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I am a 54yo man caring for my 84 year old mother - moved her in 3 years ago. She is a wonderful and kind person -- not abusive or angry -- she instead tends towards depression -- and -- every year that passes I become more aware of how much I am giving up. I am afraid that by the time she passes, I will have nothing left physically or emotionally to build my own life. I just have no energy left over for proactively engaging in my now life anymore. I am treading water with my business (self-employed) and am actually grateful I have no kids, because there is barely any energy left for me. A big part of the issue is that I am still living in a community I would have left years ago except for her being here. My preference would be to live much further north (USA) where the climate would not be good for her at all. I also love traveling and feel most at home in a much bigger city, and having her with me in a city would be intolerable. I feel I am on the edge of burnout. I have access to good friends and counselors, and, I'm beginning to feel a sense of hopelessness that really scares me. Thanks for your insights.

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I'm 59 and my mother has been with me for 9 years. I know exactly how you feel. I wish I had some pearls of wisdom for you. All I can suggest is that you try to get out and do something for yourself. Don't become invisible because of her. You are still young. Take a class, go to the library, get a hobby....something that you can throw yourself into. I feel like these years have been robbed from me too, I lost my privacy and she treats my home as though it were hers. I have shameful feelings of wishing she would die. I'm sorry, but it is what it is. Best of luck to you...let us know how you are doing!
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Oh how I feel for you.....I am now 56, was 53 when my Mama, age 87 at the time, and also at the time totally independent, fell down her basement stairs, sustained a severe brain injury and I immediately left my job/career, put my home up for sale, took our my 401K and moved back to my hometown to care for her 24/7 in her home. I have no children either and am unmarried, so that was not an issue I had to consider. Looking back, was it the right thing for me to do?? Most people who know me told me NO from the start. Mama did not ever want me to do it either...BUT...like your Mom, mine was always such a good Mama and sweet Christian woman, it was never even a consideration for me to put her in a NH. I'm not saying this is what everyone should do but it was what I had to do.

Going forward..I have gone through every emotion to severe depression, to failing health, to feeling older than my Mama, to joy, to depression, to despair, to extreme loneliness, to contentment, in short...just bouncing all over the map in emotion and as the years go by (going on four now) having moments where it seems the clock is ticking faster and faster and my life is going down the tubes....Mama seems to ebb and flow mentally in her now advanced dementia and but her physical health is basically good.

I wish I had some words of wisdom...one thing I do note is you say you have friends whom you can access...BY ALL MEANS DO THAT!!!! That is one thing I have NOT had...I have pretty much been alone throughout this journey....

I finally did go to a doctor myself and get back on depression meds and that has helped...a LOT....also, I am trying to just keep the faith and know that tomorrow is not promised for any of us. I believe if I knew then what i know now I would do no different. Many times I still think I am losing my mind...or maybe already lost it. While I have never laid a hand on Mama, I have had moments of what I can only call rage where the feelings seemed so out of control I just went to a different room and got a hold of myself...But overall, I WANT to be here for her. She has always been good to me...was and is always my best friend. I don't know what the future holds...really none of us do...but I do believe God will help me do this if I just take it one day at a time. Again, my situation is different from a lot of folks, so I'm not saying my advice is worth a toot for anything...but do believe I am blessed to be here...and I know that I am going to be OK. I knew that going in so I guess that's why I didn't think beyond it, just did it....Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself, keep in touch with friends and ask them for help when you need it...get counseling if you think that would help...and this site is an excellent resource....Best wishes.
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For nearly 4 years now, I've been caring for my stroke-survivor husband, who lost significant abilities both physically and mentally. For the past year, I've also been responsible for my mother and aunt, ages 85 and 88 respectively, who share an apartment in a retirement community across town. Neither can drive anymore, my mother suffers from vascular-related memory loss and my aunt is legally blind. So, for 3 people, I manage meds, doctor appointments, insurance/medicare issues, etc. Until a few months ago, I continued to work, albeit from home (thank God for an understanding employer!). I totally identify with that "lost my life" feeling - I loved my job, traveled a lot on business, had a great life. I think that when one becomes a caregiver, the sense of loss is similar to the grief process, and will go thru several stages (I've been thru them and repeated a few); it's hard, very hard, to work thru the anger, resentment, reconcile those feelings with the love we have for our care-receivers, and get to a place somewhere near acceptance. I've found my faith a major help. I've found that carving out some "me time" is helpful as well, tho it can be difficult. My husband sleeps late, so I rise early and have time for exercise (that's important!) and devotions. Also, it's CRUCIAL to focus on the moment - make yourself really see that lovely sunrise or sunset, appreciate the sound of the birds, or whatever. Don't allow yourself to focus on the long-term - it's just too depressing; focus on what you can enjoy today, right this minute. Try to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude": Even the most reluctant caregiver can be grateful for a roof over his/her head, for sufficient food, clean water, even just a comfortable chair, a hot cup of coffee, a tasty bowl of ice cream. And know that your efforts are making the world a better place for at least one person.
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I completely understand! I am 48 years old had a career and a part time job at night was doing really well, bought a new car. When I left my jobs to take care of my Mom. I had bills, unemployment, bankruptcy, friends who do not get it., and no life. I never get to do anything outside anymore, I can't even brush my teeth or go the bathroom w/o her calling me for something. Have the time I don't get a bath. I have been sleeping on the couch in the living room with her for 14 years now! We have a 5 bedroom house. The answer to your question is Yes you have no life and you won't until its all over I know. Sorry its true and don't expect anybody to understand it they are too busy with their lives they are LIVING.
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You haven't lost your life, you have exchanged it for another life which is very draining. Dealing with the feeling??? I am with cmag - get some help for your depression.

In my view, you need to be successful at work, planning for your own old age and building your own life, living where you want to be.

You made a choice to give that up and live with your mother and are finding it hard. It is hard. Any kind of care giving is hard.

You still have choices - to get help for your depression, to examine the roots of it and make changes in your life, to stay as you are.

Many seniors do well in assisted living arrangements. There is Medicaid for those who cannot afford to pay If your mother does not need much care, she can stay in her home for now and helpers can be hired. There are lots of options. Looks like you need to consider them.

I am a distance caregiver for my mother who is 102. I still help her, look after her finances, see she has the care she needs, but am not available 24/7 and I have a life of my own, It can be done. Good luck.
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I can relate tallman, I feel much the same way. I am 48 y/o with no children and I have been caring for my 85 yo mom for over 4 years - since my dad passed. For the first 3 1/2 years it was live out - mom lived in a senior living center and I took her on weekends and during the week I was on the phone with her 4 - 6 times a day trying to keep her grounded in the world. As the dementia progressed it was getting too hard on me to handle it over the phone and with weekend visits (2 hours round trip every time I picked her up and brought her home) so I moved her in here. I too am self-employed and work from home which is the "excuse" used by my siblings why it was so much easier for me than for them (who work traditional jobs) and none of them get the fact that being self-employed simply means that when I do not work there is no money coming in. My care for her both live out and live in, has substantially cut into my work time and my ability to make my living. Now that mom lives here she contributes to the finances, which is a help on the short term - but not having the chance to build my business hurts on the long-term and causes resentment in me that I don't like and don't know what to do with. I always promised my mother that "with 7 children she would never be put in a nursing home" what I didn't realize is it would fall entirely on me to make sure that didn't happen. I get little or no help from siblings and haven't had much luck finding paid caregivers. I live in an extremely rural area and doing anything (even grocery shopping) takes half of the day. I use the Internet as my primary form of shopping now and found this board in hopes of having an online support group because I have very little support in the real world. This is the hardest thing I have ever done and it is taking a toll on my emotional and physical health as well.
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I took care of my mother for ten years in my home. It was easy and fun at first. One day, I realized I never left the house without her unless going to work. My social life completely disappeared. My home became "her" home. It had to be her furniture, her dishes, her food likes and dislikes. At age 93, her health has mostly thrived while her dementia worsened. My health has failed to the point I took early retirement, suffer constant pain and struggle to walk with a cane or walker. Siblings won't help. They have vacations and busy active retirements to enjoy. They rarely even call her, let alone visit. Some far away grandchildren visit when they can. Finally reached my limit after she began wandering and ransacking the house and going days without sleep. Her doctors and a wonderful nurse case manager helped me see through the hopelessness. She is now in a great assisted living. She rages and demands my constant presence there but I limit visits to 1 or 2 days a week. She refuses to participate in any activities or entertainment at the place. Refuses meals and baths often. But I have stepped way back and let the very competent staff deal with her. I am actively reclaiming my life and attending to my own health. Feel like I have climbed out of a dark bottomless pit. I finally learned that "I will always take care of you" cannot always be done without help. I strongly urge downtrodden fellow care givers take back their lives.
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Thank you all for sharing your experiences and methods of coping. This whole post has helped me to realize I'm not the only one going through this experience. I'm 80 years old and caring for my 87 yr old husband who has Alzheimer's and had a stroke about a year ago which weakened his left leg to the point he cannot walk without a walker, and then only shakily and for a short distance. I am still full of life, healthy and was very involved with volunteer work and with my huge family of 6 kids, 6 in-law kids, 12 grands and 12 great-grands. Now I've had to quit the volunteer work and can't go out often to be with anyone in the family. Some of the kids live near us but they all work and have their own chores to do on weekends. They help out often, but only for a few hours at a time so I can do necessary shopping and med. appointments. I miss the casual lifestyle we've lived for nearly 60 years...coming & going as I pleased, hubby going on day or week long golf and fishing trips, being able to go off alone for a week to visit kids far away, roaming the mall occasionally with a girl friend, out to lunch with friends, church circle meetings, etc. I admit I have bitter moments, but when I think back on the fabulous times we've had on cruises and trips and how secure we've always been raising out family, I can only be grateful. I know this isn't going to help anyone, but I just needed to say it. Thanks for listening and keep sharing your methods of coping.
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I would like to share three things that helped me. (1) I convinced my mother's doctor that she needed a higher dosage of Prozac than she was taking at that time; (2) I went to caregiver counseling, which was offered for free through the county's Office on Aging; and (3) I pray every day for God to help me through this. Thanks to these three things, Mom is happier and I am dealing with being a caregiver better than I did before. Things are far from perfect, but the situation is now bearable. I hope one or all of these things might help you, too.
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I have just found this site and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I understand. I am 56 and lost my Dad 2 years ago and care for my Mom. She still lives independently but I am the only sibling. Lost my sister to Leukemia 15 years ago. My Mom has always been demanding and controlling. I feel alone and have seek helped through counseling and antidepressant. It has helped make things tolerable. Please keep some help for your depression and my counselor advised me to not slwsys tell my Mom what I'm doing....example going to mivie or dinner, I say Im working so I can steal a few hours. I've started walking everday to releive stress. It is very hard! No one understands unless they are living it. Find some peace for yourself. Trust your own instincts to do what will imorove your life. My mom suffers from dementia and a personality disorder so I've stopped trying to fix her and just take one day at a time and feel less guilty for enjoying life a little. Getting outdoors has helped more than anything. Breathe!! Stay strong!
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