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I am having trouble with accepting that my 88 year old father is slowing down and only has 20% heart function left.   I am his caregiver and have been for been for over 20 years.  I struggle with what I will do when the time comes that he will no longer be here.  My health (back) is not in great shape and I don’t know what I will do for finances, but also don’t know how I will emotionally survive either.  I know life will go on whether or not I want it too, but having a lot of anxiety about things.

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I'm so sorry to learn of your father's serious illness, and it's certainly understandable that you're feeling so anxious. Twenty years as a caregiver is a very long time!

I invite you to read the following articles, in hopes that their content speaks to you in a helpful way. Note that each article includes links to dozens of additional resources, so I encourage you to take in only as much as you can absorb, and at times when you can set aside sufficient quiet time to do some reading:

Caregiving in Serious Illness: Suggested Resources

Anticipatory Grief and Mourning

Anxiety Attacks in Grief: Tools for Coping

In Grief: After Caregiving Ends, Who Am I?

 

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Many family members get PAID to take care of their seriously ill relative, the government pays them to do so!  Contact your local senior and disabled services and inquire about how to get the process rolling.  Once you have done that, the time caring for your father can transfer into a job reference for other people who need caregivers when the time comes so that you will continue to have an income doing as you are currently doing now.

My friend, Jim, his heart was in this condition a couple of years ago (CHF) and he is now at 60%, a marked improvement!  Have the doctors recommended anything he might try to improve his heart's capacity?  If not, maybe you can talk with them about it.

Caregiving can be hard, we don't know another way as we've been doing it for so long...I took care of my MIL who was bedridden with cancer for three years.  When it ends, sometimes we can be left feeling like we don't know who we are anymore or what to do...even though I had two young children at the same time.  I hope you read the articles Marty posted, very helpful.

I know this is hard, my heart goes out to you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you MartyT for the articles! I am new to this group as I just learned what anticipatory grief was a few days ago.  It sums up the roller coaster ride that I have been on for 18 months with my mom.  She was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago however last year suffered a traumatic brain injury which left her quickly declining to the point now she is in a long term care facility with hospice.  She and my dad live in Florida and I am in Kentucky and have not been able to see them since the pandemic started.  I miss my mom who doesn't even know who I am any longer.  I miss my dad who has been the best caregiver for her but is grieving himself. So many emotions on a daily basis.  I am trying to keep a journal, get outside daily for fresh air and sunshine but I feel this group may be very supportive for me, thanks!

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Welcome.  What a journey you're all on, a situation that all on its own would be difficult but made all the harder by the pandemic.  I'm sorry you are living through it. 

As a case manager in mental health I have often encountered the reality of traumatic brain injury (TBI), so often that I started to want to work with the population more and more.  It's humbling to realize how easily it can happen to anyone, in so many forms, such as accidents, falls, trauma, a brain aneurysm, even septic shock.  The etiology sometimes isn't even known.  But it has profound effects and I wish more people understood TBI's and that it affects the person and their loved ones irrevocably.  We barely know anything about how the brain works, and when it is injured, we know even less. 

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