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Hi 1sally,
You aren't alone in this struggle. When the person that you are taking care of can't communicate and may not even recognize you, it takes an amazing amount of dedication and strength to continue on with the caregiving role.

Becoming educated about what Alzheimer's does to the brain of the person who has the disease can help the caregiver hang on.

Most of all, communicating with others who've been in your shoes helps us get through it. That's why this forum is here.

That's also why there are in-person support groups. I hope that you'll continue coming back to agingcare and tell us more about your situation. Don't be afraid to state the bare, ugly truth if you're feeling resentful or angry. That just means that you are normal.

The Alzheimer's Association sponsors many in-person groups, as well. So do some places of worship. Sharing your feelings with others who really know what you're going through is one important way of getting through this.

I would also recommend the Well Spouse Association to you.

Our thoughts are with you. Please keep checking back so that we know how you are doing.
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My way of dealing with this may seem cold but, in my own mind I just say "when I stand by the grave side looking down I know in my own heart I did my best and my duty, as a friend a daughter a neighbor or what ever the relationship may be. That is all you can console yourself with, a clear conscience! and a easy feeling in your heart.
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I feel sad for you. My Mom told me last week that her daughter Louise died of old age . That is me. She said I only have one child left. I just remember who I am and be grateful that she is not hurting or sickly. She is someplace else where I do not exist. She is always glad to see me . It is very hard some days so on those days I stay busy. She is 98years old .
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Your question is just heartbreaking. I do feel for you being in that situation.

I'm not quite there yet, but anticipate that I will be soon. I know that my loved one will never actually realize what has happened and what I have done for her. She tells me that she loves me and appreciates everything, but I know she doesn't fully understand. But, that's okay. I know and God knows.

I have found wonderful support on this site. I encourage you to come here and read what others have experienced. It gives me strength. The referrals provided above are good too. I wish you and your loved one all the best.
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Alzheimer's Association site. Call toll-free anytime day or night at 1.800.272.3900.
Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter San Jose, CA
They can help you find support and caregiver groups.

I am a in-home care for my ADW and know the nothingness of holding and caring. I have a social worker who comes so I have someone to talk with. I attend local ALZ support groups while a caregiver cares for my wife. Since I am basicly house bound, my kids are 3000 miles from us.

I escape the nothingness by reading/participating on LinkedIn Groups and blogging. I am an Aggregator to Ishmael's Dandyfunk Alzheimer Blogs (i.e. I frequently collect content from various Internet sources and consolidate it on "Ishmael's Dandyfunk" Blogs for others to read) building knowledge networks has become my daily pastime while I care for my wife,

Suggested reading Jennifer Ghent-Fuller's article,
"Understanding the Dementia Experience"

Conversing with a LO who has Alzheimers is often like talking with
your cat. Acknowledge, respond, be affectionate, develop boundless
patience. Forget about rational responses. Show respect, your
therapeutic fictional responses are allowed. ~DLMifm
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I hope an assisted care facility is a possibility. It is so hard to care for a dementia patient 24/7. When I saw how well trained and patient my mom's caretakers were I knew I made the right decision. They are able to go home to a normal life at the end of their shift everyday and come back refreshed.
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What you describe sounds familiar to me, living here with my 96-year-old mother, a dementia patient.

When I start to get that empty, lonely feeling, I remind myself NOT to look outside myself for comforting, but to focus on the true strength within.

Whatever spiritual practices appeal to you, follow those to reach that which you feel is missing. Blessings and love.
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I am feeling you my dear...My mom never says a kind word or thanks for all I do for her and now does same with my sister who has her to give me a break! I realized in her absence that It is me who has to change Nd not expect what she can not give.By the way she was never really gracious about gift or good deeds when she was still ok..So, Pretend to be her nurse and that this a person you have been given by God to take care of..Think of the rewards you have coming for your patience for one of God's children. It is my new mind set too? Hang in there and make time to be with friends and supportive people. Good Luck!
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I work through it by trying to refocus onto positive things. It might be just throwing the ball for my dogs, working in the garden, watching an upbeat movie, etc. I know I can't change the situation so I try to adjust my attitude. It does get depressing when your loved one doesn't appreciate or even acknowledge what you are doing for them if they are mentally present. I have a wonderful support system so I can draw from that also. If you do not then consider joining a support group so you can purge your feelings with others going through the same thing. It does help.
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I go through stages. Sometimes I see my Dad as if I would a pet (I love my Ruby cat and she brings me mice because she loves me but I don't love mice.) Sometimes I get frustrated at his stubbornness which has increased his disability by refusing to do helpful things recommended to him. I get angry (just tonight) over the battle over pooh covered tp and that one sheet will not wipe a butt clean. I remember that he helped take care of my when I was a baby, so this kind of evens the score, and he loved me then poopy butt and all. And when I can't pull my self back to center, I step away for a bit, or longer for a vacation (see if you can get some coverage)

This dementia and its resulting behavior is not about you, or even your loved one. I mean, my dad would be humiliated in his younger years to be pooping his pants, getting stuff all over. It is the illness and it is hard to take care of yourself emotionally while caring for someone diminished so drastically by loss of brain function.
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