By Carol-Ann Hamilton, Radio Host, Coach, Author and Speaker who equips Baby Boomers to navigate the eldercare marathon while maintaining their health, relationships and lives.
You’re not alone.
As a Boomer, you daily contend with competing demands like caregiving, your career, possibly a significant other, adult children and grandchildren. You often feel like the soggy middle in a burnt (out) triple-decker grilled cheese. And, that’s no bologna!
You need support.
Meanwhile, life spans are expanding globally. As a result, we will face courageous conversations our elders didn’t necessarily confront. New skills and attitudes are required – like these favorites from my trial-and-error lessons.
Tip #1: Gently persevere.
Stuck delicate subjects can suddenly break through (e.g., household support, assisted living, stopping driving, estate planning). When headway is zero, release your agenda. Out-of-the-box solutions arrive when we loosen our opinions about what’s right for aging parents.
Tip #2: Reframe your attitude.
What we focus upon expands. Impatience incites crankiness whereas kindness raises collaboration. What if you expressed gratitude for your folks’ positive traits? How might appreciation heal your connection?
Tip #3: Feel all your feelings.
Still, it’s 100 percent OK to experience so-called negative feelings such as anger and frustration. Yes, you wish the tranquility of easing your folks’ latter years. Compromising your health via misguided 24/7 duty is not the way.
Tip #4: QTIP.
QTIP stands for: Quit Taking It Personally. Have you ever considered that crotchety behaviors are borne of fears over passing away? Even if tired stories make you roll your eyeballs, allow the glory days. Gleaned family history is priceless once they’re gone.
Can you relate?
How about a story that enfolds all four hard-won tips? My Dad was rapidly declining at age 89. We urgently needed joint-account banking to handle bills on his behalf. Though his Power of Attorney and Executrix, he’d held the purse strings with an iron grip for 70 years.
Highly stubborn and suspicious, it took two excruciating trips by cab to complete the routine paperwork. His decades-long tellers cued up (because I’d carefully gained their cooperation by phone), he stormed out like a cranky toddler once realizing I could also withdraw his precious money. Rinse and repeat a week later. Eureka!
I gently re-emphasized father’s fears over the government stealing his funds. By signing, he would ‘irk’ them and protect me. I thanked him for being so responsible. High appeal. Meanwhile, everyone present fawned – twice – over his wallet-torn photos as a truck driver during school vacations to support WWII efforts. Patience of saints…
Had I at any point forced the issue, electricity might have been shut off followed by lengthy probate upon his passing. Both would have horrified the man. Be sure this is one time I was grateful for a 2-hour transit ride each way to the parental home. Every minute was needed to center myself beforehand and to release my stress after.
Bottom-line, don’t become a statistic.
Caregivers experience a 63 percent higher mortality rate compared to peers. They’re more susceptible to long term diseases like heart, diabetes and arthritis. I definitely worried about acquiring these illnesses at only age 54.
Please recharge when drained. Extreme self-care neither denotes selfishness nor luxury. If you don’t don your oxygen mask first in an airline emergency, you know what happens…
Carol-Ann’s Very Brief Bio:
Carol-Ann Hamilton is a Radio Host, Coach, Author and Speaker who equips Baby Boomers to navigate the eldercare marathon while maintaining their health, relationships and lives. Download her “Rescue Guide” and schedule a confidential Caregiver Readiness Session HERE. Her weekly show, “The Conscious Caregiver” can be found at www.boldbravemedia.com.