Those of us who are members of the Baby Boomer generation have lived through several decades of unprecedented growth and opportunity. We’ve seen tremendous advances in science and technology. We grew up believing that our lives would get better with each passing year. We thought if we just worked hard enough that we could find a solution to almost any problem.

That may be why it comes as such a shock when our care receivers don’t get better in spite of all we do for them. It breaks our hearts to witness the decline in our loved ones’ health and abilities, so we desperately search for silver-bullet solutions. We want so badly to find a cure for the disease, a way stop the pain, or a method that will restore memories. We want our loved ones to stay young, feel good and be happy.

When we can’t make things better for them, we feel like we have failed.

Here’s what I’d like for you to think about today: We do not have the power to turn the clock back. We cannot control anyone’s behavior except for our own. We cannot choose our loved one’s actions or attitude toward anything. And finally, there are some problems for which there are no solutions.

If you are caring for someone who is suffering physically or emotionally, take a step back. Look at the situation dispassionately. Assess what is within your power to fix, control, change or improve. Make a plan to do what is doable, and let the rest go. It’s hard to accept that there are limits to what we can do to help another person. But if you can release the responsibility of doing what is impossible, it could relieve some tension between you and your care receiver. It could reduce your stress and free up space in your heart and mind for the other people in your life. If you can do that, it will be better for everyone.