Gratitude and Meaning in Caring for Aging Parents
BARRY JACOBS & JULIA MAYER
While caring for aging parents is often portrayed as a physical, psychological, and financial burden, there’s a growing body of research suggesting that caregivers can derive important benefits from their role, including increased life satisfaction and even improved health. In fact, caregivers have the potential to get stronger as they gain the skills to provide care more effectively, even in the face of a loved one’s decline. This workshop will explore how therapists can enable caregivers to experience the growth potential in their caregiving mission by:
- Clarifying clients’ sense of purpose in deciding to provide hands-on care
- Normalizing ambivalence and frustration as they struggle to accept caregiving’s inherent self-sacrifices
- Teaching intentional practices—including mindful awareness, present engagement, daily reflection, and prospective retrospection—to help them savor the meaning of their undertaking
- Identify and nurture positive beliefs that will sustain caregiving, as opposed to negative thoughts that sap hope and sabotage the will to care
Barry Jacobs, PsyD, is the director of behavioral sciences for the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program and the author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers. He’s on the Caregiver Advisory Panel and writes a monthly column for AARP.
Julia Mayer, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist who’s specialized in women’s identity, caregiver, and relationship issues for over 20 years. She’s the author of A Fleeting State of Mind as well as columns for WebMD and HealthCentral.