Friday, 12 July 2019 10:43

Do You Have Caregiver Resentment?

It's common to feel negative and resentful when you are in a situation you didn't choose. No matter how much you love and care about your loved one, it's natural to have some resentment when you spend so much time and energy caring for someone you hadn't really planned on.

Maybe you don't resent them at all. Maybe you resent the situation. Their illness, unhelpful family, unsupportive friends, certain behaviors your loved one deals with.

In truth, you want to suppress these feelings. You don't WANT to feel this way because you really do love the person you are caring for, so you feel guilty for having these feelings.   HAX140625

 The thing is, if you don't address these negative feelings, they can significantly increase caregiver stress. So own it. At least privately, because we all feel it. We don't want to but we do.

What can we do about it? Take a step back and a deep breath. Look at your situation. The tasks, responsibilities and stress levels increase over time. You don't even realize it until you are so overwhelmed, burned out and maybe even physical suffering. Caregivers often don't outlive their loved ones they care for, due to these very reasons! It takes a toll on your mental and physical health.

Your loved one's needs have increased over time, to the point where it's too much for one person to handle, or at least you need help with certain tasks.

It's important to get help for long-term caregiving in order to preserve your own health and well being. If you can get help from family, do it. Take them up on offers to help. Let them know what you need. Don't be a lone ranger! Sometimes they want to help but don't know what to do, what is needed. Tell them.

If you have a family member that refuses to help, no matter how many times you have asked, check with friends and neighbors. People will often help - if asked. Maybe it's something as simple as picking up things at the grocery store for you. Maybe it's bringing food over.

Then there is hired help. In-home care can be costly. Don't forget you should keep in mind, there will come a time that you probably won't be able to completely care for your loved one alone and full time assisted living will be necessary.

Then there are respite services, like Ruby Pardue Blackburn Adult Day Health Care. It gives you well deserved time away from caregiving, is more affordable than in-home care, and you get to keep your loved one at home with you where they belong.

Make sure you take care of your own basic needs. When you are upset and/or angry (and it can/will happen in spite of your best efforts) you need to address what is causing the anger. You get so caught up in your loved ones needs that you forget your own basic needs like drinking water and eating healthy meals. That just adds to the stress with negative and resentful feeling. You are exhausted so it amplifies your feelings!

Taking regular breaks from caregiving gives you the time you need to rest and recharge. Take some time for you, daily.

Find support. It is a difficult thing you are going through and the only people who will truly understand are people who have been there. A trusted friend, a support group, either in person or online. Here at Ruby Pardue Blackburn, we have an online support group called Diamonds of Dementia that is through Facebook. A closed group so you can feel free to express yourself with people who understand. We welcome new members!

Even if it is just jotting down your thoughts in a journal, that helps get them out there. We all need to vent sometimes. Being a caregiver to your loved one is the toughest job you will ever love. Because the greatest gift is to care for someone who once cared for you.


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