According to a joint study by the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 44 million Americans provided caregiver services for an adult family member in 2015.
While many of them took the responsibility of providing care for a family member willingly, an overwhelming number of them believe they had no choice in assuming the role of caregiver. This can cause enormous frustration and resentment for a caregiver, particularly among siblings in situations where one sibling feels they have been forced into the caregiver role.
One way for family members to alleviate this frustration is to develop a plan for other family members to occasionally step in to relieve the primary caregiver. The sacrifice of as little as a few hours a week can make an enormous difference to a caregiver who feels they are unfairly shouldering the burden of caring for a loved one on their own.
Another leading cause of frustration among caregivers is the emotional state of the person being cared for. It is very common for a senior in long-term care to become depressed, and this can manifest itself in anger, emotional outbursts, or refusal to cooperate with the caregiver.
Caregiver stress is a very normal occurrence—even for professionals.
While you can’t control your loved one’s emotions, you can control how you respond to them. Staying calm and in control can help defuse the situation and prevent escalation. Take a deep breath and try to fully assess the situation from the perspective of the person receiving the care. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel at that moment?
Caregivers also need to remember to take the time to care of themselves, both physically and mentally. Many caregivers ignore their own personal needs, skipping medical appointments, not eating regular meals, and not getting adequate sleep. The long-term effects of those choices can be devastating, leading to poor health, increased frustration, and an inability to provide adequate care.
Understandably, when the elderly lose their independence and mobility, it can be difficult to come to terms with. They often vent frustrations on a family member even more than on a professional caregiver. The key is to remember that you are not alone and that there are healthy ways to cope with and reduce your stress.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a loved one, remember that help is available. At David York Agency, we provide full and part-time support for caregivers and their families to lessen the burden of ensuring their loved one is safe, happy, and healthy. .
For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.