You’ve nobly accepted the role of caregiver and are anxious to grab the reins and provide exceptional care for a loved-one. Horror stories describing the mental and emotional stress of caregiving are overexaggerated. Your independent personality paired with impressive problem solving skills will make caregiving’s challenges less difficult. Everything is under control. How emotionally draining can caregiving be? Meal preparation, bathing, dressing, afternoon naps, medication reminders….piece of cake, right? WRONG! As a young, energetic, independent woman, I was unable to keep up with caregiving’s daily demands. The emotions encountered during this journey were overwhelming and mentally exhausting. Varied emotions supported a vicious cycle of fatigue, burnout, and depression. Following are the emotions I experienced while persevering caregiving’s craziness!
- Worry is constant while caregiving. Anything and everything pertaining to the care-recipient becomes a worry. It’s emotionally draining and physically unhealthy. Excessive worrying wreaks havoc on caregivers’ minds and bodies. They lose confidence in their capabilities and experience unwanted weight loss or gain.
- Anger manifests when anxiety and depression overshadow your initial caregiving motives. Social isolation creates a stressful, argumentative environment. The world is viewed as unfair while onlookers question your caregiving intentions.
- Resentment occurs when caregiving becomes too overwhelming and the final result is burnout. High stress levels promote foggy thinking. Caregivers begin to blame the care-recipient for their inactive social lives and recurring health problems. Family and friends are disliked for their non-participation in major responsibilities.
- Loneliness is a direct result of social isolation and inconclusive respite care research. The four walls of a home are unifying but disharmonious. Concerns and needs are expressed, but only the walls are listening. Social isolation can be resolved by simple phone calls or visits from family and friends. Caregivers must have the opportunity to vent and voice their concerns.
- Guilt is an intrusive emotion continuing long after caregiving ends. The inability to improve a care-recipient’s quality of life or prevent deteriorating health fuels caregiver guilt. Death is an unavoidable conclusion overloading caregivers’ minds with doubtful thoughts and what-if’s. A care-recipient’s passing doesn’t release you from feelings of frustration and guilt.
- Grief transpires when caregivers anticipate the end of their caregiving journey. The reality of the situation becomes obvious and they begin grieving the care-recipient. A depressive mood lingers and consumes the care environment. It’s an emotionally draining unpreventable circumstance.
Caregiving reveals both positive and negative emotions. Avoid resenting the care-recipient for generated negative feelings. Combat caregiving’s emotional rollercoaster by instating a stable support system and arranging deserved respite care. Exhaustion fosters irrational thinking and moodiness. Practicing self-care and emphasizing initial caregiving goals will recreate your nurturing, caring, independent self. Thank you for reading. Good luck!
You’ve read the title correctly, caregivers caring TOO much. Does this act exist? Is it realistic to believe people can be overly caring? Caregiving creates a hectic lifestyle littered with spontaneous panic episodes accompanied by feelings of gratitude and usefulness. Caregivers accept FULL responsibility for the well-being of another and become fixated on this task. Care provided by a third-party is subpar and lacks vigor, mindfulness, and competency.
Our empathetic nature is both a blessing and curse. Minds and bodies are exhausted creating safe, secure environments. We refuse the help of others by deeming them incapable. It’s this controlling nature causing adrenal exhaustion, depression, and stressful living environments. Why do we foster this unhealthy atmosphere? Why do we allow the care-recipient become a dependent? Why is our way the ONLY right way?
Empathetic personalities feel emotions of living things on a personal level. Their feelings become our feelings. The burnout phase occurs when caregivers are unable to separate their needs from the care-recipient’s needs. Denying ourselves deserved help creates inescapable stressful environments. Our bodies are constantly in the “fight or flight” stage and unable to manage stress. We suffer from adrenal fatigue similar to an athlete training for the Olympics. However, a caregiver’s stress doesn’t end after the event is won. It continues for days, months, or years.
Caring is not unhealthy, but the degree to which you care can wreak havoc on your body. Caregivers must realize…
- they’re entitled to a break even though the care-recipient is their primary responsibility.
- their care methods, while effective, are not the only solutions.
- relatives and friends are competent and can provide short-term care for loved-ones.
- creating a co-dependent isn’t healthy for the care-recipient.
Making decisions based solely on emotion results in fatigue, burnout, and an unsatisfactory care environment. Make decisions with your mind using logic and factual information. Realizing needs enables caregivers to effectively care for loved-ones without destroying their own health. Being empathetic is a great gift, but an overly caring caregiver will make the journey more stressful and less fulfilling. Step back and observe the situation. Listen to others and open your mind to new ideas. Caregiving isn’t a life sentence. It’s a life obstacle testing your mind, body, and soul. Embrace your experience. Good luck!
Emphasizing and satisfying the needs of care-recipients and caregivers will achieve a balanced lifestyle. Caregiving is a challenging but rewarding experience requiring dedication, devotion, and support. Empathetic caregivers provide nurturing and secure care environments for care-recipients. Support systems recognizing caregivers’ needs foster safe, quality care.
Caregiving is dependent upon,
1.) meeting the demands and honoring the dignity of the care-recipient.
2.) respecting the needs and integrity of the caregiver.
When these demands and needs are recognized, caregiving becomes less daunting and more fulfilling. The following list of DO’S AND DON’TS will bring balance and success to your caregiving journey.
- Encourage the patient to be independent and helpful. Avoid treating the care-recipient like an incompetent child unable to accomplish simple tasks.
- Ask the patient’s opinion on health care concerns. Avoid talking in front of the care-recipient as if inexistent and oblivious to the discussion.
- Support the patient’s need for togetherness and family time. Avoid isolation from family and friends. Allow time for socializing.
- Do activities promoting cognitive thinking and fine motor skills. Avoid reliance on TV and technology for mental stimulation.
- Empathize with the patient’s emotions. Avoid being cold and aloof. Show understanding toward feelings of helplessness and depression.
- Discuss with the patient your need for alone time. Avoid allowing the care-recipient to become clingy and completely dependent.
- Involve family and friends in the caregiving process. Don’t become overwhelmed by care responsibilities.
- Show concern for your emotional and physical stress. Avoid adrenal fatigue and burnout.
- Discuss with family and friends your need for respite care. Don’t assume you can provide effective care without breaks from your hectic daily schedule.
- Treasure the caregiving experience. It brings new perspective to caring and relationships. Don’t view caregiving as a never-ending burden.
Acknowledging care-recipients’ needs and caregivers’ wants will create life balance. Balance creates harmony during the caregiving experience. Listen to the patient and voice your concerns. Awareness of all feelings and needs in a relationship allows for a smoother, more fulfilling journey. Thank you for reading and good luck!