What Not to Do When Feeling Stressed as a Family Caregiver
Learning what not to do when feeling stressed as a family caregiver can help you better manage your feelings and the care you provide.
We all experience some amount of stress in our lives. For some it may come in the form of a challenging work project. Others may feel stressed from keeping up with their kids’ extracurricular activities. Feeling stressed as a family caregiver can come from a variety of sources: work, family life, the responsibility of caring for an older loved one, and more. At Jewish Family Homecare, we know it’s important for family caregivers to manage their emotions and the stress that comes from their caregiving role in healthy ways.
Knowing what not to do helps family caregivers prioritize self-care and provide better care for a loved one.
What Kinds of Emotions Do Family Caregivers Often Face?
When caring for an older loved one, the range of emotions can vary widely. Times of great joy arise, but also times of great stress. When going through a challenging time in your caregiver journey, it is important to know that the following emotions are very common:
- Agitation about the frustrating behaviors of your loved one
- Sadness or anger at the person’s disease or the general aging process
- Anger or frustration about how caregiving has changed your life
- Guilt over your thoughts or feelings about caregiving (being angry, wanting to quit, etc.)
- Anxiety about the future
- And more
These feelings are normal and should not make family caregivers feel ashamed. Still, many caregivers have a difficult time managing such strong emotions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed as a caregiver, here are several things NOT to do.
What Shouldn’t I Do When Feeling Stressed as a Family Caregiver?
- Ignore your feelings. It can be tempting to set your feelings aside and not think about them. However, ignoring strong feelings like anger or sadness doesn’t make them go away. In fact, it only makes them stronger and can lead to outbursts of anger, often directed at the person for whom you are caring. Instead, acknowledge what you’re feeling. Write your feelings down in a journal to get them out of your head. This can be a first step to relieving the stress.
- Stay silent. Most people don’t want to feel like a burden to others. This can lead them to bottle up feelings instead of talking about them with a trusted friend or therapist. Refusing to allow yourself to talk about your feelings, cry, or show anger or frustration increases stress and can actually harm your mental health. Finding support is key. Talk to other trusted family members or friends, or seek the help of a licensed therapist or counselor to help get these feelings out in the open and begin working through them.
- Feel guilty about how you’re feeling. Whatever you’re feeling is absolutely normal. The truth is, it is impossible to enjoy all aspects of our lives, and that includes caregiving. You are not a bad person for feeling stressed, angry, sad, or any other feelings. Give yourself grace to feel what you feel and know that you are still a good person who is simply going through a challenging time. Consider looking into a local or online support group for family caregivers where you can talk with others who are experiencing the same emotions. This can help you realize just how common these feelings are and take some of the pressure and guilt off your shoulders.
- Do everything alone. Trying to meet all of a loved one’s needs alone can lead to stress and caregiver burnout. Partnering with a respite and home care provider like Jewish Family Home Care helps family caregivers prioritize self-care and make time for their own health and wellbeing.
How Can In-Home Care Reduce Caregiving Stress?
Jewish Family Home Care’s award-winning caregivers provide a wide range of in-home care services[LAL3] , such as friendly companionship, personal care for daily activities like bathing and dressing, medication reminders, Alzheimer’s care, and much more. To help relieve family caregiver stress, we also provide professional respite care. This service allows caregivers to take a break from care duties while a loved one continues to receive care and attention to help them thrive.
We are a non-profit organization dedicated to serving people of all faiths who need trusted care at home. Additionally, as one of the largest home care agencies in Broward County, we are well staffed and able to meet a variety of care needs.
Jewish Family Home Care is proud have earned a Best of Home Care Provider of Choice award for 5 years running. We partner with HCP, an independent, third-party satisfaction measurement company, to gather feedback from our caregivers and clients about where we excel and where we can improve. Awarded to home care companies that receive the highest satisfaction scores from current clients and caregivers, this distinction confirms that we rank in the top percent of in-home care providers nationwide.