One of the biggest challenge in one of us could face is being hurled into the role of caregiver for a parent or spouse. If your loved one suffers from a condition like Alzheimers, it can become very challenging.
Part of what makes this stressful is that it will involve a level of role reversal. Suddenly you may be in the role of telling your parent what they may or may not do. This can be challenging for both parent and child, but needs to be overcome to ensure the safety of your loved one.
It is normal for the caregiver providing the care to suffer stress which can result in feelings like anger, resentment and bitterness. Some of what causes this can be put down to the constant responsibilities, isolation and perhaps some forms of deprivation.
In varying degrees we carry unresolved conflicts from our relationships with our parents which can resurface as part of the care-giving process and intensify, causing anxiety and frustration. Caregivers usually experience some combination of physical, emotional, financial and social stress.
Physical Stress: Homemaking and housekeeping for an impaired person, in addition to your existing responsibilities can cause physical stress. If the impaired person also requires personal care because they are incontinent can really add to this stress.
If you need to lift or transfer the impaired person, it can take a toll on you physically. Also be aware that you could actual injure yourself if you do not take precautions and work within your capabilities. Physical Stress:
Emotional Stress: Managing ones time and juggling many responsibilities with the weight of dependency on you leads to emotional stress.
Financial Stress: The care of an impaired elderly person has many financial dimensions. For those services that cannot be provided by family members (medical, pharmaceutical, therapeutic etc) decisions will have to be made as to where service will be secured and how they will be paid. When money is limited, many families assist with the cost of care, causing financial burdens on all family members.
Social Stress: Providing personal care up to 24 hours a day can cause social stress by isolating oneself from friends, family and a social life. The caregiver may find himself/herself becoming too tired or unable to have an evening out even once a week or once a month. What can result is a build-up of anger and resentment toward every person receiving the care, as the care-receiver is the cause of the lost socialization.
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