Home care or dealing with assisted living, is one of the most difficult roles any of us can play. Physically exhausting, mentally confusing and frustrating, the demands of care giving can become overwhelming. Strokes, paralysis, Alzheimer’s or extended illness; these carry long term challenges and tolerations.

Are you taking care of a spouse who has a major illness, a sick child or your aging parents? Are you the primary caregiver, even though you have siblings and others who could help? Are you living in another city and dealing with the issues of long distance caregiving?

According to the National Family Caregivers Association, “three quarters of all primary caregivers do not get consistent help from other family members and 61% of caregivers, who provide at least 21 hours of care per week, have suffered from depression. Three fourths of all caregivers are women between the ages of 35 and 64; many of them caring for their own families and children at the same time.”

• Remember that as the primary caregiver or the person ultimately responsible for the decisions and care of your loved one; feelings of confusion, guilt and overwhelm are normal
• What is reasonable to expect in this role? Continually work on balance for your own life, set healthy boundaries.
• Be patient with yourself and acknowledge your limitations
• Realize you do need to get away and have some time of your own
• Be proactive and research the details of your situation; make informed decisions; find and consult with professionals who can help
• Ask for help from everyone around you, doctors, aids, other professionals, friends and family members
• Do something to relieve the pressure on you, your time and clear your mind; practice extreme self-care. You do have a right to your own life.
• Find ways to create good memories with this time and your loved one.

Being a caregiver, do the words exhaustion, resentment, sadness, frustration, guilt, fear of being out of control, anger, grief and helplessness ring true for you? You need to know that these feelings are normal and that there are ways to understand them, to gain acceptance, to find help and to have a life of your own, even with all of these other demands on you physically, your time and your emotions. Your life is still yours to create and balance.

Author's Bio: 

Carolyn Bates, principle coach for Coaching Life Design, specializes in life transitions and the challenges of those 50+. International Coach Federation Certified Personal Life Coach, expert author and teleclass leader.

“Who are You and What do you Want” - Using this assessment, you will discover what you need to complete in your life for today, while creating a vision and a path to your future.

For more information, please visit her website at www.coachinglifedesign.com