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My husband has been diagnosed with dementia. I do have a caregiver who is here 4 hrs a day Mon-Fri. My husband is pretty much house bound except for doctor appointments. He has episodes of incontinence so he doesn't really like to leave the house. But I feel bad when I leave the house without him, even though he has a wonderful care-giver. But I need to be able to have a conversation with people who make sense when you talk to them.

Actually, you are doing your husband a favor by going out because you are bringing back home a rested wife. Don’t you feel that’s important?

You love him. He loves you. He would want the best for you. You want to be your best. Everybody wins.

If the caregiver is wonderful then you do not have to feel guilty. I know that you are grateful that you are blessed with a terrific caregiver.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Well, of course you need to have conversations with people who don't have dementia! Why on earth would you feel guilty leaving him with his wonderful care giver who's hired to stay with him for 4 hrs a day? Unless he's crying and begging you not to leave, I'd be on my way with a kiss and wave and not an ounce of guilt. There's no reason for it at all. Trying to deal with dementia is difficult and trying to carry on a conversation is practically impossible, not to mention frustrating. It only makes sense that you look after yourself during your care giving journey.

All the best
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Yes, you still need to live your life. Caregiving is very stressful and self-care is important. Don't feel guilty...maintaining your normal life will help you be a better caregiver for as long as you choose. You can't help your hubby if you're burned out. May you have peace in your heart over your healthy choices!
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Reply to Geaton777
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Since I have taken up an activity that I love, I find that I’m MORE open to doing the best I can for my dependent OLs, NOT LESS.

Contact with other adults refreshes the spirit, relieves anxiety, and allows you to be your best self.

Don’t leave for yourself, leave for your husband, and come back for him too.
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Reply to AnnReid
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Does your husband want to go with you when you go out? It sounds like he's more comfortable staying at home within and reasonable radius of the bathroom!

You need to get out when you can. Just say, "I love you. I'll be back soon." and off you go for shopping or book group or exercise class.

How great you have a care giver/helper you like. Treasure that.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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You are entitled to have time to yourself. You can still enjoy the time away from home and you actually NEED it to preserve your own sanity. Go out as much as you can. There are still many, many hours that you are responsible for your husband.

Please find a way to get rid of that guilt!
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Reply to againx100
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I see nothing wrong with what you are doing. When he didn’t have dementia did you feel the need to be with him 24/7? Probably not. There is no need to feel that way now. Guilt is an emotion that should correlate with bad behavior. So you must obviously think leaving to take care of yourself is wrong.
you can not help that he has a disease, whether it be dementia, cancer or something else, it happened and you have no control over it. You will be a much better wife and caregiver if you take time for your needs. You can not subjugate yourself to the caregiver role 100%.
learn how to love yourself. Tell yourself, I am a good wife, my husband has care while I’m gone, I need to do self care so I don’t burnout. I applaud you for doing this! Now go and don’t look back as though you've committed a crime. Perhaps get yourself into an Alzheimer’s support group. They will support your decision!
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Reply to Harpcat
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You have a caregiver both you and your husband like and feel comfortable with by the sounds of it so your hesitation isn’t about leaving him alone it’s about getting out of the house without him. As the spouse who has often needed or chosen to stay behind in the sanctuary of home for medical reasons I can tell you the last thing I want is for my DH to also stay home on my account. I already carry enough guilt about the demands and strain my disease has put on my family and the last thing I want is to feel like it’s running their lives in ways that could be prevented or that they are giving anything up on my account. That’s not to say if I need him to come home or stay home I don’t tell him and he doesn’t happily drop everything but knowing I am not preventing him from doing things and frankly being able to live vicariously through his day’s stories makes me happy. It may be a great relief to your husband to know that you are getting out without him again and that your life isn’t being as curtailed as his by all of this. It gives life a new “normal” if you will that doesn’t totally revolve around his medical issues. I would suggest that perhaps your guilt should be about not leaving the house without him when you and he both feel confident he is cared for, not using the time you pay someone else to be there wisely by getting out rather than ending up with 2 caregivers in the house those 4 hrs a day. The things that benefit you absolutely benefit your DH as well, try to remember that.
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Reply to Lymie61
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Not only is it okay to get to get out and have conversations, it is necessary. You will be a healthier and happier care giver for him. Remember the adage about putting you own oxygen mask first. You can't help anyone if you aren't in good shape emotionally and mentally yourself. He has a good caregiver and that is good for him and good for you too.
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Reply to inkandpaper
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Please - you have absolutely zero reason to feel guilty. You need to go out and socialize. I can understand where your husband is coming from. I realize that there will come a time when I, too, will want to be close to my bathroom. It may be my new best friend.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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