Tell Us: When Do You Think, "I Am Missing Out"?

Denise

Tell Us: When Do You Think, "I Am Missing Out"?

Denise
A family caregiver recently asked:

"What do we do when our caree dies and we have missed out on everything. Is that a terrible question to ask?"

What do you think? When do you worry that too much passed you by during caregiving? How do you cope when that thought hits? What are you doing today so you avoid regrets tomorrow?

Share your thoughts, stories and perspectives in our comments section, below.

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Michelle

Today I saw on Facebook, pictures of my friend on a Middle Eastern tour and I felt pangs of envy. I used to travel a lot before caregiving. I don't really miss it but seeing those picture made me think \"I 'm missing out\".

S.E. Olson

I know it might be a bit hard to hear this (and I have the luxury now of being philosophical about this because I'm 15 months past my father's death & my caregiving tasks) the truth is ALL of life is choice-making. You really really cannot do everything. But you can make choices about a lot of it. Caregiving is something I see as a choice and when you're feeling a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) you have to remind yourself of WHY you chose to give care and what the benefits of caregiving are that you've chosen over focusing on some other beneficial activity you could be doing instead or just the downsides of caregiving.\r\n\r\nAnother thing I can say is that your choices can change over time as life moves on and circumstances change. If there's too much downside and not enough benefits to being the caregiver, then that's a time to rethink what you're doing and change things up to 'make it work' (as Tim Gunn would say). It doesn't have to be perfect, you certainly don't have to be perfect, you just have to feel good enough to continue. You may decide to recommit to being the primary family caregiver and keep on keeping on, but there are other choices that might be appropriate for you. Only you know the answer to this and from time to time you have to take stock and decide what you want to do. That's not just your right as a caregiver, it's also necessary to the well-being of your care partner / caree.\r\n\r\nWhen my father entered hospice, from time to time the hospice nurse or the social worker on my team would gently question me as to whether I still wanted to keep doing things as I was doing them. That gave me permission and a reminder to think about how things were going and if necessary make adjustments. I made some adjustments along the way (dementia forces you to confront a lot of change) but I was there right through the end and my father was able to die at home (with help from hospice and a VA provided CNA) in his bedroom (but in a hospice-provided hospital bed). He died peacefully and I think contented and it's more than I ever thought I could accomplish in my life. You may not get the same ending but if you keep checking in with yourself and do your best to do what is right for you I think you'll finish well and do well by the person you are caring for.

Lark

I am still a caregiver. I have been care giving in one form or another for 16 years. During that time I was involved with my parents care and was beginning to be more involved with what would turn out to be my husband's diagnosed dementia. For part of those years I could travel to the mountains to visit my sister or take business trips relatively worry free. But I did not go to spend Christmas with my daughter and her family all those years nor to Thanksgiving family gatherings. If I had gone my mom and dad would have been here alone as well as my husband and son and his family. It is a long story but none of them would have been able to work out anything if I had gone. We were all accustomed to large gatherings over the years so I felt it was important to be here and help make a holiday better for family locally. But I definitely wished someone would step in and offer to come here and take over for a season so I could participate in other family functions. Before you ask: \"No. I did not voice my thoughts.\" I was a long suffering saint. Not a pretty picture but true.\r\nNow that my husband requires daily care I think I am missing out when my sister talks about trips she is taking or visits she is making to friends and the things they do while they are together. I think I am missing out when I do not feel comfortable driving more than 15 minutes from home. I can go about in town and I do but many of my friends live 45 minutes away. I use to visit and have dinner periodically. \r\nI have been so long in being aware of other people's needs that I have not thought about what I will do when I am alone and have the time. I know I want to volunteer and I am putting those possibilities together currently. I want to spend a month at a little motel on a beach south of us. Truly, I need to think about this topic. I am painfully aware that I do not know what I am missing out on because I have not been my own person for years. \r\nBut I am doing what I want to be doing at this time in my life and I am doing it by my personal choice and that makes me happy. So, I gotta wonder if I am missing out on anything that I can't have at a later date. Great discussion topic.

Tim

I feel it everyday when I get home. I miss the simple hour or so to detach from work and settle into my own routines. I have to hit the ground running, at least emotionally, every time I come in the door.

LauraCT

It's funny I got a link to this today. Months ago I had wanted to go to a concert that is taking place right now! I had been so close to clicking the button to buy tickets, but knew that it would be during the time my Dad needs the most care. Months ago I was wagering whether or not he would even be alive when I thought of buying the tickets before it sold out. I just had to remind myself that even though I'm disappointed I'm not at the concert, I am blessed that I still have my Dad. There will be more concerts in the future. I can never get this time with Dad back again.

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