Many emotions go along with the role of being a family caregiver. Even if you’re the type of person who normally says “I’m fine” when asked how you’re doing, there are still emotions that will need to be addressed at one time or another when you’re providing ongoing care for an older loved one. Below, you’ll find six tips for addressing the emotional side of caregiving.
1. Accept the Ups & Downs of Caregiving
When you’re caring for an older loved one, some days will be good, and others won’t be so great. For this reason, you may develop mixed feelings or even ambivalence. Address these feelings by turning to friends or other family members for emotional support during more demanding days and cherishing times when you and your loved one create new memories together.
Family caregivers can manage some of the emotional challenges of caregiving by hiring professional in-home care experts. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Coral Gables home care service. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
2. Find Constructive Ways to Handle Frustration
It’s perfectly normal to become frustrated if your loved one isn’t always accepting of your assistance. This could also be the case if your parent has dementia or a similar cognitive impairment that affects his or her behavior and mood. Find ways to constructively manage frustration while providing care, which may include:
• Going for short walks
• Venting your frustrations to a friend so you don’t take them out on your loved one
• Keeping a journal so you can privately express your frustration and put things in perspective
3. Use Relaxation Techniques to Keep Anxiety in Check
The unpredictability that sometimes goes along with caregiving can create a sense of not being in control, which may contribute to heightened anxiety. Be mindful of these feelings, and find relaxation techniques that work best for you when you need time to relax and refresh. Deep breathing and meditation are two examples of methods that can be effective for this purpose. Yoga offers similar benefits.
4. Create a Healthy Balance with Your Time
Constantly providing care for an aging family member can be emotionally draining. While it’s common for caregivers to do this out of a sense of responsibility and love, it’s still important to balance your time, which may mean considering in-home or respite care or reaching out to other family members for assistance. What this does is allow you to enjoy a healthy balance between caregiving and time for yourself.
Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Coral Gables, FL, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home.
5. Plan Ahead as Much as Possible
It’s common to wonder what will happen if something goes wrong or your loved one’s care needs change significantly in the future. An effective way to address these concerns is to sit down with your loved one and plan ahead as much as possible. This process might involve helping your loved one prepare a will or healthcare directive, discussing future care preferences, and creating contingency plans for predictable medical issues based on your loved one’s current needs.
6. Realize Your Feelings Are Normal
Whether you’re feeling guilty, unappreciated, or resentful if other family members aren’t stepping up, realize your feelings are normal and valid. Have someone you can confide in to discuss what you’re going through emotionally. If necessary, talk to your doctor about resources you can take advantage of to address your emotions as you provide care.
Family members can reduce some of the emotional, physical, and mental challenges of caregiving by hiring professional caregivers. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at 1 (305) 964-5636.