Home Instead Blog

CAREGivers - it's ok to feel mixed emotions
Jul 20, 2012

Mixed Emotions & Tips for Dealing with Them

Caring for a family member often causes mixed emotions for the caregiver – causing them to hide their true feelings.   Home Instead US did a survey to find out exactly what family caregivers were feeling:
- 74% of those who hide their emotions feel overwhelmed
- 74% - the same percentage - feel loved
- 70% feel frustrated
- 73% feel appreciated
- 64% feel anxious 
- 64% feel satisfied.

Caregiving is similar to other life events that can bring conflicting feelings.   So often, the focus is on singular emotions but that isn’t always the case.  Marriage is joyful but also comes with losses.   The birth of the first child is a scary as well as a happy occasion! 

Here are some tips for dealing with those mixed emotions:

1. Look at your situation – what can you control?  If your dad is diabetic, you can control the food you serve and your attitude about his condition. However, you cannot control what he actually eats. Other common worries are ‘what happens if dad dies first?  What will I do with Mam?’ These are things you cannot control – so try not to worry about them.
2. Have an outlet -  you need someone you can talk to who is non-judgmental and not a family member – someone with whom to vent.  
3. Recognise your limitations – be realistic about what you can do.  Too many family caregivers bite off more than they can chew.  Set priorities and get help when you need it.
4. Avoid classifying your emotions as good or bad.  Recognising that it’s normal to feel many emotions when you’re a family caregiver helps take the power away from the emotion. If you’re feeling great love along with anger, there is no need to bury your feelings.

For more information, see www.HiddenCaregiverEmotions.com