Caring for One’s Self While Caring For Aging Parents

Everyone has been in a seemingly impossible situation in their lifetime. Bad thing after bad thing keeps happening, and it seems like there is no way to gain control over your own life. This situation happened to Brenda, who was burdened by immense pressure and loss.

Brenda felt an enormous loss after the death of her husband, who died of cancer after fighting the disease for two years. Brenda was with him until the end. Managing the loss of her spouse was hard enough, but the unplanned financial consequences also added to her stress and depression.

In the midst of trying to put the pieces of her own life together, she got a call that her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was having a difficult time taking care of herself. Brenda had to uproot her life and move to Louisville to care for her ailing mother.

Brenda made the decision to once again dedicate herself to family caregiving. She came to her mother feeling depleted, lonely and conflicted. However, she was determined to do whatever was necessary to provide for her mother, despite how it was affecting her personally. She was on her own.

Coming to a new place, Brenda felt overwhelmed, stressed, helpless, and alone in her plight.  There was little support for her to turn to. Then she discovered the Adult Child of Aging Parents Support Group at JFCS. In the group, she found people who shared her struggle. With the help of this group, Brenda began to make distinctions between what she could and could not control.  She found a safe place where she could vent her emotions and realistically confront her feelings of grief and guilt. Brenda rediscovered the importance of self-care and respite that she was neglecting for the years she was a caregiver.

Brenda was relieved to know that individual counseling was available to her, as well. As she worked with her counselor, Brenda’s challenges did not go away, but her method of approaching them became more constructive. After only a few visits she experienced some liberation from the emotional darkness that shadowed her. The validation of the group alleviated some of the isolation and loneliness common among caregivers. As she learned to care for herself, she became better able to continue in her role as a caregiver for her mother.

Unfortunately, there are numerous stories like Brenda’s, but there are ways to deal with stress, loss, and pain. Talking to others in the same situation is an immense help and that is why Brenda found so much solace in the Adult Child of Aging Parents Support Group. As an organization dedicated to helping individuals and families with a variety of issues, JFCS offers many services like this. Contact JFCS if you are dealing with a similar situation or are feeling any other immense stress. Like Brenda, JFCS can help you.

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