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A dear friend, who personifies grace under pressure, was dealing with the final stages of her cancer stricken father's dying. Physicians had advised the family that it was only a matter of time before the end. Already stressed beyond what she believed was her limit, her brother then informed her that watching their dad suffer was too difficult for him to handle and therefore he could not bring himself to be there as their Dad made his exit. She calmly said to her brother "I didn't know we had a choice."  

Aging and 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. When a child becomes the caretaker, either literally or figuratively, there can be feelings of being overburdened.  It is important to remember that you must keep it your own life going. Here are some tips that may help;  

Find support: If additional help is needed, consider support groups or family counseling. Use available resources, such as respite care. Don't try to handle it all yourself. Set boundaries.  

Keep Your Life Together:  Remember there are other aspects of your life which still need your attention like your children, spouse and career. Don't let taking care of your parents become all consuming to the point of letting everything else suffer.  Prioritize and plan every day to include the other aspects of your life. Maintain as much of the status quo in the rest of your life as possible.

Find some time and energy for yourself:  Be sure to develop a personal indulgence ritual such as reading for an hour everyday, getting a weekly manicure or going for a daily morning walk. Anything that gives you a sense of relaxation and grounding will help. You deserve it!

Laurie Giles, JD
://http//lauriegiles.com /




Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda L wrote Aug 11, 2010
    • Thank you for this article.  Currently, my mom is going thru some illness and will soon have surgery.  She does give me time for myself, but when I visit her she makes me feel guilty and is so depressed that she is ill and won’t take care of herself such as take her meds.  My dad is there to help her and my brother lives next door, but our support is not good enough.  I realize she’s in pain and wants the illness to go away. Support groups are out of the question because she would never go and since she speaks broken English she won’t understand.  I’ve look up her illnesses on-line and made copies in both English and Japanese.  My dad reads them and appreciates it, but my mom looks the other way.
      I don’t know what to do - how can I help her?

      Thanks,
      Linda



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Nerissa wrote Aug 11, 2010
    • Excellent information, also different states offer financial assistance w/ providing respite care. My Mom passed May 21, 2009 in our home. When I look back I don’t quite understand how I did it, working full time, managing her care, various treatments, but God was there. He helped me when I could not help myself. He will help your dear friend as well, we are all His children.heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kyah wrote Aug 11, 2010
    • I remember being so tired and worn after working then visiting my grandmother in the rehab, then going to her old apartment to pack stuff because I had to relinquish her senior co-op apartment. I was standing outside the building and couldn’t figure out where I was going, to my other job, to my home or to the place I had to crash in between visiting her. It takes a whole lot out of you, and even though it sounds good to take time for yourself, some times the situation calls for you to be on top of things 24/7. They did the same for us when we were little, and it’s the least we can do when the tables are turned. Such is life.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Nerissa wrote Aug 14, 2010
    • You are so very right Kyah and in hindsight I am so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have gone full circle with my Mommy. I remember when she was young and full of life, through her I was able to see the many stages of life until God called her home. heart



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