Emotions & Caregiving


Deciding to take on the responsibilites of caregiving can bring about a variety of emotions. As the circumstances of the caregiving role change so may the caregiver’s emotions.  It is important to understand the impact of these emotions, to understand that changes of emotion during caregiving is common and many other caregivers share these feelings.

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Emotions and the Caregiving Role1

Common Feelings Associated with Caregiving2

Anger

Denial

Fear

Guilt

Indecision

Overwhelmed

Regret

Helplessness

Embarrassment

Joy & Thankfulness

Family Caregiving: Emotional Changes3

Role Reversal: the parent being cared for has a more passive role in the parent-child relationship. They accept advice or being told what to do. The child providing care now becomes the decision-maker and the one responsible for their parent's overall well-being.

Role Overload: a caregiver does two to three times the normal workload of a non-caregiver.

Changes in the Family System: the entire family is affected by the caregiver's role. The caregiver has more demands on their time and less opportunities to fulfill their needs. These may spill over into the family unit. This may cause friction and conflict for the family.

Normal Household Routine is Interrupted: the family routine changes with the addition of the caregiver's new responsibilites. If the care receiver moves into the family home, the family routine may be seriously disrupted as the adaptation process occurs.

Past Feelings: past experiences, emotions and conflicts that existed before the you became a caregiver may resurface while caregiving. This can complicate or enhance your caregiving experience.

Ways to Cope with Emotional Responses to Caregiving

Tips for Overcoming Negative Emotions4
Overcoming negative emotions: Useful steps for understanding and dealing with your feelings

Sources

1. Brandt, A. (2000) Eldercare Online. Overcoming negative emotions. Retrieved May 17, 2007 from http//:www.ec-online,net/Knowledge/Articles/emotions2.html

2. Stocks, M. (2004). Suite 101.com. Retreived October 18, 2007 from http://www. suite101.com/article.cfm/ elderly_caregiving/109742

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Ways to Cope with Emotional Responses to Caregiving