You’ve been looking after your elderly mom for years now, and her physical health just seems to be deteriorating no matter how hard you try. You’ve started questioning your caregiving approach, and feel your emotional “fuse” getting shorter every time you’re at her house.
Mom seems to sense your frustration, and her verbal “barbs” are a constant reminder of your limitations. It feels like one of these days your temper is going to explode, and you know that you’ll regret it afterwards. What should you do? Here are some effective ways to diffuse caregiver anger before it causes a serious blowup.
Where Does Caregiver Anger Come From?
According to the experts, there are several sources of caregiver anger that fester beneath the surface, and of which you may not even be aware of. Those include:
If your loved one is suffering from a chronic illness, and their condition is not improving, it’s natural for you to be fearful that their last days are approaching. This fear of the unknown includes how bad their condition will get, how long it will last, and the financial costs involved.
Typically, a senior’s caregiver is their eldest daughter and, over time, that caregiver oftentimes begins to resent their aging parent, and their siblings, because of the commitment their caregiving requires. Countless hours are spent nurturing their parent instead of spending them with their spouse, own children, or friends. Employment advancement opportunities can also take a back seat when caring for others.
No matter how hard you try, mom’s condition keeps worsening, and you sense her end-of-life approaching. That can provoke feelings of guilt, exacerbated because you’re not spending enough time with your family, neglecting your own health, and missing too many days of work. After a while, this constant guilt can morph into anger.
Not seeing the results you want can be frustrating, and when your loved one isn’t cooperative, it just frustrates you more.
Caregiving for an adult is physically and emotionally draining, leading to a condition known as “caregiver fatigue”. Unaddressed, fatigue can transition into full blown caregiver “burnout”, which can affect your overall health and wellbeing. When you’re tired, pent-up anger tends to rise to the surface.
As a caregiver, there are many aspects that are outside of your control, starting with your mom’s deteriorating health. You also cannot control her behavior, how your spouse and children act, nor control medical providers and insurance companies. Lack-of-control can lead to angry feelings.
How to Control Caregiver Anger
On the positive side, you can take control of any angry feelings that you’re experiencing, and diffuse those before they cause a meltdown. Here are some of the ways to do so:
- Record your feelings. Keep a daily written journal to release those negative feelings onto the page. When you’ve had a good day with mom, record those experiences too!
- Join a support group. There are caregiving support groups in your community where you can share your experiences with others, get advice, and receive empathy for your hard work.
- Don’t neglect friends and family. Many caregivers wall themselves off from their normal lives and become socially isolated, and that’s not healthy. Make time to spend with your kids, spouse, and friends to stay grounded and refreshed.
- Care for yourself. As a caregiver, you will feel more patient and rested when you take care of yourself. That means exercising regularly, meditation, eating a healthy diet, sleeping 7 to 8 hours per day, and not abusing drugs or alcohol. Also, you should get a complete physical from your doctor annually.
- Take a break. When you are starting to be short with everyone who matters in your life, or are feeling rundown, take a break from caregiving. Recruit a friend or family member to step in, or pay a professional licensed respite caregiver instead.
Preventing an anger-fueled blowup directed towards your aging loved one is possible using these proven methods. Don’t allow angry feelings to tarnish the loving and positive memories you’ve shared with them over the years.
Reliable Respite Caregivers When You Need a Break
Caring for an aging in place senior can be time-consuming, frustrating, and exhausting at times. Don’t let caregiver anger get between you and the one you love. When you need a break, call upon the experienced respite caregivers at First In Care. Our highly trained aides can assist your at-home loved one with tasks like light housekeeping, medication management, cooking, laundry, transportation, and companionship- all individually tailored to give you peace-of-mind.
They also understand sensitive end-of-life issues, and will step in and gently provide comforting care to your loved one during those difficult times. For more information on diffusing caregiver anger, or to discover why more families in the Bradenton and Manatee County, FL, areas are placing their trust in the affordable senior home healthcare services First In Care delivers, visit: www.firstincare.com now!