Monday, May 17, 2010

Two of the Five Strongest Emotions felt by Caregivers

The worst fear of all is the fear of living.

(Theodore Roosevelt)

The majority of caregivers continue to be women, and often the youngest daughter falls lot to the responsibility of caring for her aging parents. Even when it's the husband's parents, the responsibilities associated with primary caregiving often get delegated to his wife--who may or may not work outside the home. Here are two of the five strongest and most frequently reported emotions experienced by caregivers secondary to caring for elderly loved ones.


Fear is the primal emotion from which all other counter-productive emotions originate. However, rather than expressing their fears, many caregivers express feelings that are fear driven such as guilt, anger, anguish and lonliness. Fears associated with caregiving include:
- Fear that her parent(s) will become angry if she takes their car keys--even when she knows they are no longer safe to drive
- Fear that if she does not take their keys some innocent person could be killed and it would be her fault for not taking the keys
- Fear of whether she's making the right decisions
- Fear of what others, especially other family members, will think/say about her decisions
- Fear that she'll disappoint her parents
- Fear that she'll disappoint her own husband and family
- Fear that there will not be enough money to pay for her parent(s) care


Caregivers report being torn between the guilt of moving their loved ones from their home (placing them in a nursing home, Alzheimer's unit, or even an assisted living facility), and the fear of something awful happening to them should they be allowed to continue living alone. Guilt about placing a parent in a care facility is, perhaps, one of the most painful events in the life of adult children--especially the designated caregiver who is expected to take care of the parents. Here are other situations careivers report feeling guilty about:
- spending time with her parents and not with her own husband and family
- spending time with her husband and family rather than spending that time with her parent(s)
- taking away their car keys even when she knows they are no longer safe to drive
- that no matter what she does--it's never enough and never goo0d enough.

You get to decide when it's enough and when it's good enough. You also get to decide whether you'll continue to choose counter-productive emotions, which are fear driven , such as guilt, anger, anguish, and loneliness, or whether you'll liberate yourself from self-defeating thoughts and beliefs that keep you chained to the very depths of hell. The choice is all yours, but you aren't really free to make a choice as long as you stay on auto-pilot.

Tomorrow I will discuss the last three of the five strongest emotions expressed by caregivers--anger, anguish, and loneliness. I welcome your questions and comments. Scroll down for You Tube video
Sandra -Caregiver Guru for the Caregiver Generation

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