Caregiving places demands on the whole family. When you have one person in the family who has special needs, others sometimes feel left out and that their needs aren't being considered. Sometimes it helps to take some time and think about the whole family to think about how all your family members are doing.

You may want to get a piece of paper and a pencil to write down some different aspects of family life. Across the top of the page, make 4 columns. Leave the first one blank, and make headings in the second asking the question "Are we doing okay?", the third asking "What needs changing?", and the fourth asking "Who can help?".

Now, below these headings, in that first column write "Daily Routines." Think about such things as Caring for Personal Needs like bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting. Maintaining the household including meal preparation and clean up, day care, housecleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills, transportation of family members, laundry, minor repairs. Ask yourself: Are you doing okay with these? What needs changing in these areas? Who can help you take care of these matters?

By thinking through these issues, you can help keep a balance and make sure that some of the important parts of your family life do not get neglected. You can do this for each of your family members, or, better yet, have them think about how they are doing. Once you've done this for Daily Routines, do the same thing for "Medical Needs" such as: Getting prompt medical attention when needed. Having regular physical and dental checkups. Attending to chronic medical problems or special equipment. Then consider "Health Habits" like getting nutritious food, adequate sleep and rest or exercise. Fill in each of the columns for every category.

Other categories should include "Stimulation and Growth", such as learning new information and skills, enjoying books, music, the arts, or literature. "Social Life" which includes having someone close to talk to or joke with, enjoying time with other people, and developing new friendships. Don't forget to consider your "Spiritual Needs" like taking time for meditation and prayer, attending religious services, or reading inspirational writings. It's very important to be sure you allow for "Fun and Relaxation" such as having time for fun and leisure each day and on weekends, trying new activities which are relaxing, entertaining, or exciting, enjoying hobbies, sports, and games, and spending time and money for vacations. And last but not least consider "Work and Money." How are you doing with having money to pay bills, seeking public assistance when needed, feeling productive and rewarded at work, and, if necessary, considering new job options.

Think about all these areas. See if any of them are being neglected. Work and money, daily routines, and medical needs are all important but these are really not what life is all about. Check out all the areas, and see if you can strike a balance. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your family.

Author's Bio: 

Caregiver's Resource Inc. (CRI) is a leading developer of caregiver education and automated telephone voice-information services to meet the growing needs of people caring for an aging family member or elderly loved one; affordable alternative advertising for eldercare business and service providers eager to reach this population and innovators of the Caregiver's Resource Kit, Caregiver's Resource Helpline and Caregiver's Resource Audio E-book. Visit or call Toll Free 888-791-7301 for the Caregiver's Resource Helpline.