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I am in a rut and need a hobby!!! - Carers UK Forum

I am in a rut and need a hobby!!!

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Hello all

I'ma bit of a lurker here, but I have received a lot of good advice here in the past, so I thought I would try again!

This seems like such a small problem compared to other people's, but I am so bored.I care for mum who has dementia and a lot of other health issues. She needs a lot of care from me, but mainly she just wants me to be with her. The problem is that she wants me to be with her while she spends hours in front of the TV and it is driving me mental. I really can't bear the thought of so many of my own active days being spent watching TV for up to 15 hours a day!

I have tried to take her out a lot, but she doesn't want to. She is comfortable in her routine, and I can respect that. But I find it increasingly hard to forget the fact that my life is very different from that of other people my age. I am 36 and although I still work 4 days per week, I do nothing when I am not at work. after work I go home and do nothing but watch tv. I'm not in a relationship and I am stuck in a rut.

How do other careers manage to fend off boredom?
Hello JIm,

I can really indentify! One thing I do find difficult is that my life has to be lived at my son's pace. When it's different to your own it can become hard to maintain enthusiasm!

Have you tried any art and craft type projects? I've found that grabbing a book from the library and having a go makes me feel like I'm doing something, but there's loads of little projects you could do at a small table while the telly's on. I only suggest the library because it's free and they tend to have a good range of easy things to do, but obviously your local bookshop would have some stuff as well.

I'm not terribly good at any of the things I've tried but I've enjoyed them and art and craft is really quite trendy now; I've bought home some beautiful books about making all sorts of things out of wood, tin, paper and fabric. It's relatively inexpensive and I've found we've ended up with quite a good kit so I can get on with something without having to go to the shops again.

Similarly painting or drawing can be nice, again I'm not very good but I like having a go and there's plenty of inspiration in the library. I find I need something to do with my hands as well as my head. I've also got quite into gardening, I don't know if that's an option but indoor plants can look amazing and give you a bit to do once you get a good collection going.

I quite like baking as well but the downside is you scoff everything you make which is a bit naughty Image

It is very difficult; I find not having a social life really difficult to cope with but I do find something practical helps take my mind off it.

I also wondered if there's one evening you could go and do an evening class? There's masses of courses now about all sorts of things, I don't know if that would fit around your mum but might be something else to think about?

Hope you find something soon, anyway Image
Mumwhocares has loads of ideas Image
What about modal making?
Sajehar on here has got into indoor gardening, has turned a room into a potting shed/nursery and now has pots of plants all over the house.
Learn to play a musical instrument? The guitar is easy to learn from books and there is one bloke on here who has bought a violin and is learning to play. Dunno if I would advise that though......... Image
I know a bloke who makes jewellery and sells it for a bit of extra money (you are allowed to earn up to £100 a week after deductions before it affects benefits) and I have done enamelling at home - although the downside is that the kiln is a bit expensive and I did do evening classes first, but it shows that there are lots of things that can be done in the house
quick reply and a bit glib - I'm typing this as I sit beside MIL watching daytime telly, so I know where you're coming from - but how about buying a pair of decent noise-blocking headphones so the TV doesn't distract you (and I know it would drive me mental too!) and doing something on a laptop that progresses you in life - eg, learn a language, do an open university course, get a professional qualifications, write a novel, but basically ANYTHING that isn't just 'wasting your time'.

Like it or not, our carees 'waste our lives' and we HAVE to try and claim back as much as we can, anyhow we can. We live life 'around the edges' but we have to try and make that edge margin as wide as possible.

An alternative to you buying headphones is buying your mum some! My friend does that with her dad, who has the TV up to max volume otherwise!
I got dad some head phones so's mum and me could watch the telly without getting perforated eardrums in the process (he would have it on that loud!)
He didn't like wearing them, so I shanghied him into getting digital hearing aids on the NHS. They're brill, and very discrete and easy to wear. Peace at last!
My friend whose father has headphones says that he has the TV on full volume because he doesn't understand the plots (Midsummer murders etc!) and thinks it's because he's hard of hearing, rather than because his mind has gone...

He also likes to sit at the far end of the living room instead of just in front of the TV!

One word of caution - when my mother (genuinely hard of hearing) was given headphones for the TV, it was fine until she wanted to speak to one of us - then she shouted at us at full volume because she couldn't hear her own voice with the headphones on!
I think you need to escape now and then. If mum is often sat on the settee, could you not arrange for a sitting service to come and keep her company so you could escape? It's not selfish, it's vital to have a bit of "me" time. OK, she'll object, but after all if you are giving her 168 hours a week at the moment, would it really hurt her so much to have you just for 164?!
I definitely agree with Bowling Bun. I think there are bigger issues here than just you needing a 'hobby'.....at your age it is NO LIFE to be a live in carer for a parent with dementia, even if you are out at work four days a week.

I'm speaking entirely personally here, but to me, it seems that even for someone with dementia, who is not 'rational', they have no 'moral right' to expect more sacrifice from their family carer than someone who does not have dementia!

Think about it this way - a loving parent, as your mother is/was before her dementia, would NEVER want their child to give up their lives in this way for them. If she only knew what she was putting you through, she would be horrified on your behalf. I would strongly argue that - odd though this sounds - we have to allow a demented parent make (some of) the sacrifice that they would make unhesitatingly in their 'un-demented state'.

If your mother were rational, the very last last thing she would want would be to imprison you at her side - any mother knows that is not maternal love! Allow her to give you that gift of maternal love, ie, you having some life of your own, that she would, I promise you as a mother of a young adult male myself, most dearly want you to have. You may have to take that gift 'by proxy' so to speak, since she cannot articulate it to you herself any more, but it is showing her respect as your mother to take it, I truly do most firmly believe.

With kind thoughts in a situation NO YOUNG MAN (and 36 is young, believe me!) should be coping with.
I agree with others that you need to get out. At the very least an evening class, and you could do the preparation for it while your mother is watching TV.

My situation is that my brother has carers in four times a day and has the TV on most of the time. It is good for him if we watch Poirot or a film together and then talk about it - not that we talk about it much, but questions like: who's that actor? what happened there? mean he is getting social contact out of it, and so am I. But most of the time I just leave him to watch TV alone, because I just can't spare the time. I know things would be better for him with company more often, but unfortunately that isn't possible.

It's only when I leave the house that I can really relax.

I don't know if your situation with your mother is similar, in that she really wants you to follow the programmes together with her, but I don't think that's a good idea in the long term.
I must say that since I have become a carer, most of my hobbies have gone by the board. Caring takes up so much time that I work and I care and I dont have much time for anything else. I do a bit of gardening and I read, but all my craft work has stopped. Perhaps I should try and take it up again.