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Old 10-27-2018, 03:00 PM
 
2 posts, read 947 times
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Hi, I'm new to the forum.



I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation--I'm no longer working for money, but I have some responsibilities that add up to the equivalent of an unpaid part-time job. I don't know what to call myself but "retired," but that has the sound of being much freer than my husband and I really are.


In my case, my mom has been in Assisted Living for a year and a half, but I'm still working on clearing out her house and organizing her paperwork. It was a near-hoard situation. I know other "retired" people are involved in hands-on elder care, or raising grandchildren, and there are probably lots of other situations I can't even imagine.


I guess what I'm wondering is, how do you keep your spirits up, especially when you see other retirees traveling and so forth? When you have goals of your own that seem to keep getting pushed farther and farther away in the future?



And how do you manage your time? Since I am never "on the clock" anymore, I never really feel like I'm "off the clock" either. I spend time online, reading, etc., but it's hard to do it guilt-free. I always feel I should be sorting papers or something.


Any tips would be appreciated!
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,567 posts, read 17,544,804 times
Reputation: 27623
Lots of early retired folks in their 50s and 60s are "sandwiched" between elderly parents and possibly kids or grandparents needing support. It's not uncommon.
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:46 PM
 
Location: planet earth
4,813 posts, read 1,832,844 times
Reputation: 10700
OP: How old are you? I had responsibilities tied to family members and parents for many, many years, and ultimately, when both parents were gone, it was my responsibility to clean out the house (like your parents, a "near hoard" situation). I had no support and had to do it all alone - I would travel to the house, work all day, and load up my car with "papers to sort through" at my house.

The papers smelled moldy or something, so then I had that smell in my house. It was very unpleasant. I had to sort through scrap papers because early on, I found some scrap paper and was going to toss it, but on the bad of some random ad was family genealogy information, which meant every piece of cut up advertising had to be scrutinized.

The support and caregiving ate up some of the best years of my life. I can get resentful about it, and then I turn to my beliefs, which include thoughts that "there are no accidents" (Jung), and that I am "here for a reason" - so I am not a victim. I believe I "agreed" to all of this stuff before coming in to this life - so even though it doesn't feel chosen, I believe it was chosen. So my belief system helps me - maybe you have a belief system that could help you?

All of those people traveling and having fun . . . again, I can get resentful but I know that comparing my "insides" to another's "outsides" is a futile exercise that will only lead to my unhappiness.

The best advice I can give you is to get as much support as you can - if you do have people in your family who can help you, or if you can pay someone to help you, do it!

And build fun into your life whenever possible.

Schedule days off and take good care of yourself.
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Old 10-27-2018, 04:10 PM
 
5,425 posts, read 3,445,259 times
Reputation: 13698
OP, you could hire a hoarding clean-up service which additionally does junk removal, cluttering clean-up, and estate clean-up - if a service exists in your area.

Such as a service like this one which is especially for hoarding, cluttering, junk, and estate cleanup https://www.clutterhoardingcleanup.com/services/

The thing about paying too much attention to each item, in my opinion, is that you will be dead in the future (some in the near future), and possessions and items are meaningless when one is dead.
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Old 10-27-2018, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,620 posts, read 4,686,468 times
Reputation: 27855
You have to take guilt-free time out for yourself, OP. Every caregiver does. If you get burned out, you're of no use to anyone including yourself.
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:36 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,830 posts, read 18,839,234 times
Reputation: 33728
If you're only in your 50s, it's normal to be caregiving or cleaning out the house.

But if you are say, past full retirement age and into your own retirement years, I can see how you could be building up resentment or feeling guilty taking time for yourself.

But, as they say, you have to take care of yourself or you are no good for anything or anyone else. And that means taking care of yourself mentally as well as physically. Currently I am in my 70s and took on (reluctantly) the position of legal guardian and POA for my cousin my own age who was more like a sister. She has no one else and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Right now a home care agency is badgering me for money, saying that I didn't pay all the bills for her back in April. I feel pressured to sit down, pick up all the paperwork, look at the past bank statements, etc. Well, I just decided to say No to that for now. I'm just getting over being sick and maybe I would like to pay my own bills first, get caught up on my own stuff! And maybe I would like my friends to come visit--the ones who were supposed to come when I got sick.

See? Back for the five months before I got my cousin into assisted living, I was 100% under pressure from all sides. It was horrible and I couldn't possibly take time for myself. Now, she is safe and I refuse to keep putting myself last.

What I did this past June was to clear out her house as much as I could. At least I did have my husband there for company. It was still depressing and upsetting. She was a hoarder too. But at one point I finally said enough was enough. I said that if by accident, anything valuable or important is left behind, that's unfortunate, but this is taking too much out of me. As the house was already under contract and I had sold it "As Is", I just left the rest of the stuff there. The new owners filled up at least two of those long dumpsters with stuff!

Alternatively, you can find businesses that do clean outs. I was going to do that. Turned out my cousin's house needed to be sold fast though so she would have the money to get into assisted living. I went through her bedroom with a fine toothed comb because that's where she would have left her most personal items. I also took the contents of her file cabinets home with me. I had already sent anything she needed to her assisted living facility.

I think maybe you should put a time limit on what you are doing. There is no way you can go through every single item and there is no need to. Do what you can do. Then you could arrange with a clear out company for them to come and get it or do what I did and, if you are selling the house, sell it "As Is." That way the buyer clears the rest out.

As you can see, this really hits home with me! I'm not being selfish. My cousin is well cared for. I can only do what I can do. I am not knocking myself out driving way out to visit her that much either. Am I a bad person? No, I am not. Last week I sent in the check for her monthly rent, I will go to her bank to deposit a big refund I got for her, I field the phone calls that I get from the nurses and activity directors in her assisted living, I store some of her possessions in my apartment, and when I visit, it's unexpectedly so that the employees don't know I'm coming. I may go one a week or once a month--they never know--but I expect her to be receiving the very best of care and tons of attention, especially for the price they are charging. I advocate for her and they know I am there for her.

There is a time and a place for everything. I know you absolutely HAVE to do the horrible parts but don't pressure yourself into doing things that aren't necessary. Don't go through all the stuff. I know it's worse when it's your own mother. A friend whose mother was a hoarder hired a clear out company to come and get it. Take a few sentimental items for yourself if you want, but most of it is usually just "stuff." OP, you may want to check out the Caregiving Forum too.
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Old 10-27-2018, 08:00 PM
 
6,306 posts, read 5,049,308 times
Reputation: 12810
I helped with my mom for the last 4 years of her life. She was in a nursing home, so it wasn't hands on, but we visited daily and went with her to her doctor appointments.

I'm glad I retired in my 40s so I could be there for her. Military retirement.

Now she has been gone for a couple of years and I've had to help with older siblings health care needs. That is under control for now and doctor visits are months apart.

I know ladies that are ill and still have to take care of parents and grandkids. How the heck they do it - who knows.

Take some time for yourself.
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:05 AM
 
Location: Oregon
835 posts, read 1,395,118 times
Reputation: 872
I consider "retirement" and retirement income, to be a source of income that is extra besides any other i may earn at the time. And it gives me the ability to NOT work if i need to stop for a while. In no way would i consider it to be ALL that i would live off of. Indeed it's a nice cushion if i want to do creative entrepreneurial things that don't have constant regular pay.

I don't believe in quitting being a useful person! All "retirement" is, it's a way of letting you go do other things that are needed, or rest as you have need. It gives you more choices and more independence than a day to day job. for family business, cut yourself some slack, take time for yourself, a day off, a few hours off. Get other family to help.

As for traveling, it's not that expensive to do it once in a while. you don't have to go 1st class on stuff and can camp for free. Any caregiver should find replacements who can help out while you go get a vacation from time to time. How do you know those other "retirees" didn't have to do some of that stuff before they traveled? Just make plans and do it when you are able. And don't just look at them with envy. find out how others are managing to do fun stuff. It might surprise you how do-able it will be once you know how others got there. Even on a budget.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsABeautifulMorning View Post
Hi, I'm new to the forum.



I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation--I'm no longer working for money, but I have some responsibilities that add up to the equivalent of an unpaid part-time job. I don't know what to call myself but "retired," but that has the sound of being much freer than my husband and I really are.


In my case, my mom has been in Assisted Living for a year and a half, but I'm still working on clearing out her house and organizing her paperwork. It was a near-hoard situation. I know other "retired" people are involved in hands-on elder care, or raising grandchildren, and there are probably lots of other situations I can't even imagine.


I guess what I'm wondering is, how do you keep your spirits up, especially when you see other retirees traveling and so forth? When you have goals of your own that seem to keep getting pushed farther and farther away in the future?



And how do you manage your time? Since I am never "on the clock" anymore, I never really feel like I'm "off the clock" either. I spend time online, reading, etc., but it's hard to do it guilt-free. I always feel I should be sorting papers or something.


Any tips would be appreciated!
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:26 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,546 posts, read 39,924,861 times
Reputation: 23658
You are 'giving' of your time (which would have been really tough if working)

Life is not fair, make the best of what you are doing to enrich the life of another (Far more valuable than a 'j-o-b')

Be grateful (for the little things)

I became a caregiver at age 18 (and for 32 more yrs)

Now (short break) preparing to be a caregiver for an ill spouse..

Then... (this) life will be over.

I trust I have invested more in others, than I have in myself, cuz when I'm gone - POOF! I'm gone! (good riddance!)

BTW: I have a LOT of fun and take a break whenever I can sneak away (often).

Will I ever get to have ME time? (extended / go (move) where I want)
unlikely... so enjoy what you get! Parcel here, nugget there, dream over there, a nap... ONE HOUR of uninterrupted sleep !!!

Airplanes are for sleeping! BTDT yesterday! 4 hrs (2 flights) of SLEEP... precious moments of relaxing for caregivers! (Take all you can get!)
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Old 10-28-2018, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,767 posts, read 4,827,803 times
Reputation: 19395
OP, are you the only child? Do your siblings live nearby so they can help? If so, don't be shy about asking for help. Just because you are "the retired one" doesn't mean you should be the only one doing the work. If you have siblings, they can pitch in, and you should ask them for help.

Give yourself a "day off" now and then. Everybody needs and deserves a day off, even when the work is self-assigned. Also, don't be too obsessive about every little thing in your mom's home as you're clearing it out. I mean isn't that how it got to be "near hoard" for her? Too much obsessing about little things?

At some point, most of these things in her home are going to end up being sold, donated, or thrown away. Get to the heart of what actually is important, like legal and financial paperwork, and toss the rest. You can't look at every slip of paper. My FIL was obsessive about filing every little receipt and keeping notes about what happened every day of their travels and even had diaries of daily activities. After he passed, it was poignant, and sort of fun to read a bit of it, we had an entire file cabinet of papers that said things like "July 10th, had lunch with Phil and John, got a birdie on 13, and filled the car with gas". Hardly great literature, so at some point we just threw it out by the armload. If FIL was Mark Twain or something, I could see going through every slip of paper, but no one needs to know the pithy observations of a dead insurance salesman.

Try scheduling yourself a bit in retirement, as you did in your work life. Put on the calendar things like "10 am to 1 pm" sort papers, 1 pm lunch with Linda". Do what you need to feel like you are making progress, but with some limits.
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