What happens to a caregiver after a loved one is gone?

It’s been six rough months.
I am about 180+Adrienne days into my new life as an orphan, and it’s time to do an ‘about face.’ (Play the music if you want the mood.) I got through the holidays all right, reached my birthday in February without falling apart and for the most part have sorted through the majority of my mother’s belongings. But now it’s time to move forward. Now it’s time for me to answer the question posed in my blog title:  What happens to a caregiver after a loved one is gone?

After combing the Internet for answers and talking to friends who have lost 220px-StAugustineLighthouse_StairsLookingDowntheir loved ones (including one who is a psychologist), it seems there’s no right or wrong way to go about this.  I was hoping for some guidance about time frames, some hurdles to get over or benchmarks to look for – that sort of advice. Alas! Like everything else, there’s no magic bullet. You just have to muddle through the best you can. And I’m also learning that just because you’re fine one day, doesn’t mean that grief won’t pop up years later and make you ‘surprisingly emotional.’
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Dementia without medication

In 2013, a nursing home in Maine eliminated the use of antipsychotic drugs from their dementia ward. That same year, a New York facility went from 38% in 2009 to 11% of their patients on them.  In 2015, California reported only 15% use of the mind-numbing, fog creating meds to subdue people in memory facilities.

In 2012, the Federal Government started regulating the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes. Several studies had shown that use of these drugs caused falls, strokes and even death. Could it possibly be that geriatric psychiatrists are now beginning to see that it is not only possible, but preferrable, to care for the elderly with memory issues in more – yes, I’ll say it – humane and thoughtful ways?

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