Many of you have already had loved ones pass away from dementia, Alzheimer's and various other diseases, but you are kind enough to continue to give us the benefit of your experiences on this site, so......
May I ask you all a few questions?
I am concerned about how I am going to react when Mom passes away, I have had problems with depression and panic and anxiety in the past.
I care for my 85 yo mother and I do not see her passing away for several more years. When my father died in 2006 I thought we would be lucky to keep Mom alive for 3 more years, but 8 years later she is still going although her dementia and effects of medications for it, are gradually taking a toll on her and unfortunately myself, my daughter, and my siblings.
I know that for many of us the stress has been so great for so long, that in a way we look at death as a release or relief that is natural but we feel ashamed to admit it. Many people seem to curl up and pull away from life as they grieve and some never get past it. I was wondering if any of you that have gone through the death of your loved ones and you look back on it now, is there anything you wish you would have done differently? Is there anything you might have done during the time you cared for them that might have helped you more both then and now? Did you figure this all out beforehand and do things to prevent falling into deep grief?
I am asking because I am the 24/7 care giver who is under enormous stress with little to no help at all from siblings. They work and I am on disability therefore the care giving was just a "given" in their book that I should do, because I am home. I have done it for 8 years with Mom and now my panic and anxiety has begun again because I see my life slipping away (61) and my daughter is graduating from college and beginning her life..... a life I have missed out on due to caring for both parents, an aunt and brother in law as well as being ill myself for the past 17 years.
I can see myself becoming more depressed when my mother dies especially since I already feel like I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at times from what I am currently going through. I look at my age and wonder if anyone would hire me to do anything, I find myself passing pre schools or other businesses and wondering, "Would they even let me volunteer?"
I need to "head this off at the pass" if there is anything I can do NOW to help save myself when Mom is gone. Although I am sure I will feel relief, I am also sure I will feel lonely, at loose ends, and just plain old "lost" when she is gone, because my every waking moment is spent running to meet her needs and the needs of this household.
I had thought that perhaps leaving the house now, to take a class or visit a friend on a regular basis would help, even getting some type of part time job, but to do this I need the assistance of my family, which is not coming. As a matter of fact my older sister who lives with us stays at work 4 hours past quitting time (she works part time), so she does not have to come home and help deal with the issues of Mom. My therapist tells me I MUST leave the house each weekend and go do something fun with my daughter or a friend for my mental well being, however this same sister, has told me I can no longer leave the house, without her permission!!! My reply back to her was not a nice one! She has no right or authority to try and keep me at home, this is a jealousy issue. But it gives you an idea as to what I am up against.
If any of you could or would give me advice I would appreciate it. I feel like I need to begin "putting on the life jacket now, to prevent myself from drowning" later on.