Five Traps of Caregiving

Care giving can be fulfilling and give the caregiver a sense of comfort knowing they’re keeping their loved one safe and at home. Caregivers don’t have to worry about the quality of care their loved one is getting or deal with the pain of being apart from them.

But care giving can be hard, often thankless work. A caregiver might initially find care giving rewarding but over time find it grueling. Caregivers may take on care giving out of love for the person needing care but over time find they don’t feel so loving toward that person anymore.

Following are five of the most common traps caregivers get caught in.

  1. 1. Doing it all. Caregivers may believe they’re the only ones who can do the job right. They may try using paid or unpaid caregivers but if things don’t go well come to the conclusion that no one can do the job as well as they can or that it’s simply too much of a hassle. The person being cared for can perpetuate this by complaining when there’s a substitute caregiver or refusing their help.
  2. 2. Isolation. Caring for someone can be so exhausting that making the effort to do things socially doesn’t seem worth it. Depending on the physical or mental issues the person being cared for is dealing with, they may also not want to go out. Over time it can just seem easier for both parties to stay home.
  3. 3. Not reevaluating when care needs increase. If the needs of the person being cared for increase, caregivers don’t always recognize or admit these needs have become too much for them to handle. Changes can be gradual and subtle so the caregiver keeps taking on more and more without really realizing what’s happening. Unfortunately being overwhelmed can lead to #4.
  4. 4. Misplaced blame. Both the caregiver and person being cared for may focus their negative feelings onto each other because of their own unhappiness with the situation. The caregiver may feel unappreciated and the person being cared for may resent the caregiver because they have to rely on them.
  5. 5. Believing that being at home is better than being in a facility. News reports of abuse in can create the belief it happens more often than it actually does. Also, many people still think these places are like what their grandparents had available to them. So caregivers rule out assisted living or adult family homes without first exploring these options fully.

I admire caregivers who selflessly take on this role. I think the person receiving care is lucky. However I also think this commitment needs to be evaluated regularly and if need be, the opinions of outsiders sought who may see the situation more clearly because they’re not so close to it. (Based on elder abuse cases in the local news this last week, a system of checks and balances of any caregiver is probably not a bad idea.)

Would you like to talk about your specific situation?

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