It's just too hard to take your "patient"/ loved one out with you.

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I am PT caregiver for my mother. Doing this, and TRYING to get 3 of my siblings to do MORE (or, actually, anything) for her has ruined my relationships with them. They call screen me, don't return calls if I DO call or leave a message---emails? Pretty much the same story--I might get a response, in a week or two, often nothing.

As far as friends, I have very few, and sometimes my previous commitments with Mother get in the way of doing anything I'D want to do.

Caregiving is exhausting and my mother is really hard to deal with. Sometimes after 4 hours with her I just want a nap. I'm supremely depressed and trying to deal with that--and the root cause is pretty much Mother and her weird demands. Right now I am taking a break from her as I just got too involved and it made me sicker. She is my main trigger into spiraling, I'd say it's not going so well. My hubby doesn't ever want to hear about my mother again, and sometimes I need to vent, then I feel bad b/c he hates it so much.
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Some of us need respite care or part time help or maybe it's time for assisted living for our parent before we are in the same shape they are in with fewer resources from not working.
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I'm the primary caregiver for both of my parents- both with dementia, one recovering from stroke now. With the freedom of not having to be hands-on in their caregiver for three months, (they are stable in assisted living) I thought the exhaustion and depression would lessen. I get to sleep now, but I have no desire to socialize and getting through the day is still a challenge.
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I've lost all of my friends - not due to my mother being difficult in taking her out - it's because they are not being supportive and are being too judgemental, both actively (by telling me I should be Mom in a nursing home) and passively (by giving me the deer in the headlight look).

Caregiving has changed me so that I don't even know to relate to my former friends. I don't wish them ill will. I'm just on a completely different path in life, a better one, because of my caregiving. The people I now meet have a lot of depth to them which is what I like.
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Dear Erin,

I'm so sorry, I know its hard being the primary caregiver. If you can, try to find another caregiver to fill in or look for respite care. I think for your own well being it is important to maintain friendships and family relationships.

I turned everyone away while I cared for my dad during his stroke. After he passed, I felt more alone than ever. Luckily I had one good friend from high school that stuck by me. I made my dad my whole world, so it is harder since his passing to carry on. I should have found a better balance, but I never did. Just going to work and taking care of my dad was too much.

I hope you are able to find some other options that will help you maintain your friendships.

Take care of yourself.
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Most of my friends abandoned me when I was home looking after my mom. Now that she is in a retirement home, most of my family have abandoned me. It's like my mom was the glue and now that's she not here, I am completely ignored, as long as I am around to see her every day at the retirement home, they are happy. Nobody ever thinks of me, invites me for a family dinner or asks me if I want a weekend off. But it's my mom and I don't begrudge doing it. It just gets lonely sometimes.
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i have found a neighbor whom I pay to be with Mom when my husband and I are both out of the house. She is a true blessing. She takes Mom out to lunch and to places that I would not even think of taking her. It's not only good for my mother, it's good for my friend. This makes it much easier for us to keep in touch with friends. My siblings live pretty far away, so actual help doesn't happen. My sister drives 5 hours to be here about once a month, but that's not consistent. My brother lives in FL and we live in NJ, so no help there.
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On the bright side: the friends and family who are still sticking by you once you come out the other side of caregiving, they're the ones who've been tested and found to be pure gold. They're the sort who will go through snowdrifts and train strikes to spend time with you and your care receiver.

That's not to say you shouldn't or can't rebuild friendships with the others, if you still want to. But you'll know who you can truly count on.
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Erinm60, I lost several really good friends because I always had to say "no" any time they ask me to join them shopping or just going out for a meal. After a year of trying to set me free, they just gave up. I also had a bout with cancer during that time that made me extremely exhausted, so that didn't help matters :(

In a way I couldn't blame my friends for disappearing as my phone calls were complaints and a lot of being negative. Neither friends were caring for their own parents because the parents lived across country and other siblings were doing all the heavy work, thus they were a bit clueless.

But I did find a new friend, one that I can "gossip" with about elder care. We both do volunteer work on Saturday mornings at the same place thus we can catch up on each other's lives. She was having her hands full with elder in-laws from the old country, and how her Mom-in-law expected her to do everything and she not lift a finger to help... it was the culture. Thank good my friend had a full-time job where she could "escape" for 10 hours per day, even business related trips to be gone for a week.
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My cousin who was like my little sister in many ways called tonight. She's 7 years younger. Her dad died last year o of f Alzheimer's. My mom is his sister. Her son killed himself 2 weeksbefore her dad died. She said she thought I was Abandoning her because i don't call. I was there 10 minutes after he hung himself. Ok. That was over a year ago. I said Kel , I'm going through h*ll here. My mom has Alzheimer's /dementia. I'm here 24 hours a day. I'm trapped. She said you should get down on your knees and thank God that's the worst thing you are going through. I said. By saying that. You have no clue what my life is and I'm sorry you lost your son. But this is ongoing. She lives 10 houses away. She has her Grief. I get that. I just explained that I feel I have no right calling her or texting with my situation. Well she had no clue my mom was on aricept. Because her sons death has been the focus of her Life. To make a very long post shorter. She kind of reached out to me. Let go of her grief. I asked her , do you want to hear about my life. How Alzheimer's has control and told her I felt I had no right to complain Well she s very happy to come to take my mom for a walk and was understanding. Not saying losing a child to suicide compares to 24/7 care of a parent. But I think my discussion helped her a little to move on from his death
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