When I was visiting home recently I was able to watch my mother taking care of her aging father, and I was struck by the degree of patience and dedication involved in the care of an aging loved one After a week, I noticed myself getting frustrated when my grandfather would forget what he was doing, or where he wanted to go, and this has prompted me to share this article with you. I hope this will help normalize some of your experiences and show you some new ways of helping yourself manage your emotions.
Taking care of an aging loved one is going to be full of ups and downs. It can be a rewarding experience but it can also be extremely frustrating, and physically and mentally taxing. You might start to feel guilty about feeling frustrated or irritated with the person you are taking care of, so it’s important to validate and normalize your own feelings.
Things to remember:
- You will mess up and that is okay
- You will have good days and bad days, AND your loved one will have good days and bad days,
- Schedule some alone time,
- Ask for help when you need it,
- Remember that you cannot control every frustrating situation that comes up
- Step away from a frustrating situation (even if it’s for as little as 30 seconds). Then come back to it,
- And finally, remember to breathe. Counting your breaths, as well as the box breathing techniques, are my personal go-to’s when I feel particularly overwhelmed.
To maintain a good quality of care for your elderly loved one it is essential to take care of yourself. Remember what the cabin crew tells you in the pre-flight briefing: first put on your own oxygen mask and then help others with theirs. The same logic applies when taking care of a loved one.
You will make mistakes. You and your loved one are developing a new relationship in which they are relinquishing their caretaker role and you are playing that part for them. This will take time and involve mistakes: you are not infallible and you need to accept your own fallibility..
Caring for an aging loved one can be a thankless job. Sometimes you will receive little to no overt appreciation from the loved one or people around you. If you have been struggling with taking care of someone in your life and need a safe space to talk it out and figure out better ways of coping, please contact us today and schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with any of the amazing therapists at Peaceful Way Psychology.
I am a passionate and driven therapist who is committed to helping you achieve your mental health goals. My goal is to provide you with a safe space that will encourage you to explore your struggles, gain insight, challenge assumptions and beliefs about yourself, and appreciate your successes. As a therapist, I specialize in working with individuals facing issues related to anxiety, depression, trauma, stressful life changes, communication, relationships, and social justice.