Thursday, May 31, 2007

Caregiving and Anger - A Paradox?

As a caregiver, no doubt you know you are doing a wonderful, loving thing in caring for your you ever feel anger? Are you ashamed of it? Do You feel resentful sometimes that you arrive to work late and must leave early to take care of it all? Is your relationship with your partner and/or children suffering?

Are there times you want to scream when thinking about the next errand you must run or the calls that need to get done on their behalf? Anger will be addressed here..we know that anger often goes with caregiving; but, rarely do we talk about it.

Guilt is a complex emotion that is often misattributed and more time than a few anger can be the driving force of guilt. The feeling, guilt, should stem from a wrongdoing, but all too often it grows from our desire to strive for a better quality of life when others around us are in great need. Even the delegation of tasks evokes guilt, as we come to believe no one can do the job as well as we can. Never forget what family caregiving is at its core, however: a combination of individual tasks. Getting your car inspected before the end of the month is not nearly as important as the pre-surgery consultation with the specialist. It is not wrong to delegate.

Let’s understand guilt. It’s the biggest emotional challenge you’ll face as a family caregiver. Guilt will rip away at the relationship ties you’ve built with the aging loved one and yourself. It’s painful and can certainly threaten your coping.

What is guilt? The dictionary defines the word "guilt" as a "feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined." Guilt is that part of the human conscience that brings us up short and convicts us for actions and thoughts.

Guilt is an inherent human trait that should be seen as a gift, however, most of us do not see it as such and rather than deal with guilt, we naturally attempt to squelch it. However, guilt is that nagging voice with in us all that is like water upon a stone and is meant to bring us to a realization that there is a standard and we have fallen short, but whose standard is it?

Let’s talk about anger! And even more important, let’s take positive steps to effectively address anger before we’re raked into the mad cycle of anger, guilt, anger, guilt, etc. This damages our health, peace of mind, and the joy we deserve to have in our lives. invites you to our Caregiving and Anger TeleSeminar on June 5th:

In this one hour live teleseminar we'll discuss:

1. Trusting our own perceptions.
2. Accepting our anger.
3. Setting definite limits on what we will do.
4. Recognizing how both our strengths and limitations serve us.
5. Allowing our loved ones to do as much for themselves as they can.
6. Asking for help….the road is very tough to travel alone.
7. Taking time for respite. Rest and recovery is vital.
8. Making choices in our own best interest--it will benefit the entire family

Sign up at

Hope you can join us! For more information go to:

Carol Marak, Founder,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Caregiving Made Easy - A Survival Kit for New Caregivers

Preparing for the Caring Journey

I look back on the past six years spent caring for Mom and Dad-worrying myself incessantly, hoping for a miracle in vain, denying reality stubbornly. I think to myself: How could I have better prepared to brace this gut-wrenching time? My family passed up the plethora of Internet articles, books, magazines, and more that could have guided us in a healthier direction, something we yearned for once mom and dad fell ill. Today, I look to the internet for vital information. Others, like my sister, consult the volumes of books available. Really, it is your choice, but a wide variety of mediums will give you the most well-rounded perspective. Online training, teleclasses, and professional consultation are among the avenues available to you, the family caregiver. No method is superior to the other, but together they may equip you with the tools necessary to persevere.

Now you are the family caregiver, you have many options to help you deal with it. That’s what happened to me: an abrupt change-of-life role fell into my lap. For you, it may be slowly creeping in like an ominous storm, ready to descend upon you in full wrath. Whichever way it is or has happened, compassion is the key. I put mom’s needs in front
of my own, providing me enrichment and fulfillment on an unexpected and uncharted level.

The years pass, mistakes are made, lessons are learned. We fall in love, sometimes it fades. We embark on a career path, sometimes its intrinsic value dissolves. In life, the most crucial events entail the most potential heartbreak or the most profound happiness. I remember my father losing all his monetary assets in the late 1980s after his real estate investments faltered, throwing his entire livelihood into disarray. Life throws us curveballs. Always. Fortunately, we don’t always have to swing at them alone, instead we can join together and learn from one another so we can heal both our torn relationships and our conflicted selves.

It is totally normal to lose your identity as you begin to struggle with the daily requirements you are expected to satisfy as the family caregiver.. The role envelopes your whole being—you obsess over it, fight the guilt, wallow in the pain. Much of the time, your new position is more frightening than the initial diagnosis. I remember those years my father spent caring for his mother, perhaps because I spent that time without a father. I would see him on the porch many nights just staring into space. He was overwhelmed and scared. You do not have to be like him. You are not alone, and others need your help as much as you may need theirs. can be your first step to a smoother, less stressful endeavor. Encouraging the acquisition of necessary information, it strives to help you better understand your loved one’s diagnosis and possible avenues of treatment. Arming yourself with these tools will quickly develop unequivocally strong and effective self-advocacy skills. Attaining quality healthcare must always be the primary goal and ultimate priority and, if this vision is maintained, a superior quality of life for all involved will be achieved. will announce it’s Caregiving Made Easy book in the near future. What you’ll learn from our book:

How to be an advocate
Improving Doctor/Patient Communications
Learn how to better understand your elder’s illness
Empowerment for family caregivers
Protect your health
Dealing with stress
Overcome guilt
Reach out for respite
Tips on caring for elders
Safety tips

This book is all inclusive. If you find that you’re struggling with other topics and would like to learn more about dealing and living an easier caregiving life, please contact me by visiting or simply send an email to

Please know that I’ve been there. The road of caregiving is difficult, challenging and hard. has gathered many experts who are ready to make your role as a caregiver lighter.

When people hear "caregiver," they often think only of professional caregivers – nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides. In fact, most caregivers are family members or friends. Caregivers are anyone who gives assistance to another adult who is ill, disabled, or needs some help. They may be the daughter who moves in with her ailing mother, the neighbor who stops by to check on an older friend, or the man who drives his mother-in-law to her doctor visits.

The caregiver may live in the same house, in a nearby town, or even in another state. The care may range from modest tasks to heavy-duty, round-the-clock assistance. And, while each person's experience is unique, this book consolidates tips to follow for common challenges that many new caregivers face.

Many people who don't think of themselves as "caregivers" are nevertheless providing regular ongoing care for older friends or relatives. The challenges they face can be daunting. But by being prepared and informed, caregivers can make it easier to meet their own and their loved ones' needs.

Wishing you the best!