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My mother passed away unexpectedly over a month ago and my siblings and I had to find care for our father, who has dementia. We found a nice memory care facility after trying other options. He is getting settled now and we are focusing on cleaning out the house as well as other tasks. My whole life changed overnight and it's been hard for me. I've always lived close to them and in the past several years, I've been a caregiver. Running errands, shopping, doing whatever they needed. I was happy to help and my world revolved around what they needed. Although my father is still alive, my role in his care is not the same. I see him often and still go shopping for whatever essentials he needs, but it's not the same without my mother and what she needed. My weekends were spent grocery shopping and running other errands for them and now it's gone. We lost our mother and are faced with losing the house we all grew up in. And we feel like we lost our father too because it's just not the same seeing him in the memory care. I miss my mother terribly and miss the stability and routine of the life I had. It's only been a month and I know it will take time but I'd appreciate any insight and advice anyone can give me. Thank you.

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I don't have an answer for you but I know someday I will be in a similar boat and I hope that things work out for you
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Reply to kels31
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Hugs and prayers for all of you going thru this. I used volunteering as a crutch to help me when mom passed. I was caring for her and suddenly for my husband so I stayed fairly busy. Then she was put in MC and the weekdays were filled with just caring for my husband with weekends visiting mom and caring for her place. When she passed, I decided on the volunteer work at a food bank. It helped me while I was able to do it.
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Reply to cherokeewaha
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I am in a very similar situation, except that I am decluttering my parents' house to turn it into an AirBnB, per my late father's wish to share his extensive library. Decluttering while grieving is an interesting process. You never know when you are going to encounter a treasure that brings up both good memories and your grief. Take your time if possible, and let those moments be part of the grieving process, Also, if you would benefit from a Chritian grief support group, check out GriefShare.org
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Reply to shedwells
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Annie2019: It's always difficult when your dynamic changes. Please come back here often to garner information and knowledge from longtime active and past caregivers.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Hugs. It's a horrible feeling, like being in freefall.

Not that I'd necessarily recommend it as a realistic option, but I now work in social care and wish I hadn't taken so long about finding a job in it. After only a month I'd say it's too soon to take any major steps, or even to feel that you ought or should or must do anything to "move on" but I suppose it's not too soon to start thinking about how you might use your time? Not to mention use everything you've learned over those years.

Meanwhile it is *fine* just to float, and fine to burst into tears in the supermarket when you reach for the peach slices in jello pots then realise you don't buy those any more.

How is your father adapting? Is he handling the change in his routine well?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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dear annie,

hug!!!
i’m very sorry for your loss. my deep condolences to you.

what an amazing daughter you are!!

huge hug,
i hope step by step you feel ok. i wish you/your father well.

bundle of joy
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Reply to bundleofjoy
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Your story sounds very similar to mine- My Dad died unexpectantly on October 6th and miss him more than I can say! Mom is in assisted living after taking turns staying with her overnight for weeks and then she started having a very low sodium level which led to being in ICU /hospital and then rehab about a month after Dad passed. She has the beginning stages of dementia. They use to live right down the street from me. My free time on week-ends and after work was spent doing their chores, shopping, organizing meds, going to the doctor., etc., etc. They were my whole life and I was always thinking of what I needed to do for them. It has been so hard emotionally because I too feel like I lost both parents at once. I am having a very hard time selling all the things they owned. Its been 6 months and I'm still not good. I'm thinking about counselling to see how I can deal with this. I cant even see my mom in the assisted living because of COVID except through the window. All I can say is I feel your pain!
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Reply to monkelcm
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bundleofjoy Apr 14, 2021
huge hugs from me!!
and deep condolences from me.

bundle of joy
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You must have been a pretty good caregiver. It gave purpose to your life. You just need a different purpose. There is no hurry to find it and you can try out different things to figure out what you want to commit to. While I was caregiving, I had no time off to volunteer, vacation or keep up with my health care. Those are things I am now catching up on. There was also quite a bit of work to do to settle the estate, clear things out. I'm now getting to the stuff I temporarily stored. I've got a whole bunch of family albumns to figure out and will probably end up passing them on to the next generation as my parents and grandparents did to me. LOL. After these tasks are done, I have to craft a life - like you. But it's taken me two years of thinking about it to come up with ideas.
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Reply to Invisible
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Let yourself live! Enjoy the time you have now.
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Reply to AshTee7
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You are dealing with grief and a life event change. You will never get over the grief, you will over time get used to it. You still have your Dad and siblings, you still have family! Focus on your Dad. visit when you want to and how often you can. Bring him something to eat or drink, like a snack that he like to eat, or join him in a meal at the facility. If you can participate in activities with him, join him. Be creative, not restrictive. New doors are waiting to be open by you.
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Reply to Ricky6
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Make yourself a list of everything you missed while caring for your mother, esp the things you did on the weekend. You might want to start by doing some of those things and NOT think about your mom. You might notice your tension level going down or you might notice that you can actually enjoy somethings without your mom's needs in the back of your head. You might also want to start seeing a counselor to help you readjust to being "you" again.
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Reply to Jhalldenton
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My condolences on the loss of your dear mom, and having lost your father to the ravages of dementia. My 94 y/o mother lives in Memory Care too, and every time I see her I feel like another small piece of her is lost to the hideous condition known as dementia, which I hate.

When we're faced with a huge change, the best thing to do is nothing. Don't make any big decisions right now. Just 'be'. Let yourself grieve the loss of your mother, and the fact that your father is now living in Memory Care. Don't expect too much of yourself or that you have to 'do' anything in particular.

When the time feels right to move forward, you'll have to create the new you. Your new normal. The new routine you want to prevail now. You do that by putting one foot in front of the other and setting about your new goal in baby steps. Do you want a new job? Maybe you want to get into elder care, now that you have so much experience caring for your own folks? There is a dire need for it; good quality people are hard to find and if you have a knack for it, and your heart's in it, go for it! Even if you find a different career, you may want to volunteer some of your time in an elder care community just sitting and visiting with the seniors for a few hours a week. I have a friend Rita who was an engineer for 25 years. After she retired, she became an activities director in a Assisted Living center and she LOVES it!! The seniors love her too, b/c she's so much fun as a human being!

However you choose to re-create yourself, I wish you the best of luck in doing so.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I had the same feeling when we dropped off our last kid at college. I was suddenly "unemployed" as a full-time mother. I didn't have a lot of time to figure out what I was going to do with my new freedom, since my folks started needing more of my time. Five years later, I'm still in that mode, although my father has died and my mother is in memory care. I do still spend an inordinate amount of time and brain power on managing her care and finances.

Honestly, look at it as losing a job. What will be your next job? What gives you satisfaction? What would you like to have done had you had the time before? Is there something new you'd like to learn? Ask yourself all those questions.

Of course, keep in mind that you've undergone an enormous amount of upheaval in your life in the course of just a month. Give yourself some time to catch your breath and grieve the loss of both your parents (because I know exactly how it feels to lose one parent to death and another to dementia). Let your emotions heal up a bit and allow your life to settle down before feeling like you have to jump head first into the next thing. This is a good time for some self-reflection.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Good discussion about transition. Just speaking for myself here; however, if i were in your shoes, I would do some work on projecting what I want my life to look like in a year or so. This will give you (and whomever you want to share it with) an idea of your values and what is most important to you. Knowing these things (and writing them down) - in my opinion, is the best way to watch these value manifestations actually come true. Good luck! jim, in texas
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Reply to jimguy77
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You move on by taking one day at a time. It will take you a while to readjust to your new "normal," so don't worry when things don't happen overnight. Allow yourself time to not only grieve the loss of your mom, but to grieve the loss of the father you knew as well. Those are huge losses and they must be dealt with before you can truly move on.

My husband of 26 years died 7 months ago, and I was his caregiver for many years. I can honestly tell you that for the first couple of months after his death, I found myself kind of just wandering around the house, wondering what I was supposed to be doing, as I was so used to being at his beck and call 24/7. But I am slowly but surely starting to live my life again. I'm just taking baby steps, and I still take one day at a time, as I am far from being over the loss of my husband. I will grieve for him for a long time, but I've decided that I must make the most of whatever time I have left here on this earth. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and I know that my husband and your mom or dad would want us living our best lives possible. So give yourself some grace, take time to grieve, and then get out there and start living your life the way you want to. You may just find yourself having a good time. God bless you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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I think every transition can be hard. We speak often here about the difficulty that our loved ones have, moving into facilities, or accepting care in their homes. We say again and again, that it will take time. You’re having the converse issue, instead.

Even happy things take adjustment time. I remember finishing Grad School, and having sooo much trouble figuring out what in the world I should do at night, since I had had so much homework before graduation. It took my brain awhile to figure out what to do with itself!

So, now, maybe, it’s the same with you. But, kinda the complete opposite.

Maybe make a bucket list of the things you want to do in the future. Maybe pick a couple of them. Check out on-line photos. Print them out, and make a little notebook. Maybe take an on-line class about the subject. Find a podcast about it. Then, finally, go visit. Or, do the thing you’ve been learning about.

Slowly, that way, you can build new interests and meet new goals.

Best wishes.
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Reply to cxmoody
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