Manage caregiver resentment to reduce stress
When put into a situation that we didn’t choose, it’s not uncommon to feel negative and resentful.
And when you spend so much time and energy caring for your older adult, it’s natural to experience caregiver resentment – no matter how much you love or care about them.
For example, you might resent the overall situation, their illness, certain behaviors, unhelpful family members, or unsupportive friends.
We might want to avoid or suppress these negative feelings, but if they’re not addressed, they can significantly increase caregiver stress.
To reduce stress and improve well-being, we share 5 ways to help you reduce and manage caregiver resentment.
1. Evaluate the current caregiving situation
Caregiving tasks, responsibilities, and stress levels tend to increase over time. Many people don’t even notice until they get overwhelmed, burned out, or develop health issues.
That’s why it’s necessary to take a step back once in a while and reassess the caregiving situation and notice how things have been changing over time.
You might realize that you’ve added more and more to your to do list. Every additional responsibility and task takes up valuable time and energy – and takes a toll on your mental and physical health.
Or maybe the level of care that your older adult needs now has increased to the point where it’s nearly too much for one person to handle.
Or, things could still be manageable, but you realize that you could use help with specific tasks like meals, housekeeping, or home maintenance.
2. Explore a variety of ways to get help with caregiving
Getting help is important for sustaining long-term caregiving and preserving your own health and well-being.
If you can get help from the people that you think should be helping, that’s a wonderful situation to be in. If that isn’t possible, be open to getting help from other sources.
Some family members actively find ways to help and contribute to caregiving. Take them up on their offers to help and let them know what you need.
Others may want to help, but don’t know what to do and aren’t proactive about figuring out how they can help. For family members in this category, communicate openly about the specific things that you need help with and ask for their assistance.
For those who refuse to help or contribute no matter how many times you’ve asked, it may be time to save your emotional energy and move on to finding other sources of help.
Friends and neighbors
People are often willing to help when asked, so don’t be shy. There might be tasks that they could do that wouldn’t take them too much effort, but would be a big help to you.
For example, you might ask a neighbor to pick up a few items at a store they visit regularly.
Or you could ask a friend who loves to cook to make you a couple of healthy meals to keep in the freezer for those tough days when you don’t have the energy to cook.
If you need help and there aren’t many people you can ask for assistance, consider hiring professionals to take certain tasks off your To Do list.
This could mean paying for services like in-home caregiving help, twice-a-month house cleaning, or occasional takeout meals.
Or, you might hire a geriatric care manager to figure out a complex care issue or consult with an elder law attorney to get help protecting assets and planning for future care costs.
Consider using services like senior centers or adult day programs to give yourself a break. Respite services are also available to give you well-deserved time away from caregiving.
Many city or county governments and community organizations have volunteer programs that provide assistance to members of the local community.
Check with the Area Agency on Aging (a county government service), local faith organizations like churches or synagogues, and service organizations like Rotary Club to find out about available volunteer programs and how they could help you.
The Eldercare Locator (a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging) also helps you find support, financial assistance, nutritional assistance, and more.
3. Take care of basic needs
When you’re feeling upset or angry, it helps to notice and identify what is causing or contributing to negative feelings so you can take steps to address it.
For example, sometimes we get so caught up in our older adult’s needs that we forget our own very basic needs like drinking water and eating healthy meals. When that happens, it’s no surprise that we feel extra stressed, negative, and resentful.
Similarly, if you’re exhausted, it will amplify any negative feelings.
Making sure to eat healthy food and drink water throughout the day is a must in order to help ourselves feel better.
Finding ways to get more sleep is also essential for maintaining your well-being.
4. Take regular breaks
It’s nearly impossible to do anything 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without any breaks.
Regularly taking breaks from caregiving gives you the time you need to rest and recharge.
That doesn’t mean you’ll need hours each day to relax. Even taking a few 10 minute breaks can make a big difference in how you feel.
5. Find sources of support
Being able to talk about what you’re going through is another effective way to cope with feelings of resentment.
Ways to get support include:
- Talking with a trusted friend
- Joining a caregiver support group, either in person or online
- Writing in a journal
- Talking with a trained counselor or therapist
Recommended for you:
- 11 Ways to Cope with Feeling Unappreciated as a Caregiver
- Manage Caregiver Stress with the Virtual Hope Box App
- 4 Sources of Affordable Counseling Services to Reduce Caregiver Stress
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
I am 73. I have a 40 year old daughter who is mentally age 3. She is not the daughter I planned on and I resent it ( if you want to make God laugh-make plans). I have to take care of her toilet issues. I have toys in my house. I thought I’d be able to have a “good housekeeping “house by now. I also take care of my 98 year old Mother-in-law who lives across the street.She is physically capable, but I make dinner for her and after dinner she wants to play cards for 2 hrs. It’s like playing with a 3 yr. old. My husband takes care of her bills. I take care of her medical needs. She can barely see and is very hard of hearing. She wants to go everywhere I go. If I have a friend over she wants to be with us. My daughter literally follows me around all day. I can;t find day-hab for her, or a job. She is with me 24/7. I have dah my husband’s mother across the street for over 20 years. At first I was a loving daughter-in-law wanting to do everything for her, give her experiences, eta. Now I am resentful. Her birthday is 4 days before mine so we either have to have a party together or she has one and I don’t . I’ve had 2 accidents that cause me to have aching knees, arm and back. I suffer from depression. I am right on the edge now. I need help.
This is certainly a challenging situation. It may help for you to speak with a trained counselor or therapist to find ways to cope or make changes.
Get more info here – 4 Sources of Affordable Counseling Services to Reduce Caregiver Stress https://dailycaring.com/low-cost-therapy-options-help-caregivers-cope/
Thank you. Your article hit the nail on the head.
This is exactly how I am feeling with my caregiving for my husband of 58 yrs. He is
82 yrs. young and I am 78 yrs. old.
Sometimes I am so angry inside and that is not who I ever was. Their are no answers for his parkinsons and dementia.
I will do this until I fall over.
I have 3 daughters. #1 is the biggest help for taking him out for lunch and stopping by at his church to pray…but usually falls asleep. (Bless him) This is when I do my errands and grocery shop. My eyes are like a deer in headlights. Hurry, hurry, hurry.
#2 daughter lives in Dallas Georgia, she unable to help.
#3 daughter has to work to pay her rent and has no car available.
They are all full of love, thank God. I was blessed in that department.
I really miss feeling happy and joyful because I do not!
He has had parkinsons since 2015, broke his hip 3 yrs.ago. Dementia has crept in the last couple yrs. He has DVT also. He had prostrate cancer. He is on warfarin,rytary, requip and something for his blood pressure.
The most wonderful man God created. No complaints and try so hard. He is in a wheel chair and walker. I do full body cleaning for 24/7 everyday.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Caring for someone, especially with challenging conditions like Parkinson’s and dementia, is an incredibly tough job. It’s natural for negative feelings to come up along with the positive feelings that you have for your husband. It’s wonderful that one of your daughters is able to help as well.
In case it’s helpful, we’ve got suggestions for online support groups where you can find others in similar situations and ideas for how to get more help so you can take longer or more frequent breaks:
– 11 Private Support Groups for Caregivers on Facebook https://dailycaring.com/support-groups-for-caregivers-on-facebook/
– Caring for the Caregiver: 6 Ways to Get Help and Improve Your Health https://dailycaring.com/caring-for-the-caregiver-6-ways-to-get-help-and-improve-your-health/
– 10 Ways for Caregivers to Take a Quick Break https://dailycaring.com/10-ways-caregivers-can-take-a-quick-break-right-now/
– 6 Reasons Dementia Caregivers Avoid Taking Breaks https://dailycaring.com/6-excuses-that-prevent-dementia-caregivers-from-taking-breaks/
I agree with the lady above. I won’t put my husband in a facility until I find one that will care for him like I do. Unreasonable? Probably. I taught children with special needs. I treated them like they were my own. I agree with the lady the workers at a facility are far from making what a teacher makes. And they are not skilled in handling people with dementia. They need to be trained as teachers are trained and paid well. I’ve tried having people in but they are just as bad. They don’t know what to do.
It’s great that you’ve decided what will work best for you and your husband. Each person or family must make the decision that’s right for their specific situation.
For some, that will be keeping their older adult at home. For others, it’s best for their older adult to live in a care community. There’s also a wide variation in the quality of each community and their staff, so that’s an additional factor to take into account when making a decision. Some care communities are amazing and some are awful.
All this relates to in home care giving. A loved one in a facility with Dementia is equally as difficult. First I have a tremendous amount of guilt for having my husband in a care facility that is not up to my standards of care and I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make his life better. Nothing changes. Medicaid is paying $6000 a month for mediocre care at best. There is no money for self pay at a “better” facility and because of the level of training I don’t believe even self pay is much better. My husband also has aphasia, is in continent and wheel chair bound. And he is only 73. So there is no opportunity for conversation. In addition to feeling guilty, I am angry, very sad and confused. There are so many challenges to having a loved one in a facility
I’m so sorry that your husband isn’t getting better care. Even though he’s not able to have conversations, he likely enjoys having you there by his side and I’m sure it helps him feel safe and loved.
There are different challenges when someone is in a care community rather than at home, but many of the suggestions in the article might still be helpful, like #3,4, and 5.
The guilt can definitely be tough to deal with. Here are a few articles that may be helpful:
— 3 Reasons to Stop Feeling Guilty About Putting Mom in Assisted Living https://dailycaring.com/3-reasons-to-stop-feeling-guilty-about-putting-mom-in-assisted-living/
— 5 Tips for Dealing with Caregiver Guilt in Dementia Care https://dailycaring.com/5-tips-for-dealing-with-caregiver-guilt-in-dementia-care/
— 7 Ways of Dealing with Caregiver Guilt That Improve Health https://dailycaring.com/7-ways-of-dealing-with-caregiver-guilt-that-improve-health/