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If a woman in her 60's has a husband in a nursing home with no chance of getting out. She took
care of him and worked and financially supported then for seven years after his stroke and
before he went to the nursing home. Now for the first time in a long time she has some time for
herself. She has
renewed a 35 year friendship with a man that is in a caregiver role for his wife. They have
coffee,breakfast,go out for an occasional glass of wine and long talks on the patio, no sex yet.
They enjoy each other and the relationship has added joy and happiness to both of their lives.
This relationship has in no way changed the care or concern for their spouses. If things were
different, they would like to be together as a couple.
Who if anybody should be unhappy about this relationship.

comments please

Caregivers trying to cope
Original Post

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Hello Zone 35.

Welcome.. truthfuly no one should be unhappy about this relationship. However, humans are critical.. children have a different viewpoint because you are the parents and they have a certain image of what a relationship is suppposed to be like. As for friends, conditioning and old negative beliefs come into play and they can be judgmental.. are you wrong for having this relationship? I can't advise you especially since I don't know the real details.

I do encourage people to have relationships for companionship, support and even a sexual encounter if it is what feels right in their heart.. it isn't about how I or anyone else feels.. it is the nature of the relationship, the connection, the soulfulness, the coming together of two who are caregivers and may be filling an important need that is missing from their own individual relationships with their spouses.

You indicate that you care and support hasn't changed for your husband nor his spouse.. how do you feel inside? How does the companion feel? This is what is vitally important.. as for the spouses feelings.. this too, is important and if the relationship is healthy then I can't imagine them being uptight or threatened.. but as the saying goes, different strokes for different folks..

I am asked this so many times, especially from men .. I think as long as you are thinking with your heart rather than other parts, that you can keep it all in a healthy, meaningful perspective..

I hope this assist you in some way.. I feel like I might have rambled on.. but this is it..

Hi Zone35...and welcome...

I had to give this one a lot of thought...I think if the two caregivers are not feeling any guilt that would in any way be felt or sensed by the spouses, then it'd be whatever makes you we all know caregiving and seeing a loved one have health problems is not the easiest of things in life to deal with..
Each and every human being is an individual and our emotions, morals, attitudes, etc should be handled accordingly...I personally am the type of person who will do what I please with the attitude the heck with what anyone else't go through life pleasing everyone...

I hope this was even just a little bit of help?

take care
Thanks Gail and Prairiegal for your comments.
Neither of us feels guilty, we both know we have done our best for our spouses. Both
marriages are our first and only marriages, over 40 years. Both marriages have been
good, but the last 10 years have been difficult and exhausting for both of us. My husband
was left paralyzed on one side after the stroke and he refused to put any effort in to rehab, as
a result nursing home was the only answer.
My friend's wife has emphysema, diabetes and neuropathy. Oxygen full time and can not
walk unassisted most of the time. She is already in assisted living, but at home, taken care
of by her husband. He is now getting some help so he can get out of the house sometimes.
We have decided not to discuss our relationship with our spouses, we do not believe either
one of our spouses would understand or be sensitive to our needs, we believe they would
only be hurt. We have decided however to talk to our children, two each, about our
relationship. And we are considering talking to some of our mutual friends.

Comments please

Caregivers trying to cope
Hi Zone35, welcome.

I can see you are in a difficult situation. However, you are amongst the living. I believe we all need companionship of our own capacity. I simply believe that we all deserve happiness in the short time we are here. I think listening to your heart and knowing all you have done and are doing, shows your compassion. I knew a woman in a similar situation, and she ended up marrying the gentleman after her husband passed. Wishiing you the best.
Hello Zone,

It would be great if you could get some friends to understand and the children.. understand you may not.. and at this stage in your life, it may not be necessary although it would be nice.. it sounds like both you and your companion have it all in the right perspective and this is what is so important.. be in gratitude and enjoy.. the special connection...

Hi Zone...

The sense I get from reading your post is you both have given this all very much thought...I can imagine it feels wonderful having someone in the same boat, in which you can share all your feelings with..
If your children are a bit resentful at first, don't give up...after they have some time to weigh the situation, especially if they can put themselves in your place, they may have a change of heart..companionship and going on with one's life if not detrimental to your spouses care can only be a good thing...

take care and let us know how things work out for you both...
Thanks Sue, Gail and PrairieGal for your input, it is so helpful. We are just trying to find our way.

I talked to my children and explained what was going on in my life. My daughter was very
happy, understanding and supportive of the new relationship in my life. My son who lives about an hour away, divorced and no
children, had some reservations. Among other
things, he was concerned that his father would find out and be hurt. We had some sharp
words and I advised him I was not asking for his permission but was giving him
information.. We ended the phone call on a very cold note. I expect his sister will talk to
him and he will think it over and be OK. I will let you know.
My friend(Dave) talked to his daughter. She, like my daughter was very happy and
supportive. He has not talked to his son yet, but expects him to be very supportive.
We expect the kids to have conversations with each other, they grew up together. We
expect good things to come out of those conversations.

It is so wonderful to have some one to work through difficult situations with. It has been a
long time since I have felt this connected with anyone.
Thanks for your support. More later.

Comments please.

Caregivers trying to cope
Hello Zone,

It sounds like you are presenting yourselves in a positive light and being received in that same light.. you just can't please everyone. I think you handled your son beautifully when you said you weren't seeking his approval, just keeping him informed.. keeping your power, letting your love flow and staying balanced and focused in the priorities is what is essential and it sure sounds as if you have them all in check. Take care

Hi all
I last posted in August. I have been very busy putting to work the advise you wonderful
people were nice enough to share with me.
The condition of our spouses continues to deteriorate but we are coping.
My relationship with Dave continunes to grow. With the help of our kids(all of them)
and several friends, we are now getting to spend at least one day a week together. It is
amazing how one day can rejunivate and let you deal with the other six days with a light
heart and a happy attitude.
This is probably not the answer for everyone but it has been a blessing for us.
Thanks again for your wisdom and good advice and we would welcome any other
comments you would like to share

Sue and Dave
Hi all

Just checking in to keep you posted and to thank you all for your advise and help.
We are still taking everything a day at a time. The condition of our spouses continues to deteriorate but we are coping. Dave is getting some help from a respit organization,so that really helps. The drug bills continue to increase. Dave got a new prescription today that will cost $287.00 a month. sure wish we could get drug prices down. All and all we are doing OK
Will keep you posted.
Sue and Dave
Hi All

Well it has been a year since Dave and I started spending some time together and giving each other support. We have been through some rough times with our spouses but having some one to lean on has really helped.
We have had many people that have been caregivers tell us that caregiving will be the hardest job we will ever have, well, we are inclined to believe that is true.
Oue hearts, prayers and thoughts go out to all caregivers that are just trying to make it through the day.
God bless you all.
Sue and Dave
Sue and Dave,

I don't know much but I know a blessing when I read one. Thank you for sharing such a touching story. I wish you many more years together of comfort, support, and love. All of us should be so lucky to have someone to lean on when life's challenges are dropped in our lap.

God bless you both and your spouses.

Hi All

Well, it has been a very tense and trying two months. Dave's wife has been in and out of the hospital with severe breathing problems (COPD). While there the MRI's indicated she had an infection in the mastoid bone. If anyone knows anything about this type of infection, we would be interested.
Everyone ,kids and friends, have been a big help to Dave during this time. It sure is nice to have friends. She is now back home and everything is starting to settle back into a routine.
These COPD attacks are coming more often, they are sure taking their toll on Dave.
Thanks for all your comments and encouragement.
Will keep you posted
Prayers and best wishes to all you caregivers

Hello Sue:

Well,it is good to hear that you two are still care-giving together. I am sorry to hear that Dave's having difficulties in his care-giving situation... God bless you both and your families.

Here is a wonderfully informative site:

So, it is typically a childhood health issue. However, infections can hit anyone at anytime. Is Dave's wife on antibiotics at this time? It sounds as if one of the most important steps is to get health care as soon as possible - which has been done already.

I think your wonderful, loving, care-giving relationship, Sue and Dave, is a godsend! It seems that it has enhanced your qualities of life and, thus, others... Please keep us posted in the meanwhile...

Love and Hugs from Glenda

[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 10-01-2005).]
Sue and Dave,

I just read your postings. In the midst of each of your trials, you have found a bit of respit and light in your situations. Being a caregiver is so all-consuming, it feels like you've been stripped of your individuality and identity. You never have stopped being you - but your circumstances demand that you become "Super Caregiver". I agree with the comment posted that you don't want to tell your respective spouses. I don't think they'll understand and it won't add anything but grief. just pray for guidance. I am of the old school - if you're married, you're married. The path that opens up once you've had sex is difficult, and adds a new set of emotions and problems. Tread carefully with this one. Maybe I'm out of line on this part, but you have so much on your plate now. The sex adds another plate! God bless you both - I'm glad you have found someone you can share with, cry with and feel for!
Wow . . . this one is a thought provoker . . . for all of us . . . it sounds like you both are dealing with incredibly difficult situations with grace and 'hope' for the future and also sound like wonderful parents . .. so many would just do not even talk to the family . . . you've inspired me to look at my relationships NOW not later! :} . . . younger to cherish each and every day before anything happens!

Someone once said to me you will never receive the 'correct' response if you are seeking a particular one . . .

So . . .

with light and love . .

take care!

Gracenhope and Seba, thanks for your comments.
It was a long time before we decided to take charge of our lives, rather than just deal with what came up. The turning point came when we looked into the future and could not seen anything different for many years or the rest of our lives.
Our decision may not be for everybody. but. everybody should have the right to try and have some peace and meaning in their lives.
This by no means frees you of the responsibility you have to your spouse's for their care and well being.
As most of you know and feel, that after so many years of care giving, the relationship changes from caring for your spouse to one of caring for a relative or friend that you care about. We finally got an understanding of this while reading so many posts on this and other care giver boards.
So, peace and happiness go with all you deserving care givers, where ever you may find it.
Love to you all
Sue and Dave
Hi all
We are now learning the meaning of a word that many of you care givers are very familiar with �DIMENTIA�. Dave thought his wife was in the early stages two years ago. The Doctors tell us that it is a direct result of her diabetes and emphysema, lack of oxygen to the brain. Lots of Hospital visits now. Dave has got a lot of hard decisions to deal with. We are so blessed to have the support of our families and friends during this time.
We would be interested in hearing from other caregivers that are dealing with dementia.
Love and blessings to all you care givers.
Sue and Dave
Hi Sue and Dave:

It seems like many of us are dealing with dementia issues these days. My father has multi-infarct dementia as the result of many little TIA's (mini-strokes). Some days he is just fine and others he displays some signs of confusion. On those days it may be accompanied by a bit of agitation (just can't settle down). Those are the days I worry about.

I have woken up in the morning finding the door to the carport wide open! One day I caught him going outside and trying to get into the car without the keys. So, of course, I keep the door bolted now when I am not available... It's like moments they not only forget what they were doing but perhaps weren't even sure in the first place?

Anyhow, that is how things are with our little dementia "demons" - ;-). Just those crazy moments - sometimes in the mornings or sometimes in the middle of the night... But it can be a time of tough decisions especially when both the mind and body begin to go... Hang in there, Dave and Sue! Wishing you two the best in dealing with life changes.

Take Care, Glenda

[This message has been edited by glenderella (edited 04-02-2006).]
Hi all

Just an up date to let you know how everything is going.

Dave's wife is very sick and has been in the hospital going on three weeks. The combination of COPD and diabetes is a difficult combination. The prednisone to help the breathing causes the blood sugars to spiral out of control.
Dave is spending a lot of time at the hospital and is just exhausted.
Hopefully we will see some improvement soon.
My husband is still in the nursing home and with all the inactivity is really being overwhelmed with weight gain, he is about 280 pounds now. Still no improvement in the use of his arm or leg.
Dave and I have a lot to cope with right now but we are hanging in. Sure is nice to have some one to lean on.
Hope everyone is doing OK and finding some peace and happiness.
More later.

Love to you all

Hi Sue (and Dave):

I am sorry to hear about Dave's wife and your husband's lack of improvement with his arm and leg. It can be so disheartening when our loved ones are in the hospital. Let us hope that she improves in the very near future. As far as your DH, it sure isn't easy to get exercise especially with the stroke damage.

It sure does sound like you are both under a lot of stress right now... You have both been so wonderful in caring for your spouses. It is great that you have each other during this time. Keep us posted on how everything is going and know that we are here for you.

Love and Hugs to the Both of You from Glenda
Things have really been in a whirl since I last posted.
In September Dave took his wife to the emergency room with severe COPD exacerbation, she was immediately admitted to the hospital and the long process that Dave and his wife have grown so use to, started
.The last part of October Dave started having problems and was advised by his Doctor that he should have a pace maker and he needed it now. The process went well and Dave is doing good, but he can not lift anything more than 10 pounds.
The first of November the insurance company told Dave that his wife was not getting better and they did not expect her to. He was advised that they were going to release her and he needed to make some arrangements. Because of his pace maker surgery, he could not take care of her and the only choice was a nursing home.
With the help of her Doctor and Hospice she was moved to a nursing home. It seemed that she was making some progress and as soon as Dave could, with the help of Hospice, he took his wife home the day before Thanksgiving.
It was a wonderful time for her. All of the family and friends had time to spend with her and talk about a lot of things. I am sure she knew how sick she was and was using this time to say good-by to a lot of people. When she first got home she just wanted to set and look and enjoy all the things that she and Dave had gathered over their 48 years of marriage. She would say often� isn�t this wonderful� I am so happy to see my home again. Over the next three weeks she would use the word� wonderful� many times.
She passed from this earth December 16 in her sleep. Friends and family had been told what a difficult time copd could be, and we were all thankful that she passed away peacefully in her sleep. Hospice gets a gold star for the way she and the family were treated. We will all be forever grateful to Hospice.

With loving regard for all care givers

Sue and Dave
Happy fourth of July. Hope everybody is having a happy and restfull day.
Dave and I are in the process of combining our lives and making a life together. We recently got to spend 5 days in New York. Had a wonderful time. Felt like a honey moon.
Still got a lot to do, but, we are working on it.
Love and best wishes to all you caregivers

Sue and Dave

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