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The Challenges of MidLife Caregiving

By Ellen Besso

"One person caring about another represents life's greatest value." Jim Rohn

My mother never wanted to be dependent on anyone, but by age 76 the demands of caring for herself amidst her growing confusion became overwhelming. She left her beloved apartment on the beautiful Victoria harbour to live closer to her two children in order to get the help she needed.

By midlife many of us are ready to kick back, relax more, and maybe begin a new venture, but this may all change when our aging parents’ needs come into play. I was two months into menopause and one month into the first term of my new, and very demanding counselling program, when we moved our mother to the Sunshine Coast. My stress level was sky-high. Fortunately, after mom was moved in, my brother took over the homecare arrangements, but still it was a big adjustment for all of us.

Many of us take on additional caretaking demands at a time when our personal focus and energy levels are changing. The result may be stress, burnout and sometimes depression. Love and a sense of responsibility for the aging parent often become mixed with resentment and guilt as we struggle with the question of how to meet our parent’s needs.

The Canadian Women’s Health Network reports that one in five Canadian women aged 30-64 spends 28 hours per week on average caring for someone chronically ill or disabled - on top of their regular life activities. American statistics would be similar.

It’s often a challenge for caregivers to find the time and energy to meet our own physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Unfortunately these needs often go by the way when we have heavy responsibilities.

Setting aside some daily time for spiritual renewal is important. This might be different for each person and could mean meditation, prayer, walking in nature, journalling or reading uplifting writings. Regular, good quality meals, water, adequate sleep and exercise are basic when so much energy is going out. Balancing time spent with the parent and enjoying connecting with them while also being with others who support us helps us meet our own emotional needs. It takes careful thought and planning to make the balancing act work for all.

Find out more about self-care by reading my blog article: Grief and Selfcare

As a Life Coach and Group Facilitator, Ellen Besso inspires and guides MidLife Women as they navigate the maze of midlife to find joy & fullness in their lives. Working with Ellen, renew body, mind and spirit and dissolve beliefs that keep you from your ideal life.

Ellen is uniquely qualified to fulfill her calling of helping midlife women, with 25 years as a women’s coach, counsellor, group facilitator and as a fellow midlife maze navigator.

If you yearn to:
- Clarify your midlife journey
- Move closer to your personal truth
- Connect with your body, mind & spirit
- Allow joy back into your life
- Realize your dreams  

Contact Ellen with your questions or to book a session, or read her blog .

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