Caregiving an older parent or other relative can be one of the most rewarding experiences of one's life. Caregiving an older parent or other relative can be one of the most challenging, difficult experiences of one's life. These two statements are not mutually exclusive. In the majority of caregiving/receiving relationships both of these statements are true most days if not every single day of the week. Those feelings are compounded when other family members are added to the mix. More and more often middle-aged people are finding themselves adding some level of parental caregiving duties to their already full lives. It can become a real issue if you are still trying to raise your own children or if you have an active role in the lives of your grandchildren. Before you know it you can wind up feeling torn between the needs of your parents and the needs of your children or grandchildren not to mention your own well-being.
The most important thing of all to remember is that you can't feel guilty about taking care of yourself first no matter how many other folks are clamoring for your time and attention. As I said in this blog post, you can't take care of anyone else if you're dead. Or exhausted, or insane... So try to remember that it's not just okay, it's imperative that you take care of yourself. A healthy you is the best gift you can give to the folks who are counting on you.