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When the caregiving ends, and if/when you meet new people, and make new friends, do you plan to talk about your caregiving experiences, such as sibling(s) not helping out, etc., or do you just plan to move ahead emotionally and try to forget about the negative aspects from your caregiving days? In addition, does anyone plan to move to another part of the country at some point for a fresh start when the caregiving ends? Any comments or suggestions?

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Different people deal with the end of a life stage differently, but it has been said that one thing that stays the same is that our lives change. After my husband passed, after ten years up and down and an intensive last year, I had to figure out who I was. I realized that I could not change anything in the past; only the future. I have a couple of friends who are "stuck" after losing someone in their lives. I could not have wanted my husband or his parents to have gone on with the lives they had at the end. I found that the oldest friends were very helpful, and having been there, done that gives a way to empathize with others as they go through this. A comment I make is that "I hug widows", (if it is appropriate) and often that is what we both need. I try to be open for what God as for me next, and am doing some things that I always wanted to do, and doing them better than I ever did before.
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@blannie: you are so very right! I feel the same exact way. My mother recently passed this October, and I was her caregiver for over 10 years, and before that I was my father's caregiver as well. And although I am sad, understandably so, I also am ready to be "healthily selfish" and take care of me for a change and re-discover myself, and life. I know that my mother would not have wanted it any other way, and has told me so many times before dementia really took hold of her. My mother had a long great life, and I also know that I did everything in my power to make sure her last years were good ones, and at time even managed to have some smiles and laughter in the process. And now my caregiving is DONE! It's time to live, and I live with no regrets. :-)
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That's smart FF. I'm certainly not going to do much with my clueless former caregiver friend because of her insensitivity.

The other thing that gets my goat is people who were caregivers for a couple of years who tell me (I had dad for 9 years and mom is 13 years+ and going strong) that I will miss doing the things I'm doing now for her. No, no I won't.

My dad died at 92 and I did everything I could to take good care of him. Mom will be 95 in a few days and I'm 64 myself. So when mom goes, I will know that she's had a good long life and was more than ready to go. I will NOT miss taking care of her. I'll remember her fondly, but I'll also know that I did everything in my power to take good care of her and that my caregiving is DONE. I will NOT miss it. I think maybe people who say those kinds of things feel guilty about what they didn't do for their folks, so they're projecting that stuff onto others. I do not and will not have that problem.
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blannie, you are so right about 99% of the people out there don't want to hear about it. One friend told me enough with the *pity party*. Well, that's all I have to talk about because that IS my world, so I stopped communicating with that person.
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Ugh on not being able to edit. It should be: I think 99% of people out there don't want to hear about it.
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Once my mom is gone, I plan to move ahead and live my life putting myself first for a change. I may move to the east coast somewhere, as I'd like to be near the ocean (I'm in the Chicago area right now). But I'll do lots of investigating first and probably try a few places out before I sell my condo here, if I decide to move.

I've made peace with my brother's lack of support already, so I don't plan to bring that up, unless I meet another caregiver with a similar story. And I'm at peace with my caregiving decisions. I don't think 99% of people out there don't want to hear about it.

I find even former caregivers can be totally insensitive. I just had a friend who had a short-term intense bout of caregiving with both parents (who died within a year of each other) try to talk me into taking a 14 day trip to Italy. "Uhhhh, I have a 94 year old mom that I take care of, I CAN'T go". Duh!
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I think I would move ahead emotionally, and only talk about caregiving if you find someone who had gone through the same thing recently. It would be good to compare notes.

If you feel you are in a rut, still reliving the negative aspects of caregiving, how about doing some volunteer work that will give you a lift and makes you feel better.

I plan to stay in my area [the Wash DC burbs] because I love the area, there is so much to do here, plus the medical care is outstanding. Lot of lovely retirement villages. Also the weather is pretty good... no crazy storms so far :)
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