Caregiving, an emotional roller coaster? 7 things to know
by Carolyn Bates

Caregiving is definitely one of the hardest roles any of us can play, especially as Baby Boomers. The constant variety of emotions attached to it and all of the "shoulds", "why don't you's" and "why aren't you's" that keep bombarding our decision making can often be overwhelming. Everyone concerned, you, other family members, close friends and the patient, has to deal with their own fear, anxiety, confusion, guilt, helplessness, frustration, depression, loss and powerlessness.

Identify and address the negative thoughts as they appear, so that they don't overpower your positive emotions. Understand why the negative thinking is there and then deal with it.

Work on understanding where each specific emotion is coming from and what can you do to put it in a more comfortable place.

Who can talk to you to help you find a way to release the unhealthy emotions, put them away for good or at least over to the side where they don't make your days even more confusing and difficult.

Staying healthy and taking care of yourself is vital for you to be able to make good decisions and, mostly, for you to be able to recognize and create the joy and happiness that is possible while caregiving.

Make sure that you choose the roles you are taking on caring for this other person. Keep working on reaching out to others for help and assistance and staying aware of your options.

Maintain some "separateness" from the patient and the situation. "Smothering" will only make matters more difficult, as everyone needs some space of their own, even the patient. The amount of "care you can provide" isn't always the amount of "care you should provide".

Think of the things that you do well to help and support, but don't only think this has to be your role. For instance, if you are a very organized person, don't think that you should be responsible for organizing everything - the patient's environment, their finances and their life. Many times learning to accept and like what you can do is even more helpful.

Are you choosing to be a caregiver? Take on this role with healthy boundaries, expectations and balance. Choose to create the memories and joy.

Carolyn Bates is an ICF Certified Personal Life Coach
Specializing in successful life transitions and retirement for people 50 +
[email protected]
"Coaching is my passion.  The success of my clients, my reward."

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