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My mother passed away this week, and I’m lost. I’ve had her with me 15 years 24/7 the last two. What little money I received was for taking care of her. I don’t even know where to start. I know I need a job, but the thought of starting over at 58 is a little daunting right now. Taking care of her was one of the hardest things I have ever done, the emotional roller coaster....But now that she is gone I’m so grateful that I did. The lessons I learned. I want to thank this forum, you helped me through so many tuff times, letting me know I wasn’t alone, that my feelings were normal. Thank you, I will continue to send love and support to all caregivers, for you are all truly angels.

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I wonder if you might consider taking care of other people’s family members and become a home health aide in your area! I’m pretty sure they have training and whatever you might need - just a thought! Good luck - so very sorry for your loss.
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I am so sorry for your loss and I have some idea of how you must be feeling. I have not lost my mother yet, but I am her primary caregiver and know I face the same things you are facing now sometime in the "not too distant" future. I moved in with my parents 12 years ago to help care for my father. After he passed, I stayed on with my mom. She subsequently had a stroke. She improved with rehab but over the past year has been in a steady decline. She is now 94 years old and I have to help her do everything. I have lost my own identity over the past 12 years and although I feel blessed to be able to help her it is still very lonely. I'm scared for the future and you expressed your struggle in a way that touched me deeply. My heart goes out to you. I can't advise you any better than the others on this blog but I just want you to know I understand.
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Schools have a lot of jobs. I heard before & after school supported by school district pays well & you have a special love.
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My mom just passed also. (I'm 54) I had a job and she was in assisted living but I spent every moment there that I could. I also have no idea how life will move forward as my entire focus has been her for so long. I'm just taking it one day at a time. I think the suggestions on this forum are good ones. -- Sue
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ImageIMP Oct 2018
I understand completely. My Mom will have been gone a year on November 13, and it's still hard to comprehend she's gone... Just give yourself time, treasure your memories, and be open to new activities and interests (as well as revisiting interests you probably had before your whole live centered on Mom). It's not easy, but gets better...
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Your loss is still very new; it takes time to transition and go through the grieving process. Please give yourself the time you need to get back on your “emotional feet.” Be as kind to yourself during this time as you were to your mother. Blessings.
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You are beautiful.
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Sit down at your desk or computer and make a list of Radical Self-Care Ideas. They can be as basic as “put handcream on my hands” or “eat a good breakfast.” Include ideas as fanciful as “weekend at the beach,” or “take a spa day.” Try to make the list really long, at least 3 pages of rewarding stuff that feels good to you. Then, every day, try to do at least 3 things from the List for yourself.
I hope you feel better soon! Sending you love & support.
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Rosses003 Oct 2018
That is the one to-do list I’d like to work on! I think we all should work on one, and even while caregiving try to make room for at least one of those ‘wishes’ to become true per week or per month. Because if someone needs some mental and emotional hygiene are us, caregivers!
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I’ve been grappling with this myself, but on a different level since my mom has not passed away. I am still caring for her after six years, but wondering what I’ll do when she’s gone. I am sure it will feel like there’s a hole in my heart that you could drive a truck through. I am a designer, and I’ve tried to keep my hand in, but as her Alzheimer’s progresses I have less time. I haven’t been working for money, but advancing my own design ideas for a new business.
I imagine it is similar to people in the service, or first responders. Caregiving is so immediate & demanding round the clock. Going back to a typical job, “please have that memo on her desk by noon” will feel so trivial.
But there is a pleasant stream of life out there. You’ve been running the rapids for so long, it wears you out. Just get in your canoe and float for awhile. Only start paddling again when you feel like it.
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Dexieboy Oct 2018
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There's so much wisdom in this forum. We are so fortunate to have the benefit of each other's experience. I'm going to take a different approach and draw your attention to the complexity of grief, the isolation of caregiving, and the fear of change.

Grief is not just about the feeling of loss, sadness and the unrelenting missing of someone. It has complexity and nuance. It also has some unfortunate neighbors than can include depression, guilt, regret, self-recrimination, relief, fear of the future, and so on. Which ones we visit is unique to our personalities but it will help you to know which sub-currents are at work, The advice to pause and breathe would be so helpful to you to be able to gain clarity on all of the emotions at play. You are understandably adrift right now. Walk, talk, journal, sleep, or do whatever slows your mind down.

Caregiving is a notoriously isolating and lonely pursuit for many. It sometimes separates us from a support network that might provide us with a listening presence, hands-on assistance, or a needed respite. Our bodies are not meant to live in overwhelm and a sea of stress hormones but many of us have become habituated to it for lack of alternatives. When our caregiver job comes to a close, independent of our sad emotions, we are still dealing with habituated behavior that has no realistic outlet, yet. I like the suggestions that you begin to enlarge your network through social, spiritual, and recreational avenues that address your habit of being on duty 24/7. Those same people will turn into contacts and leads for employment opportunities when you have a bit of physical and emotional recovery under your belt.

Change toward the unknown often triggers our fear because most of us don't like ambiguity. In your current state of exhaustion and recent loss you are in what I would call a "high soothe" state--you need more comforting and assuring than challenge and uncertainty. Ultimately, your finances will dictate how quickly your have to seek paid employment but I like the idea of easing into it. Incremental and small steps are far easier to take than giant leaps. I had a friend who was remarkably adept at handling change and I asked her what her secret was. It was so elegantly simple: if you don't like how something ends up, you can change it again. I hope that lightens the ominous burden of thinking that you have to decide it all and get it right once. It's not like caregiving.

A final word on how to start when your feel stuck in a feeling of overwhelm-just do what's in front of you. Pick one thing and do it. Then pick the next one. You can't empty the whole basket at once so proceed in manageable steps.

Lastly, have a good day. I don't mean any disrespect for your grief but only that you truly need to have a nice day because you probably haven't one in a long time. Learning to do that is one of the most important new skills for your success in building your new life. Otherwise, you'll turn it into the same nose-to-the-grindstone effort you had to muster for your loved one's challenges.

Comfort and blessings.
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Riverdale Oct 2018
What a wonderful message. It was immensely inspiring.
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I send my heartfelt condolences and wishes for ease of your pain as you not only mourn the loss of your mother, but transition into a new life going forward.
You've gotten some sage words of advice here, and I agree that you need some time before you dive into anything... You need to recalibrate your life. Yes, breathe, and take time to clear your physical, mental and emotional space(s) so that you can determine your next step.
Moving away from a job that has been 24/7 to anything else is an adjustment. Even though you may feel a financial strain right now, trust that you will absolutely be able to figure out what you can and will be able to do once the activity, chaos, and challenges that always come when someone we love and care fo passes away. (and we breathe)
Reach out for support from your inner circle and be patient with yourself. You do need some time to figure out the best next step for you.
Wishing you loving memories as you move forward...
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Dear LIL,
I’d suggest you gave yourself a moment to just be, feel, REST and breath! Days of just walking around, with no rush, trying to find some sense of peacefulness within yourself. As a caregiver something I miss is to own my time, for example just go to the supermarket not feeling that I’m running against time because I’ve to go back. I know perfectly well that ironically when we lose the reason why we need to go back, the person we love and will always love, we feel empty and lost, but give yourself the opportunity to release your life from pressure, like I said, breath!

And don’t forget that although now it seems impossible, time does make a significant difference when it comes to pain, heart pain that is. Remember that as caregivers we don’t only lose a person we love, but basically our reason for living! Since almost our entire life revolves around them. Give yourself the opportunity to heal from what will probably be the biggest change in your life, then you can go back to the sketching board and figure out what you’d like to do. Age is nothing! A friend of mine recently retired, she is 65, a year later she decided to try to work in a field she always loved: teaching. Started as a teacher assistant and two months into it became a full time teacher, and very happy.

Dont let your age intimidate you! It is your disposition and attitude what matter! That’s why I think you need to let yourself heal a little so that you can get your disposition and attitude back in shape! It will happen, believe me and believe in yourself.

And thanks for calling us angels! I agree that who comes here receives great help, but also develops this wonderful need to help others, so we do become each others angels. This is the great miracle Agingcare facilitates, the miracle of love, understanding, compassion and support.

May God bless you and help you find the hope and light you need to get through this difficult time!
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KYGranny Oct 2018
Rosses003,
Your words to LIL touched my heart & brought to my mind some words of wisdom & advice my mom would give me. Her time in the memory care unit was short (10 months) compared to most with dementia patients. She did not want to be there & it broke my heart to put her there. I had to work to provide supplemental income & our only source of insurance. I visited Mom for 4-5 hours every Monday - Thursday after work but the guilt never diminished. I was with her as she quietly & peacefully passed, holding her hand, kissing her forehead while telling her "I love you Mom, save me a seat in Heaven & I'll see you later."
About a month before that she would have brief times of coherence when I was able to speak with her like before dementia took over. Mom was always practical & put everyone's needs & desires above her own. That was my sweet, loving mom. It was during those brief times she would always say six little words that helped me make those tough & heart-wrenching decisions, "Just do what you have to do." Those words of wisdom are in my heart & mind to pull out whenever I need them. It's a piece of Mom that I will carry with me the rest of my life!
I know in my heart of hearts that I did the best I could to see that her wishes & desires were carried out. The last words she spoke to me with a loving smile on her face (eleven days before she passed) were, "I wovey you."
My mom was my best friend in the whole world & I miss her more than I can put into words. I will cherish the many good memories we made before & after dementia. <3
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This may seem strange, but why not seek employment related to caregiver duties. You have loads of experience. You say it was the hardest thing you have ever done, but working with others would not be personal and you would be doing your work from a different perspective...not as stressful. Just something to think about...
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Lil, I'm so very sorry... My Mom lived with me for 20 years, and I lost her last November 13... I, too, had to take care of her (even when she ended up in a nursing home...) for 2 1/2 years, and agree it was really hard - I've used the term emotional roller coaster pretty often! And then suddenly - they're gone, and it's like you've been fired from your "job"! Finding another "formal" job might be tough, but you are young enough and obviously bright enough to accomplish that!

Take some time to simply grieve and absorb the fact she's gone, then find ways and things to re-invent your life... (I still have trouble realizing she's really gone...) I've been working on my weight (I gained about 40 lbs. in the 2 1/2 years...) and have lost 47 lbs. since February 13. (I go to WW every week, but do my own "diet" plan, just trying to be mindful and sensible.)

I've joined a group of women - a range of ages and marital status, etc. - in a "Meetup" group. If you don't know what "Meetup" is, just Google it and you'll find a lot of options for meeting other, new and likeminded people. It's a great way to expand your circle of friends, and get together for whatever activities you are interested in... no pressure, nice people, opportunity to discover new interests or get back to those you've neglected.

I think most of all, you just need to be kind to yourself and realize/adjust to the fact that now is your time - you've nothing to feel guilty about - and make the most of "now". Good luck and take care!
Ilona
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Im so sorry lil. Im walking in your shoes right now too. My mom died september 6th of this year. Im going to be 57 next week. I feel like ive been through a battle. And although i have my job to get back to i still feel so lost. I dread going back. I feel as though im not the same person i was when i chose to do this. I still have my dad but he is so sick. Kidney failure. So my days are filled with dialysis for now. Going back to work at the end of october. Stay strong lil, and know that i understand completely how you are feeling. Youll find your way. We always do. Be safe and take care. Deb
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Rosses003 Oct 2018
How about trying to redefine your life? After all you’ve gone through I’m sure you know yourself better and although tired, you probably know what you’d like to be doing since your job doesn’t seem appealing anymore. Think about that a and try to give yourself an opportunity to get excited about YOUR life again! It might be the light you need in between dialysis. Much love and hope being sent your way!
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So sorry for your loss. You've come to the right place as we support each other. Try not to look at the big picture, but take baby steps. You can do it.
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I am very sorry for your loss - I imagine you feel empty right now and rather aimless.

Just the thought of having to find a job terrified me and still does. I pray you figure what to do and that your transition will not be too difficult.

Huggers to you,
linda
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Oh Lil, so are you!  It is far too soon for you to be thinking of what to do, but cut yourself some slack and give yourself a bit of time if you can afford to.  When you're ready, don't be down on yourself for your age.  Your gap in employment is understandable.  Commendable in fact.  Dedication, determination.  If you can rattle off a list of prior employment, especially recent with references, show that other good quality:  honesty...along with maturity.  Write a brief, sincere paragraph:  I dedicated myself to caring for my ill mother.  Now I'm open to finding a position and willing to learn and expand my skills.  Even if you get a less than desirable position, you'll start building up that resume, and while you are, you can keep your eyes open for something better.  Wishing you all the best.
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Lil1234. You did one of the hardest jobs out there! The part you said about being glad you took care of your mom was exactly how I felt when my dad passed. I’m also about your age and the thought of starting over is daunting. If you are able to do without an income for a bit, I’d suggest you give yourself some time to just decompress before attempting to job hunt. With the skills you learned, if you wanted to be a pro caregiver, the demand is high. You can put an ad offering private care giving respite or search for ads. You can specify how much and how often you wish to work. It’s a way to earn some money while you regroup and it puts your skills to use and allows you to get some references and letters of rec. for any future employment. It also gets you “ out there” to network with others who may have leads for future jobs such as personal assistant, receptionist, activities coordinator, server, elder companion, errand runner, doctor appointment escort. Bottom line is, when you are ready, you will get “ something” as far as work goes and you are free to use any of it as a stepping stone to your next job. Good luck to you! Do what you need to and if no “real” employer sees your value yet, don’t underestimate what you can do even if you are unsure of what it is at this point. Start with anything that you initiate and be open to where it leads you. Bless you for your dedication and strength.
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I’m so sorry for your loss. I, too, just lost my mom. I find I just walk circles around my house wondering what I should be doing now. I started volunteering at our local elementary school with 1st graders. It helps as I feel I am giving them the attention and help they need as well as the teachers. Maybe look at the local elder assistance center near you. I have found so many lonely elderly ladies that just need some conversation and attention. It’s a win - win. It’s a rollercoaster and take one day at a time. As far as financial assistance for you, check out benefits.gov (maybe different in your state) for what options are available for you. Also, get connection with a grief group locally. It’s a great help. Don’t go this alone. It will be ok. It sounds like you did a great job for your mom and she would want you to do the same for yourself now.
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Hello Lil. I am very saddened to learn Your dear Mother passed away this week, Rest in Peace.
Believe me I know how tough and emotional Your Journey has been with Your Mom because I was on that same voyage with my own Mother, Bless Her Soul. Give yourself time to grieve and to heal before planning for Your future and getting back into the work force again as You need to take time out for You and allow yourself to grieve. Remember
You are not starting over at 58 years of age but rather turning a page and beginning the next chapter in Your Life. Take little steps and when You are ready choose a job that You would really enjoy. I am 58 years too and Mom passed away in June 2016, RIP. Beginning again was not easy because I chose not to go back working at my plumbing & heating business as a Self employed but rather I am now driving Special Needs Children to School in the mornings for a local Taxi Company and collecting these beautiful Children in the evenings and bring them home to their Parents. It's five four hour days and I am delighted with my new Life.
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God Bless you Lil1234,
My Mom passed away a little over two years ago. I also was her caregiver but continued to work as best I could during that time. It was a very difficult, emotional time but, I too, don’t regret that I kept my mom home. I can empathize with everything you’re feeling. As daunting as it may be, I think you may find that work will actually be therapeutic. I moved to Phoenix at age 54 and had to get a job. True, it wasn’t in the midst of grief, but please don’t let your age scare you. Our generation is valuable and has so much to offer! I will say this, you need to grieve so make time for that no matter how painful the process is and it is a process. It too will be a rollercoaster ride. I still participate in a GriefShare group and it’s been wonderful! Please reach out to anyone who can help you with this including me. Believe me, I feel your pain!
Blessings,
kwdw816
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🙏🏻s for your own post alz care recovery. I am following in your footsteps.
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Start out volunteering at a hospital, for example, & then get help from Workforce 1 to get your resume together...& apply for any office job or any that you qualify for at the place you’re volunteering at. Do you maybe want to get certified as a HHA? They can help pay for school too (workforce 1) so sorry for your loss. My mother is so abusive to me, I wish she would pass soon....I know she will kill me eventually.
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Ineed3ofme Oct 2018
Hang in there. Try to remember that it’s the illness that’s causing Mom to be abusive. I feel your pain. My mom is hard to deal with 24/7. I know it’s harder on many days. Try and find a way to allow yourself a little joy everyday. Perhaps, a youtube video on exercise, a meditation tape, a funny show, listening to your favorite singer, etc. We need to find ways to be kind to ourselves everyday. I pray for you to be healthy and joyful, in spite of the difficult situation.
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This is a great time of year to start looking since so many places are looking for temporary help.

also as mentioned try a temp job company to see what its like to work again.

try reading or visiting or ??? at a nursing home. Or being a reading buddy in a school.

We have a volunteer agency called rsvp. Call the local office on aging for their volunteer program.

i used to volunteer at a hospital walking patients to lab test areas and at a local senior center.

Now i finally have a job. Im 78.
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Dexieboy Oct 2018
Betty Sue! You have become a career girl at 78! You are my hero! Congratulations.
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My prayers are with you and your family and friends. It isn't easy to lose a loved one because you also lose a part of yourself. You were able to help and be there for your Mother and now it's time to be there for you.

Starting over can be difficult, take a deep breath and do baby steps. Since the holidays are coming, perhaps start with something part time or volunteer until you find something that interests you. You aren't starting over at 58, you are experiencing a new adventure, a deserved opportunity to take care of you.

I wish you well and keep us posted! We are all here for you and care.
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If you have a computer, internet and landline phone, there are Remote/Telework/ Telecommute Jobs available.
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I'm so sorry for the loss of your mom
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I’m sorry for the loss of your dear mom. Sending hugs and prayers your way for comfort and peace in your heart. I’m in the throes of caring for my mom now and am feeling burned out. Your story gives me encouragement to push on because I know someday she’ll be gone, and like the same scenario with my dad, when he passed I never had a day of regret of my time caring for him and I know it will be the same with my mom. And I hope you too can carry that peace and satisfaction with you now knowing that you did a great service for your mom while she was here. ♥️
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No ! Thank you for sharing. It is ever one who is sharing with each other is blessed. Even though we do not have the faces to match the words written.....it is the old saying "words are powerful"
Do not worry about starting over...if you can take care of your mom for many years you can do anything. Look into major rental car companies for jobs. I know I found a part time job as a driver. Driving car to other rental places in their car to associated rental places. It is part time but I get to drive a new rental car every day. It takes me to areas within 70 miles and then I drive one back to the hub. It is fun and driving relaxes me but looking at different scenes and knowing their is more out there. You did your labor of love now it is your time. No regrets. Your mom would want you to enjoy yourself. You did a great work with your mom and she knows it too inside her heart. Life is for the living!! Carry on honey.
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I echo everyone’s thought of love and support for you in this, one of the final stages of the very long journey of loss. And I echo the thoughts of everyone who has said that your mission now is to extend the same gentle care to yourself you gave to your mother all those years. Remaining connected is indeed important, but unless you need it financially, getting a job is not the only way to do this. You might try volunteering in various settings to see what piques your interest. Or think of what you gave up during your care-taking. Church activities? Exercise? Community groups (e.g. gardening groups, book clubs, etc)? Or maybe there is even a support group nearby for those grieving losses. As many have said, you are an incredibly strong person. You will make it to the other side of this, just as you made it through all the challenges of care-giving—one day at a time. I don’t believe the hole in your heart ever goes away, but I do believe that over time, and sometimes with help, you learn to live with it most days. You will remain in my thoughts for strength and comfort as you navigate this new road.
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