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Hi, I'm new here and found this question applied, so I thought I would reply.

My mother was born a caregiver, and in fact, I think she literally lives for other people to 'need' her. She was the sole caregiver (because none of her siblings helped) of her mother. My grandmother lived with us at times and at times in NH's. Then my father died suddenly, leaving his elderly mother in an independent living facility not far from our home. I had married and had 2 small children at the time, but felt it was my responsibility to care for my grandmother. No way - my mother insisted on being the caregiver to her mother-in-law and complained the whole time.

However, it seemed when anything major happened, my mother was unavailable and I would get the dreaded call that she fell and broke her hip, or was sick and needed to go to the hospital. Of course, I never handled anything correctly according to my mother and when she would appear back on the scene, she would take over and tell me how disappointed she was in my decisions.

After my grandmother died, my mother's oldest brother (who was 22 years older than she) was in bad health, so she drove 6 hours back and forth every weekend to care for him. He didn't want to move closer, so she just left him 6 hours away and complained to everyone about how tired she was taking care of him. This eventually got her in trouble with Adult Protective Services, so she basically started living there with him until he died.

After he died, another brother became ill. He lived a bit closer and had two children that basically took care of him, but of course, not to her liking. She would call me constantly complaining of how she didn't like what and how they were taking care of him. I tried to explain that it really wasn't any of her business - that certainly didn't help matters.

After he died, his wife (my mother's sister in law) became ill, and the whole thing started again. My mother never liked my aunt, and even though my mother's brother was deceased, she kept trying to stick her nose into her care. It's simply amazing at how my mother wants to be everyone's caregiver!

Now all my mothers siblings are deceased and I'm sort of relieved thinking she can enjoy life and not have to take care of anyone but herself. Wrong! Now she has decided to be caregiver for the little man that lives across the street from her!

I tell her to stay out of his business, as she is now giving him financial and legal advice (which she is not competent to do!) and I'm afraid she is going to get herself into trouble. She gets mad at me and the whole conversation about me taking care of her starts up. She says she is aware that I will probably not take care of her, or will in no way be as good a caregiver as she is because I just don't seem to have caregiving in my blood because I don't take care of people. She is right, I won't be the kind of caregiver that she is - but I will take very good care of her. I'm an only child and I think she is scared to death that no one will take care of her. She tries to broker deals with people she meets to take care of her when she can no longer take care of herself!!!

While she is still independent, I have started seeing her decline, slips in her mind, and comments that don't make sense such as 3-5 shifts in topics within one sentence. She is very very demanding and at times drives me insane!

So to answer your question, yes, my mother was a caregiver. It has taught me a lot about how to caregive, but I'm in no way the same kind of caregiver that she is.
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My grandparents were either born in the 1890's or 1900, so the world I grew up in was really from another century when I was around my grandparents. As a result, my parents, who were born in the twenties did take care of their parents at home. However, all siblings pitched in and helped with giving money or actually helping physically until a parent was so ill that he or she had to be in the hospital. I am taking care of my mother, but my siblings are helping even though they do not live near us. My father passed away in the hospital due to strokes. Our plan was to bring him home, but we were unable to do so. The same thing happened with my mother-in-law. I think society has changed so much that there is not one right or wrong way to take care of our elders. Many elders do not want to be taken care of, in fact. There are so many other options for our parents and for us. A nursing home does not have to be the only option.
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My maternal grandfather came to live with us when I was about 4 years old (my grandmother had died and he had Ushers Syndrome (RP with deafness). I won't go into details but there were good things and not so good things about having an extended family. At times, after we became adults, there were often 2 grandparents at a time living with my family. I can't imagine any other life and despite conflicts (and what family doesn't have them no matter what size) I consider my life enriched. Yes, I had to share a room with my younger sister, but there are much worse things in life. None of my grandparents ever had dementia and neither do others in my family (except my mother) and living well into 90s and even past 100 is not uncommon in my family.

People in the USA just don't get it, I think. We are supposed to care for our family members and all this sibling dissension tells me there is something wrong with our society. As well, my theory is that the dementia diseases become much more prevalent when our diets became full of additives and the soil lost its fertility.
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My mom pretty much abandoned her parents. Funny how she thinks I should be her personal attendant now.
Dad would go to his mom's place once a week so she could fix him dinner. That was his contribution. I think he may have mowed her lawn.
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My mom did for her mom. She did not live with us..but she paid her bills, and esp her phone bill. So I hope that helps and answers your question. My mom cared for her mom but from a distance......Sharon
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co-sign lcs

You've got to work towards making that prayer work. You've got to make it happen.
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mhmarfil, this is a terrible situation for you. Is there any other way of dealing with it? Why can't your mother be placed in a care facility so that you can get back to earning a better income to prepare yourself for YOUR senior years? When you started to care for your mother, you probably had NO idea that the care would have to continue for year after year after year ad nauseum. I think it's high time for a change. Enough of Mom affecting the whole of your future, let alone how she has affected your past and is affecting the present. And please don't rely on a prayer brigade. We have been created with the power to reason so make good use of your brain and figure out how to make a change ASAP. Please let us know what you do. Best wishes.
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mhmarfil,

I hear your anger and it's quite reasonable. To read your profile, I see that you have been caring for your mother since you were 20 and now you are 38 and she is 78. Is there any other choice you have other than destroying your financial future and possibly ending up in your daughter's future residence to live? How much are you in debt already?
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hi there... it's friday i got the chance to read the posts here. I feel my mom is so unfair to me. She never really spend that much many years taking care of her own parents, because my mom was a teacher & works in the city but her parents lived in the province. so there, you got a very nice excuse not to care for her own parents. But with me now, we have been living in the same roof for the past 18 yrs & am so sick & tired of her. She is so unfair & I know she won't understand my complain. It's only on this website that I can rant & vent & shout to the world I wanted her to finally RIP fast as in like 2-5 months so that next year, my daughter & I can travel for vacation. I'm inviting all of us to join a prayer brigade that might actually work. After all these elderlies mostly are empty shells of what they used to be. I love my mom & it pains me to see her just deteriorate. She's like our old ancestral house in the province, old dilapidated empty and no amount of financial medical aid will bring her back to her same good positive disposition. That's why aside from prayer brigade, I also practice medical financial triage as that's the only way that she won't totally sink my atm card payroll to further indebtedness. I can't help but feel & compare the kind of care she provided to her own parents don't even match an inch to the kind of sacrifice that i've done for her all these 18 yrs. I've lost sizable income because I stopped working abroad & stayed home to care for her. I have a job but it's living paycheck to paycheck. because of her I sometimes can't help but blame her that I am seeing my own ability to secure a decent retirement fund become an impossibility if she remains living for another 10-15 yrs. By that time, she & me will be both senior citizens. Life is never fair for many of us... sigh I feel like crying...
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PirateGal, your mom hasn't been very fair to you. Needing care will eventually happen and how respectful it would be for the parent to "ask" the kid(s) to sit down and plan for the future. Some parents are so selfish, they think so little of their kids, they just demand and/or expect the kids to give up their own lives to care for them, even when the hardships caused will be devastating (like losing a job). My mom demanded that I care for her and dad, totally unnecessary because of course I'd step up to the plate when needed. It was insulting. And deadbeat sister got off scot free, never has done one thing for dad (gone 14yrs) or mom (still alive). The demanding started that day and never stopped. Mom fought me every inch of the way. It was hell. Now she's disinherited me, and moved the paid caregiver in. All of this has taught me to be prepared. Husband and I have long term care in place. Three respected (and respectful) adult kids have been asked to help when the time comes, it's never been demanded or expected of them. Kind words go a long way. I wish my grandma had prepared better for her last years as she wouldn't have had to live with my mom who made grandma's life a living hell. Life is strange sometimes.
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Ya know the folks like I had that came from the old country did the same as Ed mentioned you took care of your parents..there was no old folks home. Even though there is the old folks homes. My mother says always to me if she goes there she will die...well they know in the end they will die and that is usually the last place they end up. If she looses it more she will end up there as I have to go to work. I cannot quit. My mother did not take care of her mother cause she left her native country and left that to the siblings there. Her father died while she was in her 20's. On my fathers side..his parents both died of wierd accidents early..so neither of my parents had to do any caregiving. My mother cared for my dad while he was going through a very quick bout of cancer (stage 4 when found) and I came over after work every day. Now 11 years later I have been seeing to all her wishes and now it's at the point where she needs caregiver care..and she looks to me to do it...and never was ever discussed ever when the time came. I think it's a big problem that parents don't talk about the enivitable and leave it to us. I like some previous posters have no kids and no one to take care of us...LONG TERM CARE HERE I COME...I still need to look for a good insurance policy on that one.
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WOW, indeed, regarding the costs mentioned. In Alberta, where I live, a private room in a nursing home costs between $55 and $60 per day. The rest of the costs are covered by the provincial government - ie. the taxpayers of the province. Of course, to qualify for these rates, a person has to have lived in the province for a specified minimum time and thus contributed in income tax to the welfare of those that were already in these facilities. It has been the belief of Canadians for a long time that in a country as well-off as ours, it's senior citizens have earned the right to reasonably-priced health care in their old age. A person who does not meet the qualifications (that is, doesn't meet the residency stipulations) can still apply to live in the nursing homes but the cost would be according to "private pay" rates. I haven't checked into what these rates are as my mother will meet the qualifications if and when she requires nursing home care. Are all nursing homes in the USA so expensive? I will have to ask my American penpal what it costs per day for his father to stay in the nursing home he's in.

Our provincial government is providing more and more assistance so that seniors can stay in their homes longer. The government says that this is less costly than providing lodges and nursing homes for senior citizens. Our government is on the same wave length as you, Austin. Stay on that soapbox.
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$450? wow! that is 1/2 of what it costs my mother before figuring in her long term care insurance.
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It cost at least $450.00 a day for a nursing home bed but if the caregivers were given just a little help we would be able to keep our elders at home and that is my soapbox from now on but with my health problems I could no longer be available 24/7 to take care of a husband who treated me badly in the first place so my option was to place him and perhaps divorce him first so all my savings would not have gone to the gov. for his mostly poor care at a nursing someone needs to step up and help caregivers if we did not care we would not be so conflicted about placement,
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As an adult, before my mother married my dad, my mom and her grandmother lived together in the teacherage provided by the rural school area where my mom taught. I only learned recently that after Mom and Dad married, mom's grandmother lived with them for more than two years. I never heard what my dad thought of this arrangement. My mom's grandmother left a few months after I was born and she returned to live where she had raised her own family and where a daughter still lived. Mom and Dad then had some years to live as a couple with three kids. Then my Dad's mom became too ill for my grandfather to look after her on his own so my two grandparents moved in with us. I think my mom felt quite close to my grandmother and she enjoyed the company of my grandfather. We had no modern conveniences on the farm and the old farmhouse was so cold in the winter that the water froze in the water pail overnight in the kitchen.The dining room served as my grandparents bedroom (it was the one room [other than the kitchen] that had a stove in it so in the winter at least there was the SUGGESTION of warmth in that room and my grandparents slept on a davenport. I can't remember where my grandparents stored any extra clothes in the dining room. Granny did not speak, she could only shuffle along with the assistance of a person on each side of her, and she would choke on her food at the table and spray the partially chewed- up food onto the table. Seven of us sat around a rectangular table no bigger than 2.5 ft X 5 ft so sometimes the spray landed on most of our plates. Granny had been a wonderful God-fearing person and she did not deserve such an end but it was hereditary. My grandfather and my mom looked after her the best they could and Granny died one summer day while sitting on our chesterfield. After that my grandfather moved to the city, "batched" in a basement room and made the most of the rest of his life.

On my mother's side, her father had lost his wife after she gave birth to my mom. He had hired housekeepers and one of these housekeepers ended up becoming his wife. My mom and her step-mother were never on the same wave length and my mom and her dad and step-mother lived in different provinces as soon as my mom could move away from home. However, after my mom's dad died, the step-mother came to live with us because she had no one else to care for her after suffering a stroke. By this time our old farmhouse had been wired for electricity and a furnace that could direct heat into three rooms had been installed in a wall between the living room and dining room. Dad built an INSULATED !!!! lean-to bedroom onto the living room and the third duct of the furnace put heat into that room. This was my step-mother's bedroom. My mom and her step-mother continued to be on different wave-lengths but they put up with each other. We kids called this grandmother GB (for Grandma Brown) and we had fun with her. GB became more and more disabled and she died in a nearby hospital.

The thing that was different about my mom caring for her elders was that we kids were home to fill in for her when she wanted to go to her many meetings etc. The elders became ill in their 60's and 70's while my mother was still in her 40's. By the time my mom was 50, all the elders were gone and my mom has had the rest of her life free of family elder-care responsibility. She has just begun to need REAL care herself at the same time as we, her children, needed to care for ill mates or were in poor health ourselves. What to do under these circumstances has presented a great dilemma.
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I think that generation both afraid of "the poor house" and it sounds like she was fishing for someone who take the bate of the F.O.G. I'm sad to hear that your aunt burned out and became lost after your grandmother died. 300lbs, that's alot of weight! particularly a human body.
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My grandmother always said she did not want to accept charity, or accept government help, and she was always telling everybody not to send her to a nursing home. Unfortunately, my aunt who was taking care of her full-time burned herself out trying to support them by working in a hospital laundry full-time and taking care of her mother in her home. She went through a very difficult time after my grandmother died, was not sure really what she wanted to do, but she did have to quit working because of physical problems resulting from trying to help my grandmother with bathing and dressing. My grandmother weighed over 300 lbs. Now my aunt is in a nursing home herself.
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I like the idea of ridding ourselves of "social toxicity." One of the ways I do that is distance from toxic people. And that includes one I used to care for. They are mentally ill, and have public assistance caring for them now. The distance has helped my family tremendously. Water seeks its own level, and those who have stepped in to fill our shoes have their own mental health issues. Strange things are happening in that world, while ours has become, once again, one of peace and joy. I love it. Instead of struggling, fighting against the wind, and trying to reason with unreasonable people, we are now caring for two individuals who love our presence, and enjoy every thing we do to help them. What a difference this has made, and how much more precious they have become to us. Toxicity has been replaced by joy. O, and I have also recently begun studying Tae Kwon Do with my little son. We are enjoying the benefits of fit minds and bodies these days. Life is good when not under the thumb of abusive parents possessing Personality Disorders. Ahhhhhhh.

My parents took in theirs, who struggled with Alzheimer's Disease. It didn't seem to affect me much, as I was already out of the house. It didn't seem to impact my parents much, either, because they had a hired caregiver coming in to help. They didn't give up one activity to care for their parents. When the going got tough, they sent the affected individual to a nursing home. That's what I was taught. Unfortunately, we had to repeat that, due to circumstances. It was a safety issue for them and for us. We are very actively involved in their lives, though, having two within four minutes of us. Our loving involvement in the envy of staff and residents alike, and much appreciated by our loved ones. We have the best of both worlds. This is a very loving community, with many resources for the elderly, from day care, to independent housing for seniors, to residential care, to nursing homes. There is also a huge Senior Center for lunches and entertainment, with support and outreach for the community. We have been blessed. And our seniors are happy, thriving individuals, with so many options, its only a matter of choice. A friend stopped by yesterday with her mother, who will be taking the "pickle bus" to day care, where she'll receive loving care, then returned home at the end of the day. This gives my friend a break for several hours, as she is also raising two children, and wants to be more active in their lives. We certainly can't complain about the health care in this community. In fact, it is the envy of others.
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ANN:

Milady, that's what I call a star-studded comment. ... It's 1:30 am, so I better get ready to hit the gym. That's how get rid of all remaining "social toxicity" and recharge my passion for the kind of work that I do.

-- ED
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Its always been that way in my family - learned watching my gran take care of her dad & it went from there. When my dad's parents got sick my mom didn't hesitate to move them in with us. As kids we learned caring for others was part of being a family so it was a natural to take over when my mom started having problems.

Thanks for this topic - nice to share positive experiences with others. Maybe our family is blessed, or maybe learning early on makes you easier to deal with when ill and more appreciative and tolerant of what it is like to need care. What ever it is, now that the whole healthcare debate is taking on a new direction, more and more will be asked to do for their own people - with I hope some funds that only used to go to the nursing homes. Not all seniors are flush and in this economy, we all sure could use some help.
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NUTZ:

In the Brazilian side of my family, the elders -- whether disabled or not -- lived among us until the day they died. They were engaged, loved, involved, respected, and often venerated. Some wove baskets, others helped in the kitchen, babysat, or functioned as kindergarten teachers while everyone else was working the fields. Unless they were very, very sick or mentally impaired to the point of being a danger to others placing them in nursing homes or "looney bins" was tantamount to betrayal. My father lost his bout to prostate cancer at the age of 62. His mother, 103, is still The Queen and runs the farm like a boot camp. You don't pull you don't weight, you don't eat; and that's that. She raised me since the age of 3 1/2, and I worship her.

In the Puerto Rican side of the family, things were much different and elderly abuse in all its manifestations wasn't uncommon. From "hurry up and die already so I can get a man to stay overnight" to "I'll slap the ____ out of you if you don't shut up, eat that soup, take a bath," etc. My mother and her 5 vulturish brothers would tend to Grandma Lupe every time she was bedridden hoping she'd keel over her rice and beans so they could divvy up her property. The old lady, 90+ and still strong, has buried two of them already -- with four sickly, worn out, and prematurely-aged ones to go. My money is on her. As horrible as it sounds, she'll be shoveling dirt over their coffins.

I'm still amazed that both my grandmothers and their contemporaries rarely get sick. Their husbands, whether in Heaven or the Netherworld, loved the drink but did a lot of physical work and were in great shape compared to the bowling pin bodies we're so accustomed to seeing today. Their diets were cleaner and relied on basic home remedies for their ailments. In sum, they took better care of themselves so they wouldn't be a burden to others in their old age. Like them, I look younger than my age, exercise, watch my diet, and build community by sharing what I know. In a nutshell, I network and do my best to be self-sufficient. In today's complacent American society, I'm seeing less and less of that.

-- ED
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In the past extended families lived together and ths grandparents helped raise the children and later on the parents and the children helped the grandparents when they needed help.
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My aunt did all the caregiving for my mother's parents. She took care of my grandmother for 20 years after my grandfather died. My grandmother died after a hernia operation, had a large hernia that incapacitated her for 25 years, when the doctors finally thought they could remove the hernia in 1960, by that time she was too weak and had heart problems to be able to recover from the operation. My aunt kind of encouraged her to have the operation, later she admitted she was burned out from doing all the caregiving and housework, plus trying to work full-time in a laundry at the local hospital. I took care of my mom alone for five years and didn't have a job, then she started falling down in the apartment, so she is now in a nursing home. I do not know how my aunt did it working full-time and then coming home and caring for her mother. My mother tried to help them out a little financially, but the only time we came to visit was once a year in the summer, they lived in Colorado and we lived in Iowa.

On my father's side, his mother came to live with our family after his only other sibling died. However, she had a heart attack less than a year after she came to live with us, died in our living room. Dad had a fancy new home built with extra space in it for my grandmother, it was sad to have her go so suddenly. It was really hard for her to make the decision to come to live with us, she really wanted to live on her own in a small old, run-down cottage on White Bear Lake in Minnesota, but it was not winterized and she was having a lot of health problems, and it was an 8-hour drive to go up to visit her from our home. No discussion about moving to be closer to her, as my father had a good job as a Music Professor at Drake University.
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I did and may I take some liberty in digressing.

Frankly, many of my best friends are African American people. Shoot, go to an AMEZ or about any African American chuch and let them know you are clergy, then see how much more respect you are treated with than in other congregations with the exception of Korean.

My SIL had the same experience when she was pastor of one white church and one black church on what methodists call a circuit. My therapist is somewhat surprised that I didn't mary a black person. My son and I very often attend a downtown think tank which is made up of about 98.99% black people and we feel right at home. Dang, many of our relatives in our extended family are not as nice to us as they are and they are very supprotive of various drama that we have to deal with.

I know that I'm painting with a very large brush, but with few exceptions this has been my experience since I was in high school and I'm not the only white child who was raised more by their families African American help than by their own parents.
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Crowe you probably had a better time with them then you would have with your own family.
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I think the older elderly are afraid of nursing home because of the image of going to the "pour house" that is in many of their heads.

I remember my great aunt, my grandfather's old maid sister who felt she was too good for any man, lived with him, his wife, along with my mother and me following her divorce. It was a year or two before my grandfather died and several years before my great aunt died. She got worse and worse plus seemed horrified to have a little boy in the house. Believe me being around two high strung older women and my high strung mother, I was very hopeful that life would be better with a step-dad but that was a dissappointment too. My grandparents were of the old southern culture who did not believe in children eating at the table with adults until they were like teenagers. So from age 3 until I was 12 when my mother remaiired I ate in the kitchen with my unofficial black family of the cook, the yard man, and other help who changed from time to time. Praise God for these dear people!
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My grandmother lived with us when I was in highschool. I now understand some of what she did/said during those years. It is a valuable tool for me to use as I care for my mother-in-law. I look at this as an opportunity to love someone. How would I like to be so forgetful. I think she has outstanding survival and coping skills to cover as well as she does for what she cannot remember. I need to always remember to allow her dignity.
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In my family, grama's grampas aunts uncles anyone who got old came to live with you. It just seemed the way it was. I don't know why my Dad is so scared that I would put him in a nursing home.(siblings perhaps..??..)He even bought some 200 a month crappy insurance that was supposed to help him with long term care! No way, it's deep in our roots to take care of owr own..that I am sooo thankful for, without those prior experiences...I AM freaking, but its only because somehow I gotta find some money to get a small downstairs toilet put in before they move in with me!! Things I can actually control! Yeh!
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Lol Naheaton!!! and as for me... Im gonna try and get some long term care insurance if I can afford it,, if not... well.... there are always alternatives.. as I sit here sipping on my black russian, I hope to eliminate those "Golden" years.. after my experience with my mother,, I know for SURE i dont wanna go there myself.
If God is Merciful to me, perhaps I will just drop dead with a Heart attack in my early 70's before dementia and or cancer gets me.
~Nutz
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naheaton, works for me!! ;)
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