Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau: Author News
When Aging Parents Feel Like Giving Up—Now What?


Mar 13, 2017

Help for balancing the emotional costs of caregiving.

Joseph Cardillo Ph.D.
Posted March 10, 2017

More often than ever these days I find myself speaking with individuals who are providing care for aging family members. In fact, “Nearly 10 million adult children over the age of 50 care for their aging parents,” as cited in a MetLife study. The same study further reports, “The proportion of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years.” So it is no coincidence that the topic is entering the public conversation more and more.

Many caregivers tell a similar story of a family member who feels like giving up on almost everything. I was recently giving a presentation of my book, Body Intelligence—Harness Your Bodies Energies for Your Best Life. Although the discussion was targeted toward using the body’s full energy spectrum to plug daily energy drains and increase our energy gains, during the Q&A segment that followed some questions that popped up were on caring for aging parents. Next thing I knew, there was a hearty conversation emerging on the issue of caregiving all on its own. I welcomed looking at the queries through the lens of energy management. People had a lot to say—and share. One thing that emerged was the number of similarities in narratives.

There is apparently a lot of need and concern burgeoning, particularly with boomers, who now aging themselves, are finding themselves in the position of taking care of a parent or parents. It’s not just boomers either.

A New York Times article explains, “According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, the typical family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for an older relative—but nearly a quarter of caregivers are now millennials and are equally likely to be male or female.” So effects and responses within and from caregivers nowadays are wide reaching.

Once the floodgate opened at my presentation more and more individuals jumped in with their own story and openness to concepts that might lighten their load. Much of our conversation evolved around the issue of energy—the caregiver’s and the aging family member’s, primarily what could be done to cultivate more quality energy with which to face everyone’s daily challenges: the caregiver’s energy for work, relaxation, joy, and ability to provide care; the need to balance negative emotions (depression, anger, anxieties and stress) both for the caregiver and parent, as well as balancing and reversing negative memories that were being generated ironically via the care itself.

Further, caregivers were concerned about their own health with all they were attempting to juggle. One individual had mentioned to me that she was so stressed with all that was on her plate that she felt she could die. “I mean this literally,” she said. These words resonated.

Perhaps you or someone you know is in this all-too-common situation.

The following are two simple energy management ideas that can help stream some gentle, calming as well as activating energies into your daily routines.

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