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Mom has settled in the NH and everything is going pretty good, then out of the blue, I feel lonely-depressed and so alone.
I don't have friends and I'm just plain lazy-don't care to clean or , in fact, don't want to do anything.
Anyone else got themselfs in a rut like this?

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Baglady: photography was the one thing that changed my life with Mom, too. Cept I focus on her current life...though if I wanted to, I could scan thousands of 35mm slides including a real slide show I produced in 1975, 3 carousels worth.

Mom was a depressed hermit for a year, and I too used to cry and scream, but I went out to the garage. When Mom because a little more sociable, I took photos of her to show her that others were enjoying her company NOW, not just in the olden days. One day, I fooled with the digital video feature, and a whole new world was born. I don't much fool with slide shows, but do put photos on digital picture frame. I also post photo albums on my Facebook page.
Videos I have made include Holiday ("Shirley's Silent Night" and "Ghost Walker"), special friends ("Dean's Twinkle" and "Love Marriage Work Poop"), caught-on-film ("Mom comes out of Ditropan Dementia"...and videos of mom's sick behavior to show to nurses/doctors, and one about Boston the Therapy Dog), nature outtings such as many about birdwatching)...and more. That channel on YT is CarolJWright. I also have a more anon channel titled AlzheimersCaregiver, where I show behaviors, activities, etc.

MY Big Production Number required a lot of know-how, advanced video editing program (that would do multi-camera, not to mention more powerful computer), and equipment (separate mic, cords, headphone monitoring setup, mic boom). I filmed my Mom and singer niece Wendy singing along with "Playing for Change" song ONE LOVE. I slipped in my two singers so that it worked well with the original, even to the style of subtitles. I put this on DVD and share it with people who visit. Makes Mom very proud....and we sing along again!
Another whole aspect I find useful is making looped nature, relaxation videos. I have several of our squirrels, one on of full bloom wisteria on very windy day (with wind chimes), and a bee buzzing sunflower. Just set up camera, let it roll, then edit out the non-squirrel segments. We have those on the large screen every day, and wisteria winds when mom goes to bed, low volume.

Besides being a meaningful hobby for me and add meaning to Mom's life, photography/video of Mom makes me think more in terms of working photo opps into our lives. And anything with a photo opp will have better life qualities. It's really worked, and kept up my graphic arts skills. I now have several video cameras, mic and voice recorder options... and can even shoot an event or concert multi camera and sync the whole thing together "post production"...admittedly the time I can now spend doing this is less, as Mom's care is more hands on, just as the skill levels have plateaued to more time consuming skills.

Hope we didn't veer off topic too much. Some Alzheimer's spouse just published a coffee table book of images of her husband. She was already a pro photographer, and had connections. I didn't get if she shared the images with him or not. That is the big thing as far as I'm concerned. I'd take photos in ER of mom, would snap off a few shots, then immediately show her the images, saying "the kind nurse is pricking your finger to test your blood sugar levels."

Anyway, am hundreds of hours behind in editing video, and imagine I'll get to it in earnest after Mom passes. At least the footage is in the can, so to speak.
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Hey Baglady - great idea! I will have to check it out! Can you refer us to the specific site where the slideshow program is that is user-friendly? As I mentioned in a post a while back, I got my loved one this BRAIN FITNESS PROGRAM for our computer. It is a-w-e-s-o-m-e and she LOVES IT! It's a series of over 35 programs, 6 different themes - the graphics are beautiful and funny - there's music, and animated mini movies when you get enough answers right, etc. It tests your hearing - your ability to differentiate between "DAH" and "BAH" for example. Anyway, it is something constructive that is helping my loved one. In addition to that, we have a ton of books that I read out loud. We are working on a few at a time so that one topic is not overwhelming at once. One is Joel Osteen's books, one is on recovery, one is "to be healed by the earth," one is by leo tolstoy, etc. We also have the wii game and my loved one is a PROFESSIONAL bowler!!! and knows more about finding our way around that gizmo than i do! i bought some extra games as well. the point is -the point i have always made and am making - for myself - and for anyone who wants to read this - is to embrace EVERY MOMENT. always. who you are right now is who you are. take a trip to hawaii and there you are again. we are who we are when no one is watching. if you don't like something about yourself or how you treat others or what you think - change it. pray. we are all so blessed!!!!!!! go hug your loved one! imagine what being in their shoes for one day is like! how would you be? how would you want to be talked to? treated? Baglady - if you can, let me know exactly where to go for that slideshow thang. my loved one helps me scan and knows how to work the laptop - so that is something we can do together as well. thank you!
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PS - I realise your depression is different - suddenly finding yourself with time to think, and not being forced to clean house etc like you are when you're responsible for someone else. But my point is, if you can find a hobby that'll give you enthusiasm for life, and keep you too busy to feel depressed, I think you'll be able to make a new life for yourself.
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I was morbidly depressed for a long time.I resented being stuck in an apartment all day every day looking after my mother.I felt my life was on hold, cried a lot, and flew into rages, when I'd go into the bathroom and scream into a towel that I hated my life.I was in a bleak, dark mood for months. Then I discovered slideshow-making programs on the Internet.One in particular is so lovely and fun, it literally cured me of my depression overnight. I became addicted to it 3 months ago and I can't believe how dramatically it has changed me.Now every morning I get up immediately as I can't wait to get back to the computer.I often stay up all night making slideshows.I'm having so much fun now, I've stopped getting angry and I haven't cried since September. It's like my brain chemistry has been completely changed.I don't even mind being at home 24/7 now. I'm having so much fun I don't want to go anywhere.When I have to go out for groceries I can't wait to get back to the slideshows.It's also giving my mother a lot of pleasure.Everytime I complete a slideshow I put her wheelchair in front of the computer and show it to her.She's loving seeing our old photos bigger, and incorporated into a show with music.I share the shows with my brothers and sisters on Facebook too.
The first anniversary of my father's death was this week and I made a big, special slideshow memorial. My mother absolutely LOVES it.My siblings are so grateful to me for doing the time-consuming job of scanning all the family photos onto disks.I can honestly say that slideshow-making has been life-changing for me.
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So sorry to hear about your Mom passing.
I dread that day. Wish you were my neighbor.
Have a great Thaksgiving and take care.
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Nance, I know exactly how you feel. I put mom in a nursing home on 10/29, and for two days I was totally wiped. I felt like I'd been run over by a train, no energy, no motivation, no nothing. Austin is right, we go from 100 miles an hour every day, to a screeching halt. And we've had no other purpose in our lives except the 24 hr caregiving, so now that we have the time we are lost. Mom passed two days ago, and up until then I was visiting her in the NH which gave me SOMETHING. Now I'm just free-floating out here, trying to figure out how best to heal myself and put my life back together. Maybe we two (and anyone else who wants to join us) should start on a "heal ourselves" program - simple things like sit down and eat a real meal, exercise, find one constructive thing to do each day, break out of our existences and volunteer and meet new people. That being said, I'm headed to the kitchen to clean out my refrigerator!
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I too am struggling with an elderly mother in the hospital at present. Her dementia is too far gone for her to stay in a senior's lodge and now must wait in the hospital until a room comes available at extended care. Yes, it does help to get out into the sunshine and try to continue on with your normal life, but, oh, how hard that is. I pray alot and really count on my friends.
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When I have suffered a major life setback, like losing a boyfriend or a job, I found it too overwhelming to plan to set a whole new life path, and the self expectation was just another reason to beat up on myself. I think I got this tip from a TV program by inspirational leader Louise Hay. Do small things that may not be significant in themselves, but that having you facing in the right direction. Really care about dusting and polishing the coffee table. Buy small houseplants and repot them into larger decorative containers. Plant bulbs around a tree in your yard. Learn one new knitting pattern. Little accomplishments, but you are practicing facing and moving in a more upbeat direction.
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It is going to take awhile going from full speed caring for someone else and no time to stop and take a breath to what do I do now-I learned a good lesson from my Mom she got involved with things she enjoyed while married and when she became a widow at a youngish age she had things in place. I did the same and started going to the senior center when I could and doing other activities evem though the husband resented it greatly and now that I am a widow I am very busy. There were so many details to attend to the past few months that kept me very busy. One very important thing you can do is join a caregivers support group you experience would be very valueable to other who are in the mist of caregiving who feel it will never be over in their lifetime when I was in a group a women whose husband had died while we were meeting came back and was very helpful and she and I are great friends now and keep in touch and get together at times even though she moved away. Caregiver 101 is right on the money with her ideas there are many out there who would love to pay someone for a few hrs. a week to get time off and you certainly are experienced-some of the aides we had hired from an agency were not and were very lazy. I would have loved to have someone who could get my mail or go to the food store to get things for me-I would have paid them more than they asked or even to stay with the husband while I took a nap without inturption. The weeks after he died I would at times just find myself zoned out and staring in space and at times I would be in bed most of the days but life is short and we do not know how many days we will have here on Earth-God does not promise us another day and you have seize the day and min. I make lap robes that are given to nursing homes and VA hospitals at night-our senior center donates the yarm if we do not want to buy it ourselves I help make cancer pads at our senior center and voleenter at the library.
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While it's practical and great, I suppose, to plan for the future, life is right now. If you get married, do you wonder what you will do if your spouse leaves you? If you have kids, do you wonder what you will do if they move out of state and you can't see them every day? If you could no longer walk, do you wonder what you would do then? We have no time to lose! No time to waste! God has blessed each and every person with a gift. It's different for everyone. But each of us has something of substance, of value to offer others. I bet there are tons of people right there in your community who need someone to run to the store for them, or pick up their medication, or shovel the snow so they have access to get in and out of their house. There are lots of ways to earn an income - nontraditionally. You can start right now. If you have an actual job or profession you were (or still are) in - get your resume updated - if you think there will come a day when you will go back to work outside of the home. Start saving your money. Any money. There are tons of resources out there available to most people in need if you can find and take the time to do the exhaustive paperwork. For me, the most important thing is being in the moment right now - knowing that I am doing the very best I can, right now. Maybe you can sign up for an on-line college course - even with your loved one! I can certainly stay in my PJs all day, under the covers, and fill my head with sadness and fear. But that is not a viable option for me. God did not put me on this earth to live in fear. With Him at the helm, I embrace each day and do the very best I can. Write a book. Start a website. Try to be of service to others out there. While this website is great - think of the thousands of people out there in the world who don't know about it - who don't know were to turn for help and support. Start a blog of your own. Sign up with google adsense to make income just by having people click on your ads. Do affiliate marketing from home. There are lots of ways to earn an extra income - from home - in your PJs - while you are caring and sharing and being in the moments with your loved one. Get out of bed. (I'd say get out of your PJs, but that's what I wear most of the time!!!!!) Maybe get on medication for depression. Get on your knees (literally) and pray for God's help and healing powers. Pray for gratitude. I definitely do not personally look at my life as i am currently in a "caregiving gig" - as i read that so many seem to here. And that doesn't make me right or wrong or you right or wrong. It's just a different perspective. It's not a job for me. It's not a burden. It's not a drag. It's not a gig. It's a blessings. It's who I am. It's amazing. It's awesome. It's beautiful. It's a state of mind.
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Nance:
What you are feeling is depression. You went from being crazy busy and on call 24/7, to a screeching halt of your routine. Humans seem to like routine...even if it is occasionally a rut.

No wonder you are feeling low and have no energy. Everyone will want you to "snap out of it" but don't let them rush you.

Try to find a few simple things that you like to do. Get outside as much as possible...natural light will do wonders for your mood. Volunteer if you can afford to...you have so many skills to share.

Give yourself time to get used to the new routine...then gradually find a new path.

Good luck
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same here girls ! my husband was telling me that its time to put dad innursing home , i told him if i did that i would have to go find me a job to help him pay bills . where would i go ?? nobodys hiring . without my paycheck from dad im in pile of trouble . so what choices do i have ??? break my back and continue to keep going ??? or end up not payin all the bills ???
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I felt the same way. My life was put on hold so to speak and it took me several weeks to figure out that I wasn't on call any more. It's been 2 1/2 months since my dad went to the VA and things are just now getting back to my normal routine.
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On one hand I can't wait for this caregiving gig to be over, but on the few occasions where Mom had health crises that seemed life threatening (or other legal challenges that would stop my caregiving 24/7 life), I panicked. If Mom had to go into nursing home, the public guardian conservatorship people would kick me out of Mom's house quickly, and I'd be out on the sidewalk, no car, surrounded by my computers, a pile of ratty clothes, and a mouth full of cavities (if I have any teeth left).

More than that worry, the "what do I do with myself" issue has come up. I will probably head to my old home, which I left over 7.5 years ago, and see what is left of the community I grew to love. I don't have enough time off here to create an outer life. If I had enough hours off on any one day/evening, I'd head for SF and do standing room at the opera.

If Mom were in a nursing home, I'd spend a lot of hours each day there, keeping her engaged and trying to connect her with others to make a friend. EXCEPT, once Mom is in a nursing home, I can't even afford to live in the area at all.

Sure others are experiencing same thing, sort of like a divorce or the kids finally off to college. And what was it we told ourselves we'd do when the nest was empty? ;-)
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