Being a caregiver is a tough, and sometimes thankless, role. If you are your elderly parent’s main caregiver, it can be tough to find time for your employment, your own family, and the things that are important to you — like your interests and hobbies. After a while, even if you don’t want it to happen, this stress and strain can lead to caregiver resentment and what is referred to as caregiver burnout.
Even if you don’t want it to happen, suddenly you’re a little snappy with the person you’re taking care of, as well as your spouse and your own children. There are a few signs to look out for, so you know when caregiver resentment is creeping up and some ways to stop burnout in its tracks. Read on to learn more about this special type of resentment and how you can do your best to avoid it.
Caregiver Resentment: What Are the Signs?
Long before burnout strikes, there are the beginning signs of caregiver resentment. But, how do you know you’re resentful? Perhaps you’re just having a bad day or a bad week, or you’re just feeling a little annoyed. Over a period of time, there are certain signs and “symptoms” that become noticeable that you should be aware of. Some of the key signs of caregiver resentment include:
- You feel forced or “locked” into this role
- You feel as if you aren’t “valued” by the person you’re taking care of, or you don’t feel appreciated for how much you do
- You feel your relationship between you and the person you take care of has been permanently altered by your role as caregiver
- You do not like feeling these conflicting emotions or being put in this position
- You have trouble identifying as a caregiver at all
- You have trouble watching a disease or condition alter or “change” your loved one (this has not as much to do with resentment, but can potentially lead to burnout)
- You feel cheated because most of your time is focused on another person
Most of these emotions or feelings convey an underlying feeling of resentment. It’s okay to feel resentful — it’s just important to identify it before it progresses to feeling angry or to reaching a level of burnout.
Caregiver Resentment: How to Reduce the Situation
There is a difference between resentment and burnout. Burnout may refer to a situation that warrants immediate action. A person who is completely burned out simply can’t go on much longer without help. If you’re resentful, then you’re resentful, and before you reach the burnout stage, there are some things you can do to turn that ship around before it sinks. Reduce caregiver resentment by:
- Asking for help. Before you reach out frantically for help, begin asking friends and family if they can help reduce some of your load. Whether you have caregiver resentment for a parent or caregiver resentment for a spouse, if you’re upset about it, it’s time to ask for help. If no friends or family are available, ask insurance what help that may be able to provide.
- Reevaluate your situation. If you haven’t taken a closer look at how you handle tasks in a long time, it warrants a second look. Maybe there are some tasks you can cut out of your day, or some you can lump together to streamline the situation.
- Make sure your basic needs are met. It’s easy to be resentful if you’re hungry or thirsty. Ensure that, no matter what, you’re eating enough healthy food and drinking enough water throughout the day.
- Get support of your own. Make sure that you have support in place to help you. You need someone to talk to about caregiver resentment, whether it’s an online or in-person support group or your own personal therapist. This is something you truly do need to make time for, even if it doesn’t seem like there’s time.
Caregiver Resentment: When it Becomes Burnout
There may be a point that you reach where you don’t want to be a caregiver anymore. That is a perfectly okay decision to make. However, before you step out of that role, perhaps it’s time first just to take a step back and try some alternatives. You may be eligible for some type of family leave at your place of employment. Even if it’s just for a week or two, it might just be enough to help restore some of your mental health. Your loved one, depending on their condition, may also qualify for an in-home health aide or nurse.
If hospice is involved, then hospice respite care may be an option for you, and you might be able to have a weekend for yourself. Remember, it’s not selfish — it’s self-care. You’ll return relaxed, hopefully with less caregiver resentment, and in better shape to take care of your loved one.
To learn more about caregiver resentment or mobility products that can be life-changing for patients, such as wheelchair ramps or stairlifts, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We want both patients and their caregivers to live their best lives.