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The aging and or illness of those we love is always difficult. Emotions run the gambit from: relief at knowing the loved one is receiving appropriate care and living life as fully as possible to sadness over the changes in your loved one and changes in the relationship, to guilt at feeling you may have let down or abandoned a loved one and finally to overwhelmed. We often get lost in this new, always undesired role of literal or figurative caretaker of our parents, and neglect other aspects of lives. We often forget that there are many other life roles we must continue to play; mother, wife, girlfriend, career women. We often neglect to take care of ourselves. Don't let taking care of your parents become all consuming to the point of letting everything else suffer.  

Prioritize and plan:  It is easy to get so caught up in our parents needs that we neglect the needs of our children, spouse/significant other, job and most importantly ourselves. Plan every day to include all of the other aspects of your life that need your attention.  Because it is easy to forget things when our minds are preoccupied try writing out a daily to- do list.  

Don't take on more than you can handle:  Often we try to be all things to all people. Taking on more than you can handle physically or emotionally will only add to your stress level. Trying to be super women will not get the job done.  

  

Find support: This is a very tough time, don't feel that you need to go it alone. Ask for help when you need it, and more importantly accept it when it is offered. for your emotional wellbeing, seek out a support group or the help of a life coach, or therapist. Take a break from hands on care giving; engage respite care services.
Maintain status quo: Easier said than done. Try to keep as much normalcy as possible.  Stick to your regular routine when you can.    

Set boundaries:  Don't allow your parents needs to become all consuming; set boundaries. Make conscious decisions as to what you are willing and able to do for your parents. To avoid family conflict clearly express your will do and won't do  boundaries with your parents and siblings.  

Develop a personal indulgence ritual:  Take time for you. Read for an hour everyday, get a weekly mani/pedi, or go for a daily morning walk. Anything that gives you a sense of relaxation and grounding will help  

As an attorney, mediator, life coach and speaker and radio host Laurie Giles has helped countless women navigate through the practicalities of life changing events such as divorce, empty nest, aging and ill parents, loss of a loved one, and disability, and discover how to come through the  transition stronger, wiser and ready to create the life they deserve. .  Laurie is the author of the What Now? Elder Planning: a Step By Step Guide To Navigating Through Your Parents Aging and What Now. She is the host of the internet radio show, What Now? Which can be heard on [Link Removed] 


Lauriebg, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Apr 17, 2010
    • Excellent article Laurie,

      Thank you for reminding us prioritizing and planning is the most important part of taking care of elders.

      When it comes to my grandma, I find it hard to find balance, she usually gets all of my attention, sometimes it might be wrong and I would feel guilty but I still leave my family and drive two hours away just to be with her for an hour, but at 89 with progressive dementia I don’t know how long we have until she doesn’t recognize anyone. Sometimes I leave and I’m happy and sometimes I’m so sad seeing that she is so lost...and we are all so helpless.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Max0125 wrote Apr 20, 2010
    • Wonderful article! I strugle with living my life in balance but I try to make sure that I do one thing for myself everyday- even if it is only for 5 minutes!



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