Chapter 2: As care needs increase
Responding to anger
I feel like I am walking on eggshells all the time, and I am careful with what I say.
One of the biggest challenges is not to take the anger personally. Below are some ideas to help. Click each one for more information.
Acknowledging that your care recipient is angry and needs a safe place to vent is a good first step. This of course is easier said than done, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t share your own feelings. Anger is normal and expected, and better addressed than avoided. You could explain that you feel angry as well, but that you recognize you are both really angry at the situation, not at each other. You could also let the person know that you are with them, not against them, ready to refocus the anger and face this challenge together.
Talk to the healthcare team or your own doctor. It is important that they are aware of angry behaviour and the difficulties you are encountering. Ask for advice and assistance in referring you and/or your care recipient to the emotional support services that might be needed, such as volunteer visitors, social work, spiritual care, a support group, or counselling. It is important to find someone to talk to and a safe place to share your thoughts and feelings.
Make it a priority to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to take more breaks and share the caregiving load. Consider exploring eligibility and availability of homecare services to assist in caregiving and provide a respite for yourself.
Create visual images to symbolize the lack of permanence of the hurtful words. You might try imagining the words going over your head and not getting lodged in your heart. Or you could picture the words floating away on a cloud or rolling away on a conveyor belt.
What may help
It may be helpful to connect with others travelling a similar road.
If the anger persists and you feel threatened or harmed in any way, seek help. This might mean getting in touch with your healthcare team, a local crisis line, or police.Helpful resources