How to Manage Feelings of Ambivalence When Caregiving

By , 9:00 am on

The life of a caregiver is filled with highs and lows. You get to experience the joys of spending time with a loved one, as well as the exhaustion caused by constantly tending to someone else’s needs. A mix of positive and negative emotions may lead you to feel ambivalent about caregiving. Here are a few things you can do to manage feelings of ambivalence. 

Keep Track of Your Emotions

Don’t try to get rid of every negative emotion you feel. While too many negative feelings can lead to burnout or depression, you should accept them as a natural part of the caregiving process. You need to be able to identify when feelings of ambivalence or negativity begin to affect your mental, emotional, or physical health. If the feeling of ambivalence starts to manifest as constant irritability, fatigue, or anxiety, it’s a sign you need to take better care of yourself. 

Caring for a senior loved one can be a difficult job. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Mississauga home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Manage Your Expectations

When caregivers accept their role, they usually compromise on their jobs or their free time, which can cast a pall over the caregiving experience. Caregivers are constantly torn between their caregiving duties and their own personal aspirations. While you may not be able to take a European cruise or move across the country, you don’t have to put all of your dreams on hold. It is important to manage your expectations. If the European cruise is on hold, it doesn’t mean you can’t spend a restful weekend at a local bed and breakfast. When you pursue your interests, hobbies, and long-term goals within the context of caregiving, your feelings of ambivalence may be mitigated. 

Forgive Yourself for Unkind Thoughts

Caregiving-related ambivalence is often caused by the push and pull between negative and positive emotions. Allow yourself to experience all emotions, as they can be instructive. If you don’t recognize what your body is signaling, you won’t be able to respond appropriately. While removing unkind thoughts isn’t healthy, neither is wallowing in negative feelings. Over the course of caregiving, you will inevitably have unkind emotions about your loved one, which can lead to a cycle of negativity where you berate yourself for being angry with someone who doesn’t deserve it. While you should never allow your irritation to affect the way you treat your loved one, you shouldn’t punish yourself for momentary bursts of anger or unhappiness. In these situations, the most productive thing you can do is forgive yourself and move on. 

Consider hiring a professional home care agency if you need a break from your caregiving duties to stave off negative emotions and unkind thoughts. Though you may be researching multiple in-home care agencies, Mississauga, Ontario, Home Care Assistance has much to offer your family and your elderly loved one. We are leaders in the senior home care industry, offering proprietary programs like our holistic Balanced Care Method and around-the-clock assistance from reliable, experienced caregivers. Trust in Home Care Assistance to help your loved one enjoy a happier and healthier life in the golden years.  

Ask for Help When You Need It

When conflicting emotions become unbearable, don’t be afraid to ask for help. For some caregivers, this may mean taking some time off. Ask friends and family members if they’d be willing to watch over your loved one, or hire in-home care. For other caregivers, getting help may mean finding an effective emotional outlet. Therapy may help you work through complex emotions, and caregiver support groups can provide the wisdom you need to keep going.

Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Mississauga, Ontario, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. To learn about our high-quality in-home care plans, call us at (519) 590-2792 today.