Caregivers experience a wide spectrum of emotions, from grief and gratitude to anger and anxiety. When they cycle back and forth between these emotions, the conflict often resolves into feelings of ambivalence. Learn why caregivers sometimes feel ambivalent and how they can manage these mixed emotions.
Confront the Conflict of Caregiving
Caregivers often have dreams and passions they’ve put on hold as they care for a loved one, which can lead to feelings of ambivalence. They want to provide the best care they can, but they’re constantly aware of what they’re giving up. If you try to bury this conflict, you could become depressed, anxious, or angry. Instead, confront the conflict so you can make peace with your life as a caregiver.
Feeling hopeless or being overwhelmed with your caregiving duties could cause you to feel ambivalent. If you are the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Naples, 24-hour care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Accept Different Emotions
To ward off ambivalence, accept that caregiving elicits a wide range of emotions. It’s normal to feel stressed, angry, proud, and fatigued. You shouldn’t internally punish yourself every time you waver. These feelings are a natural reaction to being a caregiver, and it’s better to feel and acknowledge them.
Accept Ambivalent Feelings About Your Senior Loved One
Before you decided to take on your role, you had a specific relationship with your loved one. Every relationship, even the most loving one, has its ups and downs. It’s only natural that caregiving stirs up old feelings, both positive and negative. On some days, you may be filled with intense feelings of love, remembering your childhood bond with your parent. On other days, you may feel resentment, as old grievances collide with the realities of caregiving. Don’t let these negative emotions alter behavior for the worse. Instead, allow them to pass without falling into a cycle of self-recrimination.
Let Emotions Be the Guide
Sometimes, conflicting emotions can become insurmountable. You may notice you’re raising your voice when speaking to your loved one. When this happens, you need to recognize it. If you feel too stressed, angry, or fatigued, something must change. These emotions are a sign you need to practice mindfulness, find an emotional outlet, or develop better sleeping habits. Accept your emotions and let them be your guide toward a less ambivalent life.
Family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties should consider professional in-home care. Naples at-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Make the Necessary Changes
Once you have accepted your most deeply felt and conflicting emotions, make the changes you need. If you need more support, enlist the help of family members or hire an in-home caregiver. Don’t allow yourself to be tired all the time. Instead, rearrange your schedule so you can get more rest. If you’re experiencing persistent feelings of anxiety, try yoga or therapy. Find the source of the ambivalence, then seek relief.
Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Naples families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. Whether your loved one needs help with daily tasks or you need a break from your caregiving duties, call one of our professional Client Care Managers at (239) 449-4701 today.