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  • Karen Sussan, LMHC

Self-Care for Caregivers: Navigating the Journey with an Aging Parent

Self care for caregivers

Caring for an aging parent, particularly when they are grappling with conditions like dementia, is a path filled with both love and challenges. This role, while profoundly rewarding, can also be emotionally taxing, requiring a delicate balance between caregiving responsibilities and one's own well-being.

Understanding the Impact of Caregiving

The caregiving experience can deeply transform the dynamic between you and your parent. Behavioral and personality changes in your parent demand adaptability, patience, and innovative ways to foster connection and support. Accepting these changes is crucial in preserving the bond you share.

Strategies for Self-Care

Reducing Personal Stress

Acknowledging stress and its sources early on is pivotal. Identifying triggers and committing to actionable steps toward change—like incorporating breaks, physical activity, and leaning on a support network—can mitigate stress significantly.

Seeking Solutions with a Problem-Solving Approach

Adopting a problem-solving stance can reframe challenges, boosting confidence in your caregiving capabilities. This strategy involves pinpointing issues, brainstorming solutions, and taking concrete steps toward resolution.

Effective Communication and Connection

Adjusting communication styles is essential, especially when dementia is involved. Strategies include maintaining calmness, allowing for autonomy, and enriching the environment with familiar objects to provide comfort and security.

Managing Emotional Well-being

It's natural to feel overwhelmed or isolated. Recognizing these feelings as reactions to your situation is the first step toward emotional balance. Support groups, meditation, and professional counseling can offer valuable outlets for managing these emotions.

Planning for the Future

Proactive planning for the unexpected safeguards both you and your loved one's futures. Establishing legal and financial plans, discussing care preferences, and considering long-term care options with family or designated caregivers are vital steps.

The Role of EMDR in Supporting Caregivers

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy may offer significant benefits in processing the emotional and psychological stresses of caregiving. EMDR focuses on helping individuals heal from the symptoms and emotional distress resulting from disturbing life experiences. For caregivers, EMDR can help with PTSD that might arise during this significant life transition and it can be a tool for addressing feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and burnout, fostering a sense of resilience and emotional stability.

A Personal Invitation from Karen Sussan, LMHC

Caring for an aging parent is an act of profound love and commitment. Yet, it is essential to remember to care for yourself with the same fervor. At my practice, I'm dedicated to supporting caregivers navigate these complex waters. Whether through traditional counseling or EMDR therapy, my goal is to provide a space for healing, growth, and resilience.

If you're feeling the weight of caregiving on your shoulders, I invite you to reach out. Together, we can explore ways to support your well-being and your capacity to care for your loved one. Contact me at 845-202-9774 or via email at For more information or to make an appointment, please visit my website. Let's embark on this journey towards healing and balance, together.

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