My wife and I have been caregivers for our loved one for 3 years. Very intense 24-hours a day, no vacations, no breaks. LO was recently placed in memory care. We both feel lost, is this normal? We are so far behind on upkeep around the house, we don’t know where to start. We also have catch up on our own doctor’s visits that we put off for three years. We are so TIRED we feel sick. Is this normal? Before we knew what we had to do every day. This is all in addition to experiencing the normal guilt feelings.

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Yes, this is very common. You have been in survival mode for 3 years. You've neglected your home and your health. I have heard people say that it is like PTSD "post traumatic stress disorder". Unless you have done it, people do not have a clue how hard caregiving is and what it takes out of you.

Time to take a deep breath and schedule doctor appointments for both you and your wife. Without your health you have nothing, so that needs to be your number one priority. Maybe even take a mini vacation. Once you are at a point where you can think straight, make a list of things that need done and prioritize them. It will take time, but you will eventually start to feel like yourselves again.

Take care.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Jamesj

I was in despair and exhausted. Try to find something to keep you busy. I am gardening and preparing my parents' house to be sold. You were constantly on the go and wired while caretaking, but you must move forward and find joy. Don't doubt your decisions. Life is very difficult and we all will go through the same situations. You must take time and live your life while you can.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Onlychild2024

Yes , this is common to feel lost . I was soooo lost . It takes time to go back to living your own semi normal lives .
It’s like when soldiers try to return to normal civilian life .

Don’t let guilt stop you from living your own life. Easier said than done for sure. You did not cause your loved ones illnesses or their current need for facility care. You’ve been doing so much for others. Time to care for yourselves.

Take one day at a time around the house for now .( I’m still catching up on minor repairs and maintenance ).
but do try to make those doc appts .

Try to also remember the things you used to like to do , any hobbies etc . Catch up with friends .Go out on a date !!!
If possible , perhaps go on a long restful weekend somewhere , a lake , the beach , a resort .

It will get better .
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Reply to waytomisery

I felt like I had my life back when I no longer had the responsibility of being a full time caregiver.

I had mom in my home for 14 years! I lost my own identity as a caregiver, because I spent so much of my time caring for my mother.

I went through the same routine day after day for so long.

I dearly loved my mom, but I felt relief and joy, when my caregiving days came to an end.

I was able to find myself again. I certainly didn’t feel as if something was amiss.

I will never place my children in the position that I found myself in. I want them to live their own lives.

My mother regretted that I spent so much time caring for her.

Even though my mother needed help, she hated being dependent upon me. She was completely aware that it was difficult for me to be her primary caregiver.

I don’t place any blame on my mother. There were extenuating circumstances as to why she moved in with us.

I wish that I hadn’t pushed myself for so long to be her caregiver.

I sincerely wanted to help my mother. We walk into these situations having no idea how difficult they will become as they progress. I was terribly naive.

Honestly, it wasn’t the best choice for either of us. A relationship changes when family members live together.


I think as time marches on, you will feel more comfortable. Wishing you peace.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

I totally hear ya. I have put off my health for a long time. It is time to rest. Working 24/7 is more than a full time job. Take care of yourselves.
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Reply to Rogerwyatt7890

We very often hear this.
Yes, this is normal. When you are so invested in 24/7 care you become very enmeshed with the life of the one in care.
It will take time to adjust for ALL of you.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to AlvaDeer
RK1234 May 26, 2024
There seems to be a whole bunch of other emotions that people experience after placing lo in care. A lot of guilt a lot of what if’s a lot of did I try hard enough to keep them home we did try for three years thank you for your time.
Very normal.
When my husband went to AL first day I felt lost somewhat.
But I started doing things for myself and soon I felt OK.
Often times we need to restart our lives as we care about quality of lives of LOs and we forget about our own.
Maybe don’t start big projects on your house, just little improvements or just making comfortable and cozy for yourself.
Maybe nice dinner, meeting friends, even a short trip or longer?
I started with deep cleaning, and then with closets, as lots of clothing was just hanging around so donating, throwing out, keeping.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Evamar

Sooo normal. Now to get back to you! Start with your doctor appointments. Take one step at a time. Ask yourself what does the house really need - the biggest project? That needs to be last. do the little ones - maybe cleaning out your loved ones items - don't throw them away - put them in a box(es), mark them, in a few months it will become easier for you to look at it and then either go through the box(es) again if you want then you can donate them. Then find small projects to do because you will become physically tired and emotionally drained. Also, each day make it a point to go for a drive, a walk or something outside, away. Even those small walks down the street will clear your head and get you some vitamin D. Don't try to rush it. Also, you can try a date night, get all dressed up go to dinner, talk about your dreams be them little or discuss a day trip. Go to a movie, walk the blvd at night, grab a muffin and your favorite drink.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Ohwow323

RK1234: Yes, your feelings are perfectly normal.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Llamalover47

Yes, your feelings are understandable and very common. Below please find what I wrote in my book "Dementia Care Companion", available from Amazon, on the subject:

Planning for Care at a Nursing Home

There may come a time when the patient’s care needs surpass what can realistically be provided at home. Care needs grow more complex over time. Recurring infections, lack of balance, swallowing problems and the associated dangers of choking and aspiration pneumonia demand increasingly specialized skills from the caregiver. Eventually, the patient will need round-the-clock care, seven days a week. If the care needed is beyond the ability of the family, placement at a nursing home may be the best and only option.
·        When planning your care strategy, consider that the road ahead will be very long, possibly spanning many years. Is the family able to provide all the care that will be needed indefinitely?
·        Remember that the care process grows more complex over time. Do you have the skill set necessary to provide adequate care at home, all the way to the end?
·        Is the family emotionally and physically able to handle the caregiving challenges into the future, or are family members already exhausted from the demands of caregiving?
·        Are caregivers able to meet their other family responsibilities, such as caring for young children?
·        Is the health of the patient, or that of their caregiver, at risk?
·        Is the social environment of a nursing home more suitable for the patient than their home environment?
·        Consider the layout of your home and the special equipment that you’ll need, such as a hospital bed, hoist, wheelchair, and so on. Is it practical to care for the patient at home?
Moving a loved one to a nursing home is usually a difficult decision and quite painful for the family. Often, family members oppose this option because they cannot bear the thought that they are somehow abandoning their loved one. Such feelings of guilt and shame are common, and can be very strong. They are, however, not a justification against nursing home placement.
The primary concern should always be the comfort and safety of the patient and whether their care needs can be met at home. Equally important is keeping the patient happy, safeguarding their rights as an individual, and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve. These kinds of issues must be considered with an open mind, and the golden rule should be meeting the needs of, and providing the best possible care for, the patient. 
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Samad1
elisny May 31, 2024
While I appreciate most of what you shared, I feel it is imperative for people to understand . . .

Long Term Care facilities DO NOT provide "round the clock CARE, seven days a week." Yes, they are staffed in some fashion all the time, but the staff is caring for many residents, and for many, if not most, staff "it is a job" - so the care they provide will be of the "checklist" sort.

Most long-term-care facilities, particularly nursing homes and memory support facilities are little more than warehouses for the elderly and other people with significant impairments.

In addition, the resident and family will no longer have control over the care.

While I understand the burden of caring for someone at home, when possible (financially and logistically) bringing in extra hands to provide some relief should be considered - rather than farming your loved one out to an institution.

p.s. My mother was effectively financially trapped in a "high end" nursing home for years. I cared and advocated for my mother on a daily basis for over 5 of those years (her last years). Despite assertions that it was one of the best, if not the best, in the area, it's modus operandi was nothing more than "institutionalized neglect" and the more care a resident needed, the less they got proportional to their needs,
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