Serving as a family caregiver for an aging in place elderly loved one is highly rewarding, but it can also be very hectic and exhausting at times. As a result, it’s not uncommon for a family caregiver to start developing negative feelings towards the senior they’re caring for.
If those emotions are not promptly addressed, they can not only adversely affect a caregiver’s health and wellbeing, but also that of their loved one. Fortunately, working through negative feelings as a caregiver is possible by taking these steps.
Negative Emotions Caregivers Experience
While caring for an elderly loved one it’s not unusual for caregivers to start experiencing these negative emotions:
- Anger – Anger can surface when you don’t understand why your loved one is behaving a certain way, or why their health keeps declining despite your best efforts.
- Resentment – You may feel resentful because the time commitment involved is keeping you away from your own children and spouse.
- Guilt – It’s not unusual for a long-time caregiver to start wishing that their senior would simply pass away to prevent more suffering for everyone.
- Anxiety – These feelings sometimes arise when there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty about what tomorrow will bring.
- Frustration – Feelings of frustration can surface when no matter how hard you try your loved one’s condition just keeps getting worse. Prolonged feelings of frustration can also transition into full-blown despair.
- Sadness – It’s not uncommon to feel sad when you compare your loved one’s current state to what it once was. Feelings of sadness can also intensify as a care recipient’s end of life inevitably approaches.
- Anticipatory grief – This form of grief occurs when a caregiver starts thinking about losing a loved one before they actually pass away.
When experiencing these emotions as a caregiver, dealing with them now rather than later is essential not only for your quality of life, doing so will also allow you to deliver a higher level of care to your loved one.
How to Diffuse Negative Feelings
These are some positive ways to diffuse negative emotions:
Confront Your Feelings
Ignoring those bad feelings won’t make them go away. In fact, they’ll only fester and eventually jeopardize your health and wellbeing. Spend a few minutes confronting your feelings and taking an honest personal inventory of why they’re there. Once you understand the root cause of those negative emotions you can start dealing with them. And, don’t feel guilty about your emotions because you’re only human.
Accept Your Limitations
Because you’re not a superhero, no matter how hard you try your loved one’s condition is probably going to get worse. Accept that fact and focus instead on how to make them feel as comfortable and loved as possible. Celebrate small victories along the way, for example when your senior smiles because you took them to the park or rented them their favorite movie.
Find Positive Outlets
Don’t keep negative feelings bottled up inside, but rather find positive ways to release them. Here are some ways to do so:
- Discuss your feelings with a spouse or close friend.
- Exercise regularly.
- Join a local caregiver support group or online caregiver forum.
- Keep a journal.
- Speak to a clergy member or professional therapist.
- Do something that takes a lot of physical effort and concentration, like scrubbing the tub.
Take a Break
Another way to stay refreshed is to ask a family member or close friend to step in temporarily. If no one trustworthy is available, consider hiring a professional in-home respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency. Be honest with your loved one about why you’re taking a break while also letting them know you’ll be back again soon to take care of them!
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Manatee County Seniors
Dealing with negative feelings as a family caregiver can be difficult, so when you need a well-deserved break call First In Care. As a fully licensed and insured agency, our respite caregivers can step in and provide your senior with the compassionate care they deserve so they can keep aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. In addition to companionship and meals, our highly trained and carefully screened aides also perform duties like light housework, transportation, medication reminders and personal hygiene.
And, while serving as an extended family in your loved one’s home, all our reliable in-home services can be uniquely personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about First In Care, or to schedule a FREE, in-home assessment for a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit: www.firstincare.com now.