How do you deal with life after caregiving? - AgingCare.com

How do you deal with life after caregiving?

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For a number of us, finding a passion in the senior/elder care field is therapeutic. Even writing in a journal can help, however. Remember that what you learned as a caregiver has given you skills and maturity not everyone has. Use this to volunteer in a nursing home or other place that helps seniors. There are many. Start a support group in your community for people in your situation. If you talk, write and keep yourself occupied, you will likely feel better. If not, please see a doctor about depression. Many people who have gone through dramatic life changes have problems with depression, so please don't feel alone. Get help.
Take care of yourself,
Carol
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I had a very hard time moving on from care giving for my mother after she passed. It was the hardest but most blessed job I ever had. I took what I learned and am now in the Senior Health Care field helping others who take care of loved ones. I too struggled with moving on and it took me a year to get out of bed every day because my life changed so fast do the way my mother passed. That is another story for another time. YOU have to make the decision to move on, what would your loved ones want? Would they want you to move on with your life, live, be happy? I am sure they appreciate everything you did for them and feel so blessed to have had your love and attention but now they would want you to focus on YOU. All you can do is take it one day at a time sometimes one hour at a time. Start to do small things for yourself first, set small goals before reaching for the stars. Deep breathe and remember you are one day closer to Gods plan today then you were yesterday..!!!!
Blessings Bridget
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Many caregivers are going through and have gone through this experience. It's similar to the "empty nest" syndrome. After caring for mom in my home for over 16 years after she passed I was in a daze- actually I was emotionally paralyzed! During all that time I was moms caregiver I sacrificed a lot to be there for her care and when it "suddenly" ended I was still in caregiver mode. I tend to disagree with much of the advice given about going into the caregiving professional mode by volunteering at facilities and agencies.... caring for your mom was a personal choice and now that she is gone it's time to pick up the pieces and move on. For some, that may mean staying in the caregiving role for perpetuity, for others it's a life choice and then there are those who never want to care for another. Take some time to figure out what it is that you want. Seven months is just a drop in the bucket. Take some time to figure out what it is that YOU want- this might be hard because as a caregiver you always put another first- we become programmed-so putting yourself first will be strange for a while. Try to find small joys daily. Above all don't force yourself to make any major decisions at this time. You are not only grieving the loss of mom but the loss of years and an unknown future. Take a breath and stop being so hard on yourself. In time this will all work out.
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MIZ:

When we're the sole or primary caregivers, it's easy for "Depression" to become our middle name. I was so gung ho at the beginning, teflon attitude and all. 4 months later I realized that caregiving had become more than just a job and a journey; it was my new life. For 3 years I wasn't sure who I was, where I was, or if I'd ever reclaim MY past life. For lack of better words, those 3 long years were an out of body experience. I'm still in denial, just as I still can't accept that the Twin Towers no longer stand at Battery Park City.

Miz, it's time for your resurrection. Reassembling the mosaic that was your life will be Hades, but your resilience is evident in the fact you're looking for work. If you have time, throw in a gym membership so you can release all that tension, relieve some of the depression, and re-socialize. Get back to humanity girl! ... Do it now.
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Just lost grams a months ago, was taking care of her 24/7. I tell myself every day to just take it day by day. Thats how I got though each day taking care of her and that's what I do now to take care of me! It was one of the hardest jobs I have ever taken on and I would do it again in a heart beat! I did everything I could to care for her so it is time for me to put that care into myself. And so should you!!! This is what they we care for would want us to do for ourselves. And its high time we did put ourselves first for at least a little while. I find it hard to leave the house too but I tell myself that she would want me to get out and so I do. And each time gets a little easier! When you raise kids they slowly grow up and don't need you as much so it is a nice relief when they don't need you anymore. But when you take care of the elderly or someone with a long term illness they need you more and more as time goes by and then it all just suddenly stops!! There is no slowly getting use to someone not needing you. Just one day your life is all them and the next you have nothing!! So let time help you get to the point that you learn to care for yourself again. Good luck to you and remember your not alone in this new journey either!! I walk it with you as many others are now too!!
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Your situation has touched me due to the fact that it has almost identical to what I'm going through. My grandma in law passed in may and my mother is now in a nursing home due to my inability to care for her Medical NEEDS-she has Alzhimiers and is in the final stages, I keep my sanity and health in check by volunteering at the very same nursing home my MOM is in. What is being advised to you is correct!! It is Thereputic,and much to my surprise,but in the begining You Have to MAKE yourself DO This. And before you know it,you are whole again,Don't get me wrong.its a tough road,but you have to be strong!!! Just like you were when you cared for you Mom and Mom In Law. The promblem I think is for me any way I Consumed myself in there Care that I lost sight of what I was and who I was. Now I relized how much I gave up unconditionally for them but accept that it is now time for me and I have been given my ME time back,its up to each and everyone of us to decide what we chose to to with that--Will it be Productive or the later--It's all a matter of Choice.
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I never imagined it this way and wonders if others feel relief?
Interesting stream here. I am so sorry you suffer from depression, its in my family and I see it first hand. You can have everything you want, and still be sad inside. Doctors do say 4 times consistently a week is as good as antidepressants so I hope you can do that. I am still taking care of my Mom in my home and I really feel tied down at times. I cannot enjoy my husband, kids, or grandkids without being right there for my Mom on call to feed, console, or take to the bathroom. I do feel a bit robbed at times but to make my Mom laugh and sing is priceless and to know I am doing whats right in my heart. I often think of "life after caregiving" and think such sadness will kill me, yet I look forward to relief and freedom with sadness. I often think of helping some other parent part time who needs someone to make them laugh and sing to them and assume I will do that. I understand nursing homes are depressing and would never put my own in one, but I think of how depressed those elderly are that have all day long without company or attention like we experienced caregivers can give. I also see what Nataly says as far as a different field now, alhou I never thought of that. I think your depression isn't just your loss but a chemical imbalance and only the ideas given with help. I look so forward to a life after caregiving and to me being depressed seems , other than grieving, so beyond what I ever imagined. Hang in there, get up and walk right out the door if you can,and bring music. Best of Luck to you. I agree with others,Your parent would want you to move on and be happy,keep thinking of that.
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Hello Miz! I, too am struggling with a loss ,my sister passed in April. I just wanted to go away from the pain mostly. But I read that the death of loved one is a traumatic shock and we should deal with it as you are doing,slowly and with lots of love and caring for ourselves.Trying hard not to make any major moves for a year. I,too, am looking for work,part-time in an unrelated field .I think Temp work is a good place to start. And I found a great free exercise program that I have committed to like a job! I just get up shower dress and go there 3 days per week. I also do the mediterranian diet so while I am getting myself mentaly back I am giving myself a super physical boost. I also take a one a day vitamin. Smile at everyone and enjoy getting one back! I have gotten into reading again I could not seem to concentrate at first but I got a book to keep beside the bed and committed to read 2 chapters a night "The Reader" is a good one with very short chapters. And "My Antonia" is a great book on tape. I pamper myself with a warm shower at night and soft music. And strive for spiritual growth through Bible study.
I will keep you in my prayers.
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I sometimes wonder what it will be like after Mom passes on. If we are financially able, I would like to help other caregivers with their parents to give them a break. I think it would be wonderful to help them out with no cost to them, since I know what it is like to be caring for Mom all alone. We are not really in a position to pay for help, but if someone offered to sit with Mom for a day while we went to see our grandchildren, we would be so happy. So, if I can do that for someone after my caregiving stops, that would be fantastic. And then I can go home knowing it is not a 24/7 ordeal anymore. Maybe you could consider something like that miz. Or if you need the money, maybe you could work PT for a Home Health company. I will keep you in my prayers while you work through this...
Peggy
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Hopefully things get better as time passes. Having positive feedback on your job of caring helps a little after a while. I am going through this time of trying to get back into the real life. I was care taker for my mother for eight years. She just died in May. I know how you feel. My husband continues buying me dark chocolate to help brighten up those dark moments. Dealing with the youth is better for me right now. I am thinking about helping out in a nursery or camp . Kids don't mind if you are shy. Many of them are also. Volunteering is a good way to network and often job opportunities will come up if you want to work. That has happened to me twice before the care taking took place. You might want to keep a list of things that make you happy and costs no money. Then try to do one or two a week until being out and about is easier. I am finding this helps to encourage me to get up and get out of the house. Being depressed must go along with this transition. I find that if I am out of the house walking on a trail, on the beach, at the mall, anyplace that is enjoyable, I forget to be sad and find a little joy. I am also keeping a journal of my caring but limit myself to one hour and then do something special for me. I know we care takers did not take care of our selves. Now is the time to say "I am worth a little pampering." over and over again. You are in my thoughts as we continue to heal our inner selves.
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