These are Emotions that Plague Most Caregivers.
Expect Them. Accept them. Let them go.
Family caregivers often feel all of these feelings when they are doing home care for an elderly parent. Along with the emotions of past baggage, there is just no way to do the job well enough. How do you forgive yourself for imperfection and allow yourself to be human, and semi-perfect?
You don’t want to do this to others. There is no need to do it to yourself. What you can do is what you can do. Sure your elderly relative needs more than you can give. Start with that assumption and find other ways to provideit, so it is not just on you. Caregivers can be found for almost any companion and home caregiving service. Get creative about search for other support. Then forgive yourself for anything you alone cannot do without help.
Resenting Your Role
As your primary focus of life becomes caring for another person, especially if you were not planning this particular path, be realistic in the role you expect of yourself. If you can’t change the full extent of your responsibilities, then provide yourself a caregiver or companion. You deserve it. Ask a friend for help for you when your work shift of caring is done. Write your thoughts in a journal. Take steps to release the energy of pent up exhaustion or resentment so it does not explode out on the one person you really want to love and nurture with kindness.
Anger can build up into a heart attack, high blood pressure, digestive problems and more. Laugh. Find things to laugh at. Find people to laugh with. Find a way to laugh with the person for whom you are caring. Get a friend to come laugh with you at the end of a day. Counteract anger with breathing, happiness, laughter, and comedy, so it is kept in balance. This is definitely a balancing act, so just plan for it creatively.
Have you noticed the escalating cycle with worry? It builds and builds and seems endless. It can disrupt sleep, bottle up in headaches, travel with food right into your mouth when you least want it, and so much more. Being the primary home care giver for a loved one is a worry celebration – guaranteed and endless. So take it by the heels and treat it as a given, and plan a balancing activity from the start. Cycle it right out of your day in routine plans. Schedule distraction. Schedule happiness breaks. Know it will be with you and make plans that will keep it quiet when you don’t need it. At least join a caregiver support group. Know it will be there and it does not need to own you.
Lonely, Oh So Lonely
Isolation from your own life, your friends, your home, your patterns, your happiness, and your world is lonely. Realize it and plan for it. Plan an active social life in a reasonable balance before your helping schedule gets ahead of you. Plan for others to chip in or hiring home care givers to help. Be smart and you can avoid the whole lonely journey. The person you are caring for is also likely to be lonely, so take control of this one before it flattens both of you.
Face it, the circumstances that have caused the need for your support and service are most likely to be sad, and to be loss related. Whether it is loss of a partner, loss of ability, loss of a mind, loss of a limb or ability to move around or be with others. Loss is loss. One needs to grieve loss. This is real. If you suppress the feelings and pretend they are not needed, it becomes an endless sad journey. Talk about it. Discuss the thing that is lost, explore the feeling together. The more you handle this upfront, and face it, discuss it, and allow the sadness to be there, the less it needs to be unmanageable and control you. You can control it. Cope with grief by realizing it is in the room with you.
You are trying your best. Agreed. You are doing your best. Agreed. Then when someone says there is another way you blow up. Suggestions feel more like threats in situations where you are uncertain that your approach is the best one. Realize that you will want to defend your approach. Know there are other ways. If you can accept other ideas without feeling attacked, then you can still do what you do. You can listen, thank someone, and walk away. You can make decisions to accept new advice without having to be or feel embarrassed for your imperfection. Its okay. You are already doing your best. Know it. Let others play the caring game with you.
If you can escape these big traps by planning for them, scheduling options and breaks, and knowing these patterns will be there, then you can put yourself in a position where you can forgive your own imperfection, laugh at your unbelievable situation and sacrifice, and survive it without going nuts yourself. Let others help you.
Based on an article by Home Care Assistance.