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My mom is now 101 and lives with me full time. I had to stop working full time. She is going to a senior center 4 days a week, and I see a therapist and go to caregivers meetings and try to do “me” things. Would like to know why family and friends have disappeared from our lives, I feel alone, angry and very tired.

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One reason is: We caregivers become Subject Matter Experts in topics most people don’t give a hang about. The care-recipient included!
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I agree with all the posts above. I find myself feeling isolated as well, I think caregiving shows you who is a true friend and who is not. I have one friend that didn't like that I only had a two hour window to get together because I couldn't leave my mom long so she just told me she would see me after my mom's gone. My other friend insisted we still get together every other week, even if for only two hours. She's a true friend. Same with family members, some have disappeared but my brother shows up every Saturday to give me relief time.
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I have both an elderly, frail father and an adult son with a lifelong disability due to an anoxic brain injury. In my experience, most people, though at their core good and caring, don’t want to hear or know too much of what can be trying, hard situations. It’s like on some unconscious level they think it might be contagious. Get too close or hear too much and it might mess up your happy life. There are also people who want to fix the situation, and when there aren’t any easy fixes, they shy away feeling overwhelmed. It is isolating, you often have to do the reaching out, and be conscious not to talk too in detail about the caregiving. It’s a hard reality that there are few who really want to know all the gritty details, but it’s true. Accept people as they are, reach out and try to keep the isolation as minimized as possible
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We're here! :)

Isn't it *odd*? Why *do* they stop asking, or calling, or even dropping in occasionally?

I don't have any answers. But I can tell you that I know which of my friends neighbours and family are 24 carat gold, because they are the ones who did not fall away, who turned up with cake, flowers or gin even though it must have been like visiting the Witch of Endor with a migraine, who were *there* even though there wasn't much anyone could do to help.

No allies at the caregivers' groups?

How long have you been caring full-time for your mother?

I know you shouldn't have to make the first move, but if there is anyone you especially miss and want to talk to - pick up the phone and say so!
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My stepmom and dad live in a very rural area and when my dad could not be left alone 24/7 she was homebound also and very isolated. I would visit them on weekends to give her a break - and she preferred to go out of town to a casino with a couple of friends.

When i was doing errands in their town - people would stop me and ask how they were. I started telling them my stepmom was feeling pretty isolated and would welcome a phone call or a visit. People started reaching out to her. This gave her confidence to reconnect with other people she missed. I think the isolation comes without us being aware until it is full bore and people do not want to intrude or do not know how to help - so do nothing.

Perhaps one of the first things you can do is reconnect and just let someone know you were thinking of them.
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I think that some of the feelings of isolation are the result of our own choices, for example leaving a job can cut off a huge opportunity to connect with other people and talk about things outside of caregiving. And then there are the logistical difficulties of actually being available to BE a friend, even if you have outside caregivers they are usually there on weekdays during normal working hours - it makes it challenging to plan get-togethers with friends who are still working. And family, well that can be complicated even without caregiving in the mix, but it is unrealistic to expect that a sibling who might have previously visited mom once a month (or less) will suddenly start visiting more often.
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As far as friends go it became increasingly more difficult to get together.. It's not like you can just go out for dinner on a Saturday night! I personally had little free time and when I did I wanted to spend it with my husband (immediate family)..

As family goes it was "out of site out of mind". My siblings knew I was caring for Mom so they just went on with their lives.. And I didn't ask why?

It's been almost 2 years since my Mom passed and I saw my siblings Christmas time at my one helping sisters house. They all see each other often but I tend to still keep a distance... I'll never forget my years of caring for my Mom and I'll never forget their selfishness..
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I think three F explain part of it:

- Being with us is not FUN anymore.
- We are never FREE
- We are easily FORGETTABLE, as anyone that cannot be part of life as people “like” life to be...until that day, the day!, when they become either caregivers or subjects of caregiving.
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Deniseec,

I think one reason caregivers become isolated is because the people we care for aren't typically social due to infirmity, dementia, or just age. In many cases it is a lot of trouble and upheaval to get our loved ones out of the house so if we don't have to we tend not to.

Another reason may be because caregiving takes everything out of us. We give everything we've got to our loved one that we don't have anything left over for ourselves much less others like friends and family.

These are reasons why caregivers may become isolated from others. As to why your family and friends have disappeared from your life with your mom I can't say. Have you tried to maintain regular contact with them? You don't mention your mom's health. Does she have dementia or another illness that may make visits from friends and family uncomfortable? Sometimes people forget about the elderly even if they are family.

I'm glad you are seeing a counselor and try to do things for yourself but is it enough?
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It is similar to being the first one in your friend group to have a child. Suddenly your life is about feeding schedules, naps, diapers and marking milestones, fears around leaving your babe with strangers at a daycare. If your friends are not yet at that stage, they are not interested. At the other end of life it is the opposite instead of marking milestones, you are marking stages of dementia, when incontinence starts, fears around leaving your LO with strangers.

Family dynamics play a huge role in whether or not family is available to help. My mother's partner of 25 years has been diagnosed with dementia. I will not help in his care in any way at all, including helping my mother care for him. My mother chose to have a relationship with him, not me. He has done monstrous things in the past and as far as I am concerned he can reap what he sowed, as can she for accepting his behaviour, (abusing my children and various peoples pets),

I have a dear friend who would never consider asking for help. As such it is up to her friends to try to determine when she needs help and how to best help her. Me, I will ask for help and I expect others to ask me for help when they need it. If I do not hear that help is needed, my first assumption is that everything is in hand.

As a friend I have a limit to how many times I am blown off before I stop calling. Yes, I know there may be an situation that needs attending immediately, but if I do not get a call back, text or email, why would I keep following up?
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