Common Caregiver Problems: A Series with Solutions – Part 2 – You vs. Your Emotions
Any caregiver agency in Philadelphia will tell you that being a caregiver takes an emotional toll, especially when the care responsibility falls upon one person full time. A caregiver will have to face and overcome emotional challenges, if they are to continue providing effective care.
In our previous blog, we outlined some of the challenges and problems that caregivers commonly face during their jobs. In this second installation of our three-part series, we highlight the emotional challenges that often occur. As a caregiver, ignoring your emotions will only make matters worse. Honesty is important, and that includes being honest with yourself about your feelings – including the “negative” feelings. Having feelings like anger and frustration is common. When you can accept this fact, and work to deal with these feelings as they happen, you will have a much easier time “keeping your cool” when providing care.
Of course, many positive feelings result from caring for a loved one, as caregivers are fulfilling an important task of love. Below are some of the troublesome emotions most frequently experienced by caregivers, along with some suggestions on how you can help cope with them.
Four Common Emotional Challenges a Caregiver May Face
- Fear / Anxiety
Being a caregiver is a major responsibility, and anyone may feel a sense of fear over whether they can truly provide the care that is needed. Initial fear is common whenever someone takes on a new position involving a lot of responsibility. A sense of fear may be especially acute if you are “going it alone” without backup.
In these situations, our advice is to have backup. Find a friend or a family member willing to help out: someone who can provide assistance in tricky situations, or be available as a stand-in if you are unable to provide care on a particular day. Professional caregivers can also ease these feelings. Having someone who is trained to handle the care of aging or ill people eases worries of falling short, as well as feelings of isolation.
Caregivers are at a significantly elevated risk of depression. The stress and emotional toll can quickly sap a caregiver’s energy, even affecting their everyday lives outside of caregiving. When you find yourself feeling depressed, always find someone to talk to or consider finding more help to take the burden off your shoulders.
- Misplaced Hostility
Honestly, anyone who works with a Philadelphia caregiver agency can tell you that sometimes those caring for loved ones feel anger about their situations. Perhaps you resent being put in the position of giving care. Perhaps the person you are caring for is difficult to work with.
Either way, always acknowledge and face your anger. Then, you can find appropriate outlets – such as sports, exercise or even video games – so that your feelings remain isolated from your actual caregiving.
Sometimes being a caregiver involves dealing with unpleasant situations, such as handling bodily fluids. You may even be called upon to clean areas of another person when you are uncomfortable with such a task. This situation can lead to embarrassment, anger and resentment from the person being cared for and the person providing care.
In our own experience, this is a very common reason that a family caregiver may choose to hire a professional for help. In the event you find yourself unable to deal with necessary physical tasks, consider finding help.
Let Neighborly Home Care Lend a Helping Hand!
In our third installment of this caregiver series, our team will discuss caring for a loved one with dementia and dealing with ambiguous loss and anticipatory grief.