I Never Expected to Feel So Angry About Caring for Aging Parents!
If you were to detail the top 5 emotions you encounter in meeting the caregiving needs of your aging parents, what would they be? Maybe you would first think of emotions like compassion, love, and sometimes, even frustration or stress. Would anger make the list? In many cases, though family caretakers wouldn’t wish to admit it, it’s quite common to feel angry about caring for aging parents.
Why Does Anger Arise in Caregiving?
The reality is that lots of adult children struggle with the fact that their parents are getting older. Growing up, our parents might have exuded health, strength, and control, giving us an underlying impression that they would always be there for us. Witnessing a decline in their health shatters that idea, that could leave us feeling disillusioned, let down, anxious, fearful, and yes – angry.
As the tide shifts and aging parents become the ones needing care, family dynamics may become complicated. And the negative stereotype within our culture towards aging tells us that getting older is something we ought to resist or deny – something that may have an effect on how both adult children and their aging parents handle age-related decline.
Add to that the compounded stress experienced by individuals who are part of the sandwich generation – taking care of children at home and aging parents simultaneously. Approximately one in three adults with aging parents believe their parents require some amount of care along with emotional support.
What’s the Best Way to Handle Caregiving Anger?
So, how can you transition feeling angry about caring for aging parents to a more favorable mindset? The most crucial step is coming to a place of acceptance. Laura Cartensen, Stanford University psychology professor and director of its Center on Longevity, explains, “The issue is less about avoiding the inevitable and more about living satisfying lives with limitations. Accepting aging and mortality can be liberating.”
Open, honest communication is also critical. Family caretakers and their parents should share their feelings about what is working well in the relationship, and what needs to be modified. In some cases just learning the other person’s perspective makes a big difference. For example, a senior parent may express irritation with being reminded to put on their glasses. A recommended response might be to explain the reason behind the reminders – because of a concern that the parent may fall, for instance. A compromise can then be reached.
Concentrating on the high quality time your caregiving role gives you with your aging parents while balancing your parents’ needs with your own, is key. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by choosing a reliable care partner to help. Reach out to Hired Hands Homecare at (866) 940-4343 for more information on our award-winning care in Novato, Santa Rosa, Napa, and the surrounding areas.