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After a much needed 2-week respite where I went to Florida with my brother and sis-in-law, I was to pick up my husband at the NH he was in and bring him home; they said they would accept him for permanent placement pending Medicaid approval and I agreed, as it takes two people to cope with him and I couldn't do it by myself anymore. Now I suddenly find myself with freedom from all the care-taking but remembering all the good things about him, and missing him, and tearful and unsure of my new life. Any thoughts about coping with this?

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You can't feel bad enough to make your hubby any better or change anything. I hope you embrace your freedom it sounds like you deserve it. If you can afford it go to Europe or somewhere new. I read in a book somewhere that people often don't live as though we will die one day. We have such a short time here on earth. Live it up and cherish your new beginning!
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Take it one day at a time, and get some support from family or friends that are supportive. Just having people around you giving their opinions of what you "should" or "could" do is unhelpful. Take some classes, join a exercise class (nothing beats the blues like exercise!), and start creating your own space and hobbies. Best wishes to both of you!
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I am so sorry, Tony...this is so hard... Just visit as often as you can and spend as much time as you're comfortable spending.. Sometimes that's all we can do... I cared for my mom until the last 3 months of her life. I couldn't do it anymore either, even with my son to help out. It was all just too much. We do the very best we can until we can't anymore. And I agree with Mcskeech, visit at meal time whenever you can. The facility where my mom was at allowed visitors to purchase and eat meals there, too, with the patients. Take care..
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Wow! So many wonderful suggestions for you to choose from. I think the main thing is to not cut yourself off from the world, and try not to feel guilty at this point. Give yourself permission to continue on in whatever way works best for you. If he is close enough to visit daily and you can still drive, that will keep you involved in his life. Some people make their visits regularly at a meal time - lunch or supper - if that's possible where he's at, as that is the most lonesome time to be alone and gives both something to look forward to every day. However you chose to work it out, it is nothing to feel guilty about as it is not possible for us to be able to care for a total care spouse day and night for very long, especially when we are getting older ourselves. Getting the proper rest allows us not to get sick ourselves and have the energy to monitor the more important things in their lives. Blessings to you for all you have done for him thus far and will continue to do!
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Reconnect with friends...good friends who may help you assimilate to your "new free time". Talk to the NH director or your church, senior center director to see if there is a support group for caregivers...even though your husband is in NH, you are still his spouse and caregiver even without the day to day responsibilities. I think this will help you find the support you need in coming months to share your feelings, dreams, memories, and help show you the way through common experiences.

If you are outgoing, consider starting or organizing a group at husbands nursing home for others in similar situation. The social worker can help you get this organized and started. You will be doing something positive and I'm sure it will be welcomed by others who would like to share and talk about their feelings and experiences.

There are many here that have walked this walk and will be giving advice and ideas on how they did it. Keep coming back.

Enjoy your husband and give yourself all the permission you need to sort through feelings and reconnect with yourself and who you are and who you will be. You are no longer on hold; embrace this next phase. It will be wonderful.
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You have an important job as your husband's advocate. Visit him and enjoy him!
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What is your passion? What have you always wanted to do that you didn't have time to do? Now is your time. If you don't have anything (most of us do have something), then try something new. Take a class, join a club. There are communities of people out there with similar interests that create bonds of friendship, even here in NH where we are spread out geographically : )
Don't sit at home on the pity pot... get out there in the world. Even if all you feel able to do now is join a grief or caregiver support group, put yourself out there.
It's always scary to have to recreate your life, but who know what wonderful things the future can hold!
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Louise, you have been a caregiver for quite a while. It is normal to go through the roller coaster of emotions during this time of change. It takes about 6-8 weeks to go through this adjustment time. Know you have done the best you can out of love for your husband. It is ok to be teary.... especially when you feel loss, and fatigued. When things naturally flow into place, like your husband ending up in this nursing home.... he is where God wants him to be. Since you will still be dealing with his Alzheimer progression an Alzheimer's support group would be a great place to start. Hugs to you! You have done a wonderful job!
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How did your husband react Tonylou? Is he aware of what's going on, or is he somewhat oblivious? If he is fine with it, you're so very lucky, otherwise you'd no doubt have a big bag of guilt on top of it all. (that's what I'm afraid of happening if/when I place my Mom) She's still at the aware stage, however. But I can understand your feeling at a loss, and missing him. I'm sure this feeling will gradually ease up for you, and you can go and visit him every day, which will help you not miss him so much. If several weeks pass and you sense things aren't going as you planned or hoped they would, you can always have him come back. Good luck, Tonylou. I wish you the best, and am sure your sadness will ease up as you see he's doing well in placement!!
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Tonylou I can only imagine what you're going through. But it's totally understandable. Your "purpose in life" has suddenly undergone a shift and you probably feel guilty to have so much freedom and ability to do what you want to do while your husband is somewhere else. Like PSteigman said, get some sleep, visit with friends and go visit your husband when you're feeling good. You'll adjust, but it will take some time. That's just normal - your familiar world has undergone a major, major change. Feeling unsettled is normal.
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You might consider music therapy. Start listening to sad songs (Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is a good example). Then let the songs get less sad, until they become very happy.
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When the burden is lifted, all the emotions you have been holding in come flooding out. Enjoy a good cry, these are tears of relief. Unload the pent-up fear and tension, reset your internal clock and get a good night's sleep for the first time in a long time. Now at least you can enjoy his company and he can enjoy yours.
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