How Do YOU Feel? Dealing with the Emotional Side of Family Caregiving.

family caregivingProviding care for a senior loved one is highly rewarding. We’ve seen firsthand how families are able to strengthen bonds and grow closer to each other, learning to value and appreciate each day together as they overcome new challenges related to aging.

At the same time, however, we’re only human, and we naturally have a full range of emotions that come into play during the stresses of caring for a senior loved one. And while many of these feelings are positive, we need to honestly face and assess the emotions we may wish we weren’t experiencing, in order to remain mentally healthy and to be able to provide the highest level of care possible for our loved one.

The Arizona home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare share some of the more common feelings experienced as a result of family caregiving, and how to best cope with them:

  • Anger. Taking care of the many needs of an older adult can be challenging, and at times, frustrating, feelings that, if left unchecked, eventually lead to anger. It’s important for family caregivers to allow plenty of time for self-care, to talk with a trusted friend or counselor about frustrations, to get some exercise, take a nap, or any other activities that provide relaxation and rejuvenation.
  • Depression. Family caregiving can result in an increased risk for depression, as worries mount over a loved one’s condition or future, or the caregiver becomes isolated from other family and friends. Depression is a very serious condition that requires medical intervention. Talk to your physician if you’re experiencing overwhelming sadness, finding it difficult to sleep or eat healthy, feeling hopeless, or being unable to manage daily activities for yourself or your loved one.
  • Guilt. Guilt is so common in family caregivers, who, in spite of giving so much of themselves, feel as though they aren’t doing enough. Changing the internal messages we relay to ourselves can be helpful; rather than, “I’m not doing as much as I should for Mom,” try thinking instead, “I’m doing the best I can.”

To further help you self-assess your level of stress and risk for caregiver burnout, we offer a free caregiver burden checklist. Simply answer the questions as honestly as possible, total your score, and take steps as needed.

Most importantly, remember that no one can do everything alone, and that it’s not a weakness to reach out for help; rather, it takes great strength to know your limitations and to do what it takes to provide the very best care for a senior loved one – and for yourself. And thankfully, it’s as easy as picking up the phone and calling the professional Arizona home health care team at Nightingale Homecare! Our caregivers are fully trained, experienced, compassionate, and ready to partner with you to make sure both you and your senior loved one are healthy and thriving.

Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555.