your very best not to take it personally.

Number 2, try to keep as much of what used to be your life intact, meaning, don’t give up everything that gives you solace. And although very hard, try to mantain some of your social life alive. Loneliness is a critical part that is almost a byproduct of caregiving. Adapt yourself to the new ways you can socialize. For example, most people lose interest in you once they realize you don’t have the same freedom they do, or that your day-to-day is really basically the same routine with less and less interesting things to talk about other than the challenges of caregiving. I for example have a cousin that goes to the movies with me, and movies is all I do with her because she cannot understand anything related to caregiving, she doesn’t want to and she is unable to, so, all she can be is a person to go to the movies with, and I take that! It is two to three hours of something different for me, a mind-break. My friends, well most of them are in the US, and I keep in touch and we talk frequently. I need that to feel like I still have my old life. So, adapt to your new reality but don’t quit who you used to be completely.

Number 3, take time everyday for you. Just some time to come back to your center. or try to. And focus on the moment so that the moment can feed your soul. If you are listening to music even while cleaning, really enjoy the music and disconnect from the rest. Live the moment, I think is the takeaway.

Lastly but never less important, if you are a believer, place your life and your loved one’s life in God’s hands. He has been my one source of strength, and I mean that. All I have been able to do -it has been a long and super hard journey- is thanks to Him. His help and protection have been almost palpable to me. So, if you believe, hold on to your faith, that is the one thing that will never fail you!

Hope this is somewhat helpful! Best of luck Alani!!
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No Rossses you are more than welcome to reply. I was wondering because I read an article about how many younger caregivers are milleneals as they call it. But really the question posed is for anyone. I am very grateful for your reply. It really put things in to perpective for me and I too am a caregiver for my mother as well. I have other siblings but they are unable to help. I do feel guilty sometimes for thinking I can be doing more or better. I myself suffer from mental illness/Fibromyalgia so I have to take care of myself so I can take care of her. Once again thank you for you kind and thoughful words. I see we are all in the same boat regardless of age etc. Please feel free to reach out to me if your able on here. It would be great to hear more about not only caregiving but your travels.
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