You might be prepared for the physical workload of caregiving, but the emotional workload can be a lot more difficult to prepare for in advance. You may find that you’re taking each day as it comes and weathering each storm as well as you’re able.
Change Is Difficult to Experience and to Witness
From your perspective as a caregiver, it’s extremely difficult to watch your senior going through the changes she’s experiencing. Being as helpful as you can be without overstepping your senior’s boundaries is not easy and it can cause you to want to react in ways that you already know probably aren’t helpful. But there may be times that those knee-jerk reactions win out.
Things Happen that You Don’t Expect
There’s a lot about caregiving, being a caregiver, and your senior’s health that neither of you might expect at all. This can put your senior under some extreme stress, too. She might be lashing out at you in anger and frustration, which makes everything feel that much worse. If you’re not properly managing your own feelings, dealing with your senior’s reactions on top of your own feelings is going to be a lot more difficult.
Stay Informed as Much as Possible
As a caregiver, you’re going to be learning constantly. You’ll be learning about caregiving in general, about your senior and her needs, and about her specific health issues. Armed with information, you’re going to be in a better position to understand what’s going on and to be there for your senior to process what she’s experiencing, too. Talk to your senior’s doctor and don’t be afraid to do some research on your own.
Practice Solid Self-care
The absolute best way to deal with your own emotional responses to what’s going on involves self-care. When you’re taking care of yourself the best ways possible, you’re going to be far more prepared for anything that caregiving can throw at you. Pay attention to your stress management techniques, your sleeping habits, and what you’re eating. All of that has a huge impact on you being able to be there for your senior.
Your senior’s emotional responses don’t mean you’re a bad caregiver. Your own emotional responses don’t mean you’re a bad caregiver, either. What you need to do for both of you is to ensure that you’re able to work through those feelings and tackle everything the best way possible.