Being a caregiver comes with its own little rollercoaster. Nope—not the physical kind, the emotional kind. As a caregiver, you’re likely to feel everything from joy to the deepest depths of despair. Sometimes you might even feel all of that in one day. We don’t say that to scare you, but to let you know that your feelings are perfectly normal.
The trick to having all of these emotions is accepting them and dealing with them. But, even though having the feelings associated with being a caregiver are normal, it’s sometimes hard to admit to having the negative ones.
Here are some common emotions and some tips for coping with them.
Have you ever felt like you were on the verge of blowing up after spending a day with your aging family member? Or, maybe you have lost your temper on occasion. That’s a pretty common part of being responsible for the needs of someone who needs ongoing care, especially if they don’t accept your help gracefully. When the older adult has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it can be even harder. Instead of blaming yourself for feeling angry, try to find ways to manage your anger. Try counting to ten before you react to something, or simply walking away until you’ve calmed down. Find someone you can talk to and who doesn’t mind if you vent now and then. A support group for caregivers can be a great place to do that.
Becoming a caregiver can make you feel like you’ve lost control of your life. You may be left feeling anxious about how to get your life back. Anxiety can affect your ability to sleep and leave you feeling like you’re on the verge of crying. When you feel anxious, give yourself a break. Stop for a cup of tea, a moment of meditation, or some deep breathing.
People who are caregivers are at a higher risk for depression. Depression can make you feel sad, hopeless, and cause sleep problems. If you suspect you are depressed, seek medical attention. Depression can be treated. Support your emotional well-being by joining a support group, exercising, and surround yourself with helpful family members and friends.
One way to make being a caregiver a little easier is to enlist the help of home care. Home care can reduce the stress of being a caregiver because you’ll have help doing the many tasks involved in being a caregiver. Home care can assist with keeping the older adult’s house clean, preparing meals, personal care, and medication reminders.