I am getting burnout. I just need someone who understands. I am 60 years old and have no life. For over two years I have given 200% to my aging parent. I have no social life. I never thought my life at retirement age would be so depressing. All my life I devoted to my parent. Now I am feeling all alone. I will go visit her soon at chronic care facility to spend the night in her room because the inept respiratory therapist last night could not place her sleep mask on comfortably so I have to go tonight and monitor her care. I have been in my room all day dreading yet another 33 mile drive to a city I hate and a facility that is getting on my nerves. I have had three recent anxiety attacks with pain in my chest and am seeing a doctor next month to have a stress echo. I envy people who are out there enjoying their life. I have no life. Why retire? I am single and then I would be spending all of my time caring for my parent. I have absolutely nothing to look forward to in life. Not now, not ever.

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bonnie - so many of us are right there with you feeling isolated, depressed and anxious.
There are answers to this - I think the hardest part is beginning. Frankly, I feel self-conscious even going to the grocery this days. I need new clothes and shoes. I need a haircut and a mani-pedi would help a lot too - but Mom is at home with end stage Alzheimers, and now under hospice care AND I am unemployed and broke - so all of this is out of reach for me at present.

You are working. That's a start - is there no one at your work you like well enough to meet for coffee, or happy hour? Are you in a situatin whre people walk at lunch?

Is there a community college near you? Lots of cheap, interesting offerings in the continuing education programs from learning conversational Spanish to ceramics or ballroom dancing.

Do you have a local newsaper? Our "Community" page is filled with meetings and activities like "Seniors over 60", "Red Hat Society Luncheon" and the like.

Your local Red Cross office has volunteer opportunities - and our is filed with rtired persons traning to do disaster relief. There are coffees and luncheons. I was with them for several yrs before my duties with Mom made me stop.

The local animal shelter always needs help. Local musuems also.

If you are a church member, there are always ways to get more involved. The Unitarian Universalist church in my area does evreything from mentoring to food drives.

Are you into politics? Election season is gearing up. Local offices need people to answer phones, make calls and other activities.

Also - if you are living in an extremely rural area maybe its time to consider a move closer in. My dream retirement would be to an apartment in Atlanta or NYC - where a world of people and opportunities are just outside my door.

Again - making that first call, going to that first meeting - is the hardest part. But if you really want to make a change, you may have to push yourself to do it.
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Bonnie, I am so sorry that you are having this experience. You certainly deserve better. Depression can be a very serious problem and is just as real as chest pains. Are you seeing a specialist about your depression? It is treatable, usually with a combination of medication and talk therapy. The hard times aren't going away as long as you are a caregiver. I don't want to mislead you into thinking somebody has a magic wand that will make it all go away. But you really can get some relief and some new perspective on dealing with the burdens of caregiving, and I urge you to see a specialist and get started on a healing path for yourself. You certainly deserve it.

Since your mother is now in a chronic care facility, can you drop back some in your caring effort? Perhaps instead of giving 200% you could get by with 95% without endangering your mother, and then still have a little tiny bit left over for you?

But my frist advice is, get some professional help for your depression. If you can turn that around the world will seem a much better place, and you will be able to both care for your mother and find some pleasure in your own life.

Let us know how you are doing, Bonnie. Post often. We care.
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Bonnie, I'm so sorry you are going through such a tough time. You sound like you've been tending to your parents needs for so long that you've forgotten your own. I've been there and done that myself and sometimes I still do it. You have just as much right to be cared for and loved. I would suggest that you request a different therapist or if you do need to go, go in to show the Therapist how to do the job then take your leave and do something you would enjoy doing. There is a movie out right now called "the help" that you might enjoy, it's not about caregiving but it's great movie for women. I haven't seen it yet but read the book and loved it. Your anxiety attacks is your body's way of telling you enough.. you need to think and care for yourself now, and without guilt. Perhaps when you see the doctor he will prescribe medication for the anxiety or depression that will help. There is so much information available about depression on webmd or just google it for ways to help yourself. I would mention more but feel it's best to just offer a couple suggestions. Imagine how you wish your life was and picture it in your mind everyday and see if this doesn't start changing how you feel.
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