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Long long story I have no family and lost most of my friends I have no one support me and have been 100% alone in her care for almost nine years with no relief or respite and about to crack!!

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Juju, you sound just like me. I can converse but when the small talk runs out, I panic in my head. Except, I end up clamming up and flee. I don't have any deep friendships. All the ones I had - was like 23 years ago - before I started caregiving. Kind of hard to discuss with your friends that your mother wants to kill you because she thinks you're hiding her money and trying to make her go crazy, etc... So, I kept all in. I finally dropped them when they couldn't understand why I needed to do this or that. All well....

Well, I hope you enjoy your visit with your friend. Hope it was less stress.
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Ya thanks ladies. I think I am not that shy...I do tend to have lot of aquaintances just as someone sed, don't seem to be able to forge a bond or deep friendship... and I do very easlily run out of small talk when my world is comsumed with unpleasant tasks daily etc....I just completely draw a blank..it is funny almost...I scatter in my mind "find a subject other than bm's quick before you lose them" I have to laff....maybe when the stress wears off a little more I wont look and feel so flat tooo....that mite help! I mention this cuz I think lot has to do with first impressions, sometimes anyway. Church has been a good experience we have tried 2 weeks in a row too! I am taking off tomoro tho for several days to see my beloved friend 2 hrs away.I miss her so, we planned this while ago as for her return from a month in France, to see her parents/family...The timing couldn't be more perfect except for I was so down last week I felt I would not be able to get us there, im stressing now but a good stress just lots to get done so we can go!! CUZ.....We ARE packing up the crew and getting a change of scenery!!!
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I like hanging on the edge of the big group - only because I don't have to talk but I can listen to everyone's stories. I just love to hear people talk. Sis says that we're nosy and like to share what we find. That's a good advice, though. By the way, Care1975, your flower is very pretty.
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I am an Introvert and have trouble meeting people also. My mother told me something that really helped me to find some very good friends. She said, "When you walk into a room, you will see the a big group of people. Don't go to the center of the group. Look for people around the edges, that is where your friends will be." She was right, in the center of the group I had trouble getting a word in a conversation, but along the edges, I could strike up a nice conversation. I'm glad you are feeling better!
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Oh I wished you lived in Philly, I'd be there. Oregon aging and people with disabilities google it. They have extensive services to help in your situation. Adult day care, it looks like you might be eligible for some help to come to the house. They offer advice where to go, help to find a support group, how to get financial help. I don't know your county to explore further. Your a wonderful loving person, thank you for all you do. I send you a hug. Mediate, exercise, an hour to your self every day, blah, blah,. Hang in there you are doing the right thing. We are here for you
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Hi Juju! I'm glad that you're feeling much better. That's what I like about this site. Just be careful because some posters sure know how to figuratively shoot arrows at you. I'm learning to ignore them. But most people here truly care and encourage us and gives us good tips. I will admit to having apologize several times to people whom I spoke sharply to.

Great. Mom is happy when you're happy. So, you need to get some "me time" so that you're not as frustrated/overwhelmed. (I know, easier said than done.) Remember - when you're happy, you're mom is docile ...for now. Take care!
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Well thanks everyone for all your support...I have pulled myself outta this rut for now. Feeling relief and empowerment as I begin to give despair the beatdown! babysteps! not gonna be overnite but the relief is evident in so many ways....My mom feels it even...she doesn't speak much and usually same few sentences....she came out of the blue with "that is the prettiest smile ive ever seen" yesterday..made me cry, sign we gonna be ok!!! and she is still there as a human...she sensed my mood improving.... which led me to have a fabulous day today solely because I smiled a many times genuinely....I didn t have to fake it for the first time in a long time...that what she saw yesterday and I felt today RELIEF!!! Im fried tho and need to just process all this wonderful info for a few days here!!!! Hope you all are coping well in your "house". THank you so much for all the support and love shown!
Have a wonderful day!
Love Juju!
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Another issue is our neighborhood, I relocated us to a peaceful country foothill setting but had no idea drug n alcohol abuse would run rampant out here..but of course we landed in an area full of it....everytime I drive down to the local market I am sure to pass someone either walking down with the cans or walking up with the beer! one handyman told me look at the cars here always the women driving cuz most young men cant get a liscense due to duii/drugs.... another reason I think I tend to keep to myself, I got tired of hanging out with drunks, and have no tolerance what so ever for it or the Tweekers!!!! My saving grace is I am at the top of the hill and end of the road so my little corner of the hood is pretty quiet! and I have a beautiful view looking up the mountain and down the valley on the other side....just cant really get off the patio to enjoy it rite now Due to the mess in the yard and the sinkhole....(afraid I will fall thru another and no one will be here this time to help get me out, could be fatal!) Anyway I think I will check in to this site everyday and see what going on....it has saved me this past week....I actually thought maybe the solution was to pack us (ma me and the 3 pets) all in the car and drive it strait off the road into the river!! I don't think I could ever follow thru but the thought creeping into my head was disturbing enuf.
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Good for you JesseBelle....I think I mite have to do the same...go shopping and find some shorts....went thru the closet this morn for church and saw have plenty of blouses but no bottoms but leggings or ttttiiiitttteee uncomfy jeans, I get soo hot I cant stand wearing leggings in the heat even if they thin! hope I can find something looks OK on my 2sizes bigger butt!!!!
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I did something for myself this week. I was out buying a suit to give my mother for Mother's day. I found something really nice. Then the little child in me started pouting that I bought something for her, while I was going around in tattered rags. So I found a cute Calvin Klein dress on sale. Perfect fit. But it had to have a white jacket to look just right. So that came home with me, too, along with a blouse that called out to me when I went by it. My shoes and handbags are still ragged, but I'll have on my pretty CK clothes tomorrow.

Now I hope that my sales are good this month. Maybe I'll even buy a new pair of shoes. :) I like that idea much. Caregiving can be so sad without us having to look it.
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wow JessieBelle That also is something that affects me too,i hadn't really realized.... i don't spend money on the grooming n clothing i used to when working...and the only thing for fun is something good to eat so I have outgrown most of my old shabby clothes finally this year its my old stretch leggings ,sweats, and big t's. I don't go get my hair cut or colored like i used to n the makeup n Pedi's etc I don't spend on that I agree that does make us feel inferior....I feel old heavy i limp n hurt often cuz health issues i'm sure i am not the pretty happy face I was 10 ys ago. Thanks for sharing!
and everyone thanks for the words on church! I will keep going/looking for one where we feel comfy!!! last sunday was ok but i prefer smaller i have one picked to try this week it is smaller and Baptist hoping we may like that too, last week was ok but a little bigger than i would like (i think). I found several other choices to try too till we find one for us to stick with.

Thanks everyone!!!
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jujubean, you are not alone in your boat. I came here from Texas 3.5 years ago. My marriage had broken up. I have no kids. I was coming to Alabama to take care of my parents. They were hoarded, so I had to leave everything I owned. So I arrived with my business stuff, some clothes, and two rabbits. I went from being middle class to living in two awful rooms in a dirty house. The worse thing for me is my parents live in a neighborhood full of 20-something year olds with new babies. I'm 61. We talk friendly, but have nothing to base friendship on. I'm older than most of their parents.

I take my mother to church on Sundays. It is a huge church and more like a business than a church. The people are nice, but there are so many people that no one person is very important to anyone. Small churches are so much better.

I meet people easily, but have a hard time getting close to anyone.I'm very shy, really.I go to the senior center for companionship. Everyone there is much older than I am, but I feel more at home than I do with the young people in the neighborhood.

One thing I am finding is a way to make a bridge to people is mention I am a caregiver to my mother. You would be surprised at how many people are caregivers. You can pick us out of a lineup at the grocery store by the food we are buying and little things in the conversation to cashiers. I love it when I say, "You must be a caregiver," and they say yes. It starts a whole conversation. I have the card of one lady I met and really should call her. She was cool.

One psychological problem I'm having is I am trying not to spend my retirement savings, so my clothes are not so nice anymore. It makes me feel bad that my shoes and handbags are worn and my clothes are getting faded. I know I should get over it, but I just feel inferior when I don't look so good. And old, too. The world is so image conscious. Probably most people don't even notice.

But anyway, juju, you are not alone in feeling alone.
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MishkaM what u sed describes it perfectly "I think one becomes so focused on the caregivee that they lose their sense of self. I feel so disconnected from my peers. They just have no idea what we caregivers go through.
Part of this -- OK- a lot of this-- is my fault. I need to make more of an effort."
In my case the my share of disconnect fault is due to envy and just plain old dullness BM's n feeding sked's don't make for good convo...I feel so inferior (and sometimes bitter) I cant just pick up n do n go like they can and I don't have the spouses n kids n family to comfort and support me in my journey with ma! I can let this jealousy affect me n things especially when I hear them complain about things I can only dream about!

I Do have to say there a lot of supportive people here but I am not sure if I have ever come across someone with no close family. that is the worst for me I think...friendships are important but can always be developed. Family on the other hand grounds you, gives you sense of roots and belonging etc... to think ma is my only family member left and sad to say she is just a frail shell of a human being I am maintaining, the "mom" is gone! No children was not my choice, another thing that just happened along the road. I always assumed after my divorce that when the time was right It will happen. then mom happened and 9ys later her we are alone! everyone (family) is gone Actually looked for and found some cousins I haven't seen or talked to in 25+ years.We are not close but have emailed few times back n forth a bit this year trying to connect a little with them! I hope to maybe try to take ma to visit with them in southern California but just doesn't seem $$$ justifiable!!! Now for tomorrow a rough day for me bittersweet...luv mama but sad she not present and sad I have no children to honor me!

wow! K thanks everyone for letting me rip!
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Hi JuJubean,
I know how you feel. Though I am only part time caregiver to my Mom I have a teen with special and that has precipitated me to become a stay at home Mom. Sometimes I go for weeks without leaving the house. I could go out when she is at school but I kinda got into a funk and , like you, have no friends close by. it has turned into a small case of agoraphobia- social anxiety,I think. I think one becomes so focused on the caregivee that they lose their sense of self. I feel so disconnected from my peers. They just have no idea what we caregivers go through.
Part of this -- OK- a lot of this-- is my fault. I need to make more of an effort. But , you know, it is hard. I have been going to Mass for years and have reached out to a priest to talk to (and he was awesome) but then I kinda stopped going. But I think I am going to try and go again and join a woman's group. (scary!!)

I have seen some very nice small churches in my area. One runs a thrift store and pantry. I have stopped in to donate stuff and the minister was soooo nice. It is hard to get past the "Well, thank-you,sister" and the "Praise Jesus" - raised Catholic we tend to keep our prayers all proper and calm-- but after awhile I really like it. I have thought about supplementing my spiritual needs with a smaller church. I think the smaller ones are , maybe, more, hands on. If I were you I would 'shop around" and find a church that really suits you. Look on line. Most churches have websites with their mission statements. I have often found that Baptist churches are very welcoming. My husband was raised to HATE religion. I joke and say I married an atheist liberal who is now a conservative Catholic!! (sort of conservative- ) I did not push him to find God because I believe that it is a very personal decision. He had a hard time, for awhile, being comfortable saying Amen and God bless you but it got easier for him. I just say this in case you struggle at first. It can be weird. :0) But weird is OK.

Good luck!! Let us know how it goes. Even if you decide not to go the church route let us know how you are doing, OK?


((((hugs))))


I
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KatZen, I'm an introvert too. I forgot about your small steps. I used to do that too! When I first started going to a new church, I would sit there, same place every Sunday. I felt soooo uncomfortable coming early because I sat there and sometimes, people did not come to me. They were all busy greeting and talking to their fellow members. The same afterwards. I felt soooo uncomfortable (still do, actually). I did give small quick smiles to everyone who looked at me, at the same time, i would quickly look down and quickly walk away to my safe zone - my seat. And just recently, I went to a Catholic church for my mom's mass for several nights. I just enjoyed the sermon. When I approached the priest and told him that as a non-Catholic, I enjoyed his sermon. He was taken aback and my impression was that not much people told him this. I've been told by family members, that after that, he would include in his sermon about non-Catholics, etc... I felt good that I helped give something positive to someone's day. And they will remember you for that.

And I will admit, I am Terrible when it comes to prolong talks with non family members. I can now handle small talks, then when I run out of things to say ...and it's that Dreaded Uncomfortable Silence - I flee and go to the next person. By the 2nd person of making small talk, I am literally exhausted physically and mentally. I did my quota for the day on going outside the box of my comfort zone.

Yes, just take baby steps.
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Juju, you have done the right thing by checking out a church nearby, to me that's the first step in finding some friends and getting help at home. Start with the pastor or his wife in asking for help. I guarantee there is someone in the congregation that knows about old people, and has a heart to help you.
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Oh hard hard it is for us introverts to reach out to people. I am and have always been a introvert, like you I take my responsibilities very seriously and find it difficult to form close bonds. I do not have a lot of close friends and to be honest I never will. I live in Florida and cannot go to any of the theme parks in the summer because they are just too full of people. Church is an excellent place to start if you are comfortable going there, but you need to set little goals each time you go to help you. The first goal is to say hello to five stranger when you go, you do not have make small talk just make sure you smile and hello to five people next week. Each week add to that goal, say hi to 5 new people this week and go up to the preacher and tell him you enjoyed his sermon before you leave. Eventually you goal will be to have a conversation with someone you really do not know and find out there name and something about them. Keep building until you are volunteering for events when you can. It is how you become a part of the church, when this happens you will not have to ask for help, people will be there to volunteer to help you. It will take some time but you will come to find that you have an entire church full of family.
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Juju, make it a goal to attend the religious services. Once people get used to you and mom, and get to know you, they will most likely offer to help. Very important to balance this offer of help with sincere appreciation. It will help them to continue to help when appreciation is shown and not taken for granted (thinking of my point of view...) If people don't approach you, then you can approach them and make small talks. Don't push for an immediate relationship. Get a feel of the whole "congregation". This way, they all get to know you and vice versa. That would be the first step of becoming part of the "community." Soon, they will invite you to whatever festivals/celebrations and you will be able to go and get to know them better in a more relaxed setting. Relationships takes time and efforts. Don't rush or push it, because they may shy away from it. Just Go With The Flow.

By the way, I have found that people of my age does not necessarily make me comfortable being around them. Whereas the older people, I feel much more comfortable with. And the younger ones, I stress over and try not to be a "parent" to them. That's why I said to just make nice to all of them. In time, you will know whom you would like to spend more time with. Go with the flow! Take care.
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Once hated: I would just love to grab a friend and take off for the day or a weekend, for some r & r . and now that I scrolled back up boooy or boooyy did I chat away, lol!!!
Josie: Even if I did sacrifice and pay someone for a weekend or day off I have no one to do something with....so I would rather just stay home than eat out or pay for weekend away ALONE, I am virtually alone all the time and hate it! I should correct my post tho I do get 3hrs respite a week of which I need to do shopping and errands n 45 mins travel time to town so I gotta hustle! Not much time for me but at least I get outta the house.

Nancy: Oregon is beautiful but yes these long winters can be brutal. We relocated her from down south when this started and weather is my biggest complaint so yes glad has been sunny n bright last few weeks finally . on the down side, I am so lonely the sunshine makes me sad too amplifies that I have no pals to hang out with. The river is just a miles away and the walking path/park too those have been my go to getaway but don't get the relief It used to help n now just reminds me how alone I am cuz I am usually the only person out there alone.

Mom didn't raise us on religion, in fact in our dysfunctional home she actually had a disdain for the church. I in the last couple years have taken an interest in exploring religion/faith we attended our first service just last Sunday. I don't know how to ask for help tho...
I guess what I am saying is I feel so isolated in our homebound life that I also feel very socially awkward. I never was a terribly social butterfly to begin with, I kinda just had a couple real close freindships then relocating and my new responsibilities kept me so busy I have no idea how to reachout to meet and foster new friendships! especially last several years since this burnout set in. our needy/despairish situation has and will continue to offput others. and I am too overwhelmed and exhausted to have anything to offer anyone it is burdensome or boring to try to do anything with me cuz of ma....either too pricey or too hard to do with her..so for whatever reasons the invites stopped coming!! ...and literally my phone doesn't even ring for social calls but 1 distant friend I have left we talk couple times a month I sure wish she wasn't 2 hrs away and a busy working mom we do get a visit bout 2-3 times a year. but I just wish I had one constant local presence in my life for support and company.... good greif I think I will shut up now

THanks everyone for listening!!
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Chat away Juju- what would you do right now if you could?
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ask your local social services about respite care!!! I know how you feel! I went to an Alz. Assoc meeting....it really encouraged me to know im not alone
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juju, I see you are a fellow Oregonian!! Do you live in too small of a town to hire someone to stay with your mom while you get out once in awhile? What about church? If you have a church home, get them involved to help you. If you don't go to church, find one and ask some questions to see if they can still help. Most churches, especially the smaller ones, have programs or people in place to help the community as on outreach. Ask them. You need time off for good behavior I would say for sure. Plus Spring has finally come to Oregon, and it so much helps to have the sun come back out don't you think? To not have wear a coat if you don't want to, I tell ya it's wonderful. Just by going outside and sitting in the backyard is relaxing, surely there is someplace you can hide for awhile to rest your brain? Sounds like you just need silence. We all do at some point, if not just to get away from the clatter we hear every stinkin' day! ♥ Seriously, look around at the churches in your area for help. There was a time in American history, that a person never would've had to go on Welfare or assistance. They would've only had to reach out to their church. Even the little community church of about 90 people that we attend have help available for the community. Most people never think of that. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I figure taking care of someone with Alz is kinda like seeing a cockroach.... you see ONE, but you KNOW there are MANY more out there, just gotta look for them!! :)
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