If you’re a caregiver for an ailing loved one, you know how exhausting and draining your responsibilities can be. In fact, sometimes you may feel like you’re the only one who knows. That’s because no one can imagine how hard it is to be a caregiver unless they’ve been there and done that.
We found a very helpful article for caregivers on the website Caring.com. If you’re caring for a loved one who is aging and infirm, dealing with an onslaught of difficult emotions, this article can help you recognize those emotions and deal with them in a constructive way. It’s called “The Seven Deadly Emotions of Caregiving,” and you can click here to read it. Even if you’re not a caregiver, chances are you know someone who is, so we encourage you to share this very timely and insightful piece.
The article calls these emotions “Caregiver Emotional Traps.” They’re triggered by the stress that caring for a loved one brings on. Here’s a brief list. Do some apply to you?
The first deadly emotion is Guilt. The article’s author, Caring.com Contributing Editor Paula Spencer Scott, says “Caregivers often burden themselves with a long list of self-imposed ‘oughts,’ ‘shoulds,’ and ‘musts.’” It’s easy to beat yourself up over imagined faults – losing your temper, or not vising often enough, or not knowing what course of action is best at every turn. Scott’s advice: recognize your limitations and realize that perfection is impossible. This is where having a support group in your corner can help restore your perspective.
The second and third deadly emotions are Resentment and Anger. These can easily be triggered when a caregiver feels ignored or criticized, or when the person you’re caring for has a particularly difficult day or is harsh with you. The article not only shows how these emotions can harm your health – it also suggests several ways to control them, ranging from humor to journaling to deep breathing exercises. For your own sake it’s important to control the corrosive impact of Resentment and Anger.
What about Worry – deadly emotion #4? If the one you’re caring for is especially close to you – a spouse or parent – anxiety over their condition can become almost paralyzing. Paula Spencer Scott says it’s vital to avoid turning Worry into obsession – and to know when to see a counselor if Worry gets out of hand.
The rest of the list:
- Deadly Emotion #5, Loneliness (it’s essential to expand your social circle and join a support group of people who can relate to your situation)
- Deadly Emotion #6, Grief (anticipatory grief is a completely normal emotion, so don’t live in denial and pretend everything is fine)
- Deadly Emotion #7, Defensiveness (negative comments or not-so-helpful criticism from friends and family members can cause a knee-jerk reaction – so remain calm and confident)
Here at Aging Options we have counseled thousands of clients on how to lay the groundwork for a solid, sustainable retirement plan. One thing some retirees overlook is that they fail to let their loved ones know their wishes. This failure can aggravate all the negative emotions outlined in this article should you ever find yourself in the position of serving as – or being served by – a caregiver.
So where do you begin making a plan that covers all the essential aspects of retirement? Our advice for a great place to start with your retirement planning is to attend one of our free LifePlanning Seminars, where we’ll provide you with a wide range of vital information about family affairs, finances, legal affairs, housing options and health care planning. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on this website for dates and times of a LifePlanning Seminar near you.
We’ll look forward to seeing you there.
(Originally reported at www.caring.com)