I feel so lonely even though my elderly mother lives with me. How do you combat this problem when no family members live in the area?

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My mother has Dementia and I try being patient but find it difficult because she can't hear well and continually repeats herself. My friends have their own lives and rarely call anymore. My son drops by occasionally and will check on my mother if I have a small errand to run. I miss the company of others and the activities I once enjoyed. I welcome the advice of any caregivers who are in the same boat. Thank you and God Bless.

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Ask your state Dept of Aging if there is respite program available that would help you to return to hobbies that you may have let go by the wayside. You could join an exercise group or maybe the YMCA. I'm doing this myself because I am in the same situation. Just getting out and going to the park or a movie will make you feel better - check out Meetup and see if there are any groups. Some nursing homes have a support group for caregivers, also.
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Reply to LivingSouth
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I agree with Ahmijoy that you need to get some regularly scheduled respite, particularly if your loved one requires constant supervision.

I think as caregivers we isolate ourselves to a degree even more than the care giving requires. Often too tired or feeling unable to attend community events we might otherwise enjoy with our disabled LO. At this point my Mom can still stay at home alone most of the time, but I still feel tied to my phone when I'm out since she calls when she has issues and security system alerts (like the panic button) register on my phone.

I'm very lucky to have an older brother that joins Mom and I almost every week for Sunday luncheon. We talk 2-6 hours about events in the extended family, current events, politics, and sports. I would encourage you to make the effort to cook a "Sunday dinner" and invite someone over to enjoy it with you. When my brother can't make it, I often invite neighbors.

A few suggestions:

Get out of the house anytime you can - even if you take your mother with you. I use online shopping a lot. Walmart's groceries pickup is great - they load the groceries into your car. About once a week we drive into "town" and pickup a meal from a drive through. Mom and I both love a good hamburger and there's always coupons available to make it a good deal! Certainly there comes a point when it's a real effort to get our LO "ready" to go anywhere. My mother still has good mobility and we don't get "ready" for a lot of our drives. We just get in the car and go on short trips around the neighborhood where Mom doesn't get out of the car. If I absolutely cannot use a drive through, I park where I can observe Mom in my car from inside the business.

Use facebook and email to keep in touch with family and friends. I will see posts about a grandkid's birthday and write an email to my cousin asking about the family.

I have always enjoyed reading, but never more so than now. Reading transports me into a different world whenever I have a few minutes.

Maintain a small vegetable or flower garden. Sit on the porch or under a tree and enjoy looking at the garden/flowers/trees.

Visit extended family and your mother's friends with your mother. My family has an extended family luncheon (mostly first cousins once removed) monthly at a local restaurant. Some of us have already lost parents after caring for them and some (like me) are currently caring for parents. If my mother asks the same question a couple of times, everyone understands and lets it pass. I know a lot of Mom's friends and some of their families from my childhood church. They are all older (late 80s) and don't get out much so they love it when Mom and I come calling (usually with some cake/cookies and a jug of sweet tea). You will enjoy the social contact of your mother's friends more than you may think before you start these visits. I've also enjoyed getting to know some of Mom's first cousins that she talked about but didn't visit that much when I was younger.

Water walking is an exercise Mom and I can still enjoy together at the local community center. After exercise we pick up a cone at dairy queen.

We visit parks and watch the kids playing or ducks swimming around a pond. Occasionally we just drive through Mom's childhood neighborhood.

I hope some of these suggestions are helpful. I know a lot of them won't be to people who have LOs that cannot transfer or travel even short distances easily.

PS: For those concerned with keeping a vehicle clean while transporting someone with incontinence or dropping issues, good floor mats and seat covers over a pad that can be removed and tossed in the washing machine works well - for our older folks and the grandkids!
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First of all, get yourself to at least your doctor and probably a therapist as well. You need to learn some ways to take care of yourself as well as your mom. Contact her insurance, Medicare and her Medigap if she has one and find out whether they will cover a health aide to come out a few hours a few times a week. Then go out for a break.

Even though they may be well-intentioned, friends and family can’t be counted on to bail us out. They don’t want to hear what we have to say about caregiving because frankly, it’s not their problem. My kids very seldom ask how their father is. My son has helped out, but he has his own life and a new baby. My daughter has two jobs and is raising two boys with special needs. We need to take care of ourselves too as well as our loved one. Find something you love to do and do it while Mom is napping. I read or knit.

Come me back here often. This is a great site for help, venting and ranting. There are many, many people who care a whole lot here.
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