Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving and Aging
There is No Shame in Negative Emotions Tied to Caregiving – It’s How You Respond to Them that Matters
Aging and caregiving have so many emotions tied to them, unfortunately, some aren’t as positive as we’d like. Rather than feel embarrassed about your emotions, or trying to ignore or hide the emotions, it is better for your well-being to understand them and accept them. Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging
When we ignore our emotions, they just get bigger. You can’t run from your feelings so it is important to explore your feelings and find ways to accept them or cope with the negative emotions.
Both the caregiver and caree can experience sadness during the caregiving journey. The caree may mourn the body or mind that they used to have. It can be difficult to accept that you can’t do all of the things you used to do. It can also be hard to have to rely on your child, or other family members. Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging
The caregiver can also feel sadness about the person their parent or spouse has become. It is difficult to see a loved one struggle. There is also sadness about the new role of caregiver. Becoming someone’s caregiver is very rewarding, but it is also a huge sacrifice. Free time will become a luxury and the financial and emotional toll is high.
A caree may resent their caregiver for a number of reasons. They can resent that their child or spouse is telling them what to do or handling tasks that they previously handled. They can resent the situation. No one wants to become dependent on someone else. They can also resent that it changes their role in the relationship and how it makes them feel.
A caregiver can also experience resentment that they no longer have the freedom to go away or check out. They may resent that there is so much on their plate and they are under a lot of stress. They can also resent the financial toll or the impact caregiving has on their career or social responsibilities. A caregiver can also resent the toll on their social life, particularly if they have had to make major life changes. Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging
If someone is experiencing sadness and resentment, it may turn to anger, particularly if it is a long-term lifestyle change. Anger is a common expression of grief, which both caregivers and carees go through as life as they know it is altered.
The caree can become angry over their current situation and take out their anger on the closest target – their caregiver. The caregiver may be angry over their new situation or the toll caregiving takes on their life.
How to Cope with Caregiver Emotions:
While it isn’t easy to move past sadness, resentment and anger, if you are in a long-term caregiving relationship for someone you love, it is critical to your relationship that you do. Once you understand why the person is lashing out or handling the transition badly, it can be easier to not take things so personally.
Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your situation, work together to accept it and create a new normal. For example, if your mother is grieving over the fact that she can no longer prepare her favorite meals and her way of expressing it is to criticize your cooking, have her guide your cooking. Sit together and go over her recipes, or bring her into the kitchen to walk you through her preparations. Yes, it can take more time and we don’t always have a lot of time, but she’ll feel like she has more to contribute and more value.
Try to bring some joy and play into your new situation. Your caree may be focused on all of the negative aspects of his or her health and you may be bogged down in running two families, which can feel depressing. Bringing some fun and humor into your situation will help you both feel better.
Give each other space. You and your parent probably have not spent this much time together in a long time. Your parent has been living alone for some time and you have set up your own life. Blending the lives of independent adults is difficult. Give each other some space. Read a book in your room or set up a TV in your parent’s room. You don’t need to be together every minute of every day.
Respect your parent’s routine. If you have become a morning person but your dad likes to stay up late watching movies and wake up around 11 a.m., don’t go bursting into his room at 8 a.m. encouraging him to join you for breakfast. Obviously, you are not a diner serving up meal at all hours of the day, but prepare something that can keep and leave it for him to enjoy when he is ready. If medication is an issue, discuss his schedule with his doctor to be sure pushing back the day to accommodate his schedule is safe.
Understanding where you are each coming from and respecting each other’s needs can make your caregiving journey run smoothly.
Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging
Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging Understanding the Difficult Emotions Behind Caregiving And Aging
About the Author
Kathy Macaraeg has worked closely with seniors and their families for the past seven years and counts many 80+ year old women as he closest friends. She created http://www.caregivingmadeeasy.com as a way to share the knowledge she gained from her clients and their families with those struggling with caregiving challenges. Kathy lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.View All Articles