Tag: caregiver

Accepting the Role of Caregiver to Your Aging Parents

Accepting the Role of Caregiver to Your Aging Parents

"Hydrangea" Photo by D Sander All rights reserved

Moving into the role of caregiver for an elderly parent can be a rugged journey along a treacherous path of frustration and indecision. As children of aging parents, we are often right in the middle of the busiest part of our own lives. We are not only juggling the demands of our growing children, we may be at the pinnacle of our careers, facing financial concerns as college expenses loom on the horizon and a whole array of other concerns that are likely to keep us awake at night, along with night sweats!

Becoming the responsible person for Mom and/or Dad is not something we are necessarily prepared to do. We still remember how hard we worked to move out of their lives and establish our own. It’s not uncommon to feel the tug of unfinished childhood business when the time arrives to hand back a piece of our lives to people who used to take care of us. It is uncomfortable and awkward to become the parent to a parent and it is likely to be as equally uncomfortable for the parent to give up their sense of control in the relationship, just when they are losing so much control of their day-to-day life.

It takes two people who are well grounded and comfortable with who they are to enjoy this journey. Most of us are not in that place! However, love allows for, and simultaneously demands, fluidity throughout life and caring for our elderly parent(s) is a practice field upon which we will hone a number of essential life skills.

Here are just a few:

Practice patience, not only with your loved one, but with yourself. Accept that we never have all of the answers, but we do the best we can with what we have.  We are always in a state of “becoming” and all will be as it should be.

Focus on the now. Today is all we have. Focus on the most valuable and meaningful thing in each moment. Consider that sitting with Mom and watching the birds might be just more important than spending an hour on the phone making doctor’s appointments.

Read. Reading articles, books and anything you can get your hands on that deals with the issues you are facing.  It is a very helpful way not only to gain a fresh perspective, but also to feel less alone in your difficulties.  When I was caring for my parents there was very little information or support available for the children of aging parents. Luckily, you can now find a plethora of information at your finger tips online. A few of the people I know personally are listed here in the Caregiving Section of my website  and any of them will gladly offer a hand.

Create space for you. This skill might just be the difficult one you will need to practice, but it is also the most important. Your soul must breathe, your inner spirit must live, if you are to continue to give to others as life requires of you. Caregiver burnout is not a pleasant experience, having been there myself, and it’s not good for you physically, mentally or emotionally to give until you can give no more. Keep your well filled and you will have what you need before, during and after the period of time you are caring for your parents.  Create space in your day, every day, for quiet, do-nothing time, even if it’s only ten minutes.

Exercise. Physical exercise is an excellent way to burn off the excess adrenaline that bombards one’s body during stressful times. Just be alert to any tendency you might have to over exercise and honor your body’s need for rest and relaxation.

Fill your backpack with a few of these essential life skills and climbing the mountain ahead will be easier than you may imagine.

MEET HOLLY EBURNE ~ Dementia Caregiver’s Coach

MEET HOLLY EBURNE ~ Dementia Caregiver’s Coach

Holly offers group coaching and one on one coaching/mentoring for families and caregivers living with dementia.

Her coaching programs are for those caregivers who are willing to make changes in their life because they believe that they can live a life with less effort. They want someone to listen to their needs and come up with a plan specific to their situation. They know in their heart they deserve to be happy and are committed to finding a way. It takes time and are willing to take the steps necessary to feel more joy and happiness in their life.

Who would benefit most from your programs in coaching and teaching?

Baby boomer caregivers – especially women, who still have children at home or who just left the nest. They are feeling isolated and overwhelmed with juggling work, house, finances, family, and themselves. They want more free time, more energy, and…balance in their life. They are tired of the emotional roller coaster and want to know how to manage their anger, resentment and sadness over the unexpected changes in their lives.

What is unique about your skills as a Dementia Caregiver’s Coach?

I am living a balanced life in the ‘trenches’ as a caregiver for my husband, Dave-diagnosed with dementia almost 4 years ago. Being a younger caregiver (baby boomer) I understand the added challenges of having children at home, and working full-time. I also understand what it feels like to have resentment over not having the life you expected in your ‘prime’ years; and to lay awake worrying about finances, wondering how you are going to pay for future care.

I have 56 years of life experiences as a daughter, sister, mother, friend, businesswoman, and health professional. For the past 2 decades I have been studying and integrating personal growth material- books, courses, CDs, life coach exercises–into my life. This work has helped me through the lowest point in my life 2 years ago. I have found the gifts of living with dementia, without denying the reality. I have reached a peaceful place as a caregiver where I am living with fewer struggles and more joy. I am actually having fun creating win-win situations.

Professionally, I have worked in the medical profession for 32 years. In 1981 I graduated with combined degrees in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. My passion is coaching, inspiring and empowering patients to find simple, practical solutions for their wellbeing: physically, emotionally and mentally.

In addition, I have a Bachelor of Physical Education degree and a post-graduate Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy. This has allowed me to travel around the world with the Canadian National athletes. Working with elite athletes, and being a competitive athlete myself, I know how important it is to have commitment, responsibility, patience and belief in self.

Finally, I walk the talk. I only teach the systems and tools that are working well for our family. My daughter Amy thinks our family was tight before, but even tighter now.

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