What you can expect from Life Coaching

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Coaching is being someone’s personal confidante, guide and support as they move forward in life reclaiming their own viewpoint, direction, abilities, knowledge, responsibility, power, and freedom. The choice to live their lives to their highest potential. Helping them have the freedom to make their own unique contribution to the world.

When we begin to do what we want, it truly becomes a different kind of life!

With a Life Coach you can discover how to be more effective, more satisfied, and increasingly successful in the roles you play throughout life.

A life coach can help you…

  • Identify what you want in life
  • What you want to be
  • What you want to have
  • Design action plans
  • Help you identify and remove barriers
  • Reach your goals
  • Get things done
  • Prioritize and execute
  • Have a great time while achieveing new dreams

 

The Emotions of Caring for Elderly Parents

As your parents or your spouse’s parents get older, they will probably need your help. They will also possibly need professional help with their daily care. The very people whom you depended on in the past will be turning to you for assistance. The fundamental nature of your relationship with your parents will change in a more dramatic way than you have ever experienced. Now you and your spouse will be the caregivers.

Caring for your parents as they get older is often a stressful experience. There are many emotions you might experience along with your new responsibility. When you become the caretaker of your parents, it’s very important for you to be aware of your emotions. It can make the difference between having a meaningful, rewarding experience and having one of the worst experiences of your life. The following sections describe the most common emotions people feel when they are faced with their parents becoming older and less independent.        

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Denial

One of the first things you might feel when facing a parent’s decline in function is—nothing. It’s very common to initially be in denial about a difficult situation. When you are in denial about something, you are trying to convince yourself that it’s not really happening. For instance, imagine that your father, who lives alone, is slowing down and becoming weaker. You want to keep thinking of him as strong and healthy, so you tell yourself that he’s generally fine. In the short run, that makes you feel better. But, your father probably shouldn’t be living alone. And you won’t be able to help him find a safer place until you are able to acknowledge his limitations. Denial can prevent you from facing facts and making necessary plans.

Anger

Another emotion you might feel is anger at your parents for being unable to take care of themselves. For example, you might feel that it’s their fault for not staying healthy, even though you know that they are not getting sick on purpose. You might resent the fact that they are taking so much of your time and energy. You are especially vulnerable to feeling anger if your relationship with your parents was less than perfect. It’s more difficult to take care of someone that you feel some resentment toward. But, even if you have a great relationship with your parents, caring for them might feel like a huge burden. It makes sense that you might feel angry because you have been shouldered with a big responsibility.

Think Twice

Don’t take your anger at the situation out on your spouse. Instead, discuss your feelings of anger or resentment with him or her. Remember that your spouse can be your strongest source of support during this difficult time.

Helplessness

Even though you are grown up, you might feel like your parents should always be there to take care of you and still help you through difficult times. Seeing your mother or father helpless can make you feel helpless. You might think “If my parents can’t take care of me, who will?” You are your parents’ child, even as an adult. And when one of your parents is weak, part of you is going to feel like a scared, helpless child. Even though you know that you can take care of yourself, you still might feel that you need your parents to take care of you.

Guilt

Guilt is one of the strongest emotions people feel as a parent becomes older and less able to care for him- or herself. There are many reasons that you might be feeling guilty. You might feel that you are not doing enough to help your parents. This might be true, or you might be doing more than a reasonable amount and feel guilty anyway. You might feel that if you had done something different years ago, then your parent would not be so ill now. For instance, you might think that if you had taken your mother’s complaint about feeling weak and tired more seriously, her cancer would have been diagnosed earlier and she would have been cured.

If one of your parents is very sick and needs a lot of expensive care and a lot of your energy, you might be secretly wishing that he or she would die so that it would be over. This thought would probably cause you to feel incredibly guilty. It’s very common to feel this, and it’s a completely normal reaction. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love your sick parent and it doesn’t mean you are a terrible child. It means that it’s very difficult and possibly very expensive to care for an ill person—realities that can prompt all kinds of unexpected thoughts and feelings. The best way to deal with these feelings is to acknowledge them but still do as much as you can to care for your parents.

A Sense of Loss

When your parent is no longer functioning at 100 percent, that is a big loss. It’s normal to feel sad, and it’s actually a mature feeling. Feeling sad when your parents are ill and unable to take care of themselves means that you have accepted the situation and the loss that occurs when your parent’s health declines. You shouldn’t hold back tears. Crying is part of feeling sad and it’s okay to express your emotions. That doesn’t mean that you should spend years moping around and crying as your parents become more and more ill. But sadness comes with loss, and you should give yourself permission to feel it.

Mortality

Parents are the buffer between you and your mortality. Most people are able to ignore the inevitability of their own death as long as their parents are alive and healthy. But as your parent’s health declines, you will probably become highly aware of your own mortality. You might start thinking about the end of your own life or have frequent nightmares about dying. You might start examining where you are in life and re-evaluating your long-term goals. When you face the death of someone close to you, it will often spark thoughts about your own life. This is good, and the way to make use of this constructively is to realize how precious life is and what is really important to you.

CARING FOR THE CAREGIVER:

Caring for the Caregiver 

 

Changing the course of your child’s life with special needs can be a very rewarding experience. You are making an enormous difference in his or her life. To make it happen, you need to take care of yourself. Take a moment to answer these questions: Where does your support and strength come from? How are you really doing? Do you need to cry? Complain? Scream? Would you like some help but don’t know who to ask? 

Remember that if you want to take the best possible care of your child, you must first take the best possible care of yourself.

Parents often fail to evaluate their own sources of strength, coping skills, or emotional attitudes. You may be so busy meeting the needs of your child that you don’t allow yourself time to relax, cry, or simply think. You may wait until you are so exhausted or 
stressed out that you can barely carry on before you consider your own needs. Reaching this point is bad for you and for your family. 

You may feel that your child needs you right now, more than ever. Your all to familiar  “to do” list may be what is driving you forward right now. Or, you may feel completely overwhelmed and not know where to start. There is no single way to cope. Each family is unique and deals with stressful situations differently. Getting your child started in treatment will help you feel better. Acknowledging the emotional impact of having a child with special needs, and taking care of yourself during this stressful period will help prepare you for the challenges ahead. Many disabilities are pervasive, multi-faceted disorder’s. They will not only change the way that you look at your child, they will change the way you look at the world. As some parents may tell you, you may be a better person for it. The love and hope that you have for your child is probably stronger than you realize. 

Here are some tips from parents who have experienced what you are going through: 

Get going. Getting your child started in treatment will help. There are many details you will be managing in an intensive treatment program, especially if it is based in your home. If you know your child is engaged in meaningful activities, you will be more able to focus on moving forward. It may also free up some of your time so you can educate yourself, advocate for your child, and take care of yourself so that you can keep going. 

Ask for help. Asking for help can be very difficult, especially at first. Don’t hesitate to use whatever support is available to you. People around you may want to help, but may not know how. Is there someone who can take your other kids somewhere for an afternoon? Or cook dinner for your family one night so that you can spend the time learning: Can they pick up a few things for you at the store or fold a load of laundry? Can they let other people know you are going through a difficult time and could use a hand? 

Talk to someone. Everyone needs someone to talk to. Let someone know what you are going through and how you feel. Someone who just listens can be a great source of strength. So many parents concentrate on the therapies their child needs and ignore or deny the fact that they made need therapy too!  If you can’t get out of the house, use the phone to call a friend.

“At my support group I met a group of women who were juggling the same things I am. It felt so good not to feel like I was from another planet!”

Consider joining a support group. It may be helpful to listen or talk to people who have been or are going through a similar experience. Support groups can be great sources for information about what services are available in your area and who provides them. You may have to try more than one to find a group that feels right to you. You may find you aren’t a “support group kind of person.” For many parents in your situation, support groups provide valuable hope, comfort and encouragement. 

                                                             Links to local Family Services coming soon

Try to take a break. If you can, allow yourself to take some time away, even if it is only a few minutes to take a walk. If it’s possible, getting out to a movie, going shopping, or visiting a friend can make a world of difference. If you feel guilty about taking a break, try to remind yourself that it will help you to be renewed for the things you need to do when you get back. Try to get some rest. If you are getting regular sleep, you will be better prepared to make good decisions, be more patient with your child and deal with the stress in your life. 

Consider keeping a journal. Louise DeSalvo, in Writing as a Way of Healing, notes that studies have shown that “writing that describes traumatic events and our deepest thoughts and feelings about them is linked with improved immune function, improved emotional and physical health,” and positive behavioral changes. Some parents have found that journaling is a helpful tool for keeping track of their children’s progress, what’s working and what isn’t. 

Be mindful of the time you spend on the Internet. The Internet will be one of the most important tools you have for learning what you need to know about the “special need/diagnosis,”  and how to help your child. 

Unfortunately, there is more information on the web than any of us have time to read in a lifetime. There may also be a lot of misinformation. Right now, while you are trying to make the most of every minute, keep an eye on the clock and frequently ask yourself these important questions: 
• Is what I’m reading right now very likely to be relevant to my child? 
• Is it new information? 
• Is it helpful? 
• Is it from a reliable source? 
Sometimes, the time you spend on the Internet will be incredibly valuable. Other times, it may be better for you and your child if you use that time to take care of yourself. 

Hire an advocate: Simply hiring an advocate can be immensely freeing; having someone else’s perspective, understanding, and on call expertise can eliminate insurmountable stress. Advocates are wonderful, well-educated, and very caring people. Their goal is to educate you the parent, the school, and the child to understand better exactly what is best for your child’s academic, social, behavioral, program needs while taking the burden off your hands..

Need help?

Want advice?

Call Special Needs NJ. LLP                      (973) 534-3402

or email: specialneedsnj@hotmail.com 

 

 

 

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