According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average informal caregiver takes care of an aging in place loved one for a minimum of 4 years. That’s a long time, so it’s natural for caregivers to experience various emotions from joy and elation, to anger and resentment. Coping with feelings of resentment while caring for an aging family member can be hard when you’re already feeling stressed out, exhausted or underappreciated. Fortunately, ensuring a higher quality of life for both of you is possible when taking these steps.
What Causes Caregiver Resentment?
If you’re an adult child who’s now caring for an elderly parent in a role-reversal situation, here are some of the causes of caregiver resentment you could be experiencing:
- Feeling like you’re caring for your parent better than they cared for you while growing up.
- Feeling like your parent has caused their current health condition because of poor lifestyle choices they made over the years.
- Being resentful of siblings because you are shouldering most of the caregiving responsibilities without any help from them.
- Resenting your parent because you’re spending so much of your own money on their caregiving needs that it’s put you in a financial bind.
- Being angry at the disease or illness that they have, like cancer or Alzheimer’s.
- Wanting to spend more time with your own spouse, kids and friends.
- Not having enough spare time or energy to take care of yourself.
If you are currently filled with caregiver resentment, it can cause caregiver stress or full-blown caregiver fatigue if you don’t learn some effective coping skills.
How to Manage Caregiver Resentment
Here are several reliable ways to manage caregiver resentment so you and your care recipient can both enjoy a higher quality of life:
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Denying how you feel will just make the negative emotions seem more intense. On the other hand, recognizing and acknowledging your resentful feelings can help you deal more positively with them. It’s also important to realize that feelings of resentment are a normal part of the caregiving process.
Don’t Neglect Your Own Needs
If you’re feeling tired and stressed out, how can you help someone else? Make time to care for yourself by exercising regularly, getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day, not ignoring physical pain warning signs, and eating a nutritious diet. Also spend quality time with your spouse, children and friends, and get a complete physical at least once a year.
Keep a Journal
A great way to release pent up emotions is by writing them down in a journal. The nice thing about keeping a journal is that it can be done privately anytime, from anywhere when you have a few minutes. Recording your feelings in a private journal where no one else can see them will also allow you to express yourself without being judged.
Try Therapy or Counseling
Another way to reduce caregiver resentment is by speaking with a licensed therapist or counselor because they are great listeners who will also be able to recommend some new coping mechanisms for dealing with negative feelings. Another plus is that your conversations will always be confidential, which means you can speak freely in a non-judgmental setting.
Take Regular Breaks
Juggling a household, job and caregiving can burn you out quickly. Keep your body and mind refreshed by taking regular breaks, whether it’s a weekend getaway with your spouse, or week-long beach vacation with some close friends. Find a temporary caregiver to fill in for a few days through your local Agency on Aging, by contacting a trustworthy family member, or hiring a respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency.
Your Respite Care Cure for Caregiver Resentment
Battling caregiver resentment is not only stressful, it can lower your quality of life and permanently damage relationships. When you need a break, contact Dependable Senior Care. As a fully licensed and insured agency, our highly trained respite caregivers can provide the nurturing your loved one needs so they can continue aging safely and comfortably in place right where they want to be. In-home respite care services that we offer include light housework, personal hygiene, meals, food shopping, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
And, all our family trusted in-home services can be individually tailored into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about Dependable Senior Care now, or to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation for your senior today, please call or visit us online.