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As I wrote on my previous question me and my mother are moving out after 6 years taking care of my grandmother who has dementia. We will not abandon her, my mother and her siblings are taking care of everything to make sure she will be safe, we will also visit as much as we can. My question is, what do I do now that I'm no longer a caregiver? My life revolved around taking care of my grandmother and now I feel so empty and sad... I will need to ocupy my mind and I don't know what to do... Unfortunately I'm not able to work at the moment, it would be a blessing to have a job and actually go to work but I can't because of my poor health, I also can't go out much, I'm battling depression at the moment, I suffer from two chronic conditions that cause me a lot of pain and other terrible physical symptoms every single day and I also suffer from Schizophrenia. What did you do when you stopped caregiving? I'm talking about activities and also about how you dealt with your feelings, what scares me the most is not dealing with this properly, I never knew how to deal with my feelings, I just pretend things never happened and everything is okay, when my grandfather died I kept on going like it was nothing even though I was suffering so much, I ended up with severe anxiety and having constant panic attacks. I wish this was easier...

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reddog,
it isnt hard to find things to be thankful for . be thankful you arent living in iraq , west africa , syria , afghanistan , palestine , etc . ive mentioned this recently on here . i sat in my garage canning tomatoes a couple weeks ago and suddenly realized that that was where i left off 7 yrs ago when i moved to moms house . i have so much to do that it defies a starting point so ill just have to be content with regaining my life one small piece at a time . ive fruit trees to prune , a 6 k sq ft house to stone , the front of my own house to stone , 30 more qts apples to can , firewood to cut , my kitchen needs rebuilt , old truck needs fresh paint , brakes replaced , and some clown emailed me tonight wanting a sidewalk built with thousand of small river rocks laid in spiral patterns . my challenge is taking small steps so i dont overwhelm my brain .. taking my life back hasnt been a simple change of gears , its the upheaval of a lifetime .
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Hannah13...I was caregiver to my MIL...24/7...my husband helped with what he could but we tried to help her preserve her dignity so all the bathing, and diaper changing was mine to do...I think I went months at a time without a full nights sleep. She passed away here at home with us holding her and assuring her of our love...At first we were busy making arrangements and then figuring out what to do with her things...she collected everything under the sun and none of it was anything that the family was interested in...I think all the grandkids were afraid they would end up with her Felix the Cat clock with the swinging tail and moving eyes...got rid of most of it in a garage sale and donated the rest. Then I dug in and got busy redoing the house...we are active with our church...having a pot luck here tomorrow... tried to work on getting healthier but managed to get myself thrown from a runaway treadmill at the gym and have been getting physical therapy for a dislocated shoulder (do not recommend that as a way to pass time) What did you do that you enjoyed before you became a caregiver??? Activities depend a lot on your age...I'm 65 and the treadmill at high speed (wasn't wearing my glasses and hit all the wrong buttons...only one I couldn't find was the one that said stop) was a really bad idea...don't think I've moved that fast in 40 years without being in a car. Your grandmother is still living so you can spend quality time with her and still have time to have a life of your own, with your friends and family. Try a new hobby...I'm getting ready to start my cooking around the world thing again...did it once before Afghanistan to Zimbabwe...took me 3 years.. Ended up with 7 binders full of recipes...my husband just bought me a book thingy (I'm a computer dunce) but I figured out how to download recipes on it so I can have it on the counter and won't have all the mess of the paper copies...Make a plan of what you'd like to do...I'm working on simplifying my life...I've collected antiques for years but now I'm on the road to minimalism...it's going to take a while and I'm doing it in stages...for everything that I sell or trade, that is something that I don't have to wash, dust, or save a place for...I already know what pieces my kids and grandkids want and those are the only ones I'm keeping for now...I'm giving them to them now if they have a place to keep it, but not all do...I do scrapbooking and have an album for each of my grandkids with all my favorite pictures of them in it...kind of Grandmas story of you...I sew...plan your dream wardrobe...and work towards it...none of this has to involve a lot of money...years ago I worked as an interior decorator...using other peoples cast offs and some elbow grease and coming up with rooms that others envy or think you've spent a fortune on is fun...hang a humming bird feeder...we had 3 or 4 buzzing around the yard the other day...take time every day to think about all the things you have to be grateful for...if you have a roof over your head and food in your belly the list should be long...the more you concentrate on those things the faster you'll feel better...Hugs!
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This is directed to Captain, I simply love to read your comments. I believe it's because I can relate to you the best. I too am trying very hard to break away from a life existing within the confines of my home. This isn't to say I don't like my home, I do love to try a change in decor after a while. Changing or refreshing ones surroundings can be revitalizing. Sometimes a refresh is just the thing to get yourself out of a rut. Even if it's just rearranging the furniture. Btw, bird watching does help. :-)
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im in the same situation . mom died a yr ago , aunt just went into nh . i still see aunt almost everyday but reinventing myself is taking some time . i dont plan to get involved with any more elder relatives , those were the two important ones to me but i think in time the vaccumn will be filled with grandkids . the g kids are getting old enough to decide whether to live in fla with their mom or chicago with their dad . ill just play dumb and get my house dolled up . theres a 90 % chance son and g kids will end up here . its what the house was built for they just cant see decades ahead like i can .. life doesnt come to a screeching halt at every crossroads , it just gets modified ..
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The part about not being able to go out is the hardest, in my opinion, because I find that going out and getting physically out of my own place helps keep my from feeling isolated and down. If you have days where you can get out, I would urge you to go out or staying inside can become a permanent habit that might be hard to break.

If you do find that you can get out, once in awhile, if you're religious, you could probably find some church group to join. There are free library events in most cities. Many areas have MeetUp groups that are free and you can find all sorts of things that might be interesting to you.

I also read a lot. If you're homebound and like to read, check with your local library. Some library systems have volunteers that will deliver books to the homebound.

Hobbies that can be done at home and that don't need to be expensive would be sewing and needlework. While I do get needlework and some sewing supplies at the thrift stores and garage sales, you can also watch eBay and CraigsList for things to be on-sale or really cheap. CraigsList is kind of iffy, though. Each area has its things that people tend to post and buy and you'd have to see what things are popular in your own area.

Likewise, knitting and crocheting. People get kind of crazy with fancy patterns and yarn, but if you just want to do it to keep busy and maybe make yourself something that's useful, you can still do this at a modest cost.

If you have someone to be in regular contact with, do it. Phone calls are supposed to be better than e-mail. If you have someone you can have some kind of regular friendly chat with, that is supposed to be helpful to those people who like the phone.

I make things at home for charity. I don't spend a lot and it doesn't require me to leave. They're needlework projects. It makes me feel useful.

Do you have a window suitable for bird-watching? Some people really get into this and you can find books for your area to help you look for the right birds.

I love jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles and sodoku, all good to do from home.

My local YMCA has a knitting and crocheting group where you make projects to benefit the community. It's free and doesn't require "Y" membership. They supply all the materials and teach you how to do it. I'm planning on trying that, maybe in the next few weeks. I don't mean your community will have the same thing, just giving this as one example of the types of things that communities have available.

What about art? Do you think you'd like to paint or draw? That's something you could take classes in from your home, if you can't get out, and could do at home, too. There are not just those Bob Ross classes that you could probably get from your local library, but probably some others you could buy or download, too.
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I asked myself the same question you just did after my MIL whom I was caregiver passed. My life was entirely focused on caring for her, that when she was gone, I was so lost. I'm in the same situation as yourself and on disability and aghoraphobic. It's hard to leave the house most days. To my point, I found that I really did like caring for those who can't. I am volunteering at the local animal shelter. I explained to them that I really can't be on a "schedule". So, I call them on good days and let them know I'm coming. I absolutely love working with the animals and socializing with them. They don't talk back which is a bit of a plus too. I suggest maybe trying the same thing. Good luck.
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Take some time for counseling, for finding out what your strengths and aptitudes really are, and letting that get you involved in pursuits and activities you enjoy and goals you have a passion about. I know I can't seem to quit posting on here is one "passion" I've found, but something totally unrelated might be even better.
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Hannah13, you will still be a Caregiver but a different kind of Caregiver.... you now will have quality time to visit your grandmother....

Think of nice things you can do for her, bring her some simple flowers, pick out a nice card, find a photo of you and your Mom and put it in a nice frame so your grandmother can look at it. Oh my gosh, there can be a lot of things you can do.

If the facility has activities, maybe you can join your grandma in those activities. Ask if you can join your grandmother for lunch or dinner once a week.

And think now your Mother can rest, how much better she will feel, and the both of you can start working on that together :)
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You go on and care for her, you visit and you sustain both her life and your own. You just sleep somewhere else, you build your own nest and your own future. You heal.
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