Approximately 43.5 million Americans have become an unpaid caregiver to an adult or child over the past 12 months. Often, they become a caregiver gradually, as the person they care for begins to lose their faculties or function.
Becoming a caregiver can be a professional job, but many do it because of the devotion they have to their relatives. Being a caregiver is not something many people plan for, and the emotional aspect can be taxing.
Continue reading for some tips and tricks on how to deal with the emotions as a caregiver.
Dealing with Anger and Resentment
Anger and resentment are both common feelings amongst those who care for family members. You may feel angry at your loved one for forcing you to put your life on hold in order to care for their needs. You may then feel embarrassed or angry with yourself for having these emotions.
These emotions are very common for caregivers, and you should recognize that they are valid feelings. You can cope with them by going on a long walk, taking a timeout or venting to a family member, friend or spouse about some of the issues that come up when caregiving. It is normal to feel aggravated or even angry at the individual you are assisting at times.
How to Deal with Depression While Being a Caregiver
Many caregivers experience deep depression while they are caring for a loved one. This should be taken seriously. Those who are giving care to others may brush aside the feelings of depression and despair, convincing themselves its “not as bad” as what their loved one is experiencing.
You should not allow your depression to fester and ignore it. Instead, you should address it head-on. This may include signing up for counseling, exercise, or just scheduling in breaks every now and then so you can have some time on your own.
If the depression becomes too great, you and your family may consider putting the individual you are caring for in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Join a Support Group for Other Caregivers
Being a caregiver can be incredibly isolating, especially if the person you are caring for requires monitoring 24 hours a day. This may mean that you are stuck in the house with them and not experiencing the same social life or doing the same things you did before you were caregiving.
Joining a caregiver support group can help you see that you’re not alone. You can express your frustrations, fears, and anxieties with others who are in your position. If you are alone all of the time, it can be easy to feel as though you are the only one with these emotions.
Meeting with other people can help crush the sense of isolation. Plus it can help you realize that what you’re experiencing is likely a normal side effect of being a full-time unpaid caregiver.
What Do I Do If the Guilt or Negative Emotions Are Too Much for Me?
You should never allow your negative emotions about being a caregiver to become so overwhelming that you feel you have no way out. If this is the case, you should seek help immediately. If you feel you may harm yourself or someone else, you should call your local emergency services.
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