In a perfect world, caregivers would never feel angry, resentful, or overworked. However, caregivers are only human, and negative emotions are inevitable. Don’t feel guilty about your negative emotions. Instead, find ways to address them. Here are six strategies for caregivers who want to overcome their anger.
When you feel angry, deep breathing may help. Breathing exercises are often recommended as an antidote to anger, but taking a deep breath and counting to 10 may help in times of stress. This process doesn’t just calm the nerves. It also gives you time to pause, reflect, and mitigate your worst impulses. If you don’t follow this technique, you’re more likely to lash out in anger. When this anger is directed at your senior loved one, it could have a negative effect on his or her emotional wellness. For the sake of yourself and your loved one, you should learn how to use breathing to calm the nerves. If this doesn’t come naturally, try meditation, which can teach you the skills of deep breathing and mindfulness.
Hiring professional caregivers is another way family members can take a break from caregiving to relax and let go of anger. If your senior loved one needs professional in-home care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a trusted provider of respite and 24-hour care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for seniors.
2. Take Stock of Your Anger
There are many ways to express anger. Some people are aggressive—they may yell, criticize, or argue. Other people are passive—they may withdraw into silence. While aggressive anger can cause agitation in seniors, being passive-aggressive can also cause emotional damage. Be aware of how your anger manifests. Do you tend to yell, or do you give your loved one the silent treatment? What signs of anger do you exhibit? Perhaps your muscles tense up, or maybe you feel short of breath. If you understand how your anger manifests, you can catch the emotion before it overwhelms you.
3. Don’t Run from Sadness
Oftentimes, anger is just misdirected sadness. When you feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, don’t hide from them. Instead, try to uncover the source of the anger. After some self-reflection, you may discover your irritability isn’t the result of a busy schedule—it’s the result of grief and sadness. If this is the case, find a healthy outlet for your emotions. You might find solace in other family members or through a caregiver support group.
4. Manage Your Expectations
To mitigate feelings of anger, be realistic about what your loved one can and cannot do. For example, seniors with dementia may not be able to understand the sacrifices their caregivers have made.
Caring for a senior with dementia can be challenging for family caregivers. Luckily, there is dementia care Castle Rock families can rely on. Professional dementia caregivers help seniors with dementia stay safe and comfortable at home by preventing wandering, providing cognitive stimulation, and assisting with household chores.
When you get angry with your loved one, use empathy to defuse your negative feelings. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s and you’re having difficulty communicating, imagine your loved one’s plight instead of dwelling on your own difficulties. Empathy can help caregivers redirect their emotions in times of stress.
6. Be Assertive
If you feel angry all the time, it’s a sign that something needs to change. Instead of stewing in negative emotions, search for the source of your anger and be assertive about your needs. If you need some extra help from siblings, forthrightly ask for assistance.
Many family caregivers become agitated when they don’t receive any help with their caregiving duties. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality in-home care, Castle Rock Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at 720-580-5378 to learn about ways our experienced caregivers can help your loved one.