Taking care of someone on a daily or consistent basis is one of the most difficult things anyone can do. Whether it is an aging parent or relative or someone who is ill, there are many things that often cause stress and other negative consequences. Many people often feel guilt as they feel they may be doing things wrong in their care or that they should be doing them better. They may be doing things in a rushed manner because they have to go to work and they know they should be taking more time. We may feel guilty that the care has gotten to be too much for us at home so we realize that we need to move them to facility.
We often start to neglect our own care as we focus on the demands of another. We don't get enough sleep, we stop caring about our hair or how we are dressed. The demands make us exhausted and leave us with little motivation for other things. We begin to neglect our spouse and family as every day is taken up with care needs and being away from the house and family. We might miss a school function because mom or dad needs a shower or someone to get them into bed. If the person is living somewhere else, you are often away from home and driving back and forth several times a day.
One of the most difficult but extremely common results of being a caregiver is when you begin to feel angry towards them. It has nothing to do with them directly but you are so tired and overwhelmed that you begin to feel angry that you have to do this care day in and day out. This happens to most caregivers at some point.
As much as we want to care for our parents or loved ones it is really important to realize that sometimes we just may not be able to do it ourselves. There are several recommended things we can all do that can help manage these negative effects and help keep us mentally more healthy during these stressful periods. It is important to let yourself feel the guilt or frustration. It is normal to feel that way. It can also help to keep a journal of how you are feeling as it allows you to express the feelings in your own personal space. Make sure you take time for yourself everyday. Find other family members or friends that can help you even for a short time each day so you can run errands or just go for a walk or grab lunch out by yourself. There are also many support groups for caregivers and online communities that can help support each other as they all go through the path of caregiving. Here is a link to a great website called Caregiver Action Network that has a ton of great resources. CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO WEBSITE.