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Dealing With The Emotions Involved With Caring

By: Judith Cameron - Updated: 9 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Carer Caring Arduous Carers Employment

Caring is an arduous task that few people recognise unless they personally become involved. Four out of five carers have to give up their paid employment to look after their loved one and lose not only their income, but also the social contact and status that a job outside the home bestows. Even when you love someone dearly, the daily routine and repetitive nature of caring can be exhausting and offer little reward. As a result, it is only natural that from time to time, you may feel resentful towards the person who has caused your lifestyle to change so dramatically.

You are not Alone

No matter how badly you feel about appearing selfish, rest assured that your reaction is the same as every other carer - even if they don't admit it. Tiredness and despondency are other common complaints. Don't suffer alone because your health may deteriorate - as a carer you are more than twice as likely as others to suffer from poor health and depression. See your doctor or social worker for help and ask for details of local carer support groups. Alternatively contact organisations such as Carers UK (www.carersuk.org) for details of meetings in your area. It is good to meet up with others in similar positions for support and advice on coping mechanisms.

Share the Care

Although you care deeply for your loved one who may have told you that they do not want anyone else to look after them, you need to garner the help of others. There may be friends or relatives who live nearby who could drop in on a regular basis to sit with or read to your loved one. This will give you the chance to have a break to do something for yourself and also offers your loved one more variety of company. It also offers other people the chance to make a contribution to the quality of life of a loved one. After all, you aren't the only person who cares for your mother, father, spouse or friend.

If, as is often the case, your loved one says they would rather be alone than rely on someone other than you, be imaginative with explanations. If necessary, discuss the problem with your doctor who may be willing to encourage your loved one to accept a change of carer. Alternatively, say how much your friend/neighbour/relation wants to have the opportunity to spend a little time with your loved one. Once the routine has been established, even if it is only for a couple of hours a week, you will recognise the benefit to yourself and the person you care for.

Quality of Life

You may feel wretched worrying about your own quality of life when you know that the life of your loved one is worse; when perhaps the only future they can look forward to is death. You may have mixed emotions about not wanting them to die and at the same time being aware that their life offers little pleasure. This again is a perfectly natural reaction and common among carers.

You have to remember that you can only do your best and make sure that you get what support is available from social services and the health professionals.

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